Dear Old Dad

This post has been very difficult for me as you will understand. I have put off writing this, knowing that it had to be done. I just know God somehow will use this for His glory.

My dad was born in Ansley, La on August 25, 1932. Ansley is a little old town between Quitman and Ruston Louisiana. The only thing in that town today is the Ansley Union Church, a black cemetery and a white cemetery. The Ansley Union Church is a Methodist Church one Sunday and a Baptist Church the next. Always had been that way and probably always will.

The Davis Bros built the town. The sawmill, the company store, the school, the church and probably most of the homes in that town. My grandfather worked at the sawmill and the most he ever made was $32 a week. That would be paid in credits at the company store. That is where they got their food and clothes etc.

When dad was 9-10 yrs old he wanted a bicycle so bad. Other kids had them and he wanted one. He asked for one for Christmas and low and behold he accidentally found one in the attic before Christmas and assumed it was for him but come Christmas morning the kid across the street was riding that bicycle. His dad was hiding it for his neighbor. Is that not sad. My dad told me this story when I was in my 20’s and he was in his 40’s when he bought his first and only bicycle.

My dad graduated from Quitman High School where he played guard on a State Champion basketball team. He then joined the US Air Force and served in the Korean War. He was stationed in Okinawa. On Christmas Day 1951 he married my mom and after he received his honorable discharge he moved to Texas where my mom’s parents lived and went to work for Gulf States Utilities, Co. While working days there he went to Lamar State College of Technology now Lamar University for 8 straight years of night school. Finally in 1963 when I was in the third grade I saw my dad graduate from Lamar Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

In 1963 he left Gulf States Utilities and went to work for E I Dupont in Orange, Tx. called Sabine River Works. After 30 years he retired and went back to work there as a consultant. He told me then that he was now getting paid what he was worth. He was very well respected for his electrical knowledge and his dedication. In fact there was a lot of his design in that plant. He loved electrical design, He would take his vacation when big projects were coming up and hang blue prints all over the den, living room in his home and when I asked him why he would spend his vacation that way he said, it is what I love and that’s what you are suppose to do on vacation. He said he could get his best work done there because the phone would not ring. This was before cell phones. He was very dedicated to his craft to say the least.

One of my regrets that I have is that I never heard my dad’s testimony of how and when he was saved and baptized. I never asked my mom that either. How dumb is that. The most important decision of their life and I never asked about it. I know it happened but I never heard them tell the story.

My dad served as a Deacon, Interim Song Director, Sunday School Teacher and at one time served on eleven different committees at church. He also was elected as a School Board Member for a few terms. He was a good man a good dad and a stand up citizen. But then The Wreck.

The Wreck changed everything. It took my little brother that he knew away from him. It took his wife away from him who had to stay in Houston for my little brothers healing and rehab. It took all the money he had saved to pay for medical bills. He became bitter. Bitter at God. He blamed God for allowing this to happen instead of trusting God. He turned from God and when that happened sin entered in and the consequences of sin over time was too much for my dad and he did what the evil one put in his mind. He committed suicide.

Sometimes the Lord allows things into our life to test our faith. Look at Abraham and Job. Those two men we can learn a lot. We can also learn a lot from my dear old dad.

 

 

 

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My sweet mom

Every time a new nurse would approach my mom, I would say, “Be careful, that is a mean mean woman right there.” I enjoyed watching the nurse stop in her tracks and look at me surprised and with a tad of fear but the main reason was to have my mom cut her eyes at me and give me “the look”. I loved getting “the look”, in my 61 years with her I have received “the look” at least 10,000 times. You see, the look was comforting to me at this point. After months of chemo therapy to battle acute myeloid leukemia the look let me know that she was near her right mind. For one minute she would be sharp as a tack and the next sentence she was the owner of the San Antonio Spurs.

She had the fastest backhand in the west. When I was growing up she did not allow talking back to her. I remember saying “but mom” before I could get the second “m” out of mom. “but mo” SPLAT right in the mouth. Believe me, the Sundance Kid did not want anything to do with her. She was fast.

