Thursday, February 28, 2008

Many Religious Controversies

Memorial Garden at St. Mark's
Originally uploaded by Darrell
Centenary College of Louisiana recently invited Erik Wielenburg, an avowed atheist, to speak on campus. It came to my attention during a recent gathering at St.Mark's. Since Centenary has ties to the Methodist church, this has caused much hand-wringing and e-mail hysteria from insecure Christians among us. Wielenberg was the second non-believer to speak at Centenary this semester. A member of a local Methodist congregation got a little worked up, sending a mass e-mail asserting that parents send their students to "A Christian Methodist college for a reason." He went on, in part, "I refuse to believe that this reason is to brainwash their kids into believing that their is no God. We must do something about this. Please contact the president of Centenary, the board members, the alumni, the administration, and your church. I attended the atheists event last month and witnessed first hand how atheist spread their "word." Several students purchased her book after the event. I pray that none of those students turned against God that night."
Okay, let's not contact anyone. If these impressionable students are so insufficiently grounded in their faith that they will be "turned against God" by sitting through a couple of lectures, something has gone wrong over the last 18-20 years. This semester didn't have a lot to do with it.
The school's chaplain was compelled to respond with another mass e-mail explaining the bold concept of a free exchange of ideas. It was smart, well reasoned and right on target, saying parents have a duty to students to "Ground them in faith, engage them in reflection and in the exchange of ideas and then, when you send them to us, do all you can to encourage them to participate in the Christian worship, fellowship, study and service opportunities which we offer at Centenary."
My son has been offered a scholarship to attend Centenary. Thanks to this letter from the chaplain, I'm feeling really good about it.

Barack Obama
Originally uploaded by jurvetson
There's also a freaky line of thought creeping around the internet about Barack Obama. The mainstream media is exploring his religious beliefs because a lot of people believe he is a Muslim. He claims to be a Christian. There's a quiet undercurrent of discussion in the blogosphere that Obama may be the Antichrist. Barack Obama the Antichrist? That's way too deep for me, but I've had three people say something about it to me in the last week.
The only response I have is, "well, this is not the first time I've heard that."
Isn't it strange? I'm hearing this odd run of comments that flabbergast me beyond reasonable response. Hang onto your hat. Things are getting weird.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Guess I'm Going to Hell

Pope Benedict's beer
Originally uploaded by Condemned Soul
Pope Benedict is from Germany, and an e-mail prankster has shown us his vision of inevitable changes in Holy Communion. I have to admit I laughed out loud.
This comes in the wake of a spirited discussion I had recently with a buddy who attends a local Assembly of God church. He asked me, with a straight face, if I believe Catholics are Christians. Days earlier a close friend who attends the same church asked me if it's true that Catholics are taught NOT to read the Bible. I wonder what they're teaching out there.
My response to each question was about the same. It was something along the lines of "That question, quite frankly, is so utterly preposterous that it borders on incomprehensible." I grew up Catholic and suffered significant ridicule because of it from the bigoted mouths of some of my Southern Baptist relatives.
There's a lot of disinformation being taught in "Christian" churches, but this is not my fight.
My lifelong best friend, a devout Roman Catholic, saw these mocked-up Pope images and wrote to me, "Just to let you know, I’m praying for your soul!!!"
In the end, that's really all I can ask for.

Pope Benedict XVI
Originally uploaded by drew_073
By the way, the Holy Father will make his first trip to the United States as Pope in April. He will celebrate mass in two baseball stadiums, the brand new Washington Nationals Park and Yankee stadium. Attendance won't be an issue. 46,000 seats will be available in Washington, D.C., and 57,000 will be available at New York City. Demand for tickets so far is essentially tripling capacity.
There may actually be scalpers. It would be pure profit, too. The Church won't charge admission for mass!
Since we're having Church With The Big Guy at the ballpark, beer and pretzels might be appropriate after all. I mean, who says he can only consecrate wine and wafers? Peanuts and Cracker Jacks can't be far behind.
Sing along: Take me out to the ball game, Take me out to the mass..."

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Monday, February 25, 2008

On the TV Again in a Weird Way

Darrell on the TV
Originally uploaded by Spokesmodel
Somehow, I was tabbed to be the spokesmodel for my organization at a weekend event. Much to my surprise, two local TV stations actually interviewed me.
It was a strange feeling to have the tables turned. Certainly, I stuck a microphone in countless faces countless times. I felt almost like a politician, responding to the question while getting my "pitch" in.
The good news is, it seems like the health system was presented in a positive light and the front man didn't do anything to mess that up.
This has happened just once before, when I was interviewed in the context of being radio boy for the local Arena Football team. In that case, the subject matter was second nature and there was no real pressure. This time, the interview involved terms like "arthroscopy" and "miniscus" instead of "touchdown" and "field goal."
The best part was that I've been gone from the local TeeVee for so long (or there has been so much turnover at the local stations) that neither of the interviewers had any idea I have a TV news background. They patiently explained how to stand and where to look. I was happy to oblige.
Hold onto your videoarthroscope.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Regis Delivers

