Sunday, February 26, 2017

Miss Norma Sunday reflections

I shared this privately with Miss Norma's son in law Friday night at the viewing as I thanked him for the Bob Marley Three Little Birds and we reminisced over song memories we know Miss Norma loved-telling him when they let me know Saturday last no need to drive down as Miss Norma had gone peacefully....that after my prayers and tears, the first song I went to in my reflections of dear, sweet Miss Norma was this song because I was with Miss Norma so often where she had the opportunity to call out truth in the same manner in her own unique style.

I mean this in no irreverence to Miss Norma but in the certain and sure knowledge that for all these years there were two distinct sides of an ongoing culture divide who chose to win or use Miss Norma for their advantage or cause-and I have now lived silently through a week of article after article still wanting to frame Miss Norma-her life, her believes, her lifestyle, what she did or did not truly believe, why she did or did not do what she did or did not do.....but Miss Norma lived her life true to herself and loved deeply those she loved-and called out those when she felt they needed to be called out, and I will always be changed and better for her colorful life and just who she was behavior.....perhaps the saddest of all privileged people are those who believe we all-any of us can be put into little boxes-carefully labeled  and cookie cutter shaped-that was not Miss Norma for all you have written what/who you think she really was or what she really thought. Sad for you that you never really knew her...

(This is a You Tube clip-i did not make nor do I own it...)

https://youtu.be/4ivUOnnstpg




Saturday, February 18, 2017

Miss Norma-memories February 18, 2017

I was on the way to spend the night by Miss Norma's bedside as her life was winding down in a hospice bed in the loving care of her dear daughter Milessa and Eric and the hospic staff-when word reached me that Miss Norma had entered the arms of God today, February 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM CST in Katy, Texas.

Those are the facts in the fast news world we live-less than 20 minutes later, The New York Times had "broke the story" followed by Fox News...Shattered our quite time with Miss Norma and her family-such is the world we live.

But those few words does not build a picture of the beauty of a soul, the bigness and vastness of a simple life cast into the public eye. Miss Norma and I first met on opposite sides of an issue that has divided the nation for over 43 years-an  issue made sunomonus to her very public name-Jane Roe, of the Roe v Wade decision in 1973.

 I would stand praying the rosary as a Baptist pastor on the sidewalks while she called the police from inside A Choice for Women- a local abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. At the time I was a young Baptist pastor - the son of two parents and the grandson of two sets of grandparents all still married to each other- and pastored churches full of  white folks who also were kids from the same set of parents and grandparents and all very involved with extended families. Quite new to the abortion issue -when Planned Parenthood announced in 1992 they were brining an abortion clinic to my happy little Baptist town of Waco, Texas. Later when Operation Rescue came to Waco to focus attention on the new facility in 1994 they opened my eyes to a broader need to be part of the Church in the Streets and I found myself traveling to Dallas as often as I could to join them in front of the 13 abortion facilities in Dallas at that time and to stand with the Bishop of Dallas one Saturday a month for a public Rosary for Life.

I will always hold dear the transformation in Miss Norma and her friend Miss Connie, her conversion to Christianity in July 1995, being invited to offer the baptismal prayer at her baptism, and our journey together into the Roman Catholic Church-my family and I on August 15, 1998 in Dallas, and Miss Norma two days later August 17 in Dallas. I hold such fond memories of her bombshell announcement of desiring to "complete her journey of faith and come home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church" from my pulpit in Waco, Texas where she proclaimed Waco her Bethlehem and caused my church board to wonder if I would not be happier as a Catholic thus making Miss Norma the instrument of me losing my favorite job ever-giggles.

Over the years as our friendship developed, and especially after she moved back to Dallas, I had the privilege of taking her to Sunday lunch every Sunday for three years. We often found ourselves giggling over the thankfully not very well read book, More than these, A Call to Reformation-written by Ralph Ovadal (sorry can not bring myself to call him pastor) who in his 270 pages calling Evangelicals to abandon the pro-life movement because it was a secret wepon of the Vatican to pull Evangelicals away from Christ and into the Catholic Church-and his proclamation that Miss Norma and I would go to hell for becoming Catholic...Giggles-good times.

We were avid people watchers- I like to people watch-Miss Norma lived for it. The human race is so amazing-so much more than just white and married, with parents and grandparents all married and all to the same spouse they started with-they are funny, happy, sad, complicated, conflicted, nice, angry, upset, thoughtful-and millions of other aspects and feelings and actions each and every day. I no longer have a sense of agreement to the idea that we should all be the same, or that one part of the human race is any better than the other. God certainly seems to love variety and diversity and as Miss Norma and I watched and above all believed together that He seems to have a great sense of humor too. And He can be what we perceive to be slow to showing up in certain events, lives, and times. But, He is Good and worthy of our love and trust. We loved the art, the beauty, the poetry, and most of all the goodness in people all around us.

