The following is a personal account of an incredible sequence of events that took place in the hours of darkness on Thursday, 3 August 2000, with my wife, Pamela Rae Long, and our two youngest children, Bryanna Noelle (age 5) and Brayden (age 18 months), gone to her parents home in Ft. Ashby, WV (Mineral County).Only myself, my oldest son, Brandon Nicholas (16) and oldest daughter, Brittany Lynn (14) were at home.
Sometime during the late-night, early morning hours on 3 August 2000, while sleeping peacefully, I recalled hearing a male voice in the distant recesses of my mind--softly, though somewhat nervously, reciting "The Lord’s Prayer". It was not the same version that I am accustomed to as a Roman Catholic, though I can not consciously recall the specific variation or the religious denomination that might be associated with it.In what seemed to be a short time afterward, while in a state of mind between sleep and full consciousness; a strange feeling of urgency came over me, followed by a spontaneous "rush" of names in the form of thoughts.Each name was prefaced in my mind with the word "Baby"in quick succession, as ifbeing "considered or chosen"….I recall the following:
"Baby John, Baby James, Baby Jonathan, Baby Joseph, Baby Jones…".
Then, at precisely 2:46A.M. (green numerals lit up on cablebox at bedside), I was awaken by the unmistakable sound of a baby crying, for what seemed to be a minute or more.I lay very still, listening-- wondering how this could be so and from which direction it was coming from.The baby sounded close by, but at the same time, it seemed as though it originated from way off in the distance…it was then I realized that the cry enveloped my entire personal space—it was truly ominous.The baby’s cry faded, until there was nothing but the sound of the electric fan, droning loudly on a high setting at my bedside—the same fan that kept me from hearing thunderstorms and our youngest child crying at times, could not keep this baby from awakening me.Though awestruck, I eventually fell back asleep.
At 6:10A.M. on what would eventually become a bright, beautiful, sunny morning with a blue sky cleansed by a passing thunderstorm the night before (I never heard it); my first thought as I swung my legs to the side of the bed to get up for work, were in the form of two words of near exclamation….."Baby Jonah".
I pondered this momentarily, suddenly remembering the names that had abruptly flooded my mind and of the sound of a crying baby during the early morning hours of this day. Then, another thought entered my mind; this time a single word….."Birth".
Almost instinctively, I rushed to the family room in our Fayetteville, NC home and pulled my Kentucky Expedition book (based on field research that my father and I had performed 9-14 June 1999) from it’s place on the shelf.It nearly fell open to the very page I’m certain, was meant for me to see (pg. 23 ). And there I saw the tombstone transcription my father and I had captured in a dark forest on an Estill County farm one warm Summer evening more than a year ago….
"His Record is on High"
Aug 3, 1806
April 30, 1884
This was a touching and unforgettable moment with the realization that it was my 3rd Great Grandfather, Jonah Park’s Birthday----the baby’s birth cry, traveling across time on a fleeting prayer, prefaced his entrance into the world, 194 years to the day--out of the womb of Mary Peeler my 3rd Great Grandmother.The names that raced through my mind, one after another….thoughts of a mother and father in the act of choosing that which they would call their son, Jonah, for the rest of his natural life. It was at least a couple minutes before I could collect myself to stand. I couldn’t help but shake my head repeatedly in both disbelief and amazement.My next thoughts and something I later expressed to my father….Who was going to believe me?How many experiences from the "Other Side" can one account for and not have their sanity (mine) be in question?
I wanted very much to call my parents to share this experience with them—but it was far too early to do so.I called from work later that morning and spoke with my father, William Henry Park II (1930-) and told him what happened (Mom was at the beach with my sister’s daughter, Lauren Emily).Dad, I said before I hung up—"say The Lord’s Prayer today and when you have done that--wish your 2d Great Grandfather, Jonah, a Happy Birthday, please".
And as I went outside, I felt better than I had in a long time as if I had been rejuvenated.And, I can’t recall a time when a sunny day ever looked so beautiful.Never would a baby touch me from so far off, yet have been so close to my heart.I knew now, what I would not have known otherwise, had this experience never taken place—the revelation that this was the day that "The Baby, Jonah" was born; heralded by the Lord’s Prayer uttered from the lips of a nervous father. What a magnificent and truly special "birth announcement" this was—and oh, how my spirit soared in it’s wake!
Today, I said a prayer of thanks—the Lord’s Prayer.
How beautiful it sounded.
And how beautiful this child must have been.
I’m sure his mother and father cried too.
William "Doug" Park
(4 May 1959-)