Essays/Opinion

Recent Articles

2020 Documentation Considerations

By now, most of us are just getting used to the idea of no
longer writing “2019” or only “19” on everything from
checks to legal documents.   If you’re
like me, for about the first week, you had to scratch out “2019” and
try to make it appear to be “2020” on just about everything.  A few years ago, I even sent in a water bill
for January with the previous year’s date on it.  Within a week, I received a sweet note back
with my check stating that they could not take a check over a year old.  As you finally settle into 2020, you may not
realize that this year is unique in the documentation and offers some minor
concerns needing to be considered. 2020 is the first and only year in our lifetimes that we
will deal with a unique issue in dating documents.  This individual issue can cause problems for
legal documents, contracts, checks, and almost any potentially binding
document.  In the past, if you have
signed a document, you may have signed it like “Clinton S. Thomas,
1-15-19” or “John Doe, 12-10-16”.  Anyone looking at those two examples would
know that I signed the first one in 2019 and that John Doe signed the second
one in 2016.  Unless you are looking at
some ancient documents, nobody would assume I signed the paper in 1919.  This year presents a problem for the
potential of date changes.  Consider this
signature, for example, “Clinton S. Thomas 1-15-20”.  Most of us would automatically think the
document was signed in 2020, correct? 
However, what if someone else added to the signature and made it look
like this “Clinton S. Thomas 1-15-2015”?  The addition of a couple of digits to the end
of my signature can change the date from 2020 to anytime back to the year 2000. 

While the issue may be small for most people, you may want to
consider legal documents, checks, and even contracts.  The fact is there are unscrupulous people
living in 2020.  Those people, with ill
intent possibly toward you or others, could easily take a signature or document
signed in “20” and make it appear to be approved many years before
the actual signing date. Most of us will never face any problems with merely signing
with a “20” as the year. 
However, if you want to play it safe and ensure that nobody comes behind
you and changes your date, I would suggest you consider signing everything with
“2020” this year. If you’re worried that this problem will arise again in the
future, don’t.  I’m sure that when 2121
rolls around, the Four States News will issue a story reminding people to
consider writing out the full date at that time.  I think I already have the opinion piece on
the calendar for January 2121. Continue Reading →

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Brawl in Fouke Does not Represent the Community

If you haven’t heard about the “Fouke Brawl” at last week’s game, then maybe you’ve been under a rock or blessed.  The fight was recorded between the local Fouke High School team and a visiting Glen Rose High team.  According to most reports on social media and the news from Little Rock to Dallas, the fight was allegedly initiated by a Glen Rose player.  By the end of the conflict, multiple players were involved.  Now, a fight alone is not unusual in a football game.  It’s not uncommon for several players to join in a fight during a game.   Spirits and frustrations can be high for many reasons in football. Usually, coaches and referees break up the fight, a team gets an unsportsmanlike penalty, and the game moves on to the next play.  There were marked differences in the fight at Fouke. The fight seemed to quickly spiral out of control in the video and referees, coaches, and local law enforcement can be seen trying to break it up.  One recording shown on Facebook has the sound of some fans in the crowd laughing when all at once what appears to be adults run out onto the field.  One adult, or assumed adult, tackles a Glen Rose player from behind.  The player appeared to be standing on the sideline away from the fight when the man tackled him.  Bravely, (yes, whoever you are, sarcasm is intended here) when the student turned to face the adult, he quickly backed up.  The adult moved away in a dancing motion that made him appear to be either doing a lousy dance or a pathetic attempt to imitate Muhammad Ali.  On second thought, this guy’s actions should not be compared to anything Ali did in the ring.   Ali faced his opponents straight up and would never have hit a kid (a minor most likely) from behind.  Needless to say, that one incident alone was enough to make anyone sick.  Several people on Facebook and other social media sites made comments about it.  So far, to my knowledge, the guy has not stood up to be recognized.  It’s likely if he does stand up, the Miller County Sheriff will want to visit with him a little – as well they should. 

