Dr. Bascom Ray Lakin was born January 5, 1901 in Fort Gay, West Virginia. He was one of the last of the old-time evangelists, that didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, but told us what God wanted us to hear. He was known as a “country preacher”, but he preached at the huge Cadle Tabernacle, in Indianapolis, Indiana, that seated 10,000 and a choir loft with 1,400 seats. He received $7 a month in his first pastorate.
His mother wanted a “preacher man” and she got one with the birth of Dr. Lakin. Someone asked him once why he was born in a house, instead of in a hospital and he replied “I wanted to be close to my mother”.
This sermon is an excellent example of old-time preaching by Dr. Lakin.
Dr. Lakin died on March 15, 1984 at the age of 82, and was buried on the grounds of Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia and was so well-respected by Jerry Falwell, that the Religious Education building was named after Lakin.
45 of Dr. Lakin’s sermons can be listened to, or downloaded at this website.
This time last year I was in the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. First, let me go back in time to some of the events that may have led to me having duodenal cancer.
May of 2012 was a traumatic time for us, after being evicted from our house in Sulphur, Louisiana. We then moved to DeRidder, Louisiana on July 20 and it took almost two weeks to move our belongings to a trailer. I think the eviction and move took a toll on me emotionally and physically. I truly feel that financial stress played a part, in me acquiring cancer last summer.
I began to lose an alarming number of pounds in July and would have lost 45 pounds by the time I entered the VA Hospital in Houston in October. I vomited 17 times in a two-day period, which contained blood. I went to the VA Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana and they thought at first that I had acid reflux, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers and H pylori. I was sent home with various prescriptions that didn’t control the vomiting.
Finally on September 28 of 2012 I was admitted into the VA Hospital in Pineville and the next day September 29 they transported me via ambulance to the VA Hospital in Houston.
One of the first things they did in Houston was insert a tube down my throat and connected it to a container that received the contents of my stomach continuously to prevent any more vomiting. The inserting of the tube was one of the most stressful medical procedures done, while in the hospital and very uncomfortable having a tube, but it did prevent any further vomiting.
It took almost two weeks before the oncologist determined that I had duodenal cancer, after unsuccessful CT scan which was too cloudy because of a recent CT scan at the Pineville VA Hospital. Then the doctors tried an endoscopy, which didn’t work, since it the instrument wasn’t long enough to reach the blockage, which they were trying to biopsy.
The oncologist still could not get a biopsy, so they tried another endoscopy that reached the blockage and then prescribed a Petscan to get a better look at the blockage. After these two procedures they determined that I did have duodenal cancer, a cancer that is in beginning section of small intestines. It is also referred to as adenocarcinoma.
The Petscan was a unique experience. For 45 minutes they started and stopped the scan. I had the sensation of being on a train. The only thing missing was that no conductor was saying “All aboard”.
My birthday was on October 14, which was two days before the surgery. My wife Rhonda had made a Happy Birthday poster for the door of my room and my daughter, her husband and two grandchildren were there to celebrate. My two sons, who had already arrived a few days earlier were also there, along with my ex-wife who came with my daughter.
I still have the poster that Rhonda made in our bedroom and it has a lot of sentimental value. Rhonda had to sleep in a chair the first few days, that I was in the hospital. She found out later there was a place called Fisher House on the grounds, so she could have a place to eat and sleep during the night.
One of my brothers also made two or three visits to the hospital, while I was there and his ex-wife and my niece also made visits to see me.
I will never forget the day of the surgery, which was Tuesday, October 16, 2012. I was rolled into a hall where patients were lined up for surgery. I recall the nurses were asking about a patient who didn’t show up for surgery, because he tired of waiting for the surgery and had left the hospital.
Once I entered the surgery room the anesthesiologist began sticking with me with needles which were very painful and I was surprised how many times I was stuck and awake to feel the pain. I could hear the surgery room nurses make clanging sounds similar to the sounds of pots and pans being put on tables.
