Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You Will Be Tested..... Trust Me On That.....

There comes a time in each one's life when we are put to big test. I am not talking about being annoyed with some of the daily nuances that we encounter, but rather a few large tests that will determine much about our faith and resolve. Times when we are really pushed to our limits, when you actually think for a moment that you can not and do not have the power to pull yourself together and face this moment, that you are emotionally pushed to the brink of quitting. Are any bells being tolled for you?
It could be from a death of a parent, spouse or child, or the loss of a job that has you wondering how you will make ends meet when others are depending on you to be strong. The times when you are faced with hurt feelings from someone who you thought was close to you, or maybe feeling despair in your life for being treated poorly by those same folks.
As hard as it is to keep the faith during these situations, you must just do exactly that. I wonder how my mother was able to handle what was cast upon her shoulders during WWII, from the hands of the pure evil of Nazi Germany. Witnessing the effects of her father being ravaged and brutally beaten, helplessly watching as he died. Losing any resemblance of her once happy life, being caught up in the hell of the Labor and Concentration Camps, and finally being separated from her loving mother, the only person she had left, last seeing her on the morning of her sixteenth birthday. How did she overcome being distraught, the pain and terrible memories of that traumatic time in her life? She simply forgave those that did her so wrong. She put her faith in God Almighty and he helped her realize that would be all she would ever need to do. How sweet is that!
The next time you face a defining moment in your walk through life, remember this simple message, Forgive those who trespass against you, and forgive from the heart. God will take care of the rest for you!
Love John

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Walk In My Shoes........

I decided to get back to posting on my Blog after taking a couple of months reprieve. I just could not find the will to write after I lost my dad earlier this year. Having Henry live with us for the last few years of his life was a blessing that God allowed me and my wife to share in. I started this Blog for one specific reason, and that was to bestow honor on my mother and to share some stories about what she had experienced, the way she approached her life and the never ending love she had for her family. Tonight I write about her manner of dealing with her sense of intelligence.
I have come to learn much about my mom since her death, it's strange how memories and understanding can open entire new views on a person. Nonna was very smart, I will say much smarter than most of us, but she understood that she had to attach kindness when dealing with others. Perhaps she was just gifted at an early age, after all, she could read and write in five languages by the time she was nine years old. It could have been genetic or the fact that her parents went out of their way to educate her, either way, she had many gifts. Once I had gotten older and realized a little about my mom, I began to see the fact that she was one smart lady. One thing that I can say, is that she never made other people feel "dumber" than her, even when it was apparent. She was special that way and as I remember her words of encouragement and promise, along with just listening to what someone had to say, I often wonder what she may have been thinking. How did she always find a way to make you feel important and cared for?
I can think of few exceptions to this principle that she lived by. As she had seen so much in her life and dealt with many situations, you had better not mess with her loved ones! During the last years of her life, she was very sick, and I witnessed her will to survive really kick in. She was in the Hospital and was being treated by numerous Doctors, one of the nice gents decided to have a Phycologist stop by and evaluate her. Not only was she hurt by this thought, she got angry, one of the only times I have seen her get this way. Pity the poor soul, because she started playing mind games with him, and let it drag out for a few days. I witnessed his visit on one occasion and actually was sorry for him. She finally must have tired of this and let him off of the hook, explaining that she was not mentally challenged, just in severe pain. He left, never to come back, and she looked at me with a smile and said, I bet I won't see him again! I had to laugh a little as mom settled back into her bed.
My mother showed me that the most intelligent people on earth are the ones who don't have to try and prove it, and that, my friend, is a very valuable lesson to remember!
Love John

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Feeling A Little Depressed.....

