Now That’s Italian!

Best Italian food you’ve eaten. Was it a restaurant or a home? Where and what was it?

 

Easy question. Having grown up eating at Hallie’s table, I’d never had anything as exotic as Italian food. When we were on that trip to Poughkeepsie, New York, the guys I was working with said, “Let’s go to town and get us some Pizza.” I’d never been to a sure-nuff Italian restaurant before. The thing that just grabbed you when you walked in the door was the smell! The aroma, stone ovens, and Italian dialects all contributed to make that my most memorable Italian food!

Right behind that was the first time your mom introduced us to her new recipe for LASAGNA.

I Know Where I’m Going

Have you ever visited a foreign country?

 

Other than the ports of call your Mom and I visited on the cruise you kids gave us, my only other foreign country that I’ve visited was a couple of little jumps over the Rio Grande into Mexico when the quartet sang down in Harlingen.

Rather than feeling like I was visiting a foreign country, I felt more like I was in South San Antonio, Texas.

 If I’d have had the money to travel, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it, but feeding, clothing, and educating four kids just kept my nose to the grindstone during my younger years.  I guess I’m weird, but I just don’t have any wanderlust in me anymore.  Some might think me strange, but my main desire and prayer is that my next stop will be to see the One I’ve been singing and preaching about for my whole life!

 Love, Pop

Beware Any Store that has “Bucks” in the Name…

Have you ever been to Starbucks? If so, what’s your favorite drink?

 

Only been there once, and I think I got a coke.  Everything seemed to be way overpriced!

Leddo Me Tell You Something

What is your favorite memory of Uncle Eldred?

 

I’ve thought all day on your question about my favorite memory of your uncle Eldred, and there are so many I’ve not been able to settle on just one. I don’t know whether you know this or not, but his nickname for as long as I could remember was “Leddo,” which was an extrapolation of Uncle Bubba’s way of pronouncing Eldred. MaMaw said he would say “Weddo,” and they thought that was cute, but the boys changed it to Leddo as they got older.

With all Eldred’s excellent achievements in his life, and having known many of the men whom he trained to preach who reverently referred to him as Brother Stevens, it always surprised them to hear me refer to him as Eldred, or even more if I said something about Leddo!

One such person was a young man that Eldred referred to in the last sentence I heard him utter as he was about to drive away from our house, exactly one week before his tragic death on February 20, 1979. He said, “Nier, I can’t wait for you to meet a young man from Arkansas who’s in school at Preston Road…he loves to play the guitar and sing just like you!”

That young man’s name was Randy Green and, as you know, our friendship evolved into the formation of The Sounds of Glory Quartet. To this day, Randy still refers to Eldred as Brother Stevens. I’ve wondered many times over the years if Eldred has any consciousness in Heaven about how many lives have been touched through my getting to meet that young man a week after Leddo spoke those words!

Once upon a time…

When you were growing up, who was/is the best storyteller in your family?

 
Three people come to mind as storytellers in my family for different reasons.

1. Uncle Eldred always fascinated me with stories, because he was so well-read, well-educated, well-travelled, and he incorporated all of the above into his excellence in preaching.

2. Joke telling: my brother, RJ, my Uncle Paul, and my Aunt Myrt (PawPaw’s brother & sister) All three could really keep you laughing!

3. My daddy’s stories always kept me mesmerized, because of all his life experiences…starting in 1899!

:-))

I May Be Blue, But You’re Green With Envy ;)

What is your favorite color and why?

 
My favorite colors have always been blue and green. Pretty much equal as far as preference between the two colors.

I’ve never given much thought as to why, except that as a kid, I loved working outdoors…cutting the green grass under the beautiful blue sky!

Hope that makes sense…then, of course, it could be my mother’s fault! You see, I was blonde-headed and blue-eyed (like little Luke next door), and mom would constantly tell me how good blue or green shirts looked on me…so it might have been a touch of vanity that influenced my love for blue and green.

You s’pose?

Lessons from Cavanaugh

What’s the best thing Granddaddy ever taught you?

 
Some of the sweetest memories I have of Grandaddy are of just very quiet conversations that he and I had. (One was at the hospital while WoWo was in a room, and we were out in the waiting area…another was when Mom was in labor with Dan…several took place at the filling station at Midway, when we came to appreciate each other’s work ethic and how he practiced what he preached, “If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, then just keep your mouth shut.”)

1. It was in the old Madisonville Hospital…don’t remember the exact date, but Mom was still going to UT in Austin, and Mr. Cavanaugh and I were sitting in the waiting area while the nurses were tending to WoWo. I felt the time was right to ask him for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I think it had about the same effect on him that Wes’ question did in me. Betty was his only daughter, as you were mine. He gulped a little and said, “Just make me a promise…that you won’t ever hit her or beat her…before you ever do anything like that, just promise me you’ll bring her back home!” I saw in those moments how much he loved your mom, yet how he was able to convey through his wonderful sense of humor his love for me and what he expected of me as his son-in-law.

