Thursday, May 21, 2015

Forever A Hillbilly: Second Excerpt from Forever Cry

Forever A Hillbilly: Second Excerpt from Forever Cry:           Author's note: This segment introduces Harry Poynter, a real life historical figure in the Pope County Militia War of 1872-73...

Second Excerpt from Forever Cry

          Author's note: This segment introduces Harry Poynter, a real life historical figure in the Pope County Militia War of 1872-73. He is also my uncle. His actions described in Forever Cry are all true historical events.
No new posts will be put up before the Forever Cry Book Launching, Saturday, June 13 at the Wing Community Church in Wing, Arkansas. Wing is no longer on state road maps. Just go to Rover on Hwy. 28, west two miles, only church on right. Don't miss the salt pork and cold biscuits! Book signings at 1PM, story readings at 2 PM. Wild blackberries if they ripen on time. We'll have a good time then.
          The thirty man posse found Harry leaning against a tree in the town square
chewing on a weed, two pistols strapped on and a double barrel shotgun in his hand. All the townsfolk around were as friendly as could be to the posse. But they all gathered around. The leader of the posse told Harry that they had come to arrest him and try him. Harry told him he was willing to be tried, if they could guarantee his safety. The lawman told Harry, “We will guarantee your safety to the best of our ability. We need your guns.”
          Harry replied, “I will give up my guns with my life, and I will make the man who takes it pay a heavy price.”
          The deputy walked back to his men and they discussed this in detail. I was standing near the posse so that I would have a good angle if shooting started, and I heard one man in the posse tell him, “These people would kill Jefferson Davis himself before they will let us take Harry by force.” After much discussion, the deputy walked back over to Harry, pointed to Harry’s friend standing nearby, and said, “I hereby deputize you, and order you to hold Harry Poynter prisoner until we get back to you.”
          The posse turned and left. The deputy was heard to say on the way out of town, “Well, we have arrested him, to the best of our ability. I personally don’t think it was much of an arrest, but we have done our duty, safety considered.”
          After things had settled down, Kade was not happy with me for leaving his wife and baby alone in the cave, and putting myself in this dangerous position. Then afterwards he said it was too late for me to go back to the cave.  It would be dark soon. I should spend the night at Kade’s house, and head back to the cave the next day. I agreed. It was getting awfully late.


          Tenny would soon turn seventeen. She felt she was old enough to make her own decision about spending the night alone with Kade in his house. She cooked Kade a big meal that night, and they talked long about the events of the day. Afterwards, Tenny had just finished cleaning up the kitchen and was about to head to her room for the night. She had to get an early start the next day. Also, she suspected this was about to become a touchy situation, and she didn’t trust Kade, or herself with Kade, that night. She knew Sandy was not a loyal wife to Kade, but she kept telling herself that did not matter. Sandy was her sister. She had to stay in control of this situation, and get away from Kade quickly tonight.
            Kade was standing in the hallway. She stopped, and their eyes met for a time. Tenny was softly chewing on one side of her lip, in the fashion she sometimes did when she was in an uncomfortable situation. He looked at her lips, pushed ever so slightly to the right, and he thought, at that moment, they were the most sensuous, wonderful lips he had ever seen.
          World class lips; lips he just had to kiss, and right now.
          He gently grasped her arms, and pulled her to him. Tenny did not try to resist. Kade put his fingers under her chin, and guided her lips toward his.
          Their lips almost touched; she pushed back. Tears came. “I can’t do this, Kade, even though I know you realize I want to, so badly. I just can’t. I cannot do this to my sister.”
          “Tenny, we both want this. And you know full well Sandy is not a loyal wife. We both could have died today. In this war, I could die tomorrow, and that would be the end of us. This is our special occasion, our one night. What harm could just this one time do? Tomorrow, we will forget about tonight, and just go on with our lives, like nothing happened.”
          “Loyal or not, Kade, she’s still my sister. And I would always remember. Good night, Kade.”
          Tenny brushed by Kade and, with tears on her cheeks, walked to her room, went inside, and closed the door. Kade was left standing in the hall, his thoughts of those wonderful lips still running through his mind, heartbreak in his soul.
          “Someday, I will kiss those world class lips.”