One time she reached down to give me a swat and I reflex jerked my foot to cover my rear and she broke her wrist when she hit my cowboy boot. I told her it is a good thing I blocked that one because it could have been my bone that was broken. Yes, I would get another look.

She had eyes in the back of her head and she could see through walls. When her back was turned I would reach and try to sneak a cookie or a piece of her delicious fudge and she would say Bubba, I said NO! There was the time I was picking at a ham that had been sliced and she got so upset with me she told me go ahead eat the whole ham. I wanted to eat it but I knew better than to touch it again. Even with her telling me “I said eat it! Eat it all!” The devil on one shoulder was telling me “Show her! Show her you can eat it!” the angel on the other shoulder was saying “If you touch it again you are dumb as a box of rocks.” Some things you just never forget.

My earliest recollection of her was when we would eat breakfast and then go lay in bed and watch movies together on a black and white television. This was when I was 3-4 years old. I know because my little brother was born 4 years and two days after me and this was before my little brother. After my little brother was born we continued our movie watching but it wasn’t the same. It was still good but not the same.  We recalled those days many times over the years as some of our most precious memories. Memories I will treasure forever.

My mom was beautiful with light blue eyes dark hair and a gorgeous smile. Her sense of humor was contagious and evident in her children and grandchildren who were infected by her.

She was a hard worker, my dad went to night school for eight straight years and held down a full time job during the day but when they decided for him to go to school full time to finish college faster my mom started working 2 jobs to help put him through school. She was an excellent homemaker and a great cook and I can remember when she was sick my dad would hold her up so she could iron his shirt. The only time she complained was when we would mess something up that she had just cleaned up. However, if she really got upset with us we would hear these words. “Wait till your daddy gets home.” We would kiss up all day long and think we made up for it and my dad’s first step in the house she would say, “Let me tell you what your boys did today!”

She was an awesome prayer warrior and she got it honestly because her mother was the greatest prayer warrior of all time. My mom was full of love. Never did I ever question her love for me or my family.

She was fearless. When she was the mayor of our city after working as the city secretary for years she held her own against the Ku Klux Klan who tried to run her out of town. Threatening to kill her and her children and burn all of our houses down. She held her course, and did the right thing.

She was fearless when she was told that she had the worst possible kind of leukemia and that she had days to weeks left to live. It was after this news she decided to go to MD Anderson hospital in Houston, Texas and fight for her life. She decided to take a clinical trial chemo and after the second round she went into a coma for two weeks and her kidneys shut down. After overcoming the coma when they took that feeding tube out and wanted her to eat even though she was so sick to her stomach knowing she was going to throw it up she tried to eat anyway. She was fearless while going to dialysis three times a week and the physical therapist. I was amazed at her determination to get out of bed get in the wheel chair and go to those treatments. She fought even though she was being moved from hospital to critical care unit to nursing home to hospital to her assisted living facility back and forth and never complained until she went back to Houston in the ambulance for the second time. She told me don’t ever put me back in an ambulance to go to Houston again. The cancer and the kidney doctors both recommended hospice. They said the chemo and the dialysis was too hard on her. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but finally after really seeking the Lord’s will, He made it clear to me. When she was moved to hospice she was fearless.

All the workers at the hospice facility loved her. She was so grateful and thankful to them. We were told she would not make it two weeks in hospice but she made it two months. She was diagnosed with this dreadful disease the week before Thanksgiving 2015 and she fought until she died peacefully July 9, 2016. Exactly one month before her 83rd birthday.

We celebrate her birthday today 08-09-1933 and are so thankful to our Lord for blessing us with her. Rest in God’s Peace my sweet mom.

 

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The Wreck

Sunday October 11, 1981 I am sitting in my favorite chair at home depressed because my Cowboys just got destroyed by the 49ers 45-14. It was early evening when a friend called to let me know that my little brother had been in a bad wreck and that an ambulance was taking him to the hospital. He said, “It’s bad, It’s real bad! He may not make it.” I immediately called my parents and told them and we were to meet at the hospital.