Within a few minutes of the video, the fight is over.  The result has been suspensions on both teams, and an investigation by the sheriff’s department with possible prosecution for some local adults.  There has been a lot of suggestions online like “cancel the rest of the season,” or “forfeit all games.  The fact is Fouke will miss a game this week since they do not have enough players because of suspensions.  However, we need to stop and remember a few things before we allow ourselves to judge the Fouke School District, team, or city and community too harshly. 

The first thing that must be considered is that the actions
recorded represented a few people.  In
the 2010 census, the population of Fouke was 859.  When we look at the video, it appears to be
somewhere around maybe five adults or so going onto the field.  Five out of the population does not represent
Fouke.  The second thing to consider is
that punishment for the entire team, such as canceling the season, in my
opinion, is just not fair.  Canceling a
season would harm seniors, cheer, dance, band, and others.  The players who took a knee during the fight
and showed actual sportsmanlike conduct would be punished as well.   To punish all for the actions of five or so
adults and a few players would be wrong to other students and the community.  Finally, we must consider that these five or
so adults and the few players involved do not represent the values and the
people of Fouke.  

Fouke is a thriving and growing community with a rich and beautiful history.  Fouke has a couple of stores, a fantastic community center that is always in use, thriving neighborhoods, a great school district, and some of the best people you’ll ever meet. I have never gone to Fouke, and not met a smiling face or someone that treated me like I had lived there all my life.  The city is vibrant with churches, a masonic lodge, restaurants, shopping, and that one unique thing that nobody else in the state has, a Monster Mart.  The city is always looking for ways to grow, with a farmer’s market,  the Miller County Fair, and who can forget having the Fouke Monster Festivals related to that delightful little history.  Finally, if anyone is on social media looking for the current weather forecast, rest assured that the Fouke Mayor has posted it somewhere online.  He always has all of us in the county and area covered for weather issues. Continue Reading →

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Two Local Organizations Dedicated to the Preservation of History

Paul Gramling, CIC, of the SCV speaks

Members of two Sons of Confederate Veteran (SCV) camps came together this evening to discuss history, plan a dedication, and hear from the Commander-In-Chief (CIC) of the organization.  Paul Gramling, CIC,  and his wife Lynda were in attendance which meant leadership from a national level was in Texarkana to hear about the joint work of the camps.   Throughout discussions with Paul, trips to grave dedications, and attendance at various meetings, it has become clear this organization is dedicated to the preservation of history.  The mainstream media, for the most part, continues to ignore the SCV and the work they do.  Outside observers can only assume that the overwhelming positive qualities of the organization are overlooked by the media because it does not fit into their agenda.  SCV members come from all races, and they work to ensure the preservation of the history of the Civil War. Like any organization, the meeting opened with business, new
members, planned events, and charities. 
While the Red Diamond Camp hosted the meeting, there were also plenty of
members present from the Major J.B. Burton Camp.  The two camps from Texas and Arkansas
discussed the preservation and dedication of a recently found cemetery in
Arkansas.  The central focus was a planned
dedication day.  The United States
Government has provided memorial headstones for the Confederate Soldiers buried
at the cemetery.  The stones have been
placed, and the actual dedication day is being planned for October.  Some people may not understand Confederate
veterans have been made American veterans. 
When Congress completed this act, the men who fought for the Confederacy
were given the same rights and privileges of any veteran of the United
States.  These rights include a headstone
and dedication. 

During the meeting, the group was informed the land at the cemetery
had been donated to the SCV.  Future
maintenance of the cemetery will now be the responsibility of the  SCV. 
The Texas unit will provide cannons for the dedication ceremony.  Had it not been for the research of the SCV
and the work put into this project, the cemetery may have been lost to history
forever. 

During the meeting, Robert Edwards, Treasurer of the
Arkansas SCV Division, spoke briefly and commended both SCV units from two different
states for their work in the history and preservation of the cemetery. 

