Welcome to My Autobiography

 

 

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Chapter Fourteen

 

I was the vine of Sodom hanging in the fields of Gomorrah. (Deut.32:32)

 

The Wine of Serpents

 

††††††††††† When my aunt found out I had cut my hair, she asked me to come work for her vacuum cleaner business in Plano, just north of Dallas. She ran the door-to-door sales organization and needed me to help her son run the service center six days a week. She told me I could paint pictures and do my own thing in between waiting on customers and doing repairs.

††††††††††† I took the job, which was about twenty-five miles (one-way) from my garage apartment on Hall St. Fortunately the traffic was always going the opposite direction I was. Once I was sure I was going to keep this job, I decided to move closer.

††††††††††† I found a neat little, white frame house in the little town of Allen, just north of Plano. It was a perfectly level house and it was almost in the country in 1974.

††††††††††† I bought my Auntís í72 Lincoln Continental and gave her my Nova to use as a sales crew car. I parked my big, white Lincoln in front of my $95.00 a month frame house on a dead-end street with eight other white frame houses. Mine was the neatest, though. It had a little room above the garage where I spent a lot of my time. It was like a carpeted attic with a formal staircase. Itís what set this house apart from all the others.

††††††††††† I was working at a job I really liked and paying my own way. I was not depending on anyone to help me. I was not accountable to anybody, or, at least, thatís what I thought, but at some point every account has to be paid.

††††††††††† I was open to the depravities of my mind. There was nobody going to stop me from doing whatever I wanted to do. That little glimmer of light in my heart was beginning to flicker as though it might go out. I thought I had it all together, but I was still wandering restlessly through life (Gen 4:12).

 

 

A Quiet Little Small Town Neighborhood

††††††††††† It was quite a sorted little neighborhood I had moved into. One of my next-door neighbors was a lady, who was wrinkled from smoking, not age. She was probably around sixty, but she looked like she was pushing eighty. She was a nice lady, and very talkative. She told me her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren had been murdered at their home in Florida, when a drug deal went bad.

The lady directly across the street from me kept throwing rocks at my house with notes tied to them. She wanted me to know her husband was a truck driver and was gone a lot. This seemed to be a neighborhood of lonely people.

††††††††††† Next door to her was a country bumpkin, who wanted to show me his garden. He was especially proud of several very tall marijuana plants growing amongst the vegetables and watermelon vines. I avoided him like the plague.

††††††††††† My other next-door neighbor was an openly Christian couple with two young children, and they smiled at me and said, ďhi,Ē every time they saw me. I highly suspected they were praying for me, too, because people from neighboring churches kept coming to my door and inviting me to church. They began to really annoy me.

††††††††††† One day the preacher at the Baptist church a block away, came to my door and introduced himself, at which I angrily told him to leave me alone, as I slammed the door in his face. God was convicting me and I was fighting him with all my might.

††††††††††† There are two kinds of people who donít get angry when you talk to them about Jesus; Christians who are secure in the Lord, and those who have absolutely no feelings about Jesus, one way or the other. Those who get angry know in their hearts Heís the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). They would never admit it, but, otherwise, why would they care?

††††††††††††††††††††††† If it makes you angry, then ask yourself, ďWhy?Ē

††††††††††††††††††††††† If it doesnít make you angry, then ask yourself, ďWhy?Ē

††††††††††† Being told the truth has always made people angrier than being told a lie. If Iíve learned one thing from being around sales, itís that. People can forgive lies. They canít forgive the truth.

††††††††††† My heart was harder than my head (Ps. 28:14b). I was holding on to a lifestyle that had, neither life, nor style. I was a dead man playing in the cemetery. As long as I didnít lie down and be still, I didnít know I was really dead. I was just waiting for rigormortisí tell-tell signs.

††††††††††† I had knowledge of the Truth, yet I was fully living in sin (Heb. 10:26). I was hostile toward God and His people (Rom. 8:6-8). My favorite excuse for not going to church was, ďThe church is full of hypocrites.Ē I donít know if itís full, but every church does have hypocrites, and if you let them get between you and God, the hypocrite is going to be closer to God than you.

††††††††††† If youíre using the, hypocrite, excuse, let me ask you this: Since there are people playing sports who say they care about the team and the fans, but itís really all about the money, are you going to quit watching that sport, because of those hypocrites? If a politician in either party says one thing and does another are you going to quit your affiliation with that particular party, because there are hypocrites in it? I could go on with other examples, but I think you get my drift.