The next thing I knew it was 11 hours later and my surgery which was supposed to have taken 5 or 6 hours had lasted 11 hours, because I had been nicked in the liver and it caused massive bleeding, which required four units of blood to replace the lost blood. The surgeon told Rhonda that they were close to losing me, so I am very fortunate to even be writing about the surgery.
I remember being in a very strange room, after the surgery which I assume was the ICU. It seemed like it was very dark in the room and I almost felt like they had sent me to a secluded cabin to recover from the surgery. I still can’t remember much about this phase in my recovery.
One of the results from the surgery was the finding that I had Stage III duodenal cancer. Duodenal cancer is extremely rare and only accounts for 1 percent of gastrointestinal cancers.
At some point before or after the surgery I had a picc line inserted in my arm, so the nurses wouldn’t have to give me so many injections.
However, I still had blood work done every morning at about 5AM. I had insulin shots in my stomach at least once a day, even though I was and am not now diabetic.
One thing I remember is watching the 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. I tried to watch all of the games, but would sometimes fall asleep during the games.
About a week after the surgery I was finally allowed to eat real food, for the first time since arriving at the hospital three weeks earlier. However, my appetite was not that great and would only eat part of the food most of the time.
It was great to have the tube removed from my throat, even though it was uncomfortable feeling for it to come out. Needless to say I talked differently while having the tube in my throat, so was happy to talk normally again.
It was Halloween night (October 31) when I was finally released from the hospital. The day started off well as I started being readied for release, but I waited a very long time for the Picc line to be removed. The technician came in the room and had me in more of upside down and sideways position, so that he could remove the Picc line.
My high number on the blood pressure reading was 181, when I was finally released late that night. Blood pressure was a serious problem in the hospital, since it spiked to about 220 at one point, so I was given blood pressure medication and wore a blood pressure patch to bring it down.
Immediately after being released I stayed with Rhonda at the Fisher House that night, to prevent traveling immediately after being released.
We made the 160 mile trip back to DeRidder the next day and began the long road to recovery. I was feeling a little better each day and felt much better, when we made a visit to the VA Hospital in Houston in November, to see the oncologist for a checkup. He told us that duodenal cancer has a history of returning, which sort of caught me by surprise.
We drove home on Thanksgiving morning and we were slowed by a massive traffic jam before we arrived at my daughter’s home in Groves, Texas. When we arrived there they told us, that many cars had hit each other in the fog on Interstate 10, so we were fortunate to miss the accident, but were detoured so we never saw the scene of the accident.
I started 91 days of chemotherapy after returning home at the VA Hospital in Pineville. There is no chemotherapy for duodenal cancer, because it is so rare, so was treated as if I had colon cancer.
When I told the doctor I read that there was only a 30 percent chance of surviving duodenal cancer he told me not to worry, since my life expectancy was only 76 since I was a male. I relaxed after that figuring what is two years less or more, since I will be 69 this week.
The chemotherapy had many bad side effects, with sensitive to cold, jaw pain when chewing foods, unsteady on my feet and the oncologist in Pineville switched me to another form of chemotherapy.
It wasn’t much better as it caused another set of problems, so my chemotherapy was stopped 91 days into the 5 month treatments. The oncologist told me my quality of life was being affected too adversely by the chemotherapy. I was relieved to not have to make the weekly trips to Pineville for the chemotherapy treatments and I started feeling better after the treatments stopped with the side effects no longer a problem.
CT Scan in May in Houston
We went to see the oncologist/surgeon at Houston VA Hospital last May. The first day there we underwent another CT scan and did bloodwork. Then the next day we talked to the surgeon and he said everything looked good on the scan and it was clear. However, he said he was concerned that when he lifted the cancerous blockage off the liver, that some cancer may have seeped into the liver and may sprout up at a later date.
Our next CT scan is scheduled on December 11. Hopefully, the scan will be clear and if not will know it is God’s will being done, so not overly worried about the results.
