I don't believe I've ever been happier in my entire life than when I was with my two cousins Jason and James that day and holding my Papa for the first time as a free man in 16 years. March 13th 2009 was a good day. It was one of the great ones. I'll forever be thankful to God for this kindness. My Papa passed away December 5th 2009. I'm grateful for these photos and am stunned with different emotions when I see them. Above all though, I am thankful. I am thankful, God.
This day marked the first time I had seen my cousin Jason Smith in nearly 18 years. I had only seen my cousin James Smith (black leather jacket) twice in the 16 years I was locked up. He had brought Jason's infant baby daughter (Jastin) in to see me through the Kankakee County Jail visiting glass just days after I was arrested. He had also brought his then 2 month old daughter (Miranda) in to see me, in the late 90's, while I was still in The Old Walls in Jefferson City. James and I were very close growing up. I had missed them both very much. In order to see me that day, they drove all night to surprise me and my grandparents.
At that moment, my Papa was as happy as he had ever been. He was as happy as I had ever seen him. Just look at his sweet face. You can see it all over him. God was so good to all of us for giving us that moment. God was so good to my Papa. He was so good to my cousins and I for giving us that gift. As I've already said, I'll forever be thankful.