It did not take me long to get there but when I did they were already treating my dad. Yes, my dad for a head wound. When he entered the room and saw my little brother he passed out and hit his head on a steel door stop on the floor.  That was my warning before I entered the room. The first thing I noticed was the compound fracture of his femur. It was sticking out of his thigh about 4 inches. His head was swollen severely, a tracheotomy tube in his throat. His mouth was open and his jaw was completely busted into. It was so bad that his teeth were separated. Blood had come from inside his ear.

His neuro doctor met with us and on a sheet of paper drew a picture of his future. He drew three lines, a straight line with a question mark at the end of that line, a straight line that goes down and a very gradual ever so gradual line that slants upward. He said the straight line with the question mark is where he is now. The line that goes down he said, we know what that is and the very gradual line will be his best possible path. He said this is not something that he will just snap out of. Slow, slow progress is our best hope. My little brother was in the fight of his life.

He was born 4 years and two days after me. He is my only sibling and he is very special. He is actually a town hero. Our high school football team lost 44 games in a row and our city was the butt end of many a joke in the district. On the first game of the 1977 season the stands were filled in expectation of breaking this long losing streak. My brother was our starting safety on defense and our place kicker. That night he kicked a 32 yard field goal and after our quarterback got hurt he went in as our back up quarterback. It was a close game back and forth. There was very little time left when we got the ball back and we were losing again. With time running out on the clock he threw a long pass for a touchdown and we won our first game in 4 years. The fans rushed the field and carried my little brother off on their shoulders. I was so proud of him.

As good as he was in football he was even better in baseball and received a college scholarship. Golf was not a challenge for him either as he carried a very low handicap. His friends said he was good in tennis as well. He was not very big not very fast but as his football coach said, “He makes things happen.” He was and still is my hero.

Weeks went by surgeries one after another on his leg and his jaw. We also found out his left ear drum was destroyed.  Still on life support and no sign of any consciousness. No movement no squeezing our hands. He just layed there.

Prayer chains from different churches literally spread all over the country praying for him and our family and for all those prayers we are forever grateful.

We were regular visitors at the ICU but we were not alone. One very special young lady volunteered to be there for us at the 5:30 am visitation. That was so helpful for us. We will never forget her genuine labor of love. Every evening when we went to our visitation, friends were in the ICU waiting room or standing in the hallways, just to be with us to support and pray for us. All of those visits have a special place in our hearts. On this one particular night about 6 weeks in. My dad my mom and l were visiting him and when I laid my hands on his shoulders l was struck with emotion, I started saying Jesus. Over and over Jesus sobbing Jesus Jesus Jesus please Jesus, I just couldn’t stop. This went on for several minutes and all of a sudden my little brother started to cry.  His face grimacing his eyes squinting tears flowing. He was sobbing. My Jesus Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Thank you Lord! He moved his arm. Our tears of sadness turned to tears of joy. Then we started to console him and reassure him. Thanking God for giving us a glimpse of hope. When our visitation time was up that night as we left the ICU, the hallway was completely lined with friends on both sides. Never had there been that many there for us and the same Spirit that was in his ICU room was in that hallway. The Holy Spirit.

Two weeks later he was moved to a regular hospital room, after two months in ICU.  This was the beginning of months and months and years of rehab and therapy. He was just like a baby. He had to learn to hit his mouth with a spoon learn to talk. Literally start all over. My mother quit her job to take care of him and my dad spent his life savings on his medical care.

The drunk gentleman that fell asleep, crossed the line and hit my little brother head on was not treated for any injuries. When it happened, a lady in her house asked her husband “Was that thunder?” Her husband jumped up and said, “No, a wreck! Call 911!” He, being a fireman for many years knew exactly what to do when he got to the car and my little brother was choking on glass. He established an airway. He by the grace of God saved his life.

