We’re in this together


  December 1, 1986


  The "WIT" of Dewitt
  (A Christmas Tribute to Mr. Dewitt Talton, Junior)

1. "Wit" means "intelligence"; "cleverness"; "common sense";
  And not many people whose mother's name is GRIFFIN
  Can honor the name of Alma GRIFFIN's spouse.
  Alma GRIFFIN helped WILL(is) Talton to build a strong house.

2. "And I will be with thee and build thee A SURE HOUSE."
  God spoke this of GREAT men who always make God proud.
  A family NAME carries great responsibility always.
  A man works hard to keep his children from going astray.

3. Solomon's wisdom is good to read,
  Whenever "strange" people entice children to deceive.
  "HEAR THE INSTRUCTIONS OF A FATHER," Solomon asks.
  Training children is not an easy task.

4. Willis TALTON was no ordinary man.
  He was INDUSTRIOUS and he PATIENTLY farmed the land.
  His greatest strength was his quiet-ness.
  Being quiet helped him to endure fiery tests.

5. "Grandpa" WILLIS was STRONG and MEEK and KIND.
  Nobody could make change once he'd made up his mind.
  "TELL THEM I'M EATING!" Grandpa commanded.
  The telephone caller had to accept THE TALTON STANDARD.

6. Grandpa WILLIS made some very good rules.
  He had COMMON SENSE that you can't learn in schools.
  His children loved him and they followed his example,
  But ONLY one child was Grandpa's SILENT ANSWER

7. That strong men are those who dare to be meek
  So Grandpa called his son, DEWITT!
  "That was doubled because it is established."
  God has a special way of stopping traffic.

8. Grandpa's wisdom can be seen even today
  Because he named his son, DEWITT, in a special way.
  Even though the oldest son is given a lot of CLOUT,
  DEWITT is the child who would carry his father's orders out.

9. Who would have thought that the meekest TALTON man
  Would move to Farmerville and make a grand-stand?
  DE-WITT wisely used his father's name
  And Farmerville store owners KNEW they had to make a change.

10. DEWITT's word of honor strengthened the economy,
  Because store owners knew his word was as good as money!
  Stein Baughman! MacMurrian! Feed and Seed, too,
  Spread the word that DEWITT's word is TRUTH.

11. Mr. Post never asked for any collateral.
  DEWITT's name was all that mattered.
  "THIS DANIEL WAS PREFERRED BECAUSE HE HAD A GOOD SPIRIT."
  To DEWITT, his "credit" "ability" is serious.

12. Wise men trust their own instincts.
  Grandpa WILLIS set a quiet example no one could speak against.
  Corn fields announced to passers-by
  That Willis TALTON ruled a strong house.

13. WILLIE LEE TALTON, Grandpa's oldest son
  Let his farming "speak" of what his father had done.
  Left and right cornstalks waved,
  Because Uncle Buddy, too, displayed

14. That the name of TALTON is strong indeed.
  WILL(is) TALTON produced a mighty family "seed".
  "AND I SAW A STRONG ANGEL PROCLAIMING LOUD . . . !"
  God, too, wants people who are sturdy and stout.

15. "AND I SAW ANOTHER MIGHTY ANGEL . . . ," Revelations says.
  It takes courage to follow God's ways.
  "AND I SAW AN ANGEL HAVING THE KEY . . . !"
  Strong people always fight for the mastery.

16. DEWITT Talton, -- JUNIOR!! -- my father STRONG and TRUE;
  I have gained such wisdom from you.
  You never accepted defeat when your jobs ended,
  And somehow, your FAITHFULNESS kept people offended.

17. Yet, you WROTE your own story inside my heart,
  Just by you being THE EXAMPLE of a man who loves God.
  You did not see me when in the living room you prayed,
  But I watched from the kitchen, the "thanks" that you gave.

18. You, DADDY, were always STRONG in whatever you did.
  Therefore, your FAITHFULNESS could not be hid.
  There were those days that you picked cotton  
  And then you returned home and FAITHFULLY TAUGHT US

19. The SINCERE LOVE that a good father can give
  Each time you denied yourself of a DOLLAR BILL.
  It taught me to be responsible and dependable, too.
  Only God could ever make A GOOD FATHER like you.

20. Your name, DE-WITT, sounds like, "The Wit" --
  Which describes A CLEVER MAN with COURAGE and "grit".
  You are ambitious and determined to succeed,
  And you quietly challenged the segregated creed.

