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








Thursday, December 04, 2014

Here are some ways to enjoy Christmas through the Whole Advent and Christmas Season--



St Ann’s Knights Meeting December 4, 2014

So Happy St Nicholas' Feast Day to you and yours, on the 6th-my boys are way old, but Traditions are what they are but modified with age--I now put the mounds of gelt for them not in their shoes, but on top of their key board and phone charges-Giggles, but what "kid" out grows gold covered chocolate coins-giggles.

Now, after Mass on the Great Feast Day on the 8th and after the Hour of Grace, I start putting the 9 creche sets around the rooms--all with the 3 Wise Men far removed so they can travel to their destination and finally land on January 6th which yes, is the end of the 12 days of Christmas--but no not the END of the Christmas season--that is February 2nd-Candlemas. And then we have two weeks off before Ash Wednesday on the 18th of February.

Here are some ways to enjoy Christmas through the Whole Advent and Christmas Season--

St Nicholas Feast Day-December 6th—great fun for the children and grandchildren.  Tradition is to put gold chocolate coins in the children’s shoes.  Then as a family you go from there-special breakfast, or dinner, or out to eat and movie night. A good teaching moment too—how did he become a Saint? Taking care of the poor and those in need- we are always called to help the poor.
December 8th-Immaculate Conception-Wonderful Holy Day—and yes this year there is a work around the Sunday-Monday mass if two in a row is simply too much for you-you must make your mass obligation. But, if you go to Sunday mass after 4:00 PM according to Cannon law that is an anticipatory mass for the following day- your Mass would count as the obligation of mass on the 8th.  Some will try and say that you have to have the readings of the mass to be valid-but that is nowhere to be found in Law .Giggles.  I know you were thinking that.
I like to begin my home decorations after this mass and finish up by the 12th.  Of course December 12th is the glorious Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I suggest you treat it as a Holy Day if you want any favors from your Mother. Seriously.
I have nine creche sets which I put in different places, and with each one the 3 Wise men are put away a ways and they travel to Bethlehem.  They arrive January 6th.

 Now you all know the 6th is Epiphany, but how many of you think that is the end of the Christmas Season? 
You would be wrong. As Catholics we take our cue from our Elder Brothers in the faith-the Jews-we celebrate in Octaves and in Forty Day cycles.  So we have our Christmas Eve Mass—so wonderful, and then we come home to late night snacks and some presents.

 Christmas Day (a Holy Day if you have not made the Vigil) and then we keep the celebration going for Eight Days and it cumulates on New Years Day (another Holy Day of obligation and need to make mass) is the celebration for the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.
Then we continue to keep the Season of Christmas-Christ in our hearts-come as the Emmanuel-The Christ Child all the way to February 2nd-Candlemas. The first day out of the Christmas Season is the 3rd and St. Blaze Feast Day where we have the blessing of the throats and blessing of candles at Candlemas.
A Christmas Version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah that will Give You Chills

Notes for a Reflection Talk to Grandparents:
Now for those of you who have raised your own children and think that life is passing you by—this is for you. Samuel, the Old Testament Prophet was very great in Israel’s history. I Samuel 1-2-3 tells the story of Samuel's birth and very good to read if you do not know it well.
During this historical period Israel unlike the heathen nations around them had no King—they were ruled by a Prophet of God. And sadly the previous prophet, Eli had gotten very old and had left the running of all things to his two sons—and they were corrupt.  Actually, they were so evil that God decided to kill them-have them die in such a way that all would know it was a judgment of God to the way they acted and to the fact that he as there Dad did not stop them.  So Hophni and Phineas, the father Eli, and the son’s wife all died in the same day.
And Samuel became Judge of Israel and Scriptures say Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life and was the best Judge and Prophet Israel had seen—and when he became old, he appointed his two sons to rule over Israel.  Now you would think, Samuel would be very aware of the way things turned out under Eli, and that he would make sure things did not go badly with his sons----but NO, his sons started down the same path of doing what worked for them, accepting bribes-and it got bad enough that the people had a March on Samuel and said—look you are old, they are no good-appoint us a King.
Of course I am leaving out many details and building a particular story.  We can address how wrong it was to want a king and the judgment of God that came upon them for that choice and make comparisons to today’s government and problems in another talk.  What I want you to consider is this.
Eli and Samuel were just like so many of us—it takes such effort to hold a family together, to make a living and to build and keep a carrier that will give you the ability to provide for your family—and so many of us as parents make the same mistake made famous in Harry Chapin’s famous song—the Cats in the Cradle. And our children do not always come out the way we had hoped, prayed for and dreamed all our dreams around.
One of my favorite Bible verses—Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
I grew up singing it this way and it became a prayer of my heart:It's your kindness that leads us to repentance, oh Lord,  Knowing that You love us-No matter what we do-Makes us want to love You too.
God’s Kindness is Grandchildren
Heman- I Chronicles 25:5
The Chief Seer of David-Choir Director to the King
God gave him fourteen sons and three daughters—and none of them ever departed from the Temple of the Lord or its service.



-->