There was an event in Bossier City this afternoon which featured one of the greatest basketball players ever, Karl Malone. Malone, known as "The Mailman" (because he always delivers), patiently and graciously signed autographs. He posed for photos and basically did all you would want a visiting celebrity to do.
Fame is relative, however. While Malone was being swarmed by admirers, a lady embedded in the throng got my attention and asked, "Who is that?" I explained that he's a great basketball player who has an Olympic gold medal and played for many years with the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers. There were photos and souvenirs of his stellar career surrounding us. I pointed out some of them.
She asked, "What's his name?"
"Karl Malone."
"Oh, I think I've heard of him," she replied encouragingly.
Then, as she looked through the trophy case, she got excited. She tapped her husband on the shoulder when she saw a framed photo of someone she actually recognized. Her breath became a little short and her voice rose an octave as she exclaimed, "Look! Regis!" You go with what you know.

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Wonders Never Cease

This contemplative young bearded fellow is a member of my immediate family. Okay, that's my 18-year-old son. This is a noteworthy moment, because it is undeniable proof that he actually attended, of his own choosing, a sporting event.
Theories abound about why the son of a sportscaster denies any interest whatsoever in sports, but I'm not a psychologist.
He is in the final semester of his high school experience, which until this moment had been utterly devoid of sports.
He has been attending a school with an academic emphasis. There is no football or basketball team, but there is soccer.
Saturday night, the Magnet High Mustangs set the soccer world on its ear by winning the state championship in the highest classification. My son got caught up in the spirit of things and apparently actually cheered for his school's team.
The world did not stop spinning. Be true to your school.
Soccer photo by Douglas Collier of the Shreveport Times.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

To Texas and Back

Texas Jet in Ft. Worth
Originally uploaded by Darrell
Mr. Big Stuff got to take a business trip on an airplane. For a lot of people, this is a routine thing. I'm from Bossier and grew up working in a plumbing shop. Taking the company pick-up to Haughton was a highlight for me back in the day.
Actually, I've grown accustomed to the little weekenders on commercial airlines, but hopping on a private plane and flying deep into the Heart of Texas and being home in time for dinner is not something I do every day.
I remember the first time I had that experience. In 1984, I flew to Charleston, South Carolina and back on a charter to cover a football game. When my work was finished, I pulled out a map and shook my head in wonder at the distance I had traveled in a day. It was a foreign concept to me that I woke up in my bed, went that far and came back in time to sleep in my bed again. There's still a little of that left in me.
I went to Ft. Worth and spent some time inside Radio Shack's building. I met a lot of new people and actually ran into a lady who used to work in local television. She was the primary anchor at the local ABC too many years ago to comprehend. We know a lot of the same people and spent a significant amount of time reminiscing.
I had lunch in Dowtown Ft. Worth. With all due respect to George Strait, it's a place that had never really crossed my mind. It's really nice. I enjoyed myself. If this project I'm working on takes off, I'll probably be going back a few times. I'm really looking forward to it.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

She's Not A Spaniel

One-half of the happy couple has really put herself "out there" this week, playing Helena in a local production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The production was lively and well-done. The costumes and sets are remarkable. I was a little nervous for her at a certain point in Act One. Helena has a monologue, and she's on the stage alone with nowhere to hide.
We sat with our son, who seemed a little disconcerted watching his long-time girlfriend speak in rhyme and be bandied between two young on-stage suitors.
As Bill Shakespeare constructed this thing, the guys have had a spell cast on them and they are both in love (at least for a while) with Helena. She thinks they both hate her and are mocking her. She's in love with one, however, and admits that he could treat her like a spaniel and that would be okay with her.
I told my son he should start calling her "spaniel." I don't think he liked the idea at all. If he did, he would never admit it. Just kidding, of course.
We're proud of her. She was convincing and beautiful and remembered all her lines as far as we could tell. Plus, I think he was a little unnerved seeing two guys paw on her up there. It's good for him. Maybe he appreciates her a little more now.
In the end, Helena gets her man. Maybe it works out in real life, too.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

She Really Stepped in It

Michelle Obama 1
Originally uploaded by waiting line
Michelle Obama, who has a legitimate chance to be the next First Lady of the United States, may have just tripped herself up on the road to the White House.
She publicly said, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm proud of my country." She added that it is not becasue her husband is succeeding in Democratic primaries, but because she detects a yearning for change among the American people.
How can she not be proud of a country that has allowed her to go to an Ivy League school, to be wildly successful, to chase any dream?
How can she expect to represent this country when she has spent her entire life, until now, being something less than "proud?"
This was a major faux pas, in my little opinion, and this will haunt the Obamas all the way to November.
The Obama spin machine is a Tasmanian devil right now, offering this: "Of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldn’t be possible in any other nation on Earth. What she meant is that she’s really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who’ve never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement for change."
Okay, so that's what she meant. But, it's not what she said. The political waters are starting to boil.