††††††††††† I bought an old, nylon-string Hohner guitar for fifty dollars and started writing songs, basically putting my poems to music. I had a whole room just for painting and being creative, but mostly I stayed busy getting high. Iím sure God wants us to smoke dope, since itís one of His plants that He created. Of course, He also made a lot of poison plants. I guess we should consume those, too. After all, itís all Godís creation. Even Adolph Hitler was created by God. Satan has always had a knack for twisting and corrupting what God made. Oh yea, Satan was created by God, too.

††††††††††† Donít try to justify being a pothead. If you want to be a pothead, be a pothead. Donít manipulate the bible to fit your lifestyle. If you want to do something you know is wrong, why do you have to justify it? Just do it. If it bothers you, maybe you should ask yourself, ďWhy?Ē If at some point in your life you asked Jesus into your heart, then perhaps youíre just being drawn to what Jesus has told you to do in the scriptures. In your heart you know whatís right and whatís wrong and getting angry and screaming at Christians is only going make you feel more guilt. Perhaps you should change your lifestyle to fit the bible.

††††††††††† Itís true. Nowhere in the bible does it condemn doing drugs or smoking marijuana. Although, I, personally, believe that when it talks about being a drunkard itís condemning getting wasted on any level. But the bible does talk about your body being the temple of God, and anything you do that helps to destroy that temple is wrong (I Cor. 6:12-20).

††††††††††† Manipulating the bible is as old asÖwellÖthe bible. The Word of God shines a light on our sin, so our human tendency is to push that light to shine somewhere else, anything rather than changing our filthy, stinking lives.

††††††††††† All the dreams and great ideas I had, just remained dreams and ideas, because all I really cared about was getting high and having sex, and in that order. If I was given the choice of getting high or having sex, I would have chosen getting high (It lasted longer). Very few other things really mattered to me, and the longer I stayed high, the less those things mattered.

††††††††††† I was still thinking about being famous. I was writing and painting as long as I was high. If I wasnít high, it was because I was out of dope, so I was spending my time searching for more. Everything else had second place importance.

††††††††††† There was nothing ambiguous about my condition. I was a pothead, a marijuanic. From the moment I got up in the morning, I wanted a toke and usually had one or more. Most every day I went to work high.

The longer I smoked dope the more dope it took to get high and stay high. And I had to stay high to help the time waste away. And I wasted my twenties. That decade of my life was a total waste of time. I may as well not even have been there. In reality, I guess I really wasnít. If you can remember the seventies you probably werenít really there.

††††††††††† You probably see my life at this point and think I couldnít drop any lower, that I couldnít get any farther from God. Well, buckle your heat-belt and get ready to descend. I was about to get so close to hell I could smell the brimstone. I just couldnít tell the difference between all the different types of smoke that was around my head.

††††††††††† Drugs and sex were my life. I was just like a celebrity, except nobody knew who I was. I just continued on in obscurity. I gave in to the married lady across the street on several occasions. I got very deep into pornography, both painting it and looking at it. This led to a variety of sexual perversions. I was smoking so much dope that I was buying it by the pound and I never sold any. In fact, I didnít even want to share it. I stayed home alone most of the time and usually smoked a pound of marijuana all by myself. But I didnít have a problem, did I?

††††††††††† I was becoming a true recluse. I went home from work everyday and smoked until I fell asleep. I did get lonely at times, but I didnít go out with one woman more than once or twice, because I didnít want anything to get steady. They couldnít leave me if I didnít let them stay.

††††††††††† I was becoming the Unknown Celebrity. I was a songwriter. I was a poet. I was an artist. I even wrote a play that I turned into a musical. I didnít need no stinking fans, not in my world. I was a stubborn pothead and nobody was going to tell me anything. Years later, when I sobered up, I realized how bad all the things I created during the seventies was. It had all looked and sounded so good when I was high.

††††††††††† Shortly after I moved to Allen, I got the news that my old friend, Jimmy, had drowned. He had always loved water, as long as he could touch the bottom, because he couldnít swim. In the summer of í75, he and his girlfriend, who couldnít swim either, went to Lake Ray Hubbard. He stepped into a deep hole and was gone. I hadnít seen him in over a year and I donít think I ever said goodbye.

 

Paranoid about Being Paranoid

††††††††††† I met a couple of brothers who owned an art gallery in Plano. I thought it would be an opportunity to get my work in a gallery, but it turned out they only wanted good artwork.

††††††††††† They kept asking me to sell them dope, but I was too selfish and paranoid. I thought they might be narcs, but then, I thought everybody might be a narc. Living alone and staying high all the time had produced a potent portion of paranoia. Paranoia reeked from every pore. My friends even began to take advantage of my affliction.

