Category Archives: This Day In History

Bullets, Baseball, Piggly Wiggly, and a King in a Tree …

On this day in history.

September 6 has quite a bit of history.

– Cal Ripken breaks the record for consecutive games played. 1995

– President McKinley was shot. 1901

– Magellan’s expedition to circumnavigate the globe is fulfilled. 1522

– Benedict Arnold orders the burning of New London, CT – a storage depot of the Continental Army. 1781

– 2.5 billion people watched the funeral of Princess Diana. Elton John performs a re-written ‘Candle in the Wind.’ 1997

– The Mayflower departs England for the New World. 1620

– The first modern supermarket opened in Memphis, TN – a Piggly Wiggly. 1916

But let me share an unusual tidbit …

In 1651, King Charles II of England escaped a losing Battle of Worcester. He did this by hiding inside an oak tree. Yes, I said inside. He had been King of Scotland since 1649 up in the execution of his father. Charles II was deposed and fled to the mainland. After Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, England was in a bit of disarray. The monarchy was reestablished and Charles II returned and regained the throne until 1685 – with his death due to an apoplectic fit.

It was a wild ride. He saw wars, fought with Parliament, and abolished Parliament for the last 4 years of his reign. In 1670, he promised to convert to Catholicism to get aid from France in a war with the Dutch. He fulfilled that promise on his deathbed.

Now here is how he connects to today. Charles tried to introduce religious freedom into English culture. The MPs struck that down. Charle’s effort was probably to stop the religious infighting in England. But the concept was about a hundred and thirty years before it came to fruition in America. Religious freedom has taken many forms through the centuries. Many have fought and bled for this freedom. And it is something we hold dear in America. We may differ a bit over how this is really played out in society, but may we never forsake the concept we hold dear.

I hope that we never forget how blessed America is and how religious freedom is something to be protected in years to come.

Today’s blog was more just informational. If nothing else, your view of Charles II might be a bit clearer now – and when you hear the name in the future, I hope you visualize him hiding in a tree all day long.

Maybe the tree was a residence of elves and he spent the day making cookies. I can live with that.

‘till tomorrow … todd

First Baptist Dallas & Me

On July 29, First Baptist Dallas hits 150 years old – way to go FBCDallas

It was a month before my senior year in high school and my dad ripped me up from Charlotte NC and moved me to Dallas. We lived in the church’s bunkhouse at Mt Lebanon for about a month before we got our house. I started Kimball High School. My brothers went to Criswell College. And I got my first job in Dallas at The First Baptist Dallas Recreational Ministry – I washed towels, cleaned the locker rooms, ran the skating rink, and more. That was my first exposure to FBC Dallas. We went to church at Grace Temple Baptist in Oak Cliff where father pastored.

Years later, I joined FBC Dallas and shook WA Criswell’s (he said it was a requirement for entrance to heaven) – he was friends with my father and knew my brothers (one of which was on staff there). I later left FBC to go serve at a sister church.

Time passes – I finish my PhD class/instruction requirements at Southeastern and return to Dallas, and we joined FBC Dallas again – under Mac Brunson. Calvin was so blessed by their kids ministry.

On July 29, First Dallas hits 150 years old – way to go FBCD

Through the years at First Dallas, I had sat under OS Hawkins, Joel Gregory, WA Criswell, and now, Pastor Jeffrey’s. I can say FBC Dallas has been a major part of my Christian story and church life.

Lisa has her own story when she first went to FBC Dallas. She was just a newborn and her parents dropped her off at the nursery. Lisa cried so much that they eventually gave her back to Alfred and Carolyn and said do not return till that kid stops crying. True story, names have been changed to prote,…. nope, real names.

All this to say, congratulations to a Church that has meant so much to our family. When you grow up in the pastors home, and have spent most of my adult life as a pastor/staff member, having a church like First Dallas to be a part of one’s life is special.

On July 29, 2018, First Dallas hits 150 years old – way to go FBCD. May God continue to bless in you and through you … and I am thrilled you’ve been a part of my life. I hope to be there this Sunday for the big hoopla’s events.

Be blessed

See more about FBCDallas and their story here

It’s 7-11 … Go get a Slurpee

It’s 7-11, so it’s the day to go pick up a Slurpee at your local 7-Eleven store. I know I will be headed for mine early.

