I have been blessed by response of my blogs. Over the past few years, thousands of visitors have been kind enough to peruse my thoughts and lifting of the shade. Now, I have discovered Facebook Live. I have been sharing my thoughts there every morning for a while. I usually arise and shine, full of praise of a Loving GOD, around 4AM, central. I pop a pod into my Keurig and light up my laptop with some wanderings and thoughts that are simply my own. I have the greatest admiration for Missionaries who sacrifice home and family to serve in foreign lands. They are doing what My LORD JESUS said in Matthew 28. I am home-bound, but I can utilize the video provision of Facebook and share as well…and it can be universal, donchaknow. I have just over 50 folk who have indicated an interest. I have heard from people in every city where I have lived. I am truly blessed to be able to ‘visit’ with you again. I try to keep my time to around 30-minutes, but once I get rolling, it just kinda flows, donchaknow. I am deeply concerned with the morality of America. I am opposed to the ‘dumbing down’ of our youngsters. I am determined to sound the alarm and encourage “ALL GOD’s PEOPLE”. We are the lights that shine in the darkness of distrust and hopelessness. NOT PERFECT, JUST FORGIVEN and JUSTIFIED by Grace and Mercy. I invite anyone who desires to share the TRUTH of SALVATION to join me. I promise to pull no punches. The Shade Goes all the way to the TOP. Really. Should you not wish to be up so early, I leave each day’s visit for later perusal. It’s 2 Chronicles 7:14, every morning and that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN
Do You Carry? It never occurred to me to ask anyone that question. I served on many Homeowner Association Boards, and never even considered that there were members who were ‘armed’, sitting around the table. Oh, I knew there were members of my family who owned a firearm. I owned a few at times, but I would never have felt it necessary to ‘carry’. I was shocked when, during a board meeting, one of the members reached into his pocket and placed a loaded automatic on the table. I was not present at that meeting and it’s a very good thing. I would have walked out. The other board members were not shocked, since they each had ‘carry permits’, themselves. I was the only one unarmed! When I asked each of them, “Why”, their answer was, “You never know when it will come in handy”. Since then, I’ve been a bit concerned. Concerned, not because of some stranger’s threat, but honestly, because of the threat of my friends. I ‘carried’ for a few months when I worked as a security officer for Lone Star Steel, back in the late 50’s. I sold the police special and never replaced it. I bought a Mauser rifle for deer hunting in the early 60’s, but found that I couldn’t kill a deer. I was taken to an excellent deer stand and saw some beautiful deer, one of which had a nice ‘rack’, but as I looked at them through a scope, I failed miserably as a ‘hunter’. I never fired a shot and was never asked back. I sold that rifle and when my uncle passed away, my Aunt Honey gave his rifles and shotgun to me. I have no idea as to what happened to them. I must admit that happenings can cause one to consider purchase of a firearm, but all I can do is pray that that moment never occurs. I have a neat little crossbow for the purpose of ‘having one’, but it’s on a shelf somewhere. I suppose I will always depend on JESUS for my comfort and peace. Plano seems to be rift with violence and crime, but everywhere else is not much different, donchaknow. I will leave my safety in the hands of those trained to provide it. I will live my life, “NEVER ALONE”. Really. The only ‘permit’ I carry is to Plano Library. Mike Corda wrote a neat song for Mickey Rooney to record called, “Lover of the Simple Things”. It’s not a bad mantra at all. To all of those who ‘carry’, I pray that you will never have to use it, donchaknow. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN
It was 1949 and we were the first graduating class to go twelve years in Mount Pleasant High School. Our typing teacher was an interesting study in Americana. She was single and dressed as if she were a pioneer. Ankle length dresses with high collar blouse and long hair in ringlets. Miss Harbour was a bit more interested in her ‘girls’ than any of us boys. I do not wish to infer there was any ‘hankey pankey”, but the girls in Typing II got the advantage. It really rancored us that we were graded on a ‘curve’ and there were those in the class who were given advantage to make better grades. Some of the girls were allowed to take electric typewriters and ‘practice sets’ home to ‘practice’. They always made near perfect scores on ‘practice sets’, thus putting an unfair skew on grades. Typing II class was somehow disturbed by an unusual number of ‘fire drills’. How this came about was a mystery. I can now reveal that the student who was ‘accused’ of activating the fire alarm just outside the typing classroom was totally innocent. I know so, because the culprit is typing this blog at this time. The Fire Alarm controller was very close to the classroom door. My seat was the last one in the back row, right at the door. It was easy to slip out, hit the switch and get back to my seat while everyone was concentrating on their ‘practice set’ in their textbook. I simply ‘jumped’ and gasped with all the rest, every time the alarm sounded. I didn’t do it so often to get caught and never told a soul until now, It really feels good to ‘go public’. I have already been forgiven since JESUS washed away all my sin and GOD knew it all along. I probably should have cleared the air long ago while more of my classmates were around, but I just never thought about it until now. Funny how things like memories of little indiscretions seem to happen more often now. It’s good to get the load off, donchaknow. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN
Thousands will recall his unique style as the “voice of Kyle Field” every game for years. I heard that voice many times as I was honored to accompany Mike Mistovitch as he broadcast on KORA. I do have one memory that only those who were in attendance during worship service at First Baptist Church on the day C K taught his last Men’s Bible Class lesson. His was always the end seat, a few pews back from the front in which, during the sermon, he usually fell asleep and was punched awake by his wife before he fell into the aisle. On this particular Sunday, he was presented with a fine new snap-brim hat by his adoring class of men. He proudly walked in and place it on the pew in front of his and all was well until a lady came in a sat on it. I am certain that lady will never forget how close she came from being propelled beyond the first row when C K jumped to his feet, shoved her violently, grabbed is new ‘flattened’ hat and marched out of the the service mumbling. I am certain, with his ability to use ‘salty’ language, he set fire to the ears of those who could understand what he was saying. I do not believe he could have his new hat ‘blocked’. From my seat on the platform, I got a bird’s-eye view of the whole happenstance. As I recall, it was a few Sundays later before CK graced worship service. I do not know what happened to the fine new hat.
