I grew up in the country, believe it or not, and had tons of room to roam and play. Eventually, with family, friends and neighbors, we rode 4-wheelers, dirt-bikes and go-carts. We had a catfish pond, creeks, woods, and pastures for miles. If it was daylight, we were outside, and if it was evening/nighttime, we had to be called in. We'd shoot bottle-rockets from bottles, or just throw them by hand. We briefly caught our house on fire from pine straw that was on our roof.
We had a pool, a pool table, and full court basketball. We had a 27-inch TV that weighed 8,000 lbs, at the time, it was awesome! Needless to say, our house was the hangout for the youth, and whoever, at all times of the week, and all times of the night.
My parents, who are incredible people, were always very involved in mine and my sister's life. Very active in the church, youth ministry, trips and church in general. My Mom's family, all church-goers since the 1920's, are good people, I have an amazing legacy of Christianity.
When I was very young, I remember my Dad taking me outside at church with him, he and a group of 2 or 3 guys would be outside smoking. I specifically remember one instance where I was very interested in the glowing orange at the end of the small white 'whatever' my Dad was holding. So I touched the end of it and learned a very valuable lesson that evening at church. 'Not Everything That Was Shiny Was a Good Thing'.
I had to have been 4 years of age or younger, cause my Dad received the Holy Ghost when he was 32. I was 4. His life changed dramatically for the better. Thirty-three years later, my Dad is an amazing example of a Christian Man. He has and still works tirelessly for God and the Church. He's a Man's man. A Vietnam Veteran who received a Purple Heart a couple years ago. A big man, who at 65 years old could probably still beat me at arm-wrestling. I stopped trying to beat him at age 18. He sees things in a simple way. Sorta like a John Wayne.
My Mother, College/Career teacher, piano/organ player, choir director, piano teacher, instilled music in me at a very young age. Most of her 1st cousins, my aunts, play a musical instrument, mainly organ. My aunt Gayla Foster, can smoke an organ. Most of my cousins on my Mom's side can sing, play music or both. Very talented people. At age 12, my Mom bought me a bass guitar instead of the drums I wanted. She went thru a blue song hymnal and wrote out the keys and notes of all the songs for me so I could follow along with her while she played piano.
My grandmother, Lurline Oglesbee-Phillips, who represents what true Christianity is, traveled in a band with an evangelist at a young age playing guitar. How cool is that? She led, and sometimes still leads Worship in her church. I've never once heard her say a negative word about anyone, including pastors. She lived next door to us out in the country. Everyday getting off the bus, I ran straight to her house cause she always had something cooked to eat. She taught me the books of the Bible and had Reader's Digest books. I spent the night with her often. She didn't just pray every night before going to bed, she got a hold of God. And it wasn't just for 5 or 10 minutes, it'd be for over an hour. I couldn't ever go to sleep until she was finished, she taught me what prayer was, and how to pray. To this day, about to be 91 years old, she has one of the sharpest minds and is completely independent.
My aunt Dee Dee, my Mom's sister, has 3 singing albums. A few years ago, she gave me her 1963 Gibson hollow-body acoustic guitar my grandfather bought her when she 13 and had received the Holy Ghost. For receiving the Gift from the Father, she got a gift from her father. Dee Dee has worked and still works for New Life Tabernace United Pentecostal Church in Beaumont, TX as the church secretary. She's seen all the good and bad of what comes in working for a church. She has allowed it to make her an incredible Christian and an incredible person.
And then, there's my Sister. Le'Sann. 'The' Le'Sann. The Rebel. Don't worry Sis, I'm not going to reveal too much.
I must include early on that she's 4 years older than me, she'll appreciate that. A very protective Sister to this very day. You didn't mess with baby brother, even though she often didn't appreciate the fact that 'I' was the Baby, she was the only one who could say anything about it.
I believe she knocked me unconscious only twice. Both times with her fist, she took after my Dad. I'm sure I wasn't doing anything to cause her frustration.
An extremely loyal person who will go through more than most people with her friends, but once you crossed the line after a long journey, it's over. You should just quit trying because it's not going to happen. You have been cut off.
She was always able to make friends really fast, and she connects with people through realism. She never, let me emphasize the word, NEVER, attempts to be something she isn't to try to impress. She always, impresses others by being real and being herself. Something I've always wanted to be able to do, but still have difficult succeeding with.
Will continue with the next part soon.