Pulling Hen’s Teeth

Every interview doesn’t go as planned. Many of the following spoke a loud “uhoh!” as we sat down to begin, but I tried anyway. My first “celeb” try was Johnny Mathis. He was appearing in a Dallas Supper Club and was more interested in the pretty blonde waitress than anything we were saying.  Monosyllable responses were about all I got from Peggy Fleming, Hugh O’Brien, Irish Mccalla, Chill Wills, Virginia Mayo, James MacArthur, Milton Berle and Ben Vereen. The many that did work made up for all these. My most fun was when I did telephone time with The King Sisters, Frankie Laine, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Mitch Miller and ‘open mic’ time with Vincent Price, Eileen Rodgers, Robert Blake,  Bob Goulet, Sonny James, Jimmy Wakely, The DeCastro Sisters, The McGuire Sisters and ‘Wild’ Bill Elliott. I did too many interviews with sports celebs to count. After doing the research I should  have done back then, if I had realized the talents outside acting that many had, the whole thing would have been better. I was in awe when I met Bob Hayes of Dallas Cowboy fame and regret that I didn’t record an interview with “Bullet” Bob. Now, I just talk back to Fox News and my immediate family, donchaknow. Really. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.   AMEN

SHSTC

We  enrolled at Sam in the summer of 1950 and stayed in a rooming house just off the college campus. We saw each other very seldom. I was in the college quartet with Jimmy, but A. J. was only around at bedtime. I was fortunate to land a scholarship that provided all my tuition and books plus $25 each month to secure the Music Building each night. Marilyn worked at the prison for ‘Big Daddy’ Roberts in the Records division and I worked as a movie projectionist, cab driver, service station manager and part-time church music minister. Along with the membership in the College Quartet, I made very few classes. My final grades reflect that fact, but I did graduate with a Music Degree in 1953. I taught one year in Cedar Bayou while Marilyn completed her degree. We then went to the Texas Panhandle to teach in Pampa Junior High. She taught girls’ PE and I had the junior high choir. I also began working the night shift at KPDN. I had a great year at Pampa Junior High, highlighted by a production of “Mississippi Melody”, loosely based on “Showboat”. I probably would have remained a teacher had the opportunity to move up to the Pampa High School Choir position, but the principal refused to accept my application since  “I looked younger than his seniors”. At that point, I went to Amarillo to work fill-in for on-air personalities at KFDA-am. It was a fluke that provided television experience. Between broadcasting, part-time music ministry, professional theater and teaching, I managed to live a very exciting life. To think it was due to something I did shows just how arrogant natural man can be, donchaknow. Really. And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates and all I can say about that.  AMEN

Family Favorites

I will write a lot about “OllieOtt” and “Honey”. They were special to me and mine.  “OllieOtt” was Charles Maynard Wyatt and “Honey”, Valma Wyatt Coffman.  Charlie was also known as “Chuck” later in his life, but Honey was always “Honey”. She was my mother’s youngest sister and he was my favorite ‘family mystery’. Born in February (as many of my cousins were), 1928, he was three-years and four-days older.  Honey had success in business and failure in marriage. Charlie’s father was killed in an automobile accident when he was three. They were living with my parents at the time. Honey later married Ross Cramer in Sweetwater, Texas. They ran a Dodge/Chrysler Auto Agency up until financial crisis pushed Ross over the edge. He asphyxiated himself, leaving Honey to raise her son and run the company. She co-owned a custom ladies hat shoppe in Dallas with her step-mother and while employed by a county sheriff, married Gaines Stover. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last and she was simply a divorcee for years. She then met and married a very special man who was a retired Air Force Master Sargent. Bill Coffman was a jewel who worshipped my aunt. Tragedy struck when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. I escorted my Aunt Honey at Bill’s full military funeral in San Antonio. She had not heard from Charlie in years. He then turned up in Austin, bought her a home and seemed to settle down, refinishing bathtubs. On August 18, 1990, he told a friend he was going on an errand and we never heard from him again. Later, we found that he had been indicted for conspiracy in a drug trial in Florida and had turned state’s evidence.  My cousin’s remains were discovered in a barrel of concrete in the bottom of Lake Buchanan, twelve years after his disappearance. The autopsy revealed that my cousin was beaten to death and placed in that barrel. His ashes and that of my Aunt, were interned in the grave of his father in the Masonic Cemetery in Mount Pleasant, Texas, by a good friend. It is hard for my family to grasp such a tragedy. The details of my cousin’s cruel death will probably never come to light. I am certain that I do not wish to know them. It’s just another example of what can happen when we wander away from the Will of THE FATHER, donchaknow. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.   AMEN

From Where I Am To You

My Idaho Friend sent this to me. Those who have not reached the ‘Golden Years’ may not appreciate the Wisdom, but this says it the best I’ve heard:

“While watching a little TV on Sunday instead of going to church, I watched a church in Atlanta honoring one of its senior pastors who had been retired many years. He was 92 at that time and I wondered why the church even bothered to ask the old gentleman to preach at that age.  After a warm welcome, introduction of this speaker and as the applause quieted down, he rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort and  a sliding gait to the podium.

Without a note or written paper of any kind  he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he began to speak….

“When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your pastor asked me to tell you what was the greatest lesson ever learned in my 50-odd years of preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials. The one  thing that I could always rely on when tears and heartbreak and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me. The only thing that would comfort was this verse.