For the last twenty-three years some of my favorite times have been people watching with Miss Norma. The stories we filled out about the people all around us-such fun-so many giggles. So much opportunity to glory in the goodness of God to the children of men, all around us. Our long drives, our weekly lunches at Norma's Cafe off W. Davis in Oak Cliff, our visits to watch the tattoo artist in Bishop's Arts, our oldies blaring 1969-1974-we were purist, with both us singing loudly and badly along with every word...



Miss Norma took me out of myself and showed me who I was, could be, should be when no one else was around or looking-she made me a better me. She was my Miss Daisy and I her Great Gatsby in our Sunday hats and thrift shop jaunts. My Sundays will never be the same-love and peace Miss Norma-your darling man, Daniel.
I was on the way to spend the night by Miss Norma's bedside as her life was winding down in a hospice bed in the loving care of her dear daughter Milessa and Eric and the hospic staff-when word reached me that Miss Norma had entered the arms of God today, February 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM CST in Katy, Texas.

Those are the facts in the fast news world we live-less than 20 minutes later, The New York Times had "broke the story" followed by Fox News...Shattered our quite time with Miss Norma and her family-such is the world we live.

But those few words does not build a picture of the beauty of a soul, the bigness and vastness of a simple life cast into the public eye. Miss Norma and I first met on opposite sides of an issue that has divided the nation for over 43 years-an  issue made sunomonus to her very public name-Jane Roe, of the Roe v Wade decision in 1973.

 I would stand praying the rosary as a Baptist pastor on the sidewalks while she called the police from inside A Choice for Women- a local abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. At the time I was a young Baptist pastor - the son of two parents and the grandson of two sets of grandparents all still married to each other- and pastored churches full of  white folks who also were kids from the same set of parents and grandparents and all very involved with extended families. Quite new to the abortion issue -when Planned Parenthood announced in 1992 they were brining an abortion clinic to my happy little Baptist town of Waco, Texas. Later when Operation Rescue came to Waco to focus attention on the new facility in 1994 they opened my eyes to a broader need to be part of the Church in the Streets and I found myself traveling to Dallas as often as I could to join them in front of the 13 abortion facilities in Dallas at that time and to stand with the Bishop of Dallas one Saturday a month for a public Rosary for Life.

I will always hold dear the transformation in Miss Norma and her friend Miss Connie, her conversion to Christianity in July 1995, being invited to offer the baptismal prayer at her baptism, and our journey together into the Roman Catholic Church-my family and I on August 15, 1998 in Dallas, and Miss Norma two days later August 17 in Dallas. I hold such fond memories of her bombshell announcement of desiring to "complete her journey of faith and come home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church" from my pulpit in Waco, Texas where she proclaimed Waco her Bethlehem and caused my church board to wonder if I would not be happier as a Catholic thus making Miss Norma the instrument of me losing my favorite job ever-giggles.

Over the years as our friendship developed, and especially after she moved back to Dallas, I had the privilege of taking her to Sunday lunch every Sunday for three years. We often found ourselves giggling over the thankfully not very well read book, More than these, A Call to Reformation-written by Ralph Ovadal (sorry can not bring myself to call him pastor) who in his 270 pages calling Evangelicals to abandon the pro-life movement because it was a secret wepon of the Vatican to pull Evangelicals away from Christ and into the Catholic Church-and his proclamation that Miss Norma and I would go to hell for becoming Catholic...Giggles-good times.

We were avid people watchers- I like to people watch-Miss Norma lived for it. The human race is so amazing-so much more than just white and married, with parents and grandparents all married and all to the same spouse they started with-they are funny, happy, sad, complicated, conflicted, nice, angry, upset, thoughtful-and millions of other aspects and feelings and actions each and every day. I no longer have a sense of agreement to the idea that we should all be the same, or that one part of the human race is any better than the other. God certainly seems to love variety and diversity and as Miss Norma and I watched and above all believed together that He seems to have a great sense of humor too. And He can be what we perceive to be slow to showing up in certain events, lives, and times. But, He is Good and worthy of our love and trust. We loved the art, the beauty, the poetry, and most of all the goodness in people all around us.

For the last twenty-three years some of my favorite times have been people watching with Miss Norma. The stories we filled out about the people all around us-such fun-so many giggles. So much opportunity to glory in the goodness of God to the children of men, all around us. Our long drives, our weekly lunches at Norma's Cafe off W. Davis in Oak Cliff, our visits to watch the tattoo artist in Bishop's Arts, our oldies blaring 1969-1974-we were purist, with both us singing loudly and badly along with every word...