Paul Gramling then spoke and provided an update on the SCV
national museum being completed by December of this year in Tennessee with a
dedication planned sometime in early 2020. 
The museum will hold both temporary exhibits and permanent exhibits
regarding the history of the Civil War. 
Paul also provided a copy of “The Southern Defender,” a small news-like
handout that contains history, information, and pictures from around the SCV in
the United States.  Interestingly, Paul
is one of the people who has continuously said that current attacks and removal
of Confederate Monuments will not be limited to those memorials only.  His words rang more accurate than ever as it
was noted on the front page of “The Southern Defender” that “Vandals
defaced” a Baltimore monument to Francis Scott Key.  Key is the author of “The Star-Spangled
Banner.”  

The cemetery in southern Arkansas and the continued joint efforts of two SCV groups to preserve the cemetery is an integral part of historic preservation.   The work protects graves which are vital for all histories and decedents.  Cemetery research has also retained the history of what was going on around the area during the Civil War.  The movement of troops and camps in southern Arkansas was reviewed extensively.   Colleges and universities will likely use the work of these two SCV units in the future as they study the history of southwest Arkansas.  The dedication to preserving history by the SCV should be appreciated by all students of history. Continue Reading →

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Community Spirit Restores Ed Worrell Memorial Park Sign

Red River Softwash picture before and after

The Texarkana business Red River Softwash, LLC recently cleaned the Ed Worrell Memorial Park sign and City Beautiful members followed up with painting.  Red River Softwash, as they described it on Facebook, was between jobs when they spotted the need for the sign to be cleaned.  Without contracts and pay, the company stopped, power washed the sign, and went on about business.  The post immediately made the rounds on Facebook for the company’s willingness to give back to the community.  Wendell and Mary Warner, members of the City Beautiful Commission of Texarkana, Arkansas, decided to follow up with the lettering and paint needs on the sign. Surprisingly, Mary said they found that the sign had black
cardboard inserted as letter filling on the sign.  She stated that she and Wendell had to remove
the lettering and it made the 15-minute touch-up job take about an hour, but
they were glad to do it.  Mary said she
assumes the letters have been cardboard since the sign was put up and she has
no idea how they lasted that long.  A
small plaque on the back of the sign states the foundation was put up in 1994,
which would mean at a minimum the cardboard letters have lasted twenty-five
years.  

Wendell Warner painting sign

Mary and Wendell reported on the project at today’s City
Beautiful Commission meeting.  Other members
did not realize that the sign was being addressed and the two were commended
for stepping out and stepping up for the community.  When asked by other members about how hot
it’s been, Wendell responded, “Oh we went in the evening.  There was no way we could do it in the heat
of the day.” 

If you know Mary and Wendell Warner, then you likely know
they have restored homes here in Texarkana and they have a long history of
service.  Mary and Wendell’s service at
the sign is just another example of the spirit of community that shines through
these two amazing people.  If you know
them, take a moment to say thank you for all their hard work.  In truth, you have no idea how many little
projects likes this one they take on all the time behind the scenes. Sign after cleaning and painting

As for Red River Softwash, check out their Facebook page and keep them in mind for all your power washing needs.  They do windows, sidewalks, homes, etc.  If you have a project that needs attention, spend money with someone that invests and donates time back into your community.  Red River Softwash took the time to go above and beyond for our community, and they deserve our business and support as they grow in Texarkana.  See the link below for more information or call them up at 903-276-3990. On Facebook -click here: Red River Softwash LLC. Continue Reading →

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T-Town: Texarkana Town or Trash Town

A recent photo of Bobby Ferguson Park. It seems that the old “T-Town” reference to
Texarkana may mean “Trash Town” for the Arkansas side of town.  If you drive down the north side of Stateline
Cemetery, you cannot help but notice litter along the fence line.  It seems to blow into the fenced area and
become trapped there.  If this was the
only area of town, then it might be a unique issue, but unfortunately for
Texarkana, Arkansas it is not the only area.  