2. You and Ben had both come into the world without extended periods of labor, but it was quite different with Dan. I saw during that wait how much he truly loved his daughter and grandchildren. He just made me want to be a better man.

3. One of my favorite Grandaddy stories happened there one day sitting in that waiting area. He was sitting there reading the Meteor when this nurse walked by. She had a nose that made Jimmy Durante’s nose look small, freckled-faced, and when she walked she kind of sauntered (a very unwomanly stride!) As she came toward us, I noticed his eyes following her over the top edge of the paper he was reading. She was clothed in her nurse’s whites…cap, stockings and shoes. When she passed us and turned down the next hallway, he did that little swipe under his nostrils he often did….never looked up or toward me, but spoke loud enough for me to hear him. He said, “Lawdy, I know she can’t help being ugly…but she could stay at the house!” He immediately continued reading with that little smirk on his lips…vintage Cavanaugh.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I learned from him to see the humor in the world, even when you’re going through hard times.

One of the greatest honors I ever had as a minister was to be able to ordain Brother Jesse Cavanaugh Farris to serve as a deacon in the Midway Church of Christ. He had always loved The Lord and the church, but felt because he was shy and not a public speaker that he couldn’t serve in leadership. He was a good businessman and made our church a great treasurer.

One last thing, I never walk in the Midway church building and look up at that suspended ceiling that I don’t remember him (at 69+) helping me hang all those channels and every piece of tile. He was a great, great man!

For Marshall

Today is your oldest grandson Marshall’s birthday. What words of wisdom would you want to pass down specifically to him?

 

Marshall,
There are 2 scripture thoughts that my daddy (your PawPaw) tried to ingrain into my heart that I want to share with you on your birthday today.  I tried to practice them, claim the promises in them, teach them to my daughter and my 3 sons—and I found that God always keeps His promises!

1.  Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” This comes from the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is teaching his disciples, “If you’ll put me FIRST, you won’t have to worry about what you eat, what you drink, what you’ll wear, or having a place to lay your head.”   Just put him FIRST!

2.  2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Marsh, these two scriptures will make you a better disciple of Jesus, a better husband and provider, a better father and leader…,.and just an all-around better man. REMEMBER, always put God FIRST in everything…and also REMEMBER, if you want to eat, then WORK!

       HAPPY BIRTHDAY!   Pop

Old Hickory

Why is Andrew Jackson your favorite president?

 

If memory serves me correctly (which is questionable these days, when I can’t remember why Mom sends me to Walmart), I was always fascinated by his nickname ‘Old Hickory’, and the fact that I gleaned from my history teacher (who was probably a coach) that Andrew Jackson was a man who followed his heart and did it ‘his way’.

That really stuck in my mind. As I got older and did a little research on my own, I found Jackson’s roots were in Tennessee-Kentucky culture that was part of my heritage through my mother (Hallie Mae Benton Stevens).

Jackson was affected ( I don’t fully remember to what extent) by the Stone/Campbell movement, which was also a very important part of our heritage.

For all of the reasons above, I adopted him as my favorite president.

From personal experience, the one president I got to meet and shake hands with (as a candidate in 1960) was John F Kennedy. His height, red hair, and awesome personality really surprised me, because he had been so demonized by the anti-Catholic element. He reminded me so much of all three of my brothers–tall, handsome, articulate, a smile that just blew you away…. I began to realize then the importance of judging a politician, not by his looks, but by what he stands for.

In this day and age (where media creates images they want us to see), it is even more important that we investigate and become involved in the campaigns of the men who become our leaders.

I hope I’ve not been too far off base in my choosing ‘Old Hickory” as my favorite. :-)). Luv u, Pop

Blame it on a coach!

I Got the Music in Me

What is your favorite style of music?

 

That’s almost a ‘loaded’ question for me, because I pretty much like ALL music.

PawPaw used to say, “We express our emotions in 3 ways: 1. Through our words; 2. Through our tears; and 3. Through music.” 

Think about it: 
1.  We sing when we express our faith in God!
2.  We sing when we are sad or grieving.
3.  We sing when we’re happy or when we are in love!

What I’m trying to say is, because I am a very emotional person, I love ALL kinds of music! Acappella, Instrumental, you name it! EXCEPT…..Hard Rock, Rap, a lot of so called “modern” Country music (in all of the above, the emphasis is on vulgar lyrics and vulgar rhythms).

I LOVE, Gospel Music of all types, Folk, Southern Gospel Quartet, Bluegrass…. Probably my VERY FAVORITE music is just singing with my whole family. I only wish that I had the opportunity to do more of it.  I know my days are numbered, and I get real emotional thinking about that!

I just might write me a song! :-))