Aggieland is filled with great traditions, but the voice of C K Eston will long ring in the the annals of time. He milked it for all its worth: “Good Afternoon Football Fans, welcome to Kyle Field, home of the the Fightin’ Texas Aggies”. GOD blessed those in his classes with his ability to share knowledge and his unique personality. C. K. Eston, another of those who left a mark in many lives. And, that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN
I seldom failed to find someone I knew when changing planes in Phoenix. One such meeting was with Perry Vass. His daddy and I spent many a night on a creek bank trying to catch a mess. Peck was a good friend, even though we disagreed on some things. Perry was like Houston Oiler wide-receiver, Charley Hennigan. He could catch anything thrown in his vicinity. Not his blazing speed, but his deceptive quickness got him ‘open’ a bunch of times. Perry was one of the stars of the Lamar Bulldog UNDEFEATED, UNSCORED ON football team coached by Bill Hodge. They could have matched the Miami Dolphin record, had they been a professional team. Far beyond their day, this group of junior high fellows simply played the game as near perfect as possible. I am sure there are folks who have their season record saved, somewhere, but it matters not. Pound-for-Pound, these youngsters were just about the most perfect collection of athletes you could find. It is so disappointing to think just what they could have accomplished had they been coached by the same leadership throughout their school days. If someone will send me the information, I will post the story of this outstanding football team, right here, in print, donchaknow. Really. GOD blessed little old Lamar Junior High with a true “Winner”. It still warms my heart with the memory. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN
Anyone who participates in a successful ‘team effort’ is motivated by some degree of love and affection. This is especially true of musical organizations. Hours of intense preparation result in an internalized respect and caring for the team. The Bible says that “Obedience is better than Sacrifice”, but it has been my experience that my choirs had both in equal parts. Too many singers did it year after year (some for over half of their entire tenure) and that proves my point. You ask the hundreds of former students from elementary through high school and beyond, “Why do it?”, and a majority will respond, “Because I loved it!” Years I spent in Willis, Cedar Bayou, Pampa, Bryan, Las Vegas and Charlotte can only be described as “Labors of Love”. Every year brought new experience of the joy of music and the privilege of sharing, unselfishly, the gift of voices in praise. I am truly blessed with the memory of those young faces, totally giving away their time and effort, lovingly and without reservation. The majority of my choir gave year-after-year for five years. FIVE years of “Mr. Austin” were not easy years and some couldn’t wait to matriculate, but over the span of time, it was all worth the effort, donchaknow. My list of ‘silent voices’ continues to grow. By now, the number will exceed the membership in the average A Cappella Choir. Today, I regret to add a name of one of my moonbeams, Larry Mauldin. Talk about someone who LOVED CHOIR!! So, now would be a good time for those who know, to share the names of other “Silent Voices”. It would be good to share in edification of the body. Really! So, won’t you please help by adding names of “Heaven’s Honor Roll of Mr. Austin’s MoonBeams”. I know of this year’s names: Randy Wilson, Johnny Rouse and Larry Mauldin. These I recall. Please take time to add names of other “Lovers of Labor”. You can do so on Facebook’s “Jim Austin Choir” page. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN
In the 80’s, I was riding high at one of the most popular radio stations in Las Vegas. I began part-time and ended up as Program/Operations Director of two different radio stations. A fairly famous personality lived in Vegas and was interested in broadcasting from his new, exclusive supper club, State Street. Of course, I recalled Gianni Russo as Carlo in The Godfather, but had no idea of the extent of this gentleman’s talent. We broadcast live from State Street weekly and Gianni thrilled the audiences with his exceptional singing I have lost contact with Gianni, but will never forget his warmth and sincere interest in providing quality service to the after hours crowd that included the top names in performers and celebrities. You will not find our broadcasts listed among Gianni Russo’s credits, but it should be there. He never did anything half-way and his contribution to the glitz and glamour of ‘Sin City’ is unsurpassed. I pray for my friend and fellow performer, Gianni Russo. His has not been an easy life, but those of us who have been privileged to know him are truly blessed. May GOD keep him, safe and secure. That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN