Dashboard Jesus, Cool Hand Luke

I don’t care if it rains or freezes

Long as I’ve got my plastic Jesus

Sittin” on the dashboard of my car

Comes in colors pink and pleasant

Glows in the dark cause it’s iridescent

Take it with you when you travel far.

Get yourself a sweet Madonna dressed in rhinestone

Sittin” on a pedestal of abalone shell

Going ninety I ain’t scary

Cause I got the Virgin Mary

Assuring me that I won’t go to hell.

Same sex attraction and theology

One Catholic Matt Fradd says in his podcast that Catholics must not celebrate in Pride Month. “Now to be clear: the Church does NOT say we should hate people who experience same-sex attraction. It DOES say that we ought to treat them with respect and compassion. But that does NOT mean we can say their actions themselves are properly ordered.” Well isn’t that magnanimous of him! I have never had any other BUT same sex attraction. I am a protestant, having been raised in the Dallas area. FIRST I must say, I have never needed a pride month. I have value as a human being and I have no shame in being attracted to the same sex. The church, Catholics and Protestants alike, have smugly believed that they have a complete understanding of the human and divine experience inclusive of the phenomena of same sex attraction. As far as we know, every millennia in the existence of human beings contained those with same sex attraction. I cherish and honor the gospel of Christ, but we must let go of the notions that our lives must be follow strict adherence to rules and laws of this ordered universe we believe God has set into motion. So much is arbitrary. Much is according to our own preference and narrow belief systems. It is fine if you don’t celebrate Pride Month. I don’t either. But let us acknowledge that it celebrates the diversity of our human species. Be a part of THAT celebration! I am disgusted by the slavish devotion to antiquated belief systems that marginalize human beings!

Jack Darwin Scott

June 24, 1930–December 2, 1996

It is hard for me to realize that Jack was older than my mother because memories of him when I was a kid in his house, he was quite young at the time. But he was about five years older than my mom. I don’t know what his connection to the folks that gathered in his home for piano and organ music was, because he did not go to our Antioch Baptist Church. Something vaguely reminds me that maybe he was Church of Christ. I remember being in his home on Monroe and Temple in Kaufman with ladies and men in attendance–Opal Hill, Nora McDonald, Nora Taylor, Billy John and Joanne Roberts my mother and me. Perhaps Judy Fowler, and her parents Everett and Monte Catherine attended at times also. We truly were amazed at Jack’s talent on the piano and the organ. I remember specifically one of the occasions was after Jack had remodeled his house. What stands out in my mind were special treatments of doorways to the hall, in a navy or dark blue fabric with tassels of a bright yellow green. It was excitement seeing the house done up after having been rather plain for all those years. Jack was such a delightful man and there was never a single question concerning the fact that he was not married. He was just loved by this group of people. He was handsome and personable. His only occupation was at Greenslade’s drug on the square and it was always great to see him there. He died of Alzheimers (or something very like it) after he had it for several years.

Obviously I have not learned how to place images on WordPress!