Here are a few pieces of historical trivia …

  • 7-Eleven started in Dallas, specifically Oak Cliff at the corner of Edgefield and 12th, in 1927. (see the attached picture)
  • It was formed when some ice houses formed Southland Ice Company. Then one of the ice houses began to sell food and other items. All the Ice Houses followed the pattern and began to sell food and other items.
  • They were first called Tote’m Stores – a name that came about because of two reasons. First the president of Southland Ice would put Alaskan Totem Poles outside of some of the stores to help people identify the stores. And second, customers would ‘tote’ away their purchases (a pun intended by the President of the company)
  • It was renamed 7-Eleven in in 1946, based on the hours it would remain open. These hours were considered extensive back then.
  • 24 hours of operation began in 1963.
  • It is now owned by a Japanese corporation and has more outlets than any chain – anywhere … over 50,000.

Now some fun trivia …

  • With the release of The Simpson Movie, 12 select stores were renamed Kwik-E-Mart and carried items from the show like Krusty-O’s cereal.
  • Stores are different around the globe … example: Hip, upscale coffee shop feel in Indonesia.
  • Manitoba Canada is Slurpee capital of the world – Maryland is leader in hot dogs – and Long Islanders lead in coffee sales.
  • Slurpees were an accident invented at a Dairy Queen. When the soda fountain broke, he put pops in the freezer. When he opened them, they were slushee. People loved them and kept requesting them
  • He built a specialized machine from an AC unit removed from a car.
  • He called them ICEE but sold the license to 7-Eleven in 1965. They renamed it and the rest is history.

Why this trip down memory lane? No real reason – just some fun 411. Not everything has to be a lesson. And that today is the lesson.

So go get a Slurpee. Me, I prefer Dr. Pepper flavor.  How about your fav flav?

See here for more – link

This Day in History … Our Declaration … Not Just Any Piece of Paper

A bit long for a blog post … but it is too important to never have been read by every American. Italics, bold, and underlining are all me.

In Congress, July 4, 1776,


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the right of Representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the People.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of Peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens, taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions, We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in GENERAL CONGRESS assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, DO, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly PUBLISH and DECLARE, That these United Colonies are, and of Right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that, as FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. AND for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Attested, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary


AND for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

A Preacher, A Revolutionary, An Educator … An American

He was the only active preacher at the 2d Continental Congress. Born in Scotland, trained at the best schools, wooed to America, served as a Presbyterian pastor in New Jersey, and the became the president of the College of New Jersey – which would become Princeton University. He was an outstanding orator that was first neutral in the cause for independence – but later joined the movement and preached for the separation of church and state, religious liberty, and American independence.

In the debate in the Continental Congress, on independence, he was asked if he thought America was ready for it. Witherspoon’s response was epic … in his opinion it “was not only ripe for the measure, but in danger of rotting for the want of it.”

He then became the only active pastor to sign the Declaration of Independence.

But his adventures were not over. He had his student body evacuate from the College at the advance of the British army. Later, he returned and rebuilt the College from the near devastation caused by the British.

After the war, he fought to make sure the government had the authority to abolish slavery – for this too was important to him.

Today, this blog post has no real challenge, but is just a snapshot of one of our Founding Fathers. May we remember the great price that was paid.

I close with one Witherspoon’s great quotes that is very relevant today …

Whatsoever State among us shall continue to make piety and virtue the standard of public honor will enjoy the greatest inward peace, the greatest national happiness, and in every outward conflict will discover the greatest constitutional strength.

May We Never Forget

designating at 3pm local time, that every one should pause,
and take a moment to honor of the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.

So, today, if at all possible, say a prayer for the families and loved ones, for our nation to remember the price of freedom, and for those still serve.

For today, I copy a 2012 article by Thom Rainer. Go here for the original article, or just read below …

Five Reasons to Take Memorial Day Seriously

May 28, 2012

Most historians point to a memorial service held in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865, as the beginning of Memorial Day as we know it today. The service followed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by just a few days.

As our nation began to see greater value and more reasons in remembering our soldiers killed in battle, the day became an unofficial observance across our country. For most of its early history, the day was known as Decoration Day, since many services were held in cemeteries while the graves of those killed in war were decorated with flowers. By 1882 the current name of Memorial Day became the more common identity of this unofficial holiday.

The day became an official American holiday in 1967. The next year most federal holidays, including Memorial Day, were moved to Mondays to allow for an extended weekend.

Who Do We Remember?

The purpose of Memorial Day is simple but profound. We are to remember, and to hold in memory, those who gave their lives in battle for our nation. Since our nation’s founding, 1.5 million men and women have died in military action. Their sacrifices are not to be forgotten, because they did not give their lives in vain.