          Someday, he would.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Forever A Hillbilly: Forever Cry Excerpt

Forever A Hillbilly: Forever Cry Excerpt: This is an excerpt from my new book, which will be out in June           Leading Bob’s two horses, James rode up to the Dudley cabin a...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Forever Cry Excerpt

This is an excerpt from my new book, which will be out in June

          Leading Bob’s two horses, James rode up to the Dudley cabin about noon the next day. He could see four other cabins nearby, and there were probably more. One of the children had run into the cabin yelling, “Pawpaw, there’s a man ridin’ in – from the outside!”
          Mr. Dudley was soon on the porch. Again with his scattergun. His wife was right behind, and two or three armed men were walking over. “Ya never stop surprisin’ me, Thacker! We bin told by the Alabama constable about Bob gettin’ shot. And since ya have Bob’s hosses, you musta’ been there. Whatta ‘ye say about that, Thacker?”
          James had survived the first thirty seconds. If he could survive the next thirty, he might live. He must pick his words carefully now.
          “Mr. Dudley, let me tell you first of all, I didn’t shoot your grandson. I notified th’ law, and they did. Bob was holdin’ a knife at my daughter’s throat. I am not that gooda shot.  I wanta express my condolences for your loss. I brought Bob’s personal things for Mrs. Dudley. And, I felt it was right to bring your horses to ya’.”
          The old man spat a long brown stream at James’ feet and just stared at him for a long time. “Jest how would ya know to go to Talladega?”
          Before James could answer, Mrs. Dudley stepped up beside her husband, her head held high, a determined look on her wrinkled face. “I tol’ him.”
          With a surprised look on his angry face, her husband whirled to face her. She held his gaze.
          Mr. Dudley was in shock. “By damn! Why in hell would you do that, woman?”
          The younger men around just stared, and listened. “Clint, jest hear me out, an listen good. Do you remember why, forty two long years ago, we brought our young children up here away from that sinful and murderous mess of Dudleys in Alabama?”
          The old man didn’t say a word, but his shoulders drooped a bit as he looked at his wife.
          Mrs. Dudley spoke, more forcefully now. “Well, if you don’t, let me remind ya, and I want my sons around us to hear me too. We decided we wanted no part of the scum our awful families were wallowin’ in. We knew our babies would turn out the same. But we couldn’t get my firstborn, Alfred, to come up here with us. It was too late for him. He’d already been tainted by that mess.
          And he raised Bob jest the same way. Jest what we were tryin’ ta get our babies away from. But then Bob came up here with us; he was already too far gone. He started spreadin’ his infection around up here, talkin’ how us Dudley’s never let nobody cross us. Then, our sons began to act the same way. That’s why I tol’ him. An let me say this. If any of my boys around us think this man standin’ before us did wrong when Bob stole his daughter, an hauled her off to hell to become like those no good folks, then jest get away from me. I don’t wanta see ya ever again!”
            Having had her say, she rose to her full height, as if the weight of the world was now lifted from her weary shoulders. She turned, and walked back into the house.
          Nobody moved or spoke for a long while. Then James turned to the big black and pulled a bag from his saddlebags. He walked over and handed it to the old man who reached out and took it. He looked James in the eye, and said, loudly enough for all to hear…..
          “It’s over, James.”
          Mr. Dudley turned, and as he too walked into the house, looked at each of his sons in silent support of his wife.
          James mounted the big black and rode away.


          Sarah walked again to the front door. She had been watching that trail for two hours now. Then Sarah saw the big black, loping up the trail. She was out the door and running.
          James pulled the big black up and stepped off to meet her. Sarah threw her arms around him, and kissed him long and deeply.
          “Oh James, I’ve been worried sick! I thought I might lose you! And I’ve got somethin’ ta’ tell you.
          You’re right. Goin’ to Arkansas will be hard on us for a while, but we’ve got to make that sacrifice for our kids so they kin have a future. And besides, what an adventure it will be for us all!”
          James hugged her. “Well, if that’s not some turnaround since last night! Mighty glad ta’ hear it. Now, let me tell you a little ‘bout my day.” As they walked up the trail arm in arm, James leading the black, told her the whole story.

            Now it was time to start making travel plans. Everything they would do from now until the day they headed for Napoleon, Arkansas would be geared toward that moment. April was not that far away.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Forever A Hillbilly: Kairos - God's Perfect Time

Forever A Hillbilly: Kairos - God's Perfect Time:      As I am writing this, the day I returned from prison, I'm wishing I could talk to you personally, and tell you how great m...