I had been noticing trash around Texarkana, Arkansas for some
time.  Not only was the cemetery area on
Stateline affected, but I was seeing it downtown, along the main streets and
even on less-traveled streets in Texarkana. 
The trash seemed to range from aluminum cans, to drink cups, to plates,
to paper, and even entire bags of household trash at some places.  To further the issue, it seems to be
everywhere.  So I decided to experiment. 

On September 4th, I got into my trusted pickup
truck with my son, and we drove around Texarkana.  We targeted the main roads for the Arkansas
side.  On Stateline, we quickly found
that we could not go even a half a block without seeing trash either on the
road or on the property beside the road. 
I traveled from the Federal Courthouse downtown clear to the Interstate.  I could not find one single block, or half-block
for that matter, where some form of trash was not on the ground.  I then traveled Arkansas Boulevard, and it
was not surprising to find the same level of trash along both sides of the road
there.  For Arkansas Boulevard, I went
from Stateline to the loop access.  For
Jefferson, I traveled from I-30 to Arkansas High, and for County, I moved from
Kline Park to I-30.  Surprisingly, the
results of this little experiment were all the same.  Trash could be found within every single
block of those roads. 

After noting all the places where the trash was located, my
son commented that we could quickly fill up the back of the truck and more with
all the trash.  Sadly, I had to agree
with him.  Apparently “T-Town” now means
“Trash Town” for those of us living on the Arkansas side. 

The question should be, “Who is at fault for this
trash?”  Should the city be cleaning
it up?  Should property owners along the
way clean it?  Should organizations such
as the City Beautiful Commission clean it up? 
Should local church and youth organizations clean it up?  Where should we look for someone to clean it
up? The facts are simple. 
The city does not have the employees to keep the city clean.  Often city employees are mowing vacant or
abandoned lots.  They have assigned areas
to water and care for around the town, and they have several parks to maintain
as well as streets and other duties.  The
fact is the city employees do not have the time or the employees to keep
Texarkana, Arkansas cleaned up. Property owners could be held accountable, but most of the
trash appears to have been dumped on edge, or it has merely blown there with
the wind.  Even if property owners went
out daily and cleaned up the trash, there would be new trash there the next
morning.  I know, I have that problem in
my neighborhood as well. The City Beautiful and other volunteer organizations try to
help make a difference.  However, even
with their help, the fact is they are all volunteers, and many of them have
other full-time jobs and obligations. 
They cannot be the city trash collectors.  Church groups and other volunteer
organizations have the same issues as the city. 
They are often short of volunteers or help, and many times their
volunteers cannot get out in the heat to work. 
To depend on these organizations to clean up the city is not logical. Continue Reading →

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Ruby Tuesday Garden Bar Falls Flat

Ruby Tuesday is usually one of my preferred restaurants in town. I love their food, the atmosphere, the staff, and I love that Garden Bar. You know the Garden Bar, right? It’s that long bar just as you want into the Texarkana Ruby Tuesday location and glance to your right. It has over 50 wonderful garden fresh, their words not mine, items on it. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana Loses a Friend, Ross Perot

Ross Perot at Scout-O-Rama

The Texarkana area lost a famous native son and a friend
this morning with the passing of Ross Perot. 
Long before Perot would gain the spotlight by running for President of
the United States on a third party ticket, he was well known and loved in
Texarkana.  While some grow up in
Texarkana, leave, make it big, and never look back, Perot was not this way with
his success.  Ross Perot always knew his
roots, respected his roots, and held tightly to those roots and those roots
were firmly grounded in Texarkana. 

The Texarkana region came alive on social media around 10
a.m. as news of Perot’s passing spread online. 
The national reports stated that the 89 year old had suffered from Leukemia
and passed away, but here in Perot’s hometown stories, pictures, and memories
were already spreading like wildfire.  People
posted pictures of Perot in his Scout Uniform along with other young men at the
local Scouting events.   Texarkana
College, where Perot was a graduate, immediately sent out urgent notices to the
press and scheduled a special press conference. 
Others talked about how nice the man was, how friendly he was, and how
generous he was to his hometown.  Several
comments were made about how Perot partnered with Texarkana College and helped
pull the college through some difficult financial times.  It seemed like everywhere you looked on
Facebook, Twitter and other outlets, there were positive stories and many “thank
you” messages to Perot. 

The national news has called Perot a “Presidential Candidate,” a “Patriot”, a “Billionaire” a “Boy Scout” a “Businessman,” and dozens of other titles.  They have talked about his two presidential runs, they have commented that he may be the reason Bill Clinton was elected, and they have talked about the company he built.  As I listened to the national news and compared it to the local comments, one thing came shining through in the Texarkana area.   There was one type of comment that seemed to rise above all the national news and reports when it came to Texarkana.  The people in the area did not call him the same fancy titles the national news seemed to cling to, what the rest of the world knew Perot to be, but instead, the overwhelming local comments called Ross Perot a “Friend of Texarkana.”  Here in Texarkana Ross Perot was loved for his devotion to the area, his help with Scouts, his work with Texarkana College, and perhaps most importantly and above all for simply remaining a “Friend” to his hometown long after many others would have left Texarkana behind in the dust of success.  Ross Perot will be a footnote on the world and national stage as history goes, but in Texarkana, he will be an inspiration and lost a friend for generations to come. Continue Reading →

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“Unbelievable Warriors” of June 6, 1944

DDay

D-day survivors are few and far between today as 75 years has
now slowly marched by since the June 6, 1944. 
If you have seen one, then you’ve seen a rare sight that keeps getting rarer
by the day.   Soon, and likely one day
very soon, we will have nothing left of the generation that stormed the beaches
in the name of freedom with a mission to save the world.  They stormed those beaches to stop the
greatest evil the world had ever known.  The
current generation has seen these men as old, feeble, weak, and sometimes
confined to wheelchairs or assisted by walkers. 
Generations today seeing these men have seen the final years as the old
soldiers have been gradually fading away. 
Maybe you’ve looked at a reunion picture, or a picture of a grandparent
and you’ve thought, “How did this old man save the world?  How did this old man break across those
bloody beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944?” 
Well, for one thing, they were not always old and feeble.  Just like you, they were once young, full of
life, laughter, hopes and dreams.  But
those dreams were set aside for the call to arms.  That call would end some lives as young as 17
and 18, give some permanent disabilities, and leave others scared emotionally
and mentally for years to come.  But take
a moment and step back to June 6, 1944, and I’ll share with you how that old
man took those beaches that day…

That old man loaded up his pack, gathered his supplies and
sent what could be his final letters home. 
Perhaps he told a girlfriend of his love, a wife of his devotion, a
mother not to worry, or a father to be proud. 
He wrote out his letters and sent them home.  He loaded up, placed pictures close to his
heart in many cases, and joked nervously with buddies and fellow soldiers as
they prepared.  When the time came to
cross the waters, he may have puked, he may have been sick, he may have cried,
or he may have prayed, but he went forward. 
In the boats as they rocked through the waters, he heard the shells
landing around him, he heard the sound of bullets zipping through the air, and
maybe he saw the glow of tracer bullets guiding the German fire as it tore down
into his friends.  He saw men ripped
apart, he saw friends die, he saw men jump into the water too soon and
disappear beneath the tide as the weight of their gear pulled them down to
death.  As he reached the shore, he worked
his way through the blood soaked sand from men wounded and dead.  He learned quickly that to stay on the beach
was to die, so he moved forward. 

Shells landed around that old man as he made his way across
the beaches.  Friends who had shared cigarettes,
exploded like bombs in front of him, the air was thick with smoke, and the
sound of men screaming.  Some called for
their loved ones and others simply cried out to God.  Still, through it all when that old man
thought he could not go any further, he pushed on toward the goal.  Eventually, through it all, that old man and
his fellow soldiers took the ground, they pushed out the Germans, and they
achieved what nobody had been able to do in that war in Europe  before…they beat back the Germans. The old man who had leaped out of the plane behind the lines floated like a target through the air.  He watched as his friends were shot while still seeking the ground below.  Eventually, he landed and fought the enemy all around.  That old man and his friends then dug in, watched the bullets fly, and fought as best they could with the hope that the beachhead would be taken and friendly troops would come in sight.   