While the explicit purpose of Memorial Day is to remember the fallen soldiers on the battlefield, we should also remember those who were wounded in war and those who are still missing in action. The total number of wounded warriors is now 2.5 million, and another 38,000 soldiers have been classified as missing in action.

A True Memorial Day

There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a long holiday weekend. And no one should be castigated for viewing Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer. But we must ultimately remember the true purpose of Memorial Day. Why then do we remember? Allow me to share five reasons.

1. The soldiers we remember gave their lives for their country. They paid the ultimate sacrifice because they believed in the purposes and the ideals of this great nation.

2. We would not have the freedoms we have today without the sacrifices of these men and women. Indeed, we may not even exist as a nation had not these wars and battles been fought. We owe so much to these men and women.

3. The majority of families have some connection with a fallen or wounded soldier. We should honor those families who gave their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers for the sake of this nation. My uncle, Spurgeon Keller, was one of the early casualties of World War II. My father, Sam Rainer, fought and was wounded in the same war.

4. Though Memorial Day is explicitly set aside to remember the fallen soldiers, don’t ever forget the 2.5 million men and women who were wounded in battle.

5. When we honor the fallen soldiers of earlier battles, we honor the men and women serving in our armed forces today. They deserve our honor. They deserve our recognition. They deserve our respect.

Remember This Memorial Day

I do hope your long weekend has been rewarding. And I do wish for you a joyous summer. But I also hope you take time this day to remember those who have given their lives for you and me and the rest our nation.

We remember the fallen soldiers. We remember the wounded heroes. And we give thanks and praise for those serving in our military today.

It’s what we should do.

It’s the least we can do.



This day has a lot of history – and it’s historical significance varies according to whom you talk. So here are some of these events connected to the beginning of the best month in which to be born (Note, I was born in May).

The day is close to the beginning of Spring so some trace its origin back to Rome and central Europe to celebrate the arrival of the season where life is returning. It was full of rituals to celebrate fertility, and these rituals vary from dances, jumping around fires, and more. The Germanic tradition included dances around a living tree – is this the possibility of the May Pole’s origin?

The May Pole Dance – this brings back bad memories of elementary school and having to participate in the ritual as we celebrated the revolutionary spirit of America. Could this also be symbolizing the bringing of new life (Spring being connected to the birth of a new nation?). A common practice of the may pole dance was to have ladies rotate around the pole while intertwining ribbons to a tight connection and then they would dance in the opposite way to unwind the ribbon – and yes, this took a bit of skill so you wouldn’t end up with a wad of ribbons similar to a Gordian knot (yeah, look that one up to will ya). The tightening and loosening of the ribbon represented the shortening and lengthening of the days – thus return of life.

Yet May Day is also connected to a workers day – a kind of Labor Day. In the US, it is traditionally connected to a day of tragedy – the Chicago Haymarket Affair of 1885. This event sounds as if could have happened any given weekend in modern times. This was a protest to last several days to peacefully pursue labor unions and 8 hour work days. Violence and rioting did accompany it. Police began to get involved. Within a couple of days, hundreds had gathered. But on the 4th, the rain began to break the crowd up. The police went on to disperse the remainder of the crowd but a bomb went off in the middle of the police ranks – killing seven and wounding almost 70 of Chicago’s finest. The police opened fire on the crowd – killing several and wounding around 200.

Internationally, May 1 became connected to the Socialism and Communist movement to fight for the worker. And in 1958, President Eisenhower attempted to circumvent the socialistic movement and named May 1 as Loyalty Day – Loyalty to America and her freedom. I guess I owe Ike his due for the reason we did the May Pole Dance in elementary school.

And one last connection – the use of “May Day” as a distress call. Actually, this has nothing to do with May Day, May 1, at all. It is an Englishized French word – m’aidez – meaning “help me”.

Now, I need to get to my point – and I always have a point, even if in my own mind. In this world, there are often many different ways to look at the same thing. May Day may mean one thing or another, and when we talk to each other, we need to make sure we are on the same page – comparing apples to apples. It seems much of today’s conflicts and misunderstandings could be avoided if we just took some time to learn and listen.

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Or in grandmas words – The Good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, that shows you which one we should use more.

So, take May Day as celebration of God’s restoration of life, of the fruitfulness of the land we are to work, and of the nobility in working to honor the Lord. Or, take it as a distress call that we cry out for God’s grace and mercy. Have you noticed that no matter which view I mentioned here, it can all point back to God. For no matter what we do, it should always be done for our Lord and with Him in mind.

POST SCRIPT: Want some more details.  Here are three articles to explore the history of May Day … 1/ CNN, 2/ Time Magazine, 3/ Ancient-Origins