Kairos - God's Perfect Time

     As I am writing this, the day I returned from prison, I'm wishing I could talk to you personally, and tell you how great my experience has been. I would like for you to understand the raw emotion of those four days that is still present in every fiber of my being. But I would never get through it. I was never this way in my earlier life. I spent a little time several years ago living with the Indians in the remote mountains of Peru. I was so affected by these Indians, in some strange way, that I became, forever it seems, an emotional person. I have trouble getting through any even mildly emotional talk.

But I can easily tell you from my computer. Alone in my room, at my keyboard, nobody sees my tears. Nobody hears me choke up. But in my writing, this sensitivity helps. If my writing does not bring tears, I know it’s not good. Not interesting. I erase and start over. Should I be ashamed of this weakness? Years ago I would have been. Men don’t cry. But maybe men who don’t cry have never really experienced raw, real  life fully. Do you think maybe that could be true? I don’t know. Now, I simply regard it as a valuable working tool. I just use it, and go on.

I’m always so emotionally drained when I return home to my wonderful life, my loving wife of forty seven years, my friends, my church, and my readers that I just can’t. Too many memories are just too fresh. Memories of 21 men, as God’s vessels, living and working with 24 men in white for four days. God, working through us, has given them back a degree of self-respect. He has assured them, using us as his example, that He, through the blood of Christ, can forgive them; that ALL their sins can be forgiven. He has shown them, through us, that they all are loved unconditionally. Shown, through the prayer chains, posters, and prayer wishes that were literally pouring in from all over the world daily, (Kairos is present in 8 countries) that they were, at that moment, being prayed for by thousands and thousands. God raised them to the mountain top. By the fourth day, I remember how so many are on fire for Christ, quickly and tearfully proclaiming their new life with Jesus, to all who would listen. Again and again. Then, our job was to listen, listen, love, love. But we eventually had to leave, many crying, most all hugging. We 21 men then came home to our wonderful lives. They, in turn, went back to their own version of Hell on Earth.

But I have to keep telling myself that they now have something that no man, no degree of degradation, can remove from them. Stay strong, my brothers. They have each other, and Kairos will be by their side all the way. Each Thursday night, God sends a group of Kairos men from their homes all over Arkansas back to Pine Bluff Prison to be at the church service put on by the Kairos graduates themselves, just to hug them again and add support. Saturday, Kairos will be there at the first week’s reunion of Kairos Walk 40. There are many other Kairos graduates still there at Pine Bluff, who still remain strong support for these 24 men, all the way back to Walk 1, 20 years ago.

We NEVER ask why they are there. We are not there to judge them. God can forgive them of anything. I prefer to never know. I could easily go online, and find out. But could I be strong enough to do the work God directs me to do there if I knew the man next to me was a child killer? I wonder. But, many often do tell us of their sins, as we do of ours, if the mood strikes. Then our job is to listen, listen, love, love.

 I hear many stories of broken, breaking, and doubtful marriages, of men who have only seen their daughter once, (on television) since 2006. Of men who have never gotten a letter. Of a man who is so happy that his wife is apparently sticking by him, that he commissioned the local tattoo artist to put her name on his face, using a staple he had straightened out and sharpened, then used a cloth to apply his own version of homemade ink. For two cans of soup in payment. Shocked as I was, the job looked professional. The man on my left was a very rich drug distributor, on his first trip through Arkansas. He was driving his Bentley. He got stopped with a full load. His closest family is in Arizona. They visited him last week.

  The main speech at the closing ceremony was delivered by the man who was at my left a year ago, the first time I was a table leader. Walk 38. One of my men. One of God’s success stories. He has been a regular Thursday night man at the services, always the servant. I see him every time I go. He told me once, “I know I have a very friendly face, and I’m always joking around.” Then he got really serious. “But I have to tell you. My face is a killer’s face.” He served  cookies at Walk 40 to his brothers. He was helped by the man on my right at Walk 37. A true servant of God. He and I discussed his great opportunity open to him to be one of God’s missionaries in a very fertile mission field for the remainder of his sentence. He has been true to that charge given to him by God at Walk 37, he told me this week. But the regret he has felt every day since the day he pulled the trigger is still there.