21. SEGREGATION kept Negroes working in the cotton fields.
  You, DADDY, proved faithful to the name "WILL".
  Your father, WILL(is), had set a high standard in life
  And for his own honor and respectability, WILL(is) did fight.

22. "BUT LET IT BE THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART . . . ."
  The Bible says that GREAT men have to suffer a lot.
  Jacob was left by himself, and he quietly fought
  TO UNDERSTAND the power which God's angel taught.

23. "THOU HAST POWER WITH GOD AND WITH MEN AND HAST PREVAILED."
  The Bible says that strong men get wounded, but they never fail.
  You, DADDY, left your home-land, just like Abraham,
  And you were not afraid to take a stand

24. To prove that THE SACRIFICES THAT GRANDPA MADE WERE GOOD.
  You, DADDY, taught me how to endure when I am not understood.
  Through YOU I have learned about WILL Owens, too.
  I can understand the respect that he gave to you.

25. YOU ARE THE STRONG "SON" in-law that WILL Owens hoped for.
  YOU strengthened him to endure the racial war
  That all Negro men in Farmerville MUST face.
  YOU gave WILL Owens the courage to run a good race.

26. When YOU called ABIE OWENS, "mother",
  It was evidence of your inner struggle
  To be accepted by your IN-LAWS for yourself.
  Quiet people are full of inspiration and pep.

27. Your "WIT" and "common sense" caught "Papa's" eye.
  YOU refused to be lazy or even to use an alibi.
  Sometimes fathers get discouraged
  But a STRONG son-in-law teaches a father-in-law not to worry.

28. Your greatest characteristic is "HOSPITALITY-ness".
  You ENTERTAIN those people that others forget.
  Remember Hebrews 13:2 and Mrs. Susie Hayes ??
  She is a symbol of your "missionary days".

29. Aunt Viola Spencer was a popular talker.
  Still, YOU respected your aunt's "widow-hood" and taught her
  That young people can maintain A GOOD NAME.
  Your faithfulness brought YOU great fame.

30. There are no lies that can be hid.
  Aunt Viola KNEW just about all everybody did.
  "I DON'T KNOW NOTHING ON DEWITT," Aunt Viola had to say.
  That's why you are my own example today.

31. The first year that I went to college, I SAT ALONE,
  Striving hard to keep my bank loan.
  I needed only a grade average of "C" to keep the money.
  So it didn't seem to matter that I walked lonely.

32. It was the best time for me
  Because YOU HAD TAUGHT ME "individual-ity".
  When YOU left Sterlington and your family behind,
  It let me know, too, that I MUST "decline"

33. To follow the "in-crowd" when responsibility calls,
  Simply because my own father stands tall.
  " I'm not going to church," I declared.
  IN COLLEGE, I could be true to this "dare".

34. But you, DADDY, had laid a sturdy foundation
  When you refused to accept my 16-year old rebellious nature,
  That I would not return to church one Sunday night.
  By the time I entered college I could not fight

35. The virtues of faithfulness which you sowed.
  THANK YOU for helping me to set high goals.
  The "common sense" of faithfulness that I saw IN YOU
  Kept me encouraged all of my college days through.

36. My teachers sometimes singled me out
  Even when I WAS SHY and full of doubt.
  Even my home-work assignments reflected YOU,
  And YOU made the teachers be FAIR, too.

37. Famous students were "tossed" aside,
  And the teachers' blatant hypocrisy died
  Because I earned my grades "fair and square".
  I WISH THAT YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THERE!

38. Parents somehow set the pattern
  Of how their own children will handle matters.
  The Head Deacon of Blooming Grove Church
  Knew that YOU LOVE GOD very much.

39. You were an "out-sider" but YOU WERE FAITHFUL AND TRUE.
  So Uncle Charlie Owens placed great confidence in you.
  There was Robert James! Reverend Marshall Fountain, as well!
  But your dependability rang a loud bell.

40. Your reputation was CLEAN and PURE.
  You have INTEGRITY nobody can dis-pute.
  It is an invisible "transplant", I now know
  That made me JUST LIKE YOU, determined and bold.

41. "THOU ART GOOD IN MY SIGHT, AS AN ANGEL OF GOD."
  King David had a good reputation, even when he suffered hard.
  So, YOU, as my father, strengthened me
  To always maintain great DIGNITY.