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Monday, February 18, 2008


AP Photo by Alex Brandon
Originally uploaded by Darrell
LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is suspended from the team for "his failure to follow team rules," according to a news release from LSU's Sports Information Department..
Perrilloux has been a thorn in coaches' and fans' sides since signing day when he talk about supplanting returning quarterbacks. He's been in trouble for his activities in and around night clubs and casinos. He can't seem to attend meetings, go to class or generally be a consistent "team guy." This is a shame, because he is an extraordinarily talented athlete. He's the guy who has been expected to lead the offense of the reigning national champions for two more years.
If he doesn't figure out how to behave, he may be running circles around SWAC opponents before he knew what hit him.

Perrilloux started two games during LSU's BCS championship run, but missed the win over Alabama in the wake of his involvement in a brawl at a Baton Rouge nightclub.
The Tigers will start spring practice later this month, and it remains unclear whether Perrilloux will even be on campus.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thousands Down the Drain

Plenty of Pills
Originally uploaded by Darrell
These are the words racing through my mind as we clean out the medicine cabinet of my recently-deceased father-in-law. This represents about half of the medicine we are throwing away. Expired presciptions, current doesn't matter. Anything on which the seal has been broken is going away.
Somewhere, a dishonest drug broker is weeping, because this represents thousands of dollars which has been flushed away.
We don't share prescriptions. We will donate whatever we can to the interfaith pharmacy, but the remainder is already gone.
Such a waste. Such a shame.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!
Historical family photo by Darrell
My Man turns 18 today. I guess I can say "My Man" and mean it, because technically he's an adult now. He's still in the house, of course. We're still paying his bills, feeding him and providing health insurance. So, I'm not sure what 18 really means.

18 today
Originally uploaded by Darrell

He registered for Selective Service, so he can be forced into military service. He can't legally drink or go to bars, strip clubs or casinos.
I told him this morning that if he's arrested, the newspaper will print his mugshot.
18 seems like a big birthday, though, and this bright-eyed boy is just a memory.
I don't want to give anybody any ideas, but it still hangs inthe back of my mind that he and his girlfriend can run off and get married and there's nothing we can do about it.
Happy Birthday, anyway. Stay out of trouble.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This Right Here is a Shame

Josh Booty Mug Shot
Originally uploaded by
Josh Booty, one of the nicest guys I've met in sports, has had a terrible day. He has been arrested for DUI and got his head cracked has this mug shot from Orange County and reports "Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Booty was taken to the Orange County Jail, where he was booked -- and that's when he went ballistic.
O.C. Sheriff's spokesperson Jim Amormino tell TMZ, "Booty was belligerent and uncooperative." Amormino says his deputies used a taser -- "less than lethal force" -- to contain him.
After being tased, Josh fell to the ground, hitting his head on the floor and cracking it open. He was taken to a hospital where he was stitched up."

The Shreveport Times reports that Booty was charged and released. Booty was a two-sport superstar coming out of a Shreveport High School. He earned a then-record $1.6 million dollar signing bonus after being drafted by the Florida Marlins. He has a World Series ring and was once married to a Barker's Beauty from "The Price is Right."
He paid back most of that bonus and played quarterback at LSU, where he earned All-SEC honors. He was drafted by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and later latched on with the Cleveland Browns for a time. refers to him as a "Fox Sportscaster." I don't know what's going on there, but this is NOT Josh's finest moment.

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Left Eye Louie Meets the Mascot

Left Eye Louie and the Mascot
Originally uploaded by Darrell
It's time to transistion away from funeral coverage and back to every day Daddy D nonsense. I saw this photoand thought regular readers would appreciate it. It has sports, Idiot Me with yet another mascot, and a droopy left eye! See? Life goes on. There's also a work element in here, too because this is the mascot for Bossier Parish Community college where I am occasionally an adjunct faculty member.
BPCC's gym was packed for the "Battle for the Paddle," the grudge match between the Cavaliers and the hated Southern-Shreveport Port City Jags Since the Red River separates the campuses, the winner gets to keep the symbolic paddle. How the loser is supposed to get across the river without a paddle is beyond me, but that's a metaphor for another day....

It was a terrific game, fitting for a rivalry. The Cavaliers won in double overtime, 104-93.
The game photo above is borrowed from Shane bevel at The Times.