No mystery quite like the state of unconsciousness

I am still reeling from the experience I had on Tuesday which is the fourth, but most dangerous, episode this year. On three occasions prior to Tuesday, with no warning whatsoever, I fell into complete unconsciousness. The times vary from just over two hours to over four hours. Being diabetic for about twenty years, this is a frightful experience. There are absolutely no warning signs of low blood sugar. All I can report is that on each occurrence it is as if the slice of time, two to fours hours completely disappears. The first three times I was at home in my chair when I finally came to. It was a gradual awakening, accompanied by clothes wet by profuse sweating during the episode. I have been so accustomed all these years–about twenty–feeling weak and knowing that I must get food to raise my blood sugar. It has always been manageable to just get what I needed, whether it was candy, ice cream or my glucose “shots” in the handy bottles. Tuesday, I was not so fortunate. The episode must have begun a short time before leaving the house to go see my mom at the nursing home around 4 pm. The only recollection I have is coming to parked–perfectly, no less–in front of the nursing home at nearly 8:30 pm. One of the hottest days we have had so far, but I awakened with the pickup running and the air conditioner on full blast, which this time of year is always how it is! I recognized where I was and kept looking at the long building in front of me, yet it seemed distorted somehow. It gradually came clear to me that I had not gone in to see my mom, and that it was 8:30pm. Instinctively I felt in my pocket and no phone. I knew I should call someone but I couldn’t. I then heard a siren in the distance and thought, Someone is coming to help me. But the sound faded and no one came. I kept looking at the building and knew my time to visit had passed. I knew I had to get home, but I could not remember at all where I lived. So I just continued to sit there and think. Finally, I remembered where I lived and knew I must drive there. I was awake enough, even though still very disoriented. I knew the one street, Town East Blvd. got me nearly exactly to my home and I drove carefully all the way home. There was not much traffic. I had NO thought yet of what had probably transpired during these hours I was missing. It seemed like I got home quickly and drove up into my driveway. Neighbor Frances was just getting back from somewhere, and she asked me if I was ok. You are in big trouble Mr. David! I just got into the house as quickly as I could and went straight to the freezer to get my sugary popsicles and started getting them down as fast as I could. I finally talked to my sister Susan and the whole family had been worried sick, quite literally. But the severity and ramifications of what had transpired did not become clear to me until Wednesday after a good night’s rest. It has continued to reverberate in my psyche since. How did I ever make it the twelve minutes or so to the nursing home? Did I drive directly there, or get confused and stop along the way? I sat there for over four hours, the pickup running, the air conditioning on, and not a soul noticed. I did nothing on Wednesday except sit and rest. I had no energy. My sister Susan had to go the ER with chest pains she was so distraught. We have texted but she hasn’t talked to me yet. I truly did not mean to jeopardize myself or worry anyone. I have made the resolution to eat a snack daily at 3pm, then go see my mother. And eat when I get home.

Bud Wiser and his twin, Forrest

When Commodore Young “Bud” Wiser, my great grandfather, and his fraternal twin brother Forrest Plum were born on October 10, 1884, in Coffee County, Tennessee, their father, John Martin, was 48 and their mother, Oregon Texas Mankin, was 37. He had three sons and one daughter with Reatha Alma McKee between 1909 and 1921. He died on March 19, 1958, in Kaufman County, Texas, at the age of 73, and was buried in Kaufman, Texas. On his grave marker it says C D Wiser. He had become known as Cd. for Commodore, but it should have been C Y Wiser. However, on the birth certificate of his last child, Commie McKee Wiser, “Bud’s” name is noted as Commie D. Wiser. This is not consistent with Cd. for Commodore. By the time Bud died, it is noted in his obituary that he had lived in Kaufman for 55 years. That would have put him in Kaufman about 1903.

I note here that “Bud’s” father did not die until 1913, and the will shows that John Martin Wiser left equal shares of his land to all his children, which I calculated to be about 55 acres in Coffee County TN.

Most likely Bud had left TN in 1903 and traveled to Kaufman. Sometime between 1903 and 1908 Bud met and married Retha, and born to them were Avis Barilla, Nolan Douglas, Forrest Young, and Commodore McKee Wiser. Initially he made his living as a farmer as noted in the 1910 US Census in Prairieville. September 12,1918 Bud completed his WWI Draft registration card, but was never drafted. He gave his age as 33 and his address as Rt. 1 Mabank and was signed by W. R. Taylor. He signed as C.Y. Wiser. His handwriting was commendable! Blue eyes are noted and light color hair., height at 5 feet 6 inches. It is stamped Kaufman Co. Exemption board, Terrell Texas (On his 1942 Registration for the draft he reports at age 57 his height at 5’ 5” and weight as 137 lb.) He was still farming in the 1920 Census, when he was 34, Reatha was 27, and the children were Avis 10, Nolan 7 and Forrest was 3. The 1930 Census shows that Bud was 45, was an employer as a farmer located at Yarborough Road tower Dixie School House. Reatha was 39, Forrest was 13 and C. M. was 9. Obviously, Avis was married by then and Nolan was out of the house. This is perhaps the period Nolan road the rails, catching freight trains like a hobo or bum. Some of the time he drove a gravel truck he told me. Anyway at 17 he was not on this Census. The 1940 Census shows the family located at Route 5 in Kaufman on Ola Road still on the farm, his occupation though listed as operator. He said he worked 52 weeks in 1939, with an income of zero! Forrest Young is age 23 and Commie M Wiser is noted at age 19 of course, by this time. He always went by C. M. and then Commie and even Connie later on. A PublicData.com search showed that C.M. had a long list of aliases and a rap sheet that included larceny, forgery and driving while intoxicated.