42. By 1967, YOUR NAME meant a lot.
  At college, I was recommended for an honorable spot.
  WHO'S WHO AMONG STUDENTS -- was God's "telecast"
  To tell Farmerville, DEWITT'S NAME WILL LAST!

43. It was an honor that nobody could deny.
  NOW!! -- Everybody had to treat DEWITT right!
  Across America, the TALTON name is known,
  All because my father, DEWITT, refused to become forlorn.

44. God kept HIS WORD so much the more,
  Before I walked outside the college doors.
  The Student Teachers returned to the Grambling College school
  And the supervisor(s) broke every rule.

45. Rose Marion Pugh was sophisticated.
  Elnora Osborne's family was "honorably" rated.
  Gloria Love won beauty pageants, twice!
  But Mrs. Harvey put a damper on everybody's fire!

46. Mrs. RUTH Harvey firmly stated that I was "the one"
  WHO WOULD LEAD the student teachers' "talk-a-thon".
  I was too shy and too nervous to face that crowd.
  But, Mrs. Harvey had been so very proud

47. That I did not show favoritism to teachers' kids.
  It is one of MY FATHER'S TRAITS that cannot be hid.
  I saw you, DADDY, be honest when no one seemed to care.
  So YOU TAUGHT ME to always be fair.

48. I REFUSED TO CHEAT on college tests and I got only a "C".
  But I wanted to keep MY FATHER'S INTEGRITY.
  I worked ALONE when my teachers were away.
  My grade in Library Practice was an "A".

49. Always I remembered the Sunday schedule
  WHEN MY FATHER WOULD NOT LET GOD BE NEGLECTED.
  Mostly I slept in church when the minister spoke,  
  But you, DADDY, gave me training that will NEVER grow old.

50. The greatest test of A FATHER'S LOVE
  Is to see what his children become when they grow up.
  "AND GOD SAW THEIR WORKS THAT THEY TURNED . . . ."
  The Book of JONAH says that preaching helps others to live long.

51. Today, I am alone, like Job when he faltered,
  Because wicked men could not defile your daughter.
  Because YOU paid tithes, I could stand firm
  And help stingy people to grow and to learn --

52. That even the Book of Malachi, 3:10 MUST be lived.
  Church people could not understand why I did not steal.
  They tried to hurt me because I gave
  Yet, I never did mis-behave.

53. There were more people like FOX HICKS in Dallas TO REDEEM.
  I got so much joy out of witnessing.
  I had YOUR WIT for using words,
  And the young people gladly heard

54. The sincerity that my heart did speak.
  Church leaders got angry when I refused to be weak.
  I was shy whenever I spoke out loud,
  Yet, often God let the people know that he was proud

55. That I never would be a hypocrite.
  WHEN GOD APPROVED, the leaders had a fit!
  Quietly I supported those who preached on the Dallas streets,
  And those who had got lazy and refused to be meek

56. Set up traps to destroy my name.
  But God said, "HIS PEOPLE SHALL NEVER BE MADE ASHAMED."
  As God increased my pay-check, I honored God, too.
  I paid MORE tithes and offerings and special dues.

57. The medical doctors were popular at the Dallas church,
  And on the Second Sunday offering when I stood up,
  It was like King Saul throwing a javelin at David.
  BUT I KEPT ON GIVING, quietly and bravely.

58. When 1st Samuel 18:30 was FULFILLED,
  People in "high places" started giving me a "raw" deal.
  I could endure the most "vile" threats
  Because I wanted TO BE SANCTIFIED; and yet

59. I was betrayed by those who were closest to me.
  Still, BEING SANCTIFIED meant the most to me.
  Job's words have been a great comfort.
  "WHEN I AM TRIED, AS PURE GOLD SHALL I COME FORTH."

60. "MY RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL ANSWER FOR ME," Jacob said,
  And even when my own life is full of dread,
  I REMEMBER!! -- God can never lie!
  And now I have my father's "stimuli" --

61. "A GOOD NAME IS RATHER TO BE CHOSEN . . . !"
  Thank you, DADDY, for AN EXAMPLE that is "golden".
  Thank you for being A STRONG FATHER,
  Who became a great leader by being a MEEK follower.

WRITTEN FOR CHRISTMAS: December 1, 1986