The Winters’ Interesting Friend

On June 3, 1986, Ralph and Roberta Winter received a letter from a performer friend of theirs in New York City. He begins the letter by writing that he wishes the Winters had been with him the other night as they would have been blessed materially if they had been. He proceeds to tell a story about walking from Grand Central Station, where he gets his mail. He has just concluded a month of traveling, speaking at conferences, acting the part of the Apostle Paul and the like in cities all over the United States, specifically Seattle, Norfolk, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. A man walks by as this writer comes out of the Post Office with his mail. The man tears up a dollar bill and throws it on the side walk right in front of him. He stops as the man goes on by and picks up the pieces in order to scotch tape them back together. He thinks to himself, “I need $150 for a blood pressure reader so our AFI Institute students can do medical missions with Bibles and tracts among the Arabs in Brooklyn and here [is] someone throwing money away!” He repeats that the Winters should have been with him because next he finds another dollar lying in a subway vent (so one could be for him and one for them). In all seriousness he believes God has already blessed materially all who are with him in spirit, such as Ralph and Roberta.

He portrays the Apostle Paul once a week and has to be primed to cry over the lost Jewish souls before a large audience. The other night, he without trouble found the tears following a conversation with his enfeebled Dad, who lives with his brother. Dad liquidated his car and everything when he had to move away from Los Angeles, realizing all he would own thereafter are the clothes on his back. This actor says to his father that he has been living on airplanes and in hotels for almost ten years with just the clothes on his back and his Bible. He is glad when Dad responds, “Well, that [is] all you need!”

The writer of this letter continues by stating that the Bible says that sorrow is better than laughter and the hearts of those who are wise are in the house of mourning. When he remembers the letters he receives from loved ones and friends, and how each one may be the last communication he receives from so and so, when he thinks of the few times he sees folks, and some he never sees, then he understands just how precious people are and how brief life can be. In his play, on Paul’s last day of his life in his cell, he looks for Titus, Timothy, Silas, Carpus, and Demas and is shocked to see everyone gone. “Then the unspeakable sadness comes over him that the Jewish people of his day are largely lost forever, and his time is gone to plead with them to be saved.” The Winter’s friend lives with this sadness daily now that he senses his own days being numbered. So before he signs his name, he asks Ralph and Roberta to stay in touch with him.

Apostle Paul

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