The old man watched as the cortege passed his window, and muttered to himself "You'll soon be crossing the big river where your sins will be gone and your name cleared." After crossing himself, the old man returned to reading his Bible in peace.
Joe Hall spent his days in prayer for souls of the lost; there wasn't much else to do in prison waiting on death row.
The warder approached Joe's cell door as Joe sat down to read, leaning in he said, "It's a shame, he looked such a good boy. I wonder where he went wrong, Joe?"
Joe put his Bible gently on the shelf and walked to the edge of his cell, and then he began the story that led to this day.
"We didn't get much time together before his sentence was passed, but I did get a few details of the events leading to his death. From what I could glean, he came into town a few months ago carrying his saddle and looking for work. His life had been hard; his stepfather beat him until he had no option but to turn to life as a wandering saddle tramp; a modern hobo in a world he didn't understand.
He thought honesty and hard work counted, only to find they meant little to the people of a town run by a crooked law officer. From the start, Sherrif Jackson was on his back; he couldn't make a move without being watched. It was one of Jackson's boys who told Frank Casper that he'd come into town; Casper had no beef with him, but the boy needed to know who runs the town, so one day Casper took it upon himself to challenge the newcomer to a fight. As Casper ran to him, the boy drew his knife in self-defense, moments later Casper was gasping for breath. He looked around, but all he saw was people looking away; at this point, he knew his fate was sealed, he'd been set up and would take the fall.
The saddest part, other than his wrongful death, is the town wanted Casper dead, but nobody stood up to him. If they had, the boy wouldn't have come here and now be crossing the big river.
I think he paid the price for not being able to settle after his the punishments he endured in his childhood, in this age, people are wary of people who can't live by the rules."
The warder wiped a tear from his eye, and then commented, "What about you, Joe? You don't appear to be afraid of the big river crossing?"
"Warder, I made my peace with my Lord years ago, when he wants me to go, I will be ready."