I want to thank all the doctors and nurses at VA Hospital in Pineville and Houston for their excellent care. I want to thank all the family members and friends who visited me at the hospital in Houston and those who stayed with me in the hospital, after Rhonda began staying at the Fisher House.
I would like to also thank those who called my room during my stay in Houston. Those phone calls meant more to me, than you will ever know.
In addition I would like to think those who sent gift cards or checks, to help pay for Rhonda’s food and expenses, plus help pay our bills, while staying in Houston.
Plus I would like to thank those who contributed to the cancer fund my son started, in conjunction with his bicycle tour starting this week in Kansas City, Missouri.
My goal is to keep a positive attitude regardless of what the results of the scan show, in December and to continue to sing and praise the Lord.
I was recently researching the survival rate for my duodenal cancer, which has a history of returning. I found out at one website that I had a 30 percent chance of living past five years.
The oncologist when told about this survival rate gave me a reality check, by telling me the average life span for an American male is only 76. Since I will be 69 later this year that means I may be down to my last seven years of life, regardless of how the cancer situation may change. The five years survival rate doesn’t sound so bad, when I may have only seven years left anyway.
Chemotherapy has gone well during the first ten weeks, which ends tomorrow leaving me with fourteen more weeks left. If the Catscan shows that the cancer has returned when the chemotherapy ends, then I may be forced into making some very difficult decisions. Don’t know whether I would want to start a new round of surgery, if surgery is even an option and whether continuing chemotherapy would even be an option.
It would be easy to be selfish and continue to pursue any surgery or chemotherapy, that may rid my body of the cancer. This cancer has reduced me to a man who has ostrich legs, which really indicate that something is seriously wrong with my health.
One of the main reasons for me to try to go to any length to keep fighting cancer, if it has returned would be to see my grandsons a few more years. I have a grandson who was 14 yesterday that dreams of playing major league baseball. He will be trying out for his high school team in Texas in the spring of 2014. I would like to be around if and when he plays baseball on the professional level.
His brother who will be 12 in October likes to play soccer and does extremely well in school, since he loves to read books. I would like to see him grow up and start a career, while I am still living.
The worst thing about leaving this world is those I would leave behind, including my two sons and daughter and my wife Rhonda and my stepson Justin.
My father is 98 and will be 99 in November of this year. It is now a possibility that he may outlive me and I am happy for him. He made the right health choices to eat almost exclusively healthy meals and very seldom ate out at fast food places. He worked in his garden till well into his 90’s and also mowed the yard.
What really matters the most is that whatever happens will be God’s will, so I am ready to accept whatever God has in store for me.
I may live another 10 or 15 years, but on the other hand I may not even be around this time next year.
I want to see all the baseball and football games I can see while I am still around. I want to listen to some of my 17,000 old-time radio shows from the 1920’s through 1962 when old-time radio died on September 30 of that year.
There is a lot of music I would like to hear again, while I am still around and enjoy nature and see the stars in the night sky.
Only God knows what my future holds and how much time I have left. Time will tell how all of this plays out.
One of my main objectives is to be the same person I have always been, no matter how good or bad the news may be about my cancer as the years roll by. I don’t want anyone feeling bad for me, because I will be worried about the ones being left behind more than myself.
1991 – Visited my sister Jane and her family during the summer of 1991 in Pueblo, Colorado. My son Kenny and brother Tom also were on the trip. My brother Daniel drove us up Pike’s Peak and will never forget how cold it was at the top. The brakes overheated on the way down, so had to let them cool off a few minutes.
Driving through Raton Pass with an altitude of 7,834 in a four-cylinder Toyota was not easy as we gained altitude. Enjoyed the time with my sister and her family while in Colorado. Jane is an executive with the Pueblo Library and we had the chance to visit the library.
911 emergency number was being tested during the year and the airbag was invented. Gasoline was being sold for $1.12 a gallon.