Bud had a cafe on Mulberry, just off the town square in Kaufman in the 40s, (noted in 1942 on his 1942 Draft registration card, when he was 57), and early 50s. The café had neither a name nor a sign, but was noted for its hearty stew, hamburgers and for his chili. Retha, Nolan and Forest Young helped in the cafe, whether cutting up potatoes or peeling onions or serving up this great food to all of those from the Ford house (Paul Murrey) and the courthouse as well as those who came to the square to shop and avail themselves of services there. He also had a woman help at the cafe name Bobbie Sullin.

From all reports Bud was the complete opposite of the gentle, sweet “Rethie” his wife. JoAnn Wiser Land Burk says she never knew of him “darkening the doors” of any church, though Retha was a faithful member and well-loved at the First Baptist Church of Kaufman. We do know that Bud did gamble regularly, meeting up with other gamblers in the evening at the cafe or some other location. He was also known to sleep with a gun under his pillow every night. We wonder about the circumstances under which he left Tennessee, never to return. There is nothing to substantiate claims that he was escaping some situation back in Coffee County, TN, but my mother JoAnn Wiser Land reminds me that it was rumored he killed a man back in Tennessee..

His precious wife died first even though she was seven years younger. She died suddenly one Sunday afternoon while napping. Frances Wiser discovered her and called my mother, JoAnn Wiser Land, to let her know. She did not have a phone but they lived in rooms owned by Pauline Durham, so she had called JoAnn to the phone. Of course, she was devastated. Uncle Forrest Young drove over to get her and they arrived at the house on 1101 E. Grove to the rest of the family. My mother tells me Uncle Barney McKee was under the house leveling it. They had spent the summer previous working in Longview, but Papa was still down there working. Don Robison was down there working for him, and Jean Robison had divorced and come to Texas was driving a city bus there. It was terrible news to hear for sure and the drive from Longview to Kaufman probably seemed endless.

My mother loved her grandmother dearly and the grief might have been strong enough to make her deliver baby Cynthia, but she waited until December 10 to enter this world. Grandmother Retha had looked so forward to being a great-grandmother, but she was gone too soon at age 61.

Bud would trudge on, however difficult it may have been, for another six years. He too died suddenly of an apparent heart attack March 19, 1958 at the café at 206 East Mulberry at the age of 73. He was buried next to sweet Retha in the Kaufman Cemetery. His death certificate incorrectly states James Monroe Wiser as his father. His son, Forest was the informant but should have stated John Martin Wiser.

Note from Wikipedia, “commodore is a naval rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. It is either regarded as the lowest of the flag officers rank or may not hold the jurisdiction of a flag officer at all depending on the officer’s appointment.”

Bud and Retha never had a car or drove in their latter years. When Bud inherited his 55 acres in TN after 1913, they may have gotten a car. The fact that Bud and Retha got their two year old to Dallas St. Paul Sanitorium may indicate they owned a car then. The poor baby Leotta died of septicemia with an infection that began as mastoiditis. To the family, it was just an earache, but proved to be deadly at just two years of age. Papa Wiser still spoke of her when I was growing up, and one time when I was in high school, Mama Wiser and I drove and found the grave and visited it.

Two Songs I Love

If I were You I would’ve given up on me by now
I would’ve labeled me a lost cause
‘Cause I feel just like a lost causeIf I were You I would’ve turned around and walked away
I would’ve labeled me beyond repair
‘Cause I feel like I’m beyond repairOh, but somehow You don’t see me like I do
Somehow You’re still hereYou’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays I used to hide
Every time I thought I let You down
I always thought I had to earn my way
But I’m learning You don’t work that way, no’Cause somehow You don’t see me like I do
Somehow You’re still here You’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays

My shame can’t separate
My guilt can’t separate
My past can’t separate
I’m Yours forever

My sin can’t separate
My scars can’t separate
My failures can’t separate
I’m Yours forever

No enemy can separate
No power of hell can take away
Your love for me will never change
I’m Yours forever’ Cause you’re the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
You’re the God who stays
You’re the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You’re the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart From the God who stays.