Miss Norma took me out of myself and showed me who I was, could be, should be when no one else was around or looking-she made me a better me. She was my Miss Daisy and I her Great Gatsby in our Sunday hats and thrift shop jaunts. My Sundays will never be the same-love and peace Miss Norma-your darling man, Daniel.


I was on the way to spend the night by Miss Norma's bedside as her life was winding down in a hospice bed in the loving care of her dear daughter Milessa and Eric and the hospic staff-when word reached me that Miss Norma had entered the arms of God today, February 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM CST in Katy, Texas. Those are the facts in the fast news world we live-less than 20 minutes later, The New York Times had "broke the story" followed by Fox News...Shattered our quite time with Miss Norma and her family-such is the world we live. But those few words does not build a picture of the beauty of a soul, the bigness and vastness of a simple life cast into the public eye. Miss Norma and I first met on opposite sides of an issue that has divided the nation for over 43 years-an issue made sunomonus to her very public name-Jane Roe, of the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. I would stand praying the rosary as a Baptist pastor on the sidewalks while she called the police from inside A Choice for Women- a local abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. At the time I was a young Baptist pastor - the son of two parents and the grandson of two sets of grandparents all still married to each other- and pastored churches full of white folks who also were kids from the same set of parents and grandparents and all very involved with extended families. Quite new to the abortion issue -when Planned Parenthood announced in 1992 they were brining an abortion clinic to my happy little Baptist town of Waco, Texas. Later when Operation Rescue came to Waco to focus attention on the new facility in 1994 they opened my eyes to a broader need to be part of the Church in the Streets and I found myself traveling to Dallas as often as I could to join them in front of the 13 abortion facilities in Dallas at that time and to stand with the Bishop of Dallas one Saturday a month for a public Rosary for Life. I will always hold dear the transformation in Miss Norma and her friend Miss Connie, her conversion to Christianity in July 1995, being invited to offer the baptismal prayer at her baptism, and our journey together into the Roman Catholic Church-my family and I on August 15, 1998 in Dallas, and Miss Norma two days later August 17 in Dallas. I hold such fond memories of her bombshell announcement of desiring to "complete her journey of faith and come home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church" from my pulpit in Waco, Texas where she proclaimed Waco her Bethlehem and caused my church board to wonder if I would not be happier as a Catholic thus making Miss Norma the instrument of me losing my favorite job ever-giggles. Over the years as our friendship developed, and especially after she moved back to Dallas, I had the privilege of taking her to Sunday lunch every Sunday for three years. We often found ourselves giggling over the thankfully not very well read book, More than these, A Call to Reformation-written by Ralph Ovadal (sorry can not bring myself to call him pastor) who in his 270 pages calling Evangelicals to abandon the pro-life movement because it was a secret wepon of the Vatican to pull Evangelicals away from Christ and into the Catholic Church-and his proclamation that Miss Norma and I would go to hell for becoming Catholic...Giggles-good times. We were avid people watchers- I like to people watch-Miss Norma lived for it. The human race is so amazing-so much more than just white and married, with parents and grandparents all married and all to the same spouse they started with-they are funny, happy, sad, complicated, conflicted, nice, angry, upset, thoughtful-and millions of other aspects and feelings and actions each and every day. I no longer have a sense of agreement to the idea that we should all be the same, or that one part of the human race is any better than the other. God certainly seems to love variety and diversity and as Miss Norma and I watched and above all believed together that He seems to have a great sense of humor too. And He can be what we perceive to be slow to showing up in certain events, lives, and times. But, He is Good and worthy of our love and trust. We loved the art, the beauty, the poetry, and most of all the goodness in people all around us. For the last twenty-three years some of my favorite times have been people watching with Miss Norma. The stories we filled out about the people all around us-such fun-so many giggles. So much opportunity to glory in the goodness of God to the children of men, all around us. Our long drives, our weekly lunches at Norma's Cafe off W. Davis in Oak Cliff, our visits to watch the tattoo artist in Bishop's Arts, our oldies blaring 1969-1974-we were purist, with both us singing loudly and badly along with every word... Miss Norma took me out of myself and showed me who I was, could be, should be when no one else was around or looking-she made me a better me. She was my Miss Daisy and I her Great Gatsby in our Sunday hats and thrift shop jaunts. My Sundays will never be the same-love and peace Miss Norma-your darling man, Daniel.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

21, May 2015

Thursday at 8:38 AM, I role out of bed-wash my face, wash my teeth, shave and comb the unruly locks-slip on my uniform-Baby blue mock shirtsleeve tee, black linen pants, socks and black Jaxon casuals-grab a bottle of water and rosary-and  slip into 9:00 AM mass at 8:59.