I started off this day feeling a little depressed, when on my way to work I passed a bad wreck. As they were working to free a trapped person, I was thankful it was not me. Then I stopped at an intersection and saw a man sleeping under the bridge with a canvas bag that held his worldly possessions, and I started feeling a little better. Then I passed a hospital that was full of sick people and I thought, I'm glad I was not in there. I then passed a billboard that had a picture of starving children who are waiting on something to eat, poor things were malnourished and crying. As I adjusted my sunglasses, I drove by a happy looking blind man being led by a seeing eye dog, and wondered what on earth he had to smile about. Then, as I turned my air up a little, I passed someone who was changing a flat tire, and man, the sweat was pouring off of them. I then started to straighten my new silk tie and, wouldn't ya know it, I drove past the Goodwill Store. Some lady was going in with her kids and I thought, poor soul. I was almost at my office, when I passed the Courthouse and saw a couple fighting about something and their little girl was crying for them to stop. I thought about another broken family. All of a sudden I had a deep thought..... I was a lucky man! I woke up this morning and could hear the alarm clock, and I could see it was 4:30 A.M. I washed my face with hot water and fixed me a cup of coffee and looked in my refrigerator, and I had food to eat. I dressed in clean clothes and went to my car, that was running fine and had gas. I then drove to my job and remembered how blessed I am to be able to work. I thought about having a loving wife who cares for me and a nice home. That's when it hit me!! I had no reason to feel depressed about my problems, for they pale in comparison to what many other people are dealing with today!! All of a sudden, I decided to make the most of this day I have been given and to never look back!! What about you?

Love John

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Get To Know Henry........

Here's a chance to get to know Henry Bannister and learn why he was such a special man.
Born William Henry Bannister on October 31st, 1927 in Bogalusa, La. Henry was a child during the depression and had a tough childhood, but most people in those times had to do without. Being in the country, the family grew their own food and made do on hard work and love. This set the stage for the kind of man Henry was to become. He graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1944 and joined the Navy, serving as a Corpsman aboard the USS Okanogan, a troop transport ship. Henry left the Navy in 1948 to pursue his Education at LSU. He roomed in the Football Stadium Complex and had great memories of his Tigers. Henry's second cousin, Charlie McClendon, was the Coach at LSU for many years. Henry loved " Cholly Mac" as he was affectionately called. Henry met the love of his life, Nonna, in 1950 and they were married on June 23rd 1951. While going to college, he worked at a Grocery Store and at a Funeral Home. He had many stories to share about those days.
They began their family in 1953 with the birth of William Henry Jr. and bought their first home for 8,000.00. Elizabeth was born in 1957 and John in 1959, so Henry built a bigger home on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge,La. He laughed later that he paid almost 16,000.00 to build that house, a lot of money in those days. He worked the gates at Tiger games and made 20.00 per game, which bought quite a bit of groceries. Henry went to work for H.J. Heinz Company and was promoted several times during his career with them. He transferred to Houston, Tx in 1971, then to Memphis, Tn. in 1978.
Tennessee was a good move for Henry and Nonna and they enjoyed many happy years together. Nonna loved to cook and we all loved to eat, and fresh vegetables were plentiful in Tennessee. Henry's favorite hobby was fishing, which he would try to do often. He loved the sport and found solice in being on the water with his boys.
When Nonna finally told Henry about her past and when he saw all that she had saved, he took it upon himself to spend years compiling Nonna's life into a manual form. The culmination of this effort came to fruition when her Memoirs were published into a book in 2009. Henry was determined to see this happen as his way of honoring his wife and keeping her memories alive. He stated that once the book was done, he felt that his life's work was over.
One word comes to my mind when I think of my dad over his life, and that word is CONSISTENCY. He could be counted on to maintain his word, to work hard at his job and to love his family with all of his might. Henry also made a lot of sacrifices through the years, both for his family and his friends. He was loved and respected by all who encountered his smiling face.
I have heard from over 100 people since his death yesterday, and these words are repeated over and over. Soft spoken, kind, soothing, smart, helpful, loving, dedicated, inspirational, high moral fiber, honest, funny, charming, a true gentleman, one of a kind, a good man and on and on.
I will miss my dad as a father and a friend. I will miss his insite and advice. I will miss his charm and charisma and I will miss taking care of him as he aged so gracefully. Yes, dad, you have left a huge hole in my life, but I will go on as you would want me to. I will carry your good name with me for all the days that I live, and I am PROUD of you and how you lived your life!
Until we meet again, I Love You!!!
Love John

Monday, May 10, 2010

How To Be A Good Man.........

The trumpets have sounded as my father, Henry Bannister, went to his heavenly home this morning. He will be missed by all those who loved and knew him. Henry made his path through life for almost 83 years and he taught some valuable lessons to many along his journey. One need not just listen to what Henry said, but simply watch his actions to learn about living a life the correct way. The good Lord has gained a true jewel of a person on this day and I am excited that Henry and Nonna are back together, along with all of his other loved ones that had gone before.