“Jesus loves me this I know.
For the  Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
We are weak but He is strong…..
Yes, Jesus loves me….
The Bible tells me  so”

The old pastor stated, “I always noticed that it was the adults who chose
the children’s hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me’ (for the children of course) during a
hymn sing and it was the adults who sang the loudest because I could see
they knew it the best.”

“Here for you now is a Senior version of Jesus Loves Me”:

JESUS LOVES ME

Jesus  loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.

(CHORUS)
YES, JESUS LOVES ME. YES, JESUS LOVES ME.
YES,  JESUS LOVES ME, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

 

Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I’ll go.
On through life, let come what may,
He’ll be there to lead the way.

(CHORUS)

When the nights  are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song…
Telling me in words  so clear,
“Have no fear, for I am near.”
(CHORUS)

When my  work on earth is done,
And life’s victories have been won.
He will  take me home above,
Then I’ll understand His love..

(CHORUS)

I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to  hear me say,
That I love Him every  day.
(CHORUS)

If you think this is neat, please  pass it on to your friends. If you do not pass it on, nothing bad will  happen, but you will have missed an
opportunity to reach out and touch a friend or a loved one.”

That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.  AMEN

For Whom the Bell Tolls

A tolling bell gets my attention, every time. Along with buzzes, flashing lights and sirens, it makes me stop and look, donchaknow.  I have a deep concern for the number of states who are now considering legalization of “Pot”.  If you have ever been around people who are on marijuana, you know they are ‘impaired’. They use the drug to get to that state. I understand there are folks who need it for medical reasons, but I am unconvinced that there isn’t another alternative isn’t addictive. I’ve had addiction, and some I continue to fight against. I deplore abuse of alcohol or any other behaviour altering substance. It just doesn’t seem the Christian thing to do by voting to legalize any of it. Sin Nature doesn’t need any help. It is already the most powerful problem facing humanity. It needs no additional substance to perform perfectly. I can’t overcome it without Divine Empowerment and to introduce any substance that alters that possibility simply is illicit. Things are not good now, but if we continue to ignore GOD, we will certainly be a “Nation Under SIN” and that’s for sure. We were not put here to make that mistake, donchaknow. Really!  And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.   AMEN

College Days

I was never much of a ‘student’. I rocked along, relying on acumen. More interested in ‘performance’, I let preparation take care of its self. I did manage to average in the upper ten percent until college. My cavalier attitude and involvement in ‘other activities’ cost my grade-point average, yet I was selected to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities – 1953”. Later I was honored with a Scholarship Grant in my name at Sam Houston State. I sent two SFA choir members there on scholarship, but one determined to be a rodeo star and dropped out of music. Sam Houston found that to be most unacceptable and cancelled my grant. I still came out a winner. My first selection went on to an exemplary career in music education and the other is active as a music director in his church. Had I to do it over, I wouldn’t change a thing. I was fortunate to be selected as Student Director of my college choir by Charles Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay had only one lung and was susceptible to breathing difficulties. When our high school tour of East Texas came up, he couldn’t accompany us, so I was given the challenge of leading the group in the concerts. I must admit to be ‘hooked’. The choir co-operated brilliantly and the tour came off as one of our best. I knew right then that my calling was in choral music. Had I been able to handle the frustration of educational politics, I probably would have never left the field, yet had that been the case I never would have enjoyed some success in broadcasting and theater, also. Now, back to the original subject: I was fortunate to be fairly good on a cornet(trumpet), and was offered scholarships to both Baylor and Texas, but opted to attend East Texas Baptist College in Marshall, instead. I was awarded a full scholarship to play in ETBC’s new college band. The director was a mistake. He couldn’t control the 24 mismatched band members and suddenly disappeared at mid-term. Two of us had full rides, so it became necessary for something to happen for us to continue our degrees. Both of us were accepted in the ‘exclusive’ East Texas Baptist College A Cappella Choir, made up of Seniors and Graduate Students. They didn’t mind the other freshman since she was pretty, but my participation was unacceptable. The choir did everything they could to discourage me, but GOD intervened and things changed. (I’ve related that story in a previous blog) My first residence was Frank Davis Hall at ETBC and it was dismal. I moved into a rooming house with two buddies and completed my freshman year at ETBC. It was there that I inhaled for the first time and that was a huge mistake. One of my roomies was from Conroe and was homesick. He convinced us to transfer closer to his home, so we chose Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville. That’s what I get from My  Box of Chocolates, this time. The matriculation continues with SHSTC, coming up.

To Those Who Lead

I am convinced of the desperate times in which we live. We’re a long way from “heaven on earth”, donchaknow. The Pslamist said it best eons ago. In Psalm 2, verses 10 and 11:

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.” (NIV)

Whatever leaders may accomplish, it will all pass away. In its stead will be “Heaven on Earth” with JESUS CHRIST as KING. It is not doomsday, yet, but unless all who are in charge, from managers to main office, do so as GOD would have them do, when the rough times come about, they won’t like it as much. So, leaders, as you open your office door today, think on this, please:

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.” (NIV)

Not every good business model is based on this ‘order of business’. AND this order of business will never be understood, nor empowered, without faith built on BELIEF and OBEDIENCE. So, perhaps many have one more step in our promise to others. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates.   AMEN