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Looking Back on the Last Few Days

Last Friday, my wife's father unexpectedly died. This has been quite a shock to everyone, to put it mildly. We did not have a traditional funeral, but instead celebrated Eucharist to honor his life and ministry. Knowing this would happen some day, Ken had planned his own service. He chose the readings, the prayers, the hymns and designated people for each role in the liturgy. His wish list created quite a geographic footprint. Only one person declined the honor, and it was because he recently had knee surgery and was unable to travel. The attendance was remarkable, a real tribute to Ken.
People are kind and thoughtful at times like this, and it reminds you that your friends are out there, even if you don't see them as much as you once did. Based on this ongoing experience, as well as others I have had along these lines, here are some random observations:

1) Prayer helps. It gives hope and comfort to those praying. Those for whom prayers are offered benefit greatly, even though they may not realize it at the moment.

2) A little take-out fried chicken goes a long, long way. In the first hours of the day following a death, Southerners have a tendency to heap fried chicken upon the family. Please call before you bring KFC or Church's or Popeye's or your momma's chicken. Chances are three or four people already beat you to the extra crispy finish line. The family is immensely grateful, but feels guilty about throwing out two-day-old fried chicken.

3) Food is excellent. Seek out the family spokesperson and find out specifically what is needed. Friends, family or chuch members probably have already arranged meals a couple of days out. So, bring a casserole or something that can be frozen for a week or so. In our case, snack mix and pick-up fruit went fast. Desserts are still sitting around.

4) If you ask for specifics about how you can help or what you can bring, be prepared to respond to any reasonable request. Two of the best offerings the family received over the last few days were specifically requested: cases of soft drinks and sacks of paper goods (bathroom tissue, napkins, paper towels, paper plates).

5) In keeping with the theme: don't assume you know what the family wants or needs. Ask. We had some extremely nice, well-intended people insisting we needed wine, etc. Well, we really didn't. We had no intention whatsoever of throwing a cocktail party. It might be your culture, but it's not necessarily someone else's. We are grateful, though. The same kind, generous "wine people" have been immensely supportive and helpful in many other ways.

6) Allow young people to deal with things as they choose. I am still affected by my relatives forcing me to view deceased loved ones when I was young. I prefered then and I prefer now to remember people as they lived, not as they lay in repose. In this particular case, there were a couple of teenagers who needed to get away from the crowds, be with friends, and-or just sleep a lot. Please do not force kids to grieve your way. They will find their own way.

7) Phone calls and visits are welcome, encouraged and appreciated. This will be especially true after a little time passes. If you call to express your condolences and the person you called for isn't made available to you, please respect that. There are bad moments. Without fail, someone takes it personally when they're asked to leave a message or come back later. This always floors me.

8) Gift certificates are great. My mother-in-law got a generous one from a local grocery/ restaurant. She was thrilled. She can redeem it when she needs an outing or to pick up something to bring home. That won't get thrown out.

9) I think most people say they don't want flowers because it seems superfluous. I have to tell you, we are happy some people didn't hear or chose to ignore our "no flowers" request. The venues in which we chose to greet visitors would have been stark without the flowers we got. Live plants may be better. We received several,and many of them will make it into my father-in-law's back yard as a living tribute to his memory.

10) The price of putting an obituary in the newspaper is obscene. I know they have to make money, but I thought it used to be a kind of community service. Maybe it was when the paper was locally owned. Don't let that price tag catch you off-guard. Prepare for it.

11) Don't be afraid to ask what happened. Telling the story is part of the healing process. The death of a loved one is a profound experience, and in my experience people are eager to talk about it as long as you're willing to listen. They appreciate your interest, as long as it's sincere. If it's not, they'll know.

12) Be a real friend and don't forget about the grieving family. The hard part comes when all the activities, which are largely confined to a few days after the death, come to a halt.

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Emissary Doves

Emissary Doves
Originally uploaded by Darrell
Hundreds of well wishers celebrated the life of Father Ken Cooper on Tuesday. A warm, loving tribute to his life and ministry lifted the family up. My wife and children, my mother-in-law, my sister-in law, and my niece are all grateful.
These doves showed up on my father-in-law's fence Monday evening. We watched them for a few minutes. I told my wife's sister that if the doves starting fighting, we would know it was her father and her grandfather letting us know everything's okay.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Thoughts on Ken Cooper

Ken Cooper Thanksgiving '07
Originally uploaded by Darrell
As the news of Ken's unexpected passing spreads, many people are offering expressions of sympahty and support. If there are any questions you have, or any comments you would like to pass along, you can reach me at
SInce there is no expectation that the comments will be published, I will post a couple of samples here which protect the privacy of the authors.
Thank you once again, on behalf of Ken's family, for all the wonderful tributes.

I would like to call your attention to the tribute paid to Ken by Morgan Allen. Scroll down two posts to read an excerpt.