It is 55 degrees on the 21st of May in Dallas, Texas. During a wonderful couple of weeks of what I call Waco weather.  As a kid  back in the early 70's in Waco we would have extended periods of cloudy, you better carry your umbrella weather.  All the Yanks who have moved here in the last 40 years and now loudly and bitterly complain anytime we have a day without Sunshine like they are entitled to such, have never believed me when I say this is the weather we had before our 40 year drought. But, here it is and how I love it.

On the 3 mile drive to the local parish church, I glory in the cold air with both front windows down, until I have to close the passenger window  and then my own-lovely. What a thrill to hear the Consecration in Aramaic-the same words Jesus spoke when he was a child.  The little Chapel was built for 30, and we crowd in and say our prayers, and line up to receive the Body of Christ. 41 minutes later I am on my way-what a great way to start the day.

Thursday's I make my way over to Main Street Lewisville  and my weekly Winco run.  What a great store. I get my weekly 5 bottles of  V8 Lemon-aide for $1.48-bargin to be sure. Foster oil cans for a mere $2.23 a piece-Summer staple at the House of Vinzant-come on over and let us sit and sip by the pool. And all the other things I am convinced I can not find anywhere else at the price I pay here.

I pack the trunk, grab my iPad and then walk the parking lot-browsing the Second hand furniture stores till I get to the corner anchor store-Mama's Daughters Diner. I make my way to the counter. Whenever I eat out, I love to find a counter or a bar stool where I can enter act with the staff and watch the action-a nice way to be around folk but by yourself at the same time.

This is where the fun begins.  I am Sweetie-she is Darling. To my left is Wendell-I have never met-and still have not-aWendell, who sits down after me and Darling immediately announces his order, he nods without a word.  I stay here for a couple of hours. Now to my right who as he sits, Darling announces his order and he also nods without speaking a word. I believe in my couple hours as the folks at the counter come and go-I alone am the only one who actually consults the menu and makes a selection. The regulars are clearly known, and the conversation picks up from last visit which may have been just yesterday.

I have coffee-Caine-very good with half and half-three cups.  The chicken fried chicken with creamed gravy, fried okra, stewed tomatoes and okra, and fresh out of the oven corn muffins.  Followed by a piece of coconut cream pie and  a fountain Dr. Pepper-the pie is so tall with meringue  that you cannot fit a tall bite into your mouth-not good for me, but the best-giggles.
I have the pie and Dr. Pepper as a tip of the hat to Granddaddy Vinzant. Sitting at the counter on days like this always remind me of him. Granddaddy Vinzant lived out on the farm on what was known in the County as the Vinzant Place. A simple place with Grandmothers Moon Flowers and the black kettle out by the back porch where she made lye soup after every pig slaughter the first Blue Norther-a wrap around front porch off the ground high enough for a sandy play area for the Grands with our big yellow dump trucks and army men, a big collie dog, and across the drive Granddaddy's half acer garden. He worked that garden till he turned 85 and then he and Grandmother both moved to the city to be closer to the kids and he gave up driving. Every Saturday my Dad and me and sometimes an Uncle would pick up Granddaddy and take him to the Donut shop where he would have a donut, a cup of coffee with 6 sugars and  a Dr. Pepper-giggles. He never weighed more than  a 170 pounds and lived to 101- 3 months and 3 weeks-and on that last day he got up still living alone-widowed at 99-made his oatmeal from scratch and had it with a Dr Pepper, read the paper, and then sat down in his Barcalounger and fell asleep. So dammit-after months of dieting today I had pie and a Dr Pepper to toast the dear man. On days like today I am never far away from Granddaddy and all those who have gone before me. I finally take my leave-tip Darling extra good and get smiles from her as she sees my stack of ones and make my way to the back corner of the Second Hand Furniture Store, find a rocker just like my Granddaddy's old rocker and rock for 25 minutes in my wonderful memories of all those who have made me who I am and who I will ever be-world without  end. I think I will buy the rocker today, and smile-No, it will be here next Thursday when I come to visit Darling and have me some okra and Dr Pepper.

Today, in Dallas there are those who are cursing almost 7 weeks of daily rain. And then there is Danny boy with his deep, deep memories and a nice cold Dr Pepper.

"I have desired to go
Where springs not fail, 
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail 
And a few lilies blow.
I have desired to go.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea."


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).  Poems.  1918. 2. Heaven—Haven A nun takes the veil