My father was many things to many people along the way, but one can be assured that he was consistent in all that he did. He was a strong man of faith, having learned about God as a child, and never forgetting what he was taught. When faced with a choice, Henry always went with the high ground, choosing what was moral and right. He was a great son, Husband, father, Uncle and friend to those who crossed his path. He was extremely kindhearted and gentle and was most considerate of others feelings.

Henry had a special way of soothing people with his demeanor, voice and smile. It must have been hard for anyone to not be drawn to him because of those qualities. I grew up admiring my father because he was a man whom I knew had the respect of others and I have spent my entire adulthood striving to be that type of man myself. I remember that hearing others call out to Henry and come up and shake his hand, that my dad was well liked and as I grew older, I realized that he was also very highly respected. He told me many times that a man's reputation will follow him, whether good or bad, so be careful to always keep your word, work hard and honest and to be aware of other people's feelings. This is how Henry lived his life and he can be proud of the fact that we will carry on with dear memories of him.

May God Bless Henry!!

Love John

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bitterness... A Hard Pill To Swallow.....

As I walk through this life and deal with different people, I am still confused when I run into or interact with ones who are bitter. I have to wonder what makes them come across in this manner. Are they harboring resentment towards anyone or anything in particular or are there deeper wounds that are ingrained inside that push towards the surface and can not be stopped? Are they upset because they believe they have not received a fair shake in life and deserve more? Do they justify showing others how miserable they must feel as they lash out at the world?

I do not know the answers to the above questions, but I do believe the following. We make our own beds in life and we have the choice of how we react to things that occur. Many of those are simply circumstantial and happen on a regular basis. Most of the time it is due to our own choices that we have made, so why be bitter? We should not think that we deserve anything other than what we work for and do ourselves. Anything else that comes our way should be considered a gift. That's right, You don't deserve anything!

Do you think that Nonna had plenty of times that she could have been bitter? Of course she could have, but she made the choice to look at the positive side. Do you believe that Henry had many of the same opportunities to relish and wallow in self pity and feel bitter? Of course he could have, but he knew that would only be hurting himself. I learned many lessons from my parents, and one of my most prized stickem points is to love yourself first and it will be much easier to love others. I am not saying to think of yourself first, but just the opposite. Try to live your life so that people will think highly of you when you can not hear what they are saying. This is how Henry has lived his life and I will continue to strive to be like him.

Remember this, if you are bitter about things in your life, it's a hard pill to swallow and you are the one who has to do the swallowing.

Love John

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Little About Henry....

As I write this tonight, my father Henry, is in the fight of his life. He is very sick and in Intensive Care and is really doing his best to survive. This man has had a great and long life and he is aware of that. I have had the true pleasure of being with him almost everyday for the last several years, being his son, friend and caretaker. What a joy he has been and I am very thankful that I had this time. I have also had the chance to talk about what happens next for him as he struggled with being ill. He was very clear what his beliefs and wishes were and that he was comfortable in his faith if he was called home. Henry has earned the right to maintain his dignity and to know that he is loved by his family, and he deserves to be comfortable if this turns out to be his time.
What I know is that Henry Bannister has lived the way a man should for a lifetime. He was a wonderful son, a caring and loving husband for fifty-three years and fifty-three days. He raised three children and is a supportive and teaching father right up until today. He is loved and adored by his grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is admired by people he has worked with and known for many years. He has lived his life the correct way, from his work ethic and his compassion and caring way he has handled problems that he has faced.
My father taught me years ago that a man's reputation will follow him, whether it is good or bad, and to be careful how you carry yourself through life and always treat others with the respect and integrity that you want to be treated yourself. He taught me that doing the right thing and not looking for the easy way was the best policy. He taught me that I should pour my passion into whatever I was attempting and to always give my all. Dad, I have tried my best to live my life as you have taught me to and you were a wonderful example to follow. For this I can thank you and tell you that your advice was solid, and although things in society change, the basic lessons of life are the same.
Tonight I pray for you to have peace and to do your best to recover, but I also say that if you can't make it, it's okay, you have earned the rest. You are loved by many and are a very special man! I love You!
Love John