1992 – This was a sad year as my 22 year marriage to Elaine ended, with her moving back to Texarkana, Arkansas. Had to file bankruptcy after she left, so I could pay bills. It would be the first of six years with no air conditioning. We had one, just never used it, since had to choose between air conditioning and eating and eating won that battle. Ate cheese sandwiches most of the time and can’t remember going out to eat during this time.
With the Town Talk garnishing my wages to pay the bankruptcy and paying child support there was little money left for anything, but the bare necessities of life.
The divorce was finalized and it was sad to spend Christmas without the family for the first time since 1972, the year when Steve was born.
Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992 and Miley Cyrus was born and will be 21 in November of 2013. The cost of gasoline dropped from $1.12 in 1991 to $1.05 in 1992.
1993 – Flew to Knoxville, Tennessee this year with the financial assistance of my brother, to be present when Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee honored my dad by naming a chemistry laboratory after him. Enjoyed hearing his students and others tell of my dad’s contributions to the Chemistry department at Tusculum. Then they served a dinner in his honor, which capped off a great evening.
My daughter Debbie missed by one word of making the National Spelling Bee in 1993. I was there that night in my alma mater Pineville High School auditorium, as she battled round after round before misspelling the final word.
I don’t handle change well and had a major change at Town Talk, when I was moved from composing room to camera shop, after having worked in composing room since 1966. I have to admit I was lost as I had to learn how to operate a full-page camera, tone photos and strip in negatives using the four-color process. The negatives had to have perfectly matched register marks, or the photos would be out of focus, which could be seen easily by readers if not aligned properly.
The price of gasoline rose to $1.16 a gallon, an increase of 11 cents a gallon compared with 1992 prices. Movie tickets had risen to $4.14 and a loaf of bread cost $1.57.
Harley Davidson motorcycles observed their 90th anniversary in 1993, which means they will observe their 110th anniversary in 2013. Beanie babies were first sold in 1993 and are now collector’s items twenty years later.
1994 – Remember watching O.J. Simpson and the low-speed chase by police as they followed him to his home. He was eventually arrested and charged with the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. This is the year that Tonya Harding had someone hit her ice skating opponent Nancy Kerrigan in the knee, hoping to gain an advantage over her injured opponent.
Can remember Bud Selig saying the dreaded words that there would be no 1994 World Series, due to a lengthy baseball strike. I had the feeling Selig almost enjoyed cancelling the World Series, as he seemed to be letting the players know that he was in charge.
The cost of gasoline dropped to $1.09 a drop of seven cents from the 1993 price. The first satellite digital television service was launched in 1994 and Netscape was the leading browser that year.
1995 – College Drive Baptist Church lost their pastor Mark Norwood who had accepted another job with a church in North Louisiana, when Warren Steadman became the pastor that fall.
1995 was one of my favorite years since the Atlanta Braves, who I had been following since 1978 defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series. It was the first Braves win in a World Series, since the 1957 Milwaukee Braves defeated the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series. The win over the Indians was only the second World Series championship for the Braves in the last 55 years.
Gasoline was still selling at $1.09 the same price as the 1994 price. Postage stamps were now selling for 32 cents. I remember back in 1963, when I was selling stamps for a nickel each and a book of 20 stamps cost only a dollar. 32 years later the same 20 stamp book sold for $6.40. Fast forward to 2013 and stamps are approaching 50 cents a stamp and a book would cost $10 for a 20 stamp book.
The biggest tragedy of 1995 was when a truck bomb exploded, while killing 168 people at the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Timothy McVeigh would later be executed for his part in the crime.
750 Chicagoans would die in a heat wave, when temperatures reached 104 degrees for five straight days.
Windows 95 is released by Microsoft and DVD’s are introduced.
O.J. Simpson is found innocent of the Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman murders and vows to catch the REAL killer. He searched golf courses all over the United States looking for the real killer, but was unsuccessful in locating the killer. He could have saved all that time and energy by looking at the mirror and finding the REAL killer there.
Grocery prices skyrocketed in 1995 as bread was selling for $1.15 a loaf. The days of buying five loaves for a $1 at the bread thrift store were now officially over. Ground coffee could be purchased for $4.07 a pound.
