I have no desire to change any event in my life, from contracting Polio when I was two to losing my hand in 1989 or anything since then. Any change would make me less than I am, and I am becoming who I want to be. - Larry
Recently I've taken the time to look back over the 52 years that have passed since graduation from Bellaire High School. Remembering all of the truly momentous events that have occurred, reviewing all of the choices I made and how those decisions shaped me into who I am today, has been a spiritual re-awakening and has put me back on the path I left years ago when I lost Mary. Every day now I travel a little farther, learn a little more, get a little closer to where God wants me.
In 1969 I met Mary McIlhenny while Christmas shopping for a gift for my mother. Mary was working in a little shop in Westbury Square that sold sea shells and related small items. Being 19, of course what caught my eye was her beauty but when her eyes met mine my heart actually stopped. I was examined, evaluated, measured and, thank God, found acceptable.
Mary agreed to be my wife just a few months later. She was my best friend, my lover, soul mate, and mother of our two sons, John and James. Mary was the only angel I know for certain that I have ever met. She died January 1, 1976. Mary is most certainly now teaching the angels how to be angels. Our sons, despite their father's shortcomings, have become two of the three finest young men you could ever hope to meet.
I remarried, much too soon after Mary's death, but I was a lost soul then and I think I remained lost for a long time. My marriage failed, but it wasn't a failure. My second wife gave me my third son, Dave, the third of the "three finest young men." (OK, so maybe I'm prejudiced, but you haven't met them yet)
Once again I remarried, with the determination to make this one a success. The only problem, my new wife and her kids only wanted someone to give them everything they wanted and they gave nothing in return. I tried hard, almost too hard because I alienated my own sons. What saved me was an accident I suffered in 1989, which cost me my left hand. The aftermath of that, the actions of my wife and her kids, woke me up to the fact that I was messing up my life and my kids lives for someone who cared only for what was in it for them. I had every reason to seek a divorce but did not as vows made to God are not something to be broken frivolously. It wasn't until 1998 that her actions toward my granddaughter made it impossible for me to allow her to remain a part of the lives of my kids and their families.
Since I divorced her I have been able to become not just a father to my sons, but their friend as well. John, James and Dave all have families. John and his wife Angie have Eryn, now a college graduate with a Masters degree James and his wife Christi have three, two already graduated from high school with one to go. Their oldest daughter is married and soon to bring into this world my first great-grand child
John and James have jobs involving installing, running and maintaining computer systems. Dave is working with a property tax firm in Houston that argues tax appraisals for major corporations. He is also an avid kayaker and outdoorsman and is working on a new project called Pole to Pan which will be coming to Youtube soon.
I have been able to devote a lot of energy to volunteer work with the Boy Scouts of America, teaching senior high Sunday school, "mentoring" the junior and senior high kids at church. I spent a few years promoting contemporary Christian music concerts but that time has passed. I'm now managing the food inventory and operations for a local Food Pantry that distributes over 300,000 lbs of free food each year to the hungry in the Lindale Independent School district.
A new chapter is ready for sharing, a further part of my journey along the path to the Lord.
One of the goals I have set for myself is to be the kind of friend that would always "be there", no matter what the situation even when it meant personal sacrifice and facing unpleasant and uncomfortable situations. I did this because I have had friends who did that for me, who I could count on for anything if I was ever in need. My embarrassment and shame is I never gave back any of what I received but I accepted a lot. For the past few years I have been looking up those friends, some of whom I haven't seen in over 30 years, just saying hi and letting them know I'm still alive and remember their friendship. God has given me the opportunity to repay some of what I was given and to pass on the gift of undemanding friendship to new friends too, especially in my Scout troop and church youth group. There are always people that have need of someone to talk to, someone to share burdens and joys with, someone who will listen with an open mind and heart, someone to be a friend that is always willing to help in any way that is needed without expecting anything back. Do you know someone who needs you?
One of my friends referred to me as a "Knight in Shining Armor". That comment was the source of my domain name and alter ego "the Rusted Knight" because at my age the armor is more than a little rusty.
Becoming involved in the Christian concert business was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. God presented me with an opportunity to fulfill my life dream of helping people and for once I listened to Him and dove into it. I was involved in putting on many concerts but the time for doing that has passed. I especially miss the one I used to do in conjunction with the annual See You At The Pole day of prayer at our schools. The people I met, the new friends I made, the lessons I learned have "Opened the Eyes of My Heart" (paraphrase from a Paul Baloche song) to the glory of this world and the people around me. The doomsayers would have us believe that religion, especially Christianity, is dying. I'm here to tell you that it just isn't so. The first chance you get go to a Christian concert, watch the reactions of the youth and adults to the artists and their messages, and decide for yourself whether or not Christianity is strong in America.
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