" Ken Cooper is someone who forever changed my life. He approached me when I was a counselor at Camp Hardtner, in Pollock Louisiana over 17 years ago. I served as the youth director for about 8 years at St. Barnabas in Lafayette. Without his asking me to serve, without his noticing something that I couldn't see within myself, without his incredible patience and unconditional love, who knows what I would be doing now. Fr. Ken will always hold a very special place in my heart...."

"I had known him for many years and greatly admired and respected him. As rector of St. Barnabas, Lafayette, he befriended my son who was a student at USL. To this day my son talks often of his fondness for Ken."

"I remember how dear and loving Ken was when Daddy died. I can still hear his words 'That's (his body) not your father now. That's just what his soul used here while on Earth.' It changed the way I looked at dying. It took away the fear I had. And he gave my father a damn fine send off. Make sure Ken gets a similiar one, befitting the fine, decent, caring and loving man he was.
I'm sure my dad has already grabbed him by the arm and said 'Let me show you 'round the place..'"

"Ken was a very special man of God and he will be sorely missed. His good works will live long after him and make a difference in the lives of people for generations to come."

"I believe I met Ken one time---but honestly, through Claire, I've known him for nearly fourteen years. If our children are indeed a mirror of our souls, then Ken was surely one of the kindest, sweetest and gentle of God's children."

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ken Cooper Obituary

(Below this obituary, please read a powerful tribute to Fr. Cooper from Morgan Allen)

St. Mark's
Originally uploaded by Darrell
A Requiem Eucharist will be offered in thanksgiving for the life and ministry of the The Reverend Canon Robert K. (Ken) Cooper at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 at St. Mark's Cathedral, Shreveport.
The family will receive visitors from 5:00-7:00pm Monday, February 11 at Osborn Funeral Home, 3631 Southern Avenue in Shreveport and at the cathedral following the Tuesday Eucharist.
Father Cooper passed away Friday evening in Austin, TX of natural causes.
He is survived by his wife, Martha Annan Cooper of Shreveport; daughter Claire Rebouche and husband Darrell, also of Shreveport; daughter Ellen Cooper of Austin; grandchildren Christopher Rebouche, Madeleine Rebouche and Hannah Cooper.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Augustsus Stinson Cooper and Edythe Maricle Cooper of Ft. Worth, TX. He and Martha were married on August 29, 1959
He was born July 14, 1936 was educated in Ft. Worth public schools before graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He was Executive Vice President of First Federal Savings and Loan in Shreveport before dedicating his life to the priesthood.
His ministry led him to the Church of the Epiphany in New Iberia, LA where he served as rector. He also became rector at St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Shreveport and at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Lafayette, LA. He served as Dean of the Convocation of Acadiana and as Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana.
He was instrumental in the formation of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Medical Ministry, which serves the Shreveport Convocation.
Memorial offerings should be made to the St. Luke’s Ministry, in care of St. Mark’s Cathedral.
More information posted below.

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A Powerful Remembrance

The Reverend Morgan Allen, rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Lafayette, remembered Father Ken Cooper during his Sunday sermon. Ken preceded Morgan as the priest at St. Barnabas. Here is an exceprt from Fr. Allen's powerful message:
The first time Ken and Martha Cooper visited Saint Barnabas after I came here, I told the story of the common paths he and I had taken in the ministry of The Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana. It had come to pass in those days that I went to be married at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Shreveport, and wound up serving as a Lay Chaplain to the Cathedral School and a Lay Assistant to the Dean. On my first Sunday there my heart sank when I realized that I did not have any vestments to wear. Embarrassed, I thumbed through clergy sacristy closet before first daylight, coming across an alb with the initials “R.K.C.” written in a distinctive hand across the tag. The alb fit.

Five years later, after seminary and after ordination, I started service at Saint Matthias in Shreveport. I was proud, then, to have received brand spanking new vestments from the Cathedral as a graduation gift, a gift that Missy had neatly pressed the night before and that I promptly left hanging on the doorframe of our bedroom on the morning of my first Sunday. So again thumbing through a sacristy closet in the dark before dawn, I came across an alb with the now familiar “R.K.C.” initials scrawled across its tag. Fr. Cooper, who had served as a Canon to the Ordinary and kept office at Saint Mark’s, and who had served as Curate and Rector at Saint Matthias, again had rescued me. Naturally, when I came to Saint Barnabas I didn’t even bother bringing my vestments in, trusting that he had left an alb behind for me to wear. But oh, gracious, he left behind so much more.

Within hours of my e-mail to the parish (alerting members to Fr. Cooper's illness), I received replies from as far away as Raleigh, North Carolina; Tappahannock, Virginia; and Gainesville, Florida; all reassurances of prayer and concern for Ken and for the Cooper family. As I visited on the phone with members of this parish family, again and again and again I would hear a gasp as someone caught their breath, or in a trembling voice shared with their husband or bride or child the terrible news of Ken’s condition. This was not simply a passing acquaintance who had taken ill, this was family: a treasured father and brother and friend, and the grief was immediately heavy.