Average income was $35,900 a month except for Town Talk employees. I retired from Town Talk nine years later and never earned more than $28,000 a year, while working for the Town Talk.
I recently downloaded the Kindle book Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, written by his son Captain Robert E. Lee. The Kindle edition is free and readers can start reading the 504 page book a minute, after it is purchased for free. The book is in the public domain, which is why it is free at Amazon.com.
General Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford Hall, Virginia. He graduated second in his class from West Point in 1829. He married Mary Custis the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington in 1831. He later would be he appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1852.
Lee loved to communicate through letters and this book includes the text of many letters, that he wrote to his wife, sons and daughters and others he had contact with during his life. He wrote often even during the Civil War years of 1861-1865. When he wrote home he would ask his relatives to send socks for the Confederate troops, many of whom had neither shoes or socks. It had to be a real hardship for Confederate troops, to not have shoes and socks and even blankets during the winter months of the Civil War. He writes in 1862 about the death of his daughter, Anne Carter Lee who died of typhoid fever at the age of 23.
You could feel the compassion for his troops as he pleaded in his letters, for his relatives to send socks for the troops. He wrote about the death of General Stonewall Jackson and how he would be missed by the Confederate Army. He writes in one letter about how outnumbered the Confederate troops were before surrendering to General Ulyssses Grant at Appomatox. By surrendering Lee prevented the deaths of thousands of Confederate troops, who would have surely died at the hands of the Federal Army, who vastly outnumbered them.
His letters after the war relate how he was offered the presidency of Washington University, which was named Washington and Lee University in later years. His leadership was instrumental in making Washington University, one of the leading collegiate institutions of the south. His wife Mary who suffered from rheumatism often went to places with healing springs and these trips separated her from General Lee, who was living in Lexington, Virginia as the president of Washington University.
He often wrote his sons after the war and gave them advice, about how to be a successful farmer. He gave them money to help them acquire what they needed for their farms. He even told his son Robert Jr. that Robert needed to find a wife so he could settle down on a farm.
After reading these letters, a reader can tell how much family meant to General Lee and his concern for the welfare of his wife, sons and daughters and the confederate troops, who had served in the Confederate Army under his leadership. It is evident too how much his faith in God mattered to him.
Sadly, Lee only lived five years after the Civil War ended and died on October 12, 1870 in Lexington, Virginia at the age of 63 of heart disease. He is buried at Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
General Lee may have been a great general for the Confederate Army, but this book, doesn’t dwell on that as much, as it does on his character which is exemplified in his letters. Numerous books have been written about Lee, but due to his untimely death he was unable to write the memoirs of his life.
The entire book can be heard since there is an option to hear a reader read the book aloud. This book may not be a book Civil War buffs may want to read, since it is more about Robert E. Lee the person, rather than being about Robert E. Lee the Confederate general, but it is still a book worth reading.
The first time I heard of Andy Griffith was when he appeared in the movie No Time For Sergeants. He played Will Stockdale a mountain boy, who is drafted into the U.S. Army. He had already played the part in the Broadway play by the same name three years, before the 1958 movie was released.
The funniest scene of the movie to me was when he was named PLO (Permanent Latrine Orderly). He rigged the toilet seats to stand up all at once, which shocked the inspecting officer to say the least. However, this scene of him being tested by a corporal for manual dexterity may be even funnier. Don Knotts plays the corporal, who is utterly frustrated by the way Andy’s character Will Stockdale puts the two links together. Don Knotts appears at about the 1:15 mark.
I hadn’t even known Andy Griffith had appeared in A Face in the Crowd in 1957, in a dramatic role unlike the Andy Griffith I had known in No Time For Sergeants and on the Andy Griffith show.
Andy received top billing in the movie portraying an Arkansas hobo Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes who becomes rich overnight. This is a scene from A Face In The Crowd:
Made Television Debut On U.S. Steel Hour
Andy had made his television debut on the U.S. Steel Hour when he played Will Stockdale on television. He played the role on Broadway, on television and in the movies, which probably has not been done very often, by any actor in the same role.
