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It also was in 1984 that Scott cut his father loose. Pops had left long before then, when Darryl was only two, but he stayed in the neighborhood. Once Scott got to high school, he reached out to his father, spending Christmas or his birthday with him. That lasted about a year or so. "I don't know why you go all out of your way for that man," Darryl's mother told him one day. "He don't care anything about anybody. If you don't call him, he's never going to call you."
Scott decided to test his mom's claim. Turned out she was right. After being ignored for a good while, Scott went to his father's house to confront him, and they argued bitterly. The father picked up the phone, called Scott's mother and said, "You better come over here and get this boy before he end up like Marvin Gaye," who had been shot dead months earlier by his dad.
It would be ten years before Scott would see his father again.
As so often happens in the ghetto, Scott found a daddy unrelated by blood: Rudy Howard, director of the city's "Young Life" Christian program. It was Howard who planted the seed of salvation within Scott, although it took a good while to grow.
Scott met his wife, Carlon, in 1985, and they had a daughter a few years later. Every time Scott would start to act up, Carlon would tell him to call Howard. "Darryl would be like, 'Oh, what did I do now,' " Carlon recalls. "I would just say, 'You two haven't spoken in a while. Call him just to keep in touch.' " When Carlon and Scott were married in 1992, Howard was there. The elder Scott was not invited.
Carlon took sick in 1994 and was confined to her bed, and Scott refused to leave her side even though he had a bad toothache. When his neck started to swell, Carlon begged him to go to the hospital. Scott left the house and disappeared. Carlon and her mother finally located him the next day in the intensive care unit of Ben Taub, hooked up to a terrifying tangle of machines. One of them was breathing for him, through a tube inserted in his throat. Unable to speak, he communicated by scribbling on a pad.
An abscessed tooth had poisoned Scott's system. "I asked the doctors if he was going to make it," Carlon says. "They said, 'We don't know.' "
Carlon called Howard, who by then was an assistant pastor at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. First thing he did was whisper in Scott's ear. A tear rolled down Scott's cheek. It was the first time Carlon had ever seen him cry.
"He told me all the things I had already endured," Scott remembers. "That I had beat the statistics, was an inspiration for my family to get out of the ghetto. He told me there was nothing the doctors could do for me, or my wife, or my mom. He told me, 'This thing is between you and God. You know what you have to do.' "
Scott began to pray, first for everyone else in the hospital, then on a more personal note. Two days later Scott was breathing on his own. It was such a startling recovery that doctors first thought the respirator was miscalibrated. When they removed the breathing tube from his throat, the pain was so great Scott almost wished they would just leave it in. But after six nights in intensive care, Scott walked out of Ben Taub.
Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any, that your Father which also is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. -- Mark, Chapter 11
Everybody's got a different way of ending it / And when your number comes for service then they send it in / Now your time has arrived for your final test / I see the fear in your eyes and in your final breath / I never understood why / I never seen a man cry 'til I seen a man die -- Scarface, "I Seen a Man Die"
Six months after he was released from the hospital, Scott was at home one day when a strange feeling came over his body. One side of his body got cold, almost numb. He went tingly all over. His father-in-law, a paramedic, said it sounded like a slight stroke. But there were no side effects, so Scott paid it no mind. Until his mother told him that his father had just been hospitalized with a massive heart attack.
When Scott stepped off the elevator on the fifth floor of Ben Taub, the shock was almost physical. It was the same floor where he had almost died. He walked into the room and saw the same hole in his father's throat, smelled the same sick smell, saw the same machines.
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