Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Novels podcast: Holiday Edition episode #58. Today we are reading chapter 1 of the book “I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas” by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte.
Cassandra awakened early that morning with strong contractions. It was time to prepare to go to the hospital. Pulling herself out of the bed, she knocked then pushed the door open and entered her cousin’s room.
“Prudence, wake up; the baby’s coming,” she said quietly shaking her cousin out of sleep.
“Go back to bed,” Prudence said sleepily. “It’s your first baby. It’s going to take some hours before it actually comes. No need to bother Aunt Nat about it. She’ll just have you in a frenzy.”
“Can’t I stay in here with you?”
“Yes, just as long as you don’t make any noise,” Prudence said going back to sleep.
Cassandra paced the floor hoping for the best, practicing her breathing exercises as she had been taught from her Lamaze classes.
Cassandra Nichols was an 18-year-old senior at Redding High School. She was on the cheerleading team but missed the last three months of practice and had to sit in the stands for the last game of the year due to her pregnancy. Cassandra lived in the well-to-do section of town with her parents and her cousin. Natalie Nichols, her mother, did not take too kindly to her daughter’s unexpected pregnancy.
“Cassandra, how did you let this happen? You are just getting ready to graduate and the world was before you. Now look what you did to yourself? This has never been heard of in our family. What were you thinking?”
“Look, Mom, I’m sorry. But what’s done is done,” Cassandra said.
“Who’s the father?”
“I’d rather not say,” she said lowering her eyes.
“Cassandra, as your mother, I have a right to know, and so does your father,” Natalie insisted.
Natalie Nichols was a beauty consultant and creator of her own line of beauty products. She traveled a lot, sometimes going out of the state for home parties and seminars. Cassandra often travelled with her when school was out.
“Mom, I don’t mean to be rude. The fact is I am pregnant. It does not matter who the father is.”
“Are you ashamed of him? You weren’t raped, were you?” Natalie questioned.
“No, I just don’t want you to know now…maybe after the baby is born.”
“What will the people of our church and the community think, Cassandra? We have a reputation to uphold in this city.”
“Mom, this is why I don’t want you to know who the father is yet…so you can hopefully keep your so-called reputation.”
Cassandra’s father, Benjamin Nichols, was outraged. He was the pastor of the First Baptist Church downtown, a lily-white church that had a reputation for not allowing black people to join. He was also the president of the largest bank in the city of Mason, Mississippi. “Like most of the brethren in the church my age, I look forward to being a grandfather, but not this way — with a baby from my eighteen-year-old daughter and out of wedlock,” he said. “I was making big plans for you to go off to college — to Ole Miss, and I want you to understand, young lady, that this does not dismiss you from going to college. I have saved for eighteen years, and everything is already paid for even the new red Mustang that I was going to give you upon graduation. But I can’t justify giving that to you now seeing that you can’t control yourself. I know I have preached against this for years, but have you considered an abortion?”
“Daddy, you always taught me, the church, and this community that abortion is murder. I couldn’t do that,” Cassandra said. “Besides that, I’m nine months pregnant now.”
“That’s right,” Benjamin said grudgingly.
Although physically, Cassandra had a great nine months, the tension between her and her mother was almost unbearable.
“I really appreciate you being here, Prudence,” she told her cousin one day. “You’ve been more than an encouragement during this time.”
Prudence had been living with Cassandra and her family for two years. She was a sophomore at Ole Miss and was studying medicine. Her family lived in California and she returned home during the holidays. Her and Cassandra became more like sisters sharing every secret one could imagine—even who the baby’s father was.
“I don’t know what your parents are going to say about it, but I’ll support you.”
In the afternoon, Prudence drove Cassandra to the hospital. Within two hours, she gave birth to a healthy seven pound baby boy.
“Did you call everyone?” she asked Prudence.
“Yes, Uncle Ben is on his way. Auntie will close out her demonstration in thirty minutes and she should be here in an hour. I had a hard time getting Grant, but he’ll be here shortly. He was headed to the restaurant where he helps his father but he’ll make a detour.”
“Do you think his parents will come?” Cassandra asked.
“If he lets them know. Right now, you need to get some rest and you had better pray hard that this will be a happy meeting,” Prudence said, flipping the television channel.
Nineteen-year-old Grant Barnett was nervous, but overjoyed at the news. Strangely, he could not wait to see his newborn son.
He called his father, Rev. Joshua Barnett, who was pastor of the Mount Shiloh Baptist Church on the other side of the tracks in the black neighborhood, and owner of the best soul food restaurant in Mason, Mississippi. “Can you spare me today? I just got news that Cassandra gave birth to a healthy seven pound baby boy so I am headed for the hospital right now.”
“Grant, I do not like this situation, and I told you that you are not ready to be a father. But, I am glad that you were honest with me and told me about it. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to go down to the hospital with you.”
“Are you sure you want to do this, Dad?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Swing by here and pick me up.”
Grant Barnett was the star quarterback for the Cougars, the Redding High School football team. He had helped bring the team to victory after victory throughout the past two years. He was also one of the few black students to make it on the football team in the predominantly white school; but he could sense it was only because of his talent and ability on the football field and because of the many victories that he was treated with equal respect as the other team members. He had been offered a football scholarship by Florida State and planned to leave in the middle of the summer.
Both he and Cassandra were in the same classes and they had developed a close friendship. One thing led to another and now they were the parents of a child.
When Grant, his sister, and his father arrived at Cassandra’s hospital room, Mr. Nichols was already there. Prudence was standing beside her bed. They both looked up when the three walked in. “You folks may have the wrong room,” Mr. Nichols said quickly.
Prudence spoke up, “No, they don’t. Come on in Grant.”
“Hi, Grant, I’m so glad you could make it. Hi, Mr. Barnett. Dad, this is Grant and his father, Mr. Barnett, and his sister, Carolyn,” Cassandra said. She pushed the call button to ask the nurse to bring the baby in.
Mrs. Nichols walked in behind the nurse and gasped when she saw the Barnetts. “What are they doing here?” she asked nervously.
Grant had moved next to the bed and he and Cassandra were talking quietly. Benjamin Nichols was so shocked he was speechless and he turned exceedingly red with anger. The look on Natalie Nichols’ face mirrored her husband’s expression.
“Mom, Dad, you know Grant plays quarterback for our high school football team. He’s also the father of our baby.”
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family stories. You may purchase a copy of this novel and any other Christian fiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.
Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you until next time.