††††††††††† One day I got a call at work, and the caller said, ďYouíre busted and we have surrounded. Come out with your hands up.Ē My heart nearly stopped before I realized how absurd that was. The police wouldnít call on the phone to tell me that. Then the funny guy on the phone began to laugh.

††††††††††† One night I had just purchased a pound of marijuana and was making the fifteen miles drive back to Allen with the dope in a grocery sack on the floorboard beside me. As I topped a hill, I was confronted by a dozen flashing red lights on the bridge at the bottom of the hill. I pulled to the side of the road and stopped. It was a wreck on the bridge, but my paranoid mind deduced, it was a setup and they were waiting for me.

I just sat there. It was the same fear I had had years earlier, when confronted by a big dog on my paper route. I didnít want to go head-on into danger, but I didnít want to turn and run, for fear they would surely chase me down and kill me. So I did the same thing I had done with the dog. I slowly inched backward until I was out of sight, then I turned around and headed home by a different route, constantly watching my rearview mirror. The problem wasnít that easy with the dog, since I still had papers to throw on the dogís street. Iím sorry, but I donít remember how I handled that situation. I think I blocked it out of my memory, because the dog actually killed me and ate my face. Or maybe his owner heard him barking and let him back in the house. Like I said, I donít really remember.

 

A Final Goodbye

In July, 1976, Joey called me. He was at Mommy and Papaís house. He had a week of vacation time from his job at the mine and decided to surprise me. He sure did. I hadnít heard his voice in four years and I didnít recognize it. He sounded like a man. He was 21.

He drove up in my yard on a Harley ď74Ē. He was decked out like a biker, which is exactly what he was. He was not only taller than me, he was bigger, and not fat, but muscle. He also had long hair and a beard. We both thought it ironic that I had gotten cleaned up and now he looked like a hippy, a big, bad hippy, but a hippy nonetheless. If I didnít know he was my little brother, I would have been intimidated. I was hoping he didnít remember the little incident in the garage with the rope and the chair.

We spent the next week reminiscing as we laughed and cried, but mostly we got high. Joey talked about moving back to Texas and going to work for our aunt, helping me. I felt a little twinge of jealousy and I didnít encourage him. How was I to know it would be the last time I would see him alive.

Several weeks later on Sunday morning, Labor Day weekend, my cousin woke me up knocking on my front door. I went to the door angry, thinking it was the Jesus people, again. For the first time in my life, I wished it was.

Joey had been killed just after midnight in a motorcycle accident outside Albuquerque. According to witnesses, he was doing over a hundred mph when he came to a dogleg curve in the road. He drove straight off a cliff.

I didnít cry that day, and I didnít cry during the drive to Grants, New Mexico, where Ken and mother were living. I didnít cry as I slowly walked up the aisle of that small church, but when I looked down into the casket, reality slapped me in the face, and I broke down in uncontrollable sobs. It was the first time I had cried since Della and I split up. But this was from somewhere so deep inside me, I had never been there before.

Up to that moment there had been a glimmer of hope that I would look into that coffin and discover there had been a mistake and Joey wasnít really dead. But there was no mistake. My little brother was dead.

I think Godís divine hand brought us together that week in July. I thank God for that one last time we had together, because I donít know if Iíll see Joey in heaven or not. I donít know if he ever asked Jesus into his heart in one of those Sunday school classes, when we were kids. And even if he had, did it mean he was still saved? I know I had asked Jesus in, but Iím still not sure, if I had died at that point in time, where my soul would have gone. I have to admit I said terrible things about the God who did nothing to me, but love me, even in all my sin. And Joey was talking the same way that week in July. I only hope, that when his bike left the road that night, he cried out to God and his soul went up to heaven, as his body went down the side of that cliff.

I have to believe that, in heaven, we wonít be parents and children or brothers and sisters. Weíll just all be children of God. We may be aware of loved ones who didnít make it and weíll cry. How could we not cry and be sorrowful, if we get to heaven and find out Joey isnít there. But then He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or painÖ (Rev. 21:4).

I guess one good thing did come out of Joeyís death. It brought mother and me a little closer together. That wall was about to slowly turn into ancient ruins. She began to write and I wrote back. She was beginning to want me to move to New Mexico. After all, I was her only child.

I know the members of my family, who had been praying for me, were hoping Joeyís death would make me look harder at my spiritual life. It didnít. My heart was harder than the Egyptian Pharaoh who saw the mighty power of God and still wouldnít believe. (Exodus 7-14)

 

 

 

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