After word of Fr. Cooper’s death was shared yesterday, the emails continued to come through the morning. Some messages were short: “I loved him and I will miss him,” reading as though they had spilled out of someone’s heart and into their keyboard because there was simply nowhere else for the urgent grief to go. Some messages were written with the description and vitality of novellas, telling favorite stories about Ken and Martha, about their girls, or their grandkids, or their dogs, or his trees.

One story, from a member of the Search Committee who would call Fr. Cooper to Saint Barnabas, remembered that during their interview with him, he more interviewed the Committee than did they question him. One poignant question in particular was recalled, when Ken asked the Committee, “If Saint Barnabas blew away tomorrow, would anyone other than its members notice?”

It is difficult to lose a person who loves us, and because Robert Kenwood Cooper loved so many and loved them so thoroughly, there are many among us who are hurting and hurting deeply. He was always proud of us, a patron saint of the parish who continued to celebrate our successes as though they were his own – which in no small measure they were and will continue to be. And when I say “us,” I mean everyone who knew him and all those who did not – after he visited Saint Barnabas in 2005 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he told me over his cane, “Morgan, there were more people in church than I could count that I couldn’t recognize. That is so wonderful. I just love ‘em for being there.” Rather than grieve a sense of disconnection, he celebrated the ongoing life of the community he had served, and served so faithfully.

The ministry Fr. Cooper shared with the people of this parish and this community of Acadiana was never about the next bigger church that would call him, or the bigger paycheck he would soon enjoy, or the local prestige he would acquire – the ministry he shared here was about the love of Jesus Christ he had come to know powerfully in his own life, and that he was excited to share with every child of God the Lord set in his path. I’m here to tell you, people of God, he loved you. He loved everyone here, whether he knew you well or did not know you at all, because he understood that as the Body of Christ we are all made one in the same family.

I believe the rhythm of Jesus’ wilderness experience testifies to the rhythm this parish family has kept this week. Just last Wednesday ashes were pressed into our foreheads, and we acknowledged our brokenness to ourselves, to one another, and to our God. That Ash Wednesday experience humbles us. And then on Thursday evening, during our regular service of anointing, perfumed oil was pressed into our foreheads where the ashen cross had been only a day before. Those prayers for healing comfort us. I pray and I trust that the hearts grieving Father Cooper’s death will find anointing and healing in the days ahead. I pray that the angels who came and waited on Jesus after his temptations will come and wait on Martha and Ken’s many friends and family. I pray during this Lenten journey we might even be angels for one another, holding up our brothers and sisters in Christ through the hurt and weakness we all bear.

As difficult as it is for us to accept the fundamental truth of our human nature, a truth which Ken’s death now embosses for us, let us not sink our hearts beneath the sod of any graveyard. Instead, let us set our hopes on the grander truth that Ken now knows fully: that Jesus Christ has trampled death, and calls us not simply to this life, but to abundant life, everlasting life in the near company of God and all the saints in light. Ken, Morgan, and Martha are pictured together, on the right side of the frame, in this group photo from St. Barnabas.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ken Cooper Memorials

The Family is asking that donations in memory of Ken Cooper be made to the St. Luke's Episcopal Medical Minstry.
Contributions can be made care of St. Mark's Cathedral in Shreveport.
Please be sure to make a notation that your donation is earmarked for St. Luke's.
The funeral is Tuesday at 1:00pm at St. Mark's.
Other information is posted below.

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Services Set

Ken Cooper
Originally uploaded by Darrell
A Memorial service for Ken Cooper will be held Tuesday at 1:00pm at St. Mark's.
Visitation will be Monday evening from 5:00-7:00pm at Osborn Funeral Home...3631 Southern Avenue in Shreveport.
Questions? E-mail to

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Father Cooper

Father Ken Cooper
Originally uploaded by Darrell
Ken passed away Friday evening about 7:00pm. This was sudden and unexpected. His family is grateful for the support the church has shown and will continue to show in the days and weeks ahead.
God called him home from his favorite place, Austin. Ken and Martha have a home there, as well as their house in Shreveport.
Ken loved the hill country, the bluebonnets, the Longhorns and just about everything else about Austin.
As arrangements are made, we will post them here.
Please pray for Martha, their daughters and their grandchildren as they begin to understand what happened.
Services will definitely be at St. Mark's. Martha is hoping to arrange something for Tuesday. Check back here for updates.------
Martha and Claire will be home Saturday evening. Ellen is expected to be in Shreveport on Sunday. -DR

