In everyone’s life, outside of immediate family, there are special people.
This tale is dedicated to two such, in mine.
My Godfather, long since lost, but never forgotten.
Charles Gilbert Ayling assumed the role of my deceased father. In all the time I was blessed to know him the only harsh words ever passing his lips were during attempts to defeat tobacco’s foul hold. Sadly, he never succeeded. That demon eventually vanquished him in 1990, taking him from this world and leaving all who knew him forever poorer.
Aunt Fran, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude I can never repay.
Your true name withheld, at your request. My beloved mother’s sister. Would that I could wear your mark alongside hers… sadly decorum denies this. But know this, your symbol is scribed in my heart – where nothing can diminish its radiance.