My little brother has endured. He suffers from short term memory loss. He can remember things from the past but to remember to brush his teeth or do any task he needs to be told every little step. He has been a huge help and comfort for my mom since our dad passed on in 2006. Taking care of mom has given him genuine purpose.  l am careful to praise him for his excellent care giving. As l write this our mom is dying of leukemia. She is in her final days.

We are so blessed. Our God has seen us through and continues to lead and direct and comfort us. He has blessed my little brother with a sweet spirit. Everyone that knows him loves him!

I love when he hears someone say, “I can’t remember”. He says, “Welcome to my world!”

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Faith

The Substance, of things hoped for. The Evidence of things not seen.

I know that I know that I know… Now, with that being said if you don’t know… then.. you just don’t know.

In the rearview

I was blessed to be born into this world with parents that were Christians. I was at church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night as far back as I can remember while I was growing up. I specifically remember a Sunday school class when a big red heart with a door on it was placed on a black felt board with Jesus behind that door. My sweet teacher told us that Jesus would knock on the door and continue to knock but that I had to be the one to open it and let Him into my heart. I started asking questions to my parents about opening the door to my heart to let Jesus in but they thought that I was too young. After consulting with our pastor they decided to let him come over and talk with me. We sat outside in his car. He talked about the age of accountability. No really I do remember vividly. He said some would say the age was 12 or 13 years but he believed that it was when a person was fully aware of right and wrong. He said, when one tells a lie and knows that it is a lie and goes ahead and tells the lie then that person can be held accountable for the lie. Same with stealing, killing etc. He talked about how this was sin and how sin separates us from God and that if we were to die while being separated from God that the consequences of this separation would be a place called hell. He described hell as a place that God created for Satan and his followers. A lake of fire, eternal burning. The most miserable place ever in existence. He took me down the Roman Road of scriptures that backed up everything that he said to me.

If you are interested in studying the Roman Road. http://www.allaboutgod.com/the-roman-road.html

I asked Jesus to come into my heart that day with my pastor in his car. I asked Him to be the Lord of my life. That was the single most important decision that I have ever made in my life.

Shortly thereafter I followed Jesus in baptism. I remember riding home from church that Sunday I tried to describe to my parents the feeling I had inside. A very special feeling that I had never experienced before. I told them that I felt all clean inside. That was the best way at six years old that I knew to describe this feeling. I have learned over the years that this clean feeling is the presence of our Lord. His peace His joy. There is no better feeling.

Over the days to come I will share some of my experiences in this life that will give Substance and Evidence that the Lord holds me in His hand. It is because His finger prints are all over me that I know that I know that I know.

 

 

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Howdy, and welcome!

I have decided to use my pen name to protect the innocent. Most everything that I will talk about will be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the uh ok ok there will be some lying. However when I tell a lie I will notify you fairly quickly that I have stretched the truth. When I lie it will be for humor only so at least there is a reason. I will try not to make a habit of it. I promise.

Let’s look into the rear view for a moment way back there in the distance.

I was born in Biloxi Mississippi in 1954 at Keesler Air Force Base Hospital. It was an old barracks style hospital. The new hospital was in construction at the time and now it is an old hospital. I was not in Mississippi very long because before I was one year old we moved to the great state of Texas .

I don’t think anyone loves Texas more than me. Maybe just as much but not more. It does bother me that I cannot call myself a native Texan but I can say I got here as fast as possible.

I love everything about Texas. The Cowboys the Texans the Astros the Rangers the Longhorns and the Aggies if they are from Texas then I have a love for them. Some a little more than others but love them all. I have traveled from Harlingen to Texline, Orange to El Paso, Galveston to Paris and I can honestly say I haven’t seen the half of it. Texas is so big. It is like a country in itself. Texas is home.

Again, I want to welcome you here and I hope you enjoy your visit as I share my life’s experiences with you I hope and pray that it may help as you travel through yours. Peace

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