Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,

Winston Hamby, my father, passed away on Feb. 25, 2012. He had been on Facebook for several years. My mother had never had her own profile, but she logged in to my dad’s account several times in the days following his death to respond to condolences, etc. Then my mom decided she would like to have an account of her own. On March 8, we sat down together to open her own Facebook account. We were going through the steps and had just established the bare bones of her profile when something strange happened.

She received a friend request from Winston Hamby. My dad. Who had been dead for 13 days.

We had been logged into his account just before opening her account, but no one was logged into his account when her account received the friend request. We found this friend request from beyond a bit unsettling, but a little funny at the same time. We figure heaven must have one heck of a wireless connection.

I’m just wondering if there is an explanation for how this could have happened, or if we’ve got ourselves a 21st Century social networking ghost story.

Deana Hamby Nall

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winston's Last Gift

The following was written by Dan Terhune, who goes to my parents' church (Crosswalk Family of God in Little Rock). Dan wrote this about a month before my dad passed away, and then shared it at his memorial service on Feb. 29. I wanted to post it here to show the kind of person my dad was--even up to the end of his life.


We were late for church as usual. It was only five minutes, however, the only seats available were on the second row. We waited until the congregation stood up to sing to go to our seats. We stood singing behind Winston Hamby and his wife. Winston has been sick for some time and is physically weak and frail. He carries an oxygen bottle with him to church, however he always has the strength to raise his hands toward the Lord in praise. I have always been somewhat hesitant to show my praise to the Lord by raising my hands. It just never felt quite right, however, Winston raising his weakened hands has always inspired me spiritually. He was standing with his struggling shaking hand toward the Lord and I noticed his knees buckle beneath him. In an instant I found myself standing next to him holding him up. We stood there with my arm around his waist supporting him and him with his arm around my waist and his hand in my belt loop for something to hang on to. His other hand was stretched up high praising the Lord. I just then realized I was not holding him up but he was holding me up! It was as if his raised hand was "our" hand. Tears started running down my face and he held on to me tighter. I have been in a spiritual desert for several months now and Winston was an oasis in that desert that I ran to as a dying thirsty man runs to a well for water. I realized that through Winston I was being given the living water that Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well.

After the song ended he hugged me and said, "Thank you for blessing me. I haven't been blessed like that in a long time", and kissed me on the cheek as long lost brother would. It was not until the closing prayer when again he struggled to stand up that I was at his side again. As the prayer was being said, our heads bowed and our arms around each others waists, he kept saying softly, "Don't worry, He has risen.....he has risen!" "Agape.....agape" which of course is Greek for love, brotherly unconditional love. Tears again started streaming down my face again as I struggled to hold on to the empty chair in front of me but felt Winston's spiritual strength supporting me.

When the prayer ended I turned to him and said "I thought I was helping to hold you up but you were holding me up spiritually." He said "Yes WE were."

I just thank God that he placed Winston Hamby in my life at that moment. I did not realize how thirsty and spiritually dehydrated I was in my spiritual desert and this morning in church I drank my fill.

(Winston Hamby passed away this past Saturday February 25th. I feel very fortunate to have been the recipient of Winston's last gift)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I think just about everyone knows by now, but we lost my dad last Saturday. Here's a column the two of us wrote for the Beaumont Enterprise last summer.

Beaumont Enterprise guest columnist Winston Hamby and his daughter,
Deana (Hamby) Nall, both have memories of teenage culture in Beaumont
from different eras. Winston is a 1953 graduate of South Park High
School and Deana graduated from Beaumont Christian High School in
1989. Recently, they sat down to talk about coming of age in the same
town—three decades apart.

D: Where in Beaumont did you live in the ’50s?

W: In South Park on Pipkin Street. Then we moved to Concord Road,
which was Voth Road back then. We only had one car. We would drive
downtown to the Goodhue Building to pick up my dad from work every

D: Where did you and your friends hang out?

W: Pig Stand #10 on Port Arthur Road and Washington Boulevard. There
was another Pig Stand on Calder, but that was the Beaumont High Pig

D: So if the South Park Pig Stand was #10, were there nine others?

W: No, just the two in Beaumont at that time.

D: Do you remember where my hangout was in the ’80s?

W: Rogers Park?

D: That was part of it. We hung out on Dowlen Road.

W: Oh, that was your drag.

D: Did you have a drag?

W: Pearl and Orleans, but after they were changed to one-way, it
became Pearl, Crockett, Orleans and College. We made a rectangle.

D: We just drove up and down Dowlen. When we got to Whataburger, we
turned around. When we got to Rogers Park, we turned around again. We
would drive up and down for hours—use up a whole tank of gas.

W: I used to worry about you out there.

D: We were just going out to see and be seen. The rule was to act
bored, but it was really a lot of fun.

W: One night I went out there in our red and gray van to see what you
were up to.