So if you see that rare sight these days of the D-Day soldier or you glance at an old picture of some old man in a hospital bed wearing a D-Day hat, or with the history of having been there on June 6, 1944, do not see him as you see him today.  The man you see today or even in the photographs of recent years, is only the old solider that once was in 1944.  Remember him while he’s here and remember him when he’s gone as what and who he was on that day.  Remember him like the young Marine once said when meeting a group of D-Day warriors many years ago.  They were old, crippled and aged, but the Marine had read their stories, he had heard about how their fellow dead soldiers had fought and he had heard how they pushed on to secure freedom for the world in the grasp of Nazi fear.  The Marine did not see simply a group of old men. When looking at the pictures and hearing the stories, all the Marine could say through misty eyes was, “My God, what unbelievable warriors these men once were.” 

Friends, do not see those of D-Day as old, worn out, or even gone.  No, see those of D-Day as the Marine once saw them, and remember that those “Unbelievable Warriors” set in motion on June 6, 1944, the day that would save the world for you and for me.   
Continue Reading →

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City and County Comes Together…Finally

Texarkana, Arkansas donates fire truck to Miller County

Texarkana, Arkansas donated fire truck for Miller County

For years citizens have been frustrated by the lack of
cooperation and willingness to work together between Miller County, Arkansas
and Texarkana, Arkansas.  Both city
officials and county officials have promised time and again to work together to
help promote a unified area.  Until yesterday,
those promises always seemed to be preached during campaign seasons and soon
forgotten after the elections. 
Fortunately the city and the county now has officials prepared and dedicated
to fulfilling the “work together” promises. 

When Cathy Hardin-Harrison ran for County Judge, one of the
things she promised was to work closer with the city.  Allen Brown had similar visions when he
decided to run for Mayor of Texarkana.  Once
elected, these two did not waste time in looking for ways that both Texarkana
and the county could benefit from working together.  Yesterday citizens of the county and the city
saw some of the fruits of a partnership that may well help push the entire area
ahead. Texarkana, Arkansas was able to donate a fire truck to the
county.  As a result of the donation, the
area of Doddridge will have access to a newer model truck for the needs of
everyone in that area.  Judge Cathy Hardin-Harrison
was on social media yesterday afternoon thanking Mayor Brown, City Manager
Haskins, and Chief Fletcher for the truck. 
The judge noted that this was one example of the county and city working
together. When any two entities start off to work together, it can be
difficult in the beginning; however, both Texarkana, Arkansas and Miller
County, Arkansas, with the leadership of Mayor Brown and Judge Hardin-Harrison,
have proven it can be done.  If this
partnership can continue and thrive, there will be no limit to the potential
jobs, growth, and enhancements that we can see in the city and county.  Naturally, we all know that whenever Bowie,
Miller or either of the two Texarkanas benefit from something, the benefit can
be felt in the entire region.  This
evidence of the promise being kept is certainly a huge positive for our entire
area. Continue Reading →

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Saying Goodbye to Rodney Phillips

Rodney Phillips 1968-2019

Today I said goodbye to a friend of nearly twenty-three
years.   When you’ve known someone for
twenty-three years, it’s not uncommon to see them at their good points of life,
tough points of life and their high points of life.  It’s also not uncommon to really get to know
the person and sometimes to forget that person has other associates, friends,
and family.  Today, I said goodbye to one
such friend, Rodney Phillips. I’m not going to try to recap all of Rodney’s life because
there isn’t enough time to do that.  I
will say that he has touched many people. 
Rodney’s reach was more than apparent at his family visitation when I
saw page after page of signatures in the visitation book.  It was even more evident as I stood just
outside the chapel where standing room only could be found for his funeral
today.  Rodney had a far reach in life,
but rather than recap all of that, the only things I can recap about Rodney is
what I directly know about him.  Rodney
was a son, a husband, a father, a Christian, a hunter, a fisherman, a mason,
and he is my friend.    Rodney lived the
life of a Christian man and a mason until his last day on this earth.  So, rather than focus on his birth,
experience, and death, I’d like to share with you a couple of stories that sum
up who Rodney was and in fact who he still is. 

