Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fishhook, Teke & Was it a Miracle from God?

Teke, our Australian Cattle Dog, turned five months old yesterday. We have had her since she was two days shy of eight weeks. It has been an eventful three months to say the least. It had been decades since my wife Julie & I had dealt with having a puppy. I forgot the joys of it. ;)

We have been over protective & I have been a chronic worrier over her safety. It has been just shy of two years ago that we lost Sydney-Julie's rescue Chihuahua mix that I fell deeply in love with when he came to live with me. It was a two way street. I can't seem to escape the worry that came from Sydny dying hours after surgery to remove a pit that lodged in his intestine.

There was the day that I was walking Teke in our neighborhood on her leash when a large dog-maybe 100 pounds charged Teke with intent to maim. I had no time to think-only to react & spin her away from his charge into my arms. Fortunately the negligent owners of the aggressive dog got there in time to prevent a second charge. I had bad images for a long time over what could have been. The part that got to me the most & that I choked up about when I told Julie later that night was when I was still holding Teke long after the incident & discovered my shirt was wet with my then 14 pound puppy's urine.

The fish hook incident I will leave for you to decide. Miracle, luck that either can or can't be explained. I am all ears. For the record, I don't go around claiming everything is a miracle or the devil is hiding behind every bush.

It was several weeks ago & Julie had taken Teke to Carolina Beach State Park & allowed her off lead near the river. No big deal I had done the same thing the week before. Teke found a dead fish in the marsh & you know how a little puppy will eat about anything. She ate a big chunk of the fish before Julie could catch her. Julie came home & washed Teke & herself to remove the rancid smell. Julie called the Vet & they said to keep an eye on her & if she started to vomiting or got diarrhea to bring her in.

Fast forward about 14 hours later to the next morning at sunrise. We wake up to the sound of Teke throwing up. Julie reaches her first & ask me to take her outside to see if she has finished. She had. Julie cleaned the kennel.

As Teke & I reentered the house I hear Julie sobbing loudly in the bedroom. I rush to her & this was the following conversation.

Me: What is wrong?
Julie: She swallowed a fish hook.
Me: What? I am pretty sure there was a head shake of disbelief at one point. Is it all there?
Julie is holding a pillow from the kennel & presses it toward me. Yes. Look.

Was it my prayer over Teke the previous afternoon that she would not be sick or injured from the fish? Could it be traced back to the day we picked her up at Sleepy Hollow Cattle Dogs where my son, Micah drove to meet us? Before we left the farm & Micah was to return to Raleigh & Julie & I to Carolina Beach-I retrieved the bottle of anointing oil I had placed in the side door of my truck & prayed over her protection. I even reminded God that the last time I did this over a dog that it was Sydny & he died. Why one prayer granted & the other not I have no clue. That is why He is God & I am not. His ways far higher than mine- even if I don't always care for the result. And I don't always care for the result. 

Julie called the Vet with the update. They asked the same question many of you have. She swallowed the entire fish hook & it all came back up in tact? Yes & yes. They even called twice the next week to check on Teke. I think they had a hard time understanding.

Later as we had time to process & this is the part that makes me believe it was a miracle from God & not ridiculous luck. I ask Julie who has a good medical background. "Did you check her tongue, gums, cheeks, throat-basically everything you can see?"

She had as I knew she would & what she found was not one scratch. Not one drop of blood. That is so much like God because when He does something He does it completely. Perfectly. I probably would have still believed it was a miracle-if say she got a nasty cut on her tongue in the process but for there not to be one mark. Not a moment after throwing that entire fish  hook back up that had been inside of her for approximately 14 hours did she show the first sign of anything other than complete wholeness.

You take from this what you will. I know what I believe & in case you have to ask she is not allowed off lead near the river any longer.

Monday, July 11, 2016


  This is an article I wrote about "That One Person" that is featured in the Summer Issue of Optimist International Magazine.  

            Ed Wilson was a baseball legend. He coached Little League Baseball for over twenty five years. His team, Hanover Center, won over fifteen league championships, ten county championships, and at one time enjoyed a winning streak of fifty games which set a world record for the most consecutive victories by a baseball team at any level. He also guided two All-Star teams to North Carolina State titles.
He was my coach for three years of my youth and a few years later as a young man I was an assistant coach on his staff. Coach’s teams set records that will never be approached and yet that pales in comparison to why this man was so loved by so many of his ‘boys.’ He impacted lives and none more so than mine.
A perplexed rival coach once said to him. “I don’t understand why your teams are better than mine. I have players just as good as yours and I know as much about coaching baseball as you do.”
Coach’s response summed up a lot about his philosophy as a coach. “That’s because you are coaching baseball and I am coaching boys.” 
The morning after receiving the news that Coach passed away at the age of ninety eight, I found myself outside the gate to the Little League field. My thoughts drifted to a time when I stood in the same exact spot when he would alter the course of my life forever.
It was an early spring day forty years previous. I was nineteen. That morning I noticed in the local newspaper the Little League tryouts information. Each team was listed with the boys that were to report to the team that selected them. I filed away in my mind the four p.m. time that the boys were to report to Coach and went about my day.
Sometime after four I stood outside the gate to the baseball diamond. I had no plan. I had told no one I was going but I was there none the less.
Coach was businesslike as ever as he conducted practice. Still, he walked over a couple of times to inquire about how I was doing. I was not in school or employed and far worse I had no positive direction in my life. I had gotten myself into trouble the year before and he knew about this because he came to visit me when he heard the news.
It was nearing six p.m. and tryouts were about to conclude. He walked over one last time.
“You need any help, Coach?”  I asked sheepishly.   
Coach had a gruff, no nonsense demeanor. He looked at me and said, “You want to help me? Be at the school tomorrow at four.” He turned abruptly and walked away.
I was at the school the next day before four o’clock as I knew he would be. He already had a full coaching staff. I have come to realize that he did not need my help as much as he knew that I might be in need of his.
In time, I would look back to that one moment as being the crossroad of my life.   I discovered a love for the kids and for coaching. I began to realize the chance he had taken on me and I did not want to disappoint him.
I spent the next four spring and summers coaching with him before taking my own path. I taught basketball to the same age boys for the next twenty years. The lessons I learned from my mentor were with me always. They remain so because Coach taught all of us a lot more than baseball. He taught us life.
His son, Bob, asked me to speak at Coach’s funeral. It was one of the greatest honors of my life. I shared that day as I have many times that for some of us there is that one person who God places in our life that makes all the difference. Ed Wilson was that man for me. I shudder to think where I might be if not for a chance a ball coach took on a lost young man on a late spring afternoon.
Winter Park Optimist was formed in 1954 at Hugh MacRae Park, located in Wilmington, North Carolina. Coach and his brother Glenn ‘Doc’ Wilson, who also was a successful Little League baseball coach, were instrumental in the early days and for years to come in the shaping and guiding of Winter Park Optimist Little League.  There are two press boxes that were named in their honor many years ago. On April 6, 2013 there was a day held in their honor on the very field they coached on long ago. 
Winter Park Optimist is still going strong to this day over sixty years later. The baseball fields are still located in Hugh MacRae Park but there are now four baseball fields, which is twice the number when I was with Coach. They also have three fields nearby at John T Hoggard High School for girls fast pitch softball.   
Written by Billy Beasley. Author of The River Hideaway. You can contact him at or on Facebook at