D: I called it the “Hambymobile.”

W: I pulled into Rogers Park and I saw you sitting on the hood of a
car with some friends. You were holding a Bible in your lap and I felt
bad for thinking you were up to no good.

D: Dad, I never had a Bible in Rogers Park.

W: You didn’t?

D: No. I did read the Bible, just not in Rogers Park.

W: I wonder why I remember that, then.

D: Wishful thinking, I guess.

W: We had a Bible class at South Park High School in the ’50s. There
was a huge cheating ring in there.

D: Did you learn anything in that class? I mean, you were a preacher’s kid.

W: I can’t remember.

D: What was the West End back then?

W: It was fields. Where West End is now was a town called Amelia that
was five miles from Beaumont.

D: So Amelia was its own town?

W: Yes. I didn’t go out there much. I didn’t leave town very often.

D: Oh, we did.

W: Where did you go?

D: Louisiana. A lot of us would go across the state line on weekend
nights. There were a couple of clubs in Vinton where we would go line
dancing. I didn’t even like country music, but we had a blast out

W: I just took dates to the Jefferson Theater and the Pig Stand on the way home.

D: Which movies did you see there?

W: Oh… “Singing in the Rain” with… what’s his name?

D: Gene Kelly.

W: Yes.

D: How did I know that and you didn’t? I wasn’t even born until 1971.

W: What were your generation’s movies?

D: Tom Cruise was big in the ’80s. I saw “Top Gun” on opening night at
the Gaylynn a few years before it closed. I liked movies, but I liked
music more. What were you listening to in the ’50s?

W: Jo Stafford, Vic Damone, Pat Boone. Bing Crosby was phasing out but I still liked him. And Glenn Miller. There was Elvis Presley, but he
took some getting used to because he was a little weird at first. I
also liked Spike Jones and his satirical renditions of popular music.

D: I remember Spike Jones because we had a record when I was a kid.
There was a song about a horse race.

W: Oh, yeah. “Beetle Bomb.”

D: The music in the ’80s was all about pop and hair bands.

W: I didn’t like hair bands. I thought they were too “hippie.”

D: “Hippie?” When I think of hair bands, “hippie” doesn’t exactly come to mind.

W: I saw hippies wearing them in the ’70s and I didn’t like them.

D: Dad, hair bands were not something you wore in your hair. Hair
bands were rock bands in the ’80s made up of members who had lots of
big hair. Like Ratt and Poison.

W: I do remember Rat Poison.

D: Ratt and Poison. They were two different bands.

W: Oh. They probably sounded the same.

D: You know ’80s music better than I thought. Did you listen to
records or the radio in the ’50s?

W: Both. I listened to Gordon Baxter on the radio. He was hired and
fired by just about every radio station in Jefferson County.

D: He lived across the street from us on Redwood Drive in the ’80s.

W: Yes. He was quite a character.

D: Where did you eat in Beaumont in the ’50s?

W: The Golden Arrow was nice. Their worms were better than most.

D: Worms?

W: They always had worms in their salads.

D: And you kept going back?

W: Yeah. We just ate around them. We also ate at the Enterprise Café.
I loved their breaded veal cutlets and cream gravy. And I liked
Shelton’s and Motor Lunch.

D: Motor Lunch doesn’t sound appetizing in the least.

W: I ate there when the Pig Stand and Shelton’s parking lots were
full. There was also the Seven Seas restaurant toward Port Arthur. It
had the same manager as the Golden Arrow.

D: Did Seven Seas have worms in their salads, too? Since it had the
same manager?

W: I couldn’t tell. The lights were pretty dim. They kind of blended
in with the tomatoes.

D: We had Novrozky’s in the ’80s, across from the mall. That was a fun
place to hang out. I loved their hickory burgers.

W: Are they still open?

D: I don’t know. Mr. Gatti’s was right next door to it. It’s closed now.

W: In the ’50s, I liked Phelan’s Coffee because of its slogan: “Good
to the last drop.”

D: That’s Maxwell House.

W: It is?

D: Yes.

W: Oh.

D: Why do you think Beaumont was such a fun place to come of age in
the ’50s and ’80s?

W: For me, it was just where I lived. There were a lot of fun things to do.
D: The ’50s and ’80s were eras of optimism. I think that made those
decades seem more carefree. Plus both decades had the best music and
cars of the 20th Century.

W: I drove a ’39 Buick. And I never missed a driveway.

D: Oh, I put cars in ditches all over Beaumont.

W: I know. I had Bra-K Wrecker Service on my speed dial.

D: It’s hard enough learning to drive. And Beaumont has ditches all
over the place. They were unavoidable.

W: Well, you made it through your teen years alive.

D: We both did.

W: I’m glad we both spent our teen years in Beaumont.

D: It was a fun place to be a teenager. I think we are lucky.

W: I think so, too.