Rodney was a Christian. 
Rodney not only believed entirely in Christ, but he also had no shame or
fear of speaking about God.  While
speaking is excellent, actions are, and Rodney knew this.  Several times, I saw Rodney act in a
Christian manner.  Recently when some disagreements
broke out over a situation we were both involved in, I turned to Rodney because
I knew he would have a calming answer. 
Not to be underestimated, Rodney had the best solution of all.  He said of the situation, “Well, all I
know is we just need to forgive and let bygones be bygones.  We just need to all get along.”  He did not preach it; he stated it.  That is the type of Christian Rodney is, he
wants to forgive, move on, and continue in harmony.  While that situation is not yet resolved, I
certainly hope those who heard his words, or perhaps those who are reading them
now, will remember that Rodney wanted nothing more than peace and harmony and a
forgiving atmosphere.  I think we can do
that, if not for ourselves, then for Rodney. Rodney is a friend, and real friends are hard to find.  Rodney is not only a friend, but he is also a
true friend.  Rodney was the type of guy
that met no strangers and helped anyone at any time.  Several years ago I was traveling back from
Dallas pulling a trailer when my vehicle broke down.  I called “friend” after friend and received
no help.  I had answers like “I’m already
in for the night,” or “I’ve been drinking,” or “I can not come that far right
now,” etc.  As I went down my list of
numbers, I reached Rodney’s. When I was about to give up, I called Rodney’s number.  His response was simple; he said, “I’m
on my way.  We’ll pull the trailer back
first, and then we’ll get my trailer and get your vehicle.”  When Rodney arrived, I started to hook up the
trailer, and I noticed he was watching and doing little to help hook it
up.  In fact, Rodney was directing me,
something I learned he is very good at doing. 
He seemed tired, and I assumed that he had just woke up and was maybe
still sleepy.  When I said, “Rodney,
are you okay,” his response shocked me. 
Rodney said, “Yeah, man, I’m fine. 
I just had surgery last week, and I’m not supposed to lift anything or
do anything stressful.  So I’m a little
tired.” As we talked, it turned out this was no minor surgery; in
fact, it was major surgery.  I was
humbled and surprised by Rodney’s actions. 
Out of all the people I called for help, Rodney, who had just had major
surgery a week before, was the only one to come to help me.  We hauled the trailer back, picked up his
trailer, and pulled the vehicle back. 
Rodney reluctantly allowed me to put gas in his truck and refused to
take any money for helping.  Even when
Rodney was tired and had more than a good excuse not to help, he never
complained and came to help a friend in need. 
That is what true friendship is and will always be in my mind. 

I never got the opportunity to repay Rodney for his
brotherly love, his Christian attitude, and his friendship.  Through the years, we worked on many projects
together and shared many laughs.  I
always reminded him of the time he came to help me when nobody else could or
would, and I always told him, no matter where I was in life, he could still
call me from anywhere, and I’d help.  When
I would say this to Rodney, he would laugh and say, “I know you’d do the
same for me.”  Well, Rodney, I never
got the chance.  You’ve gone home to
Heaven now.   Someday when I get there,
I’m going to ask God why he needed you home when you had touched so many lives
here on earth.  I’m going to ask God why
I couldn’t have kept my friend, and the friend to many others, for a little
longer here on earth.  I know God will
have his reasons, and I know they will be good ones.  So, in the meantime, Rodney go fishing with
those who have gone before you, say hello to your dad for me,  do some hunting, and enjoy Heaven.  Oh, and if you decide to send a message this
way, I want to know how the steaks taste in Heaven and if you’re cooking them. Continue Reading →

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