My dear friend and roommate at Pine Bluff led this walk. A man is only allowed to lead a walk once in his lifetime, lest he become prideful. He is a man God sends not only to Pine Bluff, but to every prison he can get into. And he normally works alone, out in the general population. The men in white tell him he MUST have spent years sentenced to prison; he has the walk, the talk, the mannerisms of prison. But he tells them no. This is the work God put him on earth to do. And God would never send him into prison without preparing him, giving him the tools to work with. The leader of the White Supremacy group at a prison is talking to him. My friend is black. “My job here is to break men like you.” Then, as he bursts out crying, he adds, “But I don’t want to do that anymore.”

The word Kairos means "Time."  There is chronological time, and there is Kairos time. 
If a doctor tells you the baby is due on Oct. 20, 2014, Yet you experience labor pains on Oct. 10, 2014, and you tell your husband it is time, he may say, "No, it's not due until October 20. Go back to sleep." That's chronological time. If the baby arrives on Oct. 10, just as you now predict, that's Kairos time. God's perfect time.

     I will be leading Walk 43 next February. Not because I'm a great leader, but because I'm the only man left with enough experience who has not yet led, and is willing to. It's a large task for someone with little computer expertise, but God and my computer-savvy friends and I will get it done. Pray for me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Forever A Hillbilly: Never be Weak, Never Back Down - Conclusion

Forever A Hillbilly: Never be Weak, Never Back Down - Conclusion:      Lt. Col Daniel Holland’s love for animals and compassion for people were profound. He served in Germany, Bosnia, Honduras, and Hait...

Never be Weak, Never Back Down - Conclusion

     Lt. Col Daniel Holland’s love for animals and compassion for people were profound. He served in Germany, Bosnia, Honduras, and Haiti. He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. Other awards included four awards for Meritorious Service, Armed Forces expeditionary medal, and The Humanitarian Medal. He was a favorite of many in the Veterinary Service. A very, very good man.
    Finally, they were able to organize the vets of Iraq, working toward being more functional, and think more for themselves. Help came from the United States, from the university of North Carolina, Texas A&M, the University of Kentucky, and Colorado State, as well as the USDA. A large workshop was set up to bring all these people together with the vets from Iraq in Northern Iraq, the Curdish area, where a large gathering would not be as dangerous. This workshop stressed the importance of Vets of Iraq working together to agree on priorities and function as a country wide group. A fully functioning lab was brought in, to help them identify problem organisms. All in all, a very successful meeting.
     One USDA lady, Paula Cowan, who was very important for the meeting, was wheel chair bound. She was discouraged from coming by many, but she would not hear of it. She had a personal body guard, a very large man, whose job was to pick her up and get her out of there if trouble arose.
     Later in her tour, Deanna was assigned all of Iraq south of Bagdad. She needed to go to Fallujah, to help the marines in establishing a slaughter house. She flew in by helicopter, but was unable to fly back, the planes were grounded by a large sand storm. She spent the night at the airport, and the next day, still unable to fly, she was told a convoy headed back had one more space. It consisted of three heavily armored SUV’s. Security was provided by a private contractor, Aegis, Britan’s version of Black water.  About halfway back, they were ambushed by about 30 men. They were shooting mostly small arms, thank goodness, and the upper part of the cars were armored. They were shooting at the tires. Three on Deanna’s car were shot out, two on another, but they were “run flat” tires, so they managed to keep going. After they were out of danger, or so they thought, they stopped to assess the problem and came under fire again. A rocket hit between two of the cars, so they quickly got going again, and traveled the last ten miles to Abu Ghraib Prison on the rims, where they could stop inside the walls and change tires. Deanna assured me, they played no role in the infamous activities at that place. They were only there to change their tires behind a wall.
     After returning from Iraq, Deanna’s family wished to stay at Fort Bragg, where they had bought a house, but Deanna was needed to take a command at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, where she traveled around a lot, supervising Vets in half a dozen eastern states. To my knowledge, she never parachuted in to these locations, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she did.
     When Deanna retired, the entire family breathed a sigh of relief. My brother Harold, the Patriarch of our family and an old Air Force man himself, lectured Deanna years ago. “You need to stop volunteering for all these hotspots in the world. Sooner or later, that will come back to bite you!” Deanna just respectfully smiled, nodded her head. Then she was off to her next adventure.

     Deanna now works for the USDA Chicken Plant Food Safety Inspection Service. I’m not really sure how, but some way, Deanna will find a dangerous mission that’s attached to chicken inspecting. It’s just, I guess, Deanna being Deanna.