He also made the movie Onionhead in 1958, so it was a very busy year for him.
Danny Thomas Show Role As Sheriff
Andy got a big break when he appeared on a Danny Thomas episode in 1960, where Danny is given a ticket, by a small-town sheriff. Andy is perplexed when he finds out that Andy is not only the sheriff, but also the justice of the peace.
The Danny Thomas episode led to the formation of the Andy Griffith show which was shown that same year, on the CBS television network. 249 episodes later the Andy Griffith show would complete its run.
He appeared on Mayberry RFD for two years, then had two series fail in short order, when Headmaster lasted 13 episodes in 1970, followed by the New Andy Griffith show which lasted only 10 episodes. He didn’t return to another series until 1979 when Salvage One only last 19 episodes. He had appeared in three series since leaving Mayberry RFD, but only 42 shows were made of those three series combined.
Seven years later Andy tried again for a hit series and he struck gold with Matlock which ran from 1986-1995. He appeared in various television series and movies till he made his last acting appearance in Play the Game in 2009 at the age of 83.
Andy non only was an actor, but recorded gospel songs. This is Andy singing How Great Thou Art:
I looked at Andy Griffith and saw a role model, for the right way to live life.
My wife and daughter surprised me in 2006, when we went to Mt. Airy, N.C. to see Andy’s boyhood home. I didn’t know we were going to stay there that night and it was the surprise of my life, when I found out we were actually spending the night there. Hampton Inn rents out the home to tourists and it was something I will never forget. I even played baseball with my grandson in Andy’s backyard.
Andy had also made some comedy records early in his career. I had the record that has him giving his impression of seeing his first football game. He said in his monologue that 5 or 6 convicts were running up and down the field blowing whistles. The game was played in a cow pasture and Andy concludes saying that the object of the game must be to keep from being knocked down or stepping in something.
The only remaining actors still alive from Andy Griffith are Jim “Gomer Pyle” Nabors and Betty “Thelma Lou” Lynn.
I was 15 when the first Andy Griffith show was televised in 1960 and was 23 when the last show aired, so have been watching Andy Griffith during the first eight original years and in 44 years of re-runs.
Andy Griffith died this morning at his home on Roanoke Island, North Carolina at the age of 86.
Death has taken another star of the Andy Griffith Show. George Lindsey who portrayed Goober on the show had passed away on May 6.
Andy Griffith’s character Andy Taylor was one of the most beloved characters on television. The show revolved around him and he saw early in the show’s run, that it would be better to play the straight man for off the wall characters like Barney Fife played by Don Knotts, Gomer Pyle who was portrayed by Jim Nabors, Otis Campbell being portrayed by Hal Smith and the aforementioned George Lindsey as Goober.
Life Lessons Taught
Andy taught his son Opie Taylor well, trying to bring him up without a mother in the home. Many shows dwelt on Andy telling Opie, how to deal with life’s problems the right way.
Whatever problem Opie may have been experiencing Andy always had the right solution , to any problem that might arise. This video from the show in which Opie killed a bird with a slingshot is an excellent example of how Andy taught his son to do the right thing.
The interplay between Andy and Barney Fife was a huge part, of the success of the show. Don Knotts suggested that the show needed a deputy and that move guaranteed the success of the show. Andy asks Barney about the Emancipation Proclamation, which shows how Andy could rile up Barney.
When Don Knotts left the show after five years, Andy proved he could still draw the fans. as the show’s ratings stayed strong, after the departure of Knotts.
I can remember watching Andy Griffith and Don Knotts in No Time For Sergeants movie, many years ago and we watched the movie three times in a row, since that was allowed in the 50’s.
We have lost an American icon in Andy Griffith, one day before the July 4th holiday. Andy Griffith represented everything, that is great about America. He leaves a rich legacy behind of television shows and movies, in which he appeared.