One of my favorite songs to sing along the road is “You Made Me a Pallet on the Floor.” The traditional blues/folk tune sounds great at full throttle into the wind and always reminds me of the many, many gracious hosts who have welcomed me into their homes. Some have indeed given me a pallet on the floor; others have cossetted me in guest suites with fully stocked kitchens. Either way I have come to appreciate the generosity from which each person shares what little or largesse they have with a stranger.
But no host can compare with Terrie Turner, a marketing specialist from Little Rock four degrees of separation removed from me; now a solid friend. Terrie did not just invite me to her home; she connected me with three other hosts in the area and enabled half a dozen conversations with fascinating people. I stretched my stay in Arkansas’ capital because, thanks to Terrie, it proved one of the most fertile places to talk about tomorrow.
Terrie was homecoming queen in McGehee, a railroad town in the Delta. She left for college in Dallas, and like at least half of the folks I’ve met in Arkansas, thought she’d never return. Terrie met Dean Turner, a fellow Arkansan who one worked on Bill Clinton gubernatorial campaign, in Dallas. They lived there many years, and then moved to Lakeland, Florida to help out Dean’s son.
Terrie liked Dallas well enough, but she appreciated Lakeland in a different way. “I had never been anyplace like Lakeland. People had indoor-outdoor carpet. A neighbor invited us to Thanksgiving, and invited homeless people as well. Those things never happened in Dallas. I know a woman in Dallas who renovated her kitchen before she entertained.”
Four years ago Dean’s mom needed care, so they moved to Little Rock. Hard to believe Terrie’s been here that short a time. She knows everyone in Little Rock’s world of philanthropy. She applies thirty years of marketing savvy to raise money for educational, hunger, and children’s organizations. Then she rolls up her sleeves and gives her time to those causes.
Yet when a stranger on a bicycle showed up in town Terrie invited him in, served tasty hors d’oeuvres, and treated him tto he biggest steak of his trip at Doe’s, a Little Rock institution. We still got home before too late because Dean had to get up at five the next morning and go to his prison ministry before work.
In a world filled with good and generous people, Terrie and Dean Turner are extraordinary gems.
How will we live tomorrow?
“By the grace of God. Economically, security, Biologically, there will be dramatic changes, but it will be okay.”- Dean
“Who is ‘we?’ When is ‘tomorrow?’ It depends on the choices we make today. Since I heard your question, I’ve been thinking about 2 Chronicles 7:14: ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’
“The destruction of our planet goes back to the family unit. The violence in our society is no worse than it was in Biblical times. The family unit was more intact in an agrarian society. The industrial revolution deteriorated that. Then mom went to work and kids didn’t get raised by mom and dad. It’s a huge crisis that leads to poverty and less of a moral compass.
“Our government in many ways has been giving out fish rather than teach people how to fish. That leads to the sense of entitlement that’s generational.
“The church’s role has been to minister to the ill, feed the poor and visit the elderly. How many are focusing on that?” – Terrie