Samson Johnson got up early to ride his black mountain bicycle from his home on 8th street up to the north side of town. When his friend Sam Casalte had told him he had become a believer, Samson felt something deep inside that made him want the same for him and his wife Tilly Johnson (his high school sweetheart).
About a year after Casalte became a believer, Samson and his wife began attending the same church as their friend, the former detective.
Samson loved riding his bicycle everywhere in Stockton and it was a relief from all the time at his job digging through the sewer pipes at his job. At least he could pedal around, instead of smelling the raw disgust of the job. Don’t get him wrong, Samson loved being able to provide for his wife and family, but he had no intention of staying in the position he had digging through pipes all day, coming home smelling foul. The pay was great, but he knew he should apply for the supervisor position, doing this grunt work since graduating high school. He was qualified.
Riding through town he knew when to cross certain streets. There were sections of sidewalk that had too many rough patches, too many bumps and potholes. Also, growing up in Stockton, there were sections of area that he knew were infested with drug addicts and trouble. He avoided certain places at his morning 6 am bike ride. This was Samson’s day off, he didn’t want drama for this morning. Just smooth rides.
Samson always divided his route in sections. From his home on 8th street to Charter Way was one. Section two was from Charter Way to Miner. Section three was Miner to Harding Way, and Harding Way to March Lane was the final point. Then he would turn around and head back home. Roughly seven miles give or take. His sports buddies said that was foolish to be riding a bicycle that early in the morning, but Samson liked the exercise.
As he grew spiritually in the things of Christ, he read his bible verses. Him and Casalte would go back and forth quoting scripture verses. Samson would say a part of the bible quote, to see if his friend knew the other end of the scripture. It was cool to have a friend who he grew up with, going to church too. His co-worker couldn’t relate to half the things he spoke about now, since everything was about a bible verse or how it reflects in terms of spiritual discernment. Samson rode on through Weber, passing his father’s old fishing spot. He never could understand how his dad caught fish in that nasty water. It looked polluted at best. But his pops continued to fish that downtown waterways for years.
It was 6:25 am, when he hit Miracle Mile. A side of town blessed with boutiques, small businesses, and other shops. But being so early in the morning, nothing was open yet.
Out from behind him, the whisper of a voice called out to Samson.
“Say Black! What up?!” says the voice
Samson is cautious, but aware of his surrounding.
He continues to ride on.
“You gonna stop Black!, you gonna dis me like that, huh?” the voice continues on. The sound of a bicycle is behind him. Samson realizes it is someone he kn0ws.
Samson stops. The pedaling gets closer to him.
He looks at the person calling him. He realizes it is an old classmate from elementary school. Jerry Livinston.
But something is wrong.
Jerry Jones 5th grade class president. Jerry Livinston, the middle class kid, winner of Hazelton Elemetary School spelling bee. That same Jerry Jones. Is a thin, skeleton of a junkie now. Pedaling his bike towards Samson f0r nearly a block.
“You got a bubble you want to sell me?” Jerry Livinston.
“Hey, no sorry Jerry. Sorry I didn’t recognize you. How long’s it been man?
27 years No man, I don’t use man”
“What you doing down here at 6’clock riding a bike past Harding Way. Telling me you ain’t got nothing to sell me! C’mon dude! Stop playing like that. I followed you almost two blocks an yuse got nothing. ” Jerry Livinston spits out angry, biting words of an addict.
“I got something better than any drug, Jerry. I got living water. You aren’t gonna thirst any more.”
“Get outta ma face with that nonsense man!” Jerry begins to cuss Samson out.
Samson tries to tell him the gospel,but Jerry Livingstone rides off.
Samson rides on his mountain bike back on his journey with the Lord, praying for the soul of his former friend.