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Ken Cooper Condition Update

Father Ken Cooper
Originally uploaded by Darrell
For the next several days, the usual operations of this weblog will be suspended so that we can update friends about the condition of my father-in-law, who is gravely ill.
Early Friday morning, Father Cooper fell at his home in Austin. He has been struggling with chronic, debilitating back pain. This was not the first time he had fallen, so the event itself was not unusually alarming. He was helped to bed and began sleeping comfortably.
When he awakened, he was altered. His wife and daughter took him to a hospital, where tests revealed he had suffered a brain bleed.
His condition deteriorated through the course of the day. As of 5:30pm, he is unresponsive in intensive care.
His wife and daughters are with him.
We ask for your prayers for Ken's recovery, as well as for comfort for those who love him.
This page will be updated as developments in Ken's condition warrant.
If you have questions, you can e-mail me at My e-mail forwards to my phone, so I will be able to respond promptly.
Thank you for your care and concern.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Draft Day for Colleges

This is one of the busiest days of the year for media types who cover high school and college sports. It's national signing day, the first day football players who are seniors in high school can formally commit to a college. The local stud is Khiry Cooper, a three-sport star at Calvary Baptist Academy, who has decided to go to Nebraska. He is expected to play wide receiver and outfielder for the Cornhuskers. This is a big recruiting coup for our pals in Lincoln.
This is always an exciting day, because it's filled with hope. Parents are celebrating because their sons are getting scholarships. Student athletes are excited because their hard work and commitment are affirmed. Fans are excited because they think they have a handle on who their teams' future stars will be.

Most Won't get Scholarships
Originally uploaded by Daddy D.
It's also a day of disappointment for many, because substantially more athletes don't get any kind of offers. Those are the ones who are sitting around, seeing what falls through the cracks. The athletes and their parents have made commitments to the sport, also. Maybe they're just not big enough, just not fast enough, just not quick enough to play college football. Now, Mom and Dad have to cobble together something to make college happen. Maybe the kid walks on. Maybe he walks away from football.
Those stories rarely get covered. Sports stories are tales of triumph and achievement, and those are the strories you will see today and tomorrow as National Signing Day is chronicled across the country.

Byrd - Shreve, originally uploaded by Daddy D.

LSU picked up 26 commitments, and is considered to have one of the top 10 recruiting classes in the nation.

LSU megaphones
Originally uploaded by Daddy D.

That's great, but it's slightly disappointing to some fans. After all, the Tigers are the only program to have won the BCS championship twice. LSU's status in the college football heirarchy should arguably attract a top 2 or 3 class. It's all art, not science. Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley summed up well, when talking about his recruiting class of 16: “We’re very pleased with the quality of players we got in this year’s class,” said Dooley. “However, the final analysis on how productive this class will be will be measured four years from now.”

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm Pulling for Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee
Originally uploaded by Guy as in Gee
Welcome to Super Tuesday, apparently my last opportunity to share this story while it has any relevance. I'm pulling hard for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign to continue. I might not completely agree with him politically or theologically, but he is the only presidential candidate I've seen in his or her underwear.
Huckabee lived in a nearby city for ten years. When he decided to enter the political arena, he had to make campaign commercials. So, he came by the TV station at which I was working to put together a low-budget ad.
He wore jeans and a casual shirt for the drive, and brought his suit along. He was changing in the restroom when nature called me. I arrived just as he was changing from his denim into his dress pants.
He stood there in his tee shirt, addressed me by name (apparently, he was a viewer) and introduced himself. We made men's room small talk. I went back to work. He went on to win the election.
He won't win this one, but maybe he'll get on the ticket as a running mate. Then, when a reporter needs the answer to the question "Boxers or briefs?," I'll be the guy with the answer.

Our man is alive and kicking. CNN reports he won West Virginia. No doubt the Daddy D bump helped.
AP Photo, Fox News graphic
Update 2: Huckabee surpised a lot of experts by winning several southern states. Hhe's still alive for the Republican nomination, sort of. I said he won't win this election; but never underestimate the power of the Daddy D. bump!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

A Giant Empty Feeling

NY Times photo by Doug Mills
Originally uploaded by darebouche
The New York Giants are Super Bowl champions, and Eli Manning was the game's most valuable player. I should be excited about this.
We saw Eli in a couple of Independence Bowls when he was at Ole Miss. He's a Louisiana guy and he played in the SEC. The story line of the Manning brothers winning consecutive Super Bowls while earning MVP honors is one for the ages.
I admit that the game-winning drive and Manning's amazing scramble on third down to keep it alive are the stuff of football legend.
As a football fan, I should be happy that the NFL's champions are not tainted by a cheating scandal, as the Patriots might have been in the wake of "spygate."
Veteran linebacker Michael Strahan gets his championship. He's one of the nice guys. I should be happy for him like apparently everyone was for John Elway when he finally got his rings with the Denver Broncos. I guess I am.
For me, as a Dallas Cowboys' fan, it's difficult to celebrate. This is a division rival and the team that knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs. I've spent a lifetime hating the Giants. (Not as much as I hate the Redskins, and not even in the same universe with the Eagles).
So, I'll take a little time to let the emotions subside and I'm sure I'll be happy to have watched one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Instead of the Parade.....

