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From a Slave to Sin to My Mother’s Arms: Fr. Donald Calloway’s Improbable Journey to the Priesthood

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Freed from a life of addiction, sin, and crime by an encounter with the Blessed Mother

Meanwhile, my father stayed behind in Japan to help look for me, promising my mother that he wouldn’t leave until he found me, and wouldn’t return to her without me. In this respect, I was better off than Tommy, who was deported a day earlier (he didn’t try to escape from the brig), but his mother and father had already abandoned him, having left for the United States before we were apprehended. I’m told he was sent to Texas, where his father relocated, but I’ve had no con- tact with him since the incident in the train station. It didn’t really bother me that we lost touch. Like most of my so-called friends, Tommy was disposable. Once he was out of sight, I didn’t give him a second thought.

The day after I was recaptured, my guards transported me over to Yokosuka, another U.S. military installation, where my dad and I were put on a military flight to Honolulu. From what I understand, there was no consideration given to putting me on a commercial flight. In fact, I was still so angry and defi- ant that they literally handcuffed me to the plane. We were transported on one of those C-130 cargo planes where there’s cargo in the center and web seating on the sides. They strapped me in to a webbed seat and positioned an MP on both my left and right. Then they chained one of my legs to an MP and one of my arms to the fuselage.

It was certainly the prudent thing to do. My handlers knew I had absolutely no regard for life — not theirs, not even my own. They were convinced I would do something stupid to put everyone in harm’s way. In a certain sense, they were right because I was, quite simply, out of my mind. It was ironic. When my family moved to Japan two-and-a-half years earlier, I had resisted the move. Now I didn’t even want to return to the States.

Once we touched down in Honolulu, we had to walk through the length of the terminal to reach our connecting flight, which would be a commercial flight to Los Angeles International Airport, better known as LAX. With my feet shackled, I shuffled through the terminal, the intimidating- looking MPs still at my side. Although I was handcuffed, the MPs had neglected to gag me, so I screamed and shouted the most vile obscenities at any passersby who made eye contact. I was humiliated by the fact that everyone was staring and whispering. Judging by all the attention I was receiving, one might have thought I was a convicted serial killer.

Naturally, the guards kept telling me to be quiet, but it was no use. One of the MPs even made the silly mistake of trying to cover my mouth with his hand. Like an animal, I tried to bite him. Looking back on it, I can only imagine what my father must have been thinking as this surreal scene was unfolding. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less.

As we boarded the connecting flight from Honolulu to LAX, I got more of the same stares and heard more of the same whispering that I heard in the terminal. Although I was still annoyed by it, I stopped fighting and venting my anger. It finally kicked in that I was a bad dude — that I was probably freaking out the other passengers. I’m sure they were thinking, “Who is this kid that he needs to be shackled, handcuffed, and chained to two policemen? And is it safe to be on an airplane with him?” Plus, I was so tired and disgusted at this point that I just didn’t want to fight anymore. “Would you like chicken or beef, Sir?” asked the stewardess at one point. Whatever. I hadn’t slept or had a shower in almost three days — since before the sewer experience — and I was feeling it. To say that I was nasty would be an understatement.

When we got off the plane at LAX, the MPs escorted me as far as the main terminal. One of them then turned to me and said: “Here’s the deal. Your mother and brother are in Pennsylvania. As you know, your dad is here with you, and we are going to release you to him. Do you agree to go with him to see your mother and to enter into an institution? If so, we are going to take off your handcuffs.”

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