I Will Sing of the Goodness of God

I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never fails me
All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In the darkest night
You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a Father
I’ve known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God (yeah)And all my life You have been faithful (oh)
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God (yeah)’Cause Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me
Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me
With my life laid down
I’m surrendered now
I give You everything
‘Cause Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me (oh-oh)’Cause Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me
Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me
With my life laid down
I’m surrendered now
I give You everything
‘Cause Your goodness is running after
It keeps running after me And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
(I’m gonna sing, I’m gonna sing)’Cause all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God
Oh, I’m gonna sing of the goodness of God

WordPress Disgusts me

I should have the option on here to just type and publish with the option of just using a default font and whatever other settings it may have. I should be able to copy and paste text exactly as it is without having to insert spaces and returns for that text. I guess I need to publish every day instead of periodically.

Gail Obaseki on Grief

A Poem for Miss Lois

Grief is Love’s big sisterNo she’s never invited to

The birthday parties or

The barbecuesShe sits silently in the shadows

Watching Love enjoy the feastsShe draws back

Making herself small

Invisible to the celebrantsNever wanting anyone to be

Aware of her presence

She casts forlorn glances

At her beloveds as

They dance and laugh

Wishing these bright daysCould last forever

She, in the shadows

Love, in the midst

But then that day comes

Love turns abruptly and

Looks her way

Runs into her arms And weeps

Uncontrollable

Inconsolable

Her beloveds sit dazed

CryingRemembering

She reaches out her long arms

Encircling them all

Engulfing them

Absorbing the floods of tears

The furious beatings of Fists against her Scarred and fragile chest

“Let it all out,” she sighs

“There, there,” she whispers

Until finally spent

They lay in her arms

Resting

Recovering

Until one by one

They regain their strength

They get up

And Love leads them gently

Back to their spaces…Grief is Love’s big sister!

Not a question of if we are damaged, but how we are damaged

I was awake before 7am this chilly Sunday morning. I know I was dreaming very vividly, but now I cannot recall what I was dreaming. But as soon as I was able to rouse myself, the question posed as my title was repeating in my mind. The person I was thinking of most strongly was Joe Rogers upon waking. How did he become so damaged? It was apparent to me in college that he was, but I seemed to have few clues as to why. I know that making a pass at him was further damage, but I know the damage was done long before me. It was clear as roommates that he wanted to separate and be on his own. I had pretty much accepted that and I was making plenty of friends I enjoyed. I really didn’t think of myself as damaged. I felt very free to be me except sexually. I knew I wasn’t “going there” as we say. I must say after all these many years, I am not certain what this subject of damage really means this morning. It is for certain, however, that I will be contemplating this until I have some insight into it.

When and Where I am From

One thing is for certain, no matter who you are, no matter your race, sex, religion (or lack thereof) or place of origin, we all enter this world helpless and incapable of living on our own. Quite frankly, race is a construct that we have created and it is never a pure science. We have names for every person’s race, but I am certain that this classification is of no use to humankind. We strain to classify one as Afro, African, Anglo, Hispanic, Eastern European, or Asian or any complex combination of these. But genetically speaking, we are all the same. Some humans have taken extreme positions about race that insult the thinking intelligent population. Assertions by white supremacists offend most of us but we have to be cognizant of the origins of such ideas. They have no basis in science or fact. Advanced people must acknowledge our essential sameness. I think almost all of us will agree this is true, no matter how we have been influenced throughout our American history. At some point in life, we have to awaken and cast off these notions. Certainly, we have geographical origins we recognize, and long histories of human development in these locations, languages, religious ideology, political ideology, et cetera. To be sure we have many cultural differences and we have developed highly sophisticated sciences to describe and understand the human race. Anthropology, sociology, psychology assist us in making generalities about humans. Broadly speaking, we have humanities that evaluate and analyze cultural facts subjectively and social sciences which analyze the relationships of humans within communities. It is no wonder that we develop attitudes concerning our differences since we have made such scientific studies of our kind.

Then there is our time period. The forties, the fifties, sixties, seventies and so on. And our most recent designations for generations. We have to be careful with this information. It can offer insight, but I would never want to lump someone into the “narrative” of a time period or generation. We must have a genuine interaction with people. And it something that is sorely missing in our day the way people have stopped conversation and substitute messaging and texting! Or reading from a post that someone has made. Many things need to be discussed!