it was a great concert!
Originally uploaded by uksrb003
There's a Big Show in town tonight and we're going. Country music legend Reba McEntire and the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, are touring together and they're here.
It was a spur of the moment decision. We had no plans to go, but we were near the arena when the box office opened today and there were a few hundred tickets available. So, what the heck?
I guess I have to check my manhood at the door; but a couple of Grammy winners together on the same stage isn't something that happens every day.
I kind of thought this show would be a tough sell around here. There's a major Mardi Gras parade tonight, and it seems like everybody goes to those things. But, thanks to walk-ups like us, the concert is sold out.
I've certainly put in my time. In fact, we used to have reserved parking spots. The kids go on their own now, and we're not big party people. So, the parades have lost their sizzle for us. I hope everybody has a good time.
Because we bought our concert tickets on the day of the show, our seats are pretty lousy. We're going for the music, though. So, as long as we can hear I'm good.
Tomorrow, I will engage in manly activities such as cursing during the Super Bowl to even things out.
Update: I have to be honest. The show was really good. I was kind of disappointed when it ended.

Kelly, Melissa & Reba
Originally uploaded by springbreakheifer

A comedienne, who co-starred in McEntire's TV show, named Melissa opened with a 20-minute set and she was very funny. She had a spot in the concert, too.
Neither Clarkson nor McEntire ever left the stage, and they usually sang together, performing each other's songs. One thing I never thought I'd see: Reba McEntire doing back-up vocals on an angry rock song. She did, dancing back there and hitting all the harmonies on "Never Again."
Not only that, we upgraded our location. We got invited into one of the luxury boxes. A great show and a private bathroom! What more could you want?
I'll start warming up for Super Bowl cussing now.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Daddy D in the Movies?

Breaking news: I got a call from a casting agency today. They were hoping I might have an interest in being an extra in a movie being shot locally. It's called "Midnight Man." Here's all I can find out about it: "Project Greenlight" winner Marcus Dunstan is onboard to direct the story of a man confronted with a kidnapping situation after he breaks into the home of his employer.
The casting guy who called me said it's a low-budget horror movie. How appropriate is that for my big-screen debut?
He said Dunstan saw my photo and said "That's exactly the guy I'm looking for." I asked "What was it he was looking for?" The answer was "A kind of non-descript middle-aged business type."
Wow! Somebody throw a bucket of ice water on me.
I contacted our go-to guy on projects like this, Times Entertainment reporter Alex Kent. He had information and advice:
I know who’s making it: Dimension Films (a Weinstein production unit) and Neo Art & Logic (an effects-driven production co.). It’s based at Mansfield Studios, and I assume it’s a horror/thriller project. The team of filmmakers (has) made four films here – two sequels each for “Pulse” and “Feast” – so they know what’s what.
Of course, don’t be surprised if your day stretches very long, especially if they are shooting effects or if they are on location. That’s just a standard, so drink plenty of water and bring a book.
Do not, however, bring a camera. (I’m sure you know this.) Almost all productions frown upon this. You might see extras taking pics, but it’s generally just uncool. Bring a book instead and find a comfy chair in the extras holding area. You’ll be doing a lot of hurrying up and waiting.
If you’re lucky, however, they’ll apply some fake blood on your brow or turn you into some random murder victim. For extras work, that’s always fun.

I guess if Alex is right, I won't be so non-descript. Just for point of reference, this is the photo they saw. Some things, I guess, speak for themslves. See you at the movies.

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Super Bowl Tension

Super Bowl essay
Originally uploaded by darebouche
Super Bowl weekend is here, and so I must force myself to notice my daughter. I know this because she composed an essay years ago entitled "Why I Hate the Superbowl."
It reads, "My mom & dad yel so much and it hurts my ears. I don't understand it. My brother gets me in troble because my dad is trighing to listen. They don't pay Iny atinchin to me."
Fair Enough. Of course, now that she's 16, she probably won't even be around. In fact, I believe she is scheduled to work at the Italian Place during the game.
If she does grace us with her presence, I will be sure to pay atinchin to her. She always was a good speller.

Update: Of course, it was a slow night at The Italian Place. She said they had about 12 customers in four hours. Finally, they surrendered to The Super Bowl and closed early. As I predicted, she did not watch the game with us. She had a better offer. She never pays Iny atinchin to me anymore. You reap what you sow, I guess.

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