ForgiveThe Divine and Human Side of Forgiveness

©2017 Bill Murphy

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.       Isaiah 43:25

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32

It’s said that we should forgive and forget. True, we should. But the forgetting part is what we find most difficult, and rightly so. There’s a vast difference between Divinity and Humanity. Mankind simply was not wired for selective forgetfulness.

Few of us come to God at His first call. Often there’s a period of intense conviction when our heart is being prepared for surrender. If we were endued with the ability to willingly blot out (forget) those early guilt-pangs of conviction, it would greatly enhance our efforts to reject God’s calling! So, in God’s great mercy, He’s thankfully not wired our hearts and minds with the ability of selective forgetfulness! Praise God! (This works to HIS and OUR advantage!)

However, we do forget. We just find it next to impossible to selectively forget!

From my understanding of true forgiveness (Godly forgiveness) – the iniquity is forgiven and forgotten. (See Isaiah 43:25 above). It’s just as if the iniquity had never happened. Therefore, from the Divine standpoint, remembrance serves no purpose what so ever. Think about it.

However, from humanity’s standpoint, remembrance does serve an important purpose. Remembrance serves a useful purpose in the righteousness ledger – such as remembering the goodness and mercies of God. It also serves a righteous purpose on the unrighteous side of the ledger! Isn’t that just like God to use the ‘bad’ for His good!

When we say we truly forgive, our forgiveness is not always genuine. We may sincerely believe it is, but deep down, in the remote recesses of our spirit, tiny vestiges of hurt and disappointment sometimes remain. Remembrance is the rain which waters these tiny seeds, allowing them to bloom into full grown un-forgiveness. We need to be made aware of this all-to-human shortcoming – so that we might correct it!

I believe that remembrance is an internal barometer which highlights the truth (or not) of true forgiveness.

Important truth – Remembrance has absolutely no effect on true forgiveness. But remembrance can have an adverse effect upon unforgiveness.

Remembrance helps us to be aware of our own short-comings. When we want to forgive and when we think that we’ve forgiven, but remembrance stirs up something that ought not to be – remembrance us a spiritual warning to get our heart back in order!

So don’t be discouraged when you can’t forget – and sincerely want to. God made us that way!




Just Call Me…

The following short piece is yet another Little Egypt Writer’s Society writing challenge. Our subject assignment was NICKNAMES.


Just Call Me    © 2017 Bill Murphy

If nothing else, I’m well documented.

My first documentation being the hospital birth certificate issued minutes after my birth. The second, my official State of Mississippi birth certificate, followed by the certificate issued for my very first day of Sunday School at Grace Methodist Church on Winter Street in Jackson. And, yes, I still have them, as well as my one and only Social Security Card issued in 1953.

The list goes on and on from there.

If ever my identity needs to be changed, someone is in for a LOT of paperwork! And that’s just for my official (legal) name.

That official name is William Hendrix Murphy, Jr., after my father, who was named after his Great-Grandfather, William Hendrix. In reference to the Hendrix name, my Dad went by ‘Hendrix,’ shortened by his family to ‘HINX.’ My mother chose “Billy’ for me, and so it was, for the next dozen and a half years.

The family Hendrix/Murphy name brought on my first nickname. ALL of the relatives in Carthage, even to this day, call me BILLY HENDRIX. When I graduated from high school, one of my Carthage aunts gave me an engraved key chain – engraved with the initials B.H.M. I still have that too.

I really messed up the records for the Jackson Public School System during high school. In the 10th grade, I was still ‘Billy.’ In the 11th I went formal with ‘William.’ And then back to informal with ‘Bill’ in the 12th.

I picked up two nicknames during my 1967 to 2001 years with Jitney Jungle, both of which have endure to this very day. We always considered ourselves over-worked and under-paid in the advertising department. If nothing else, EVERYTHING was ALWAYS on a TIGHT deadline. It was stressful.

BreakThe smokers went outside to smoke to relieve their stress. I never smoked. But in a bottom drawer, I kept a small model airplane (under construction) and a few basic modeling tools. While they smoked, I cut balsa wood. One day, Mr. McCarty came in, not at all happy with my stress-relieving activity. He blared something like, “If you don’t put that airplane away and get back to work, you’re name’s gonna to be Mudd! And it was, from that day forward.

Oh, that – and Murf. I still answer to Mudd, Murf, William, Billy, Bill, and Billy Hendrix, and hey you.

You can basically call me anything. But just be sure to call me for lunch!




© 2017 Bill Murphy

Carol and I had the most amazing courtship that one can imagine. It was unusual in more ways than one. As things have turned out over the years, our lives together continue to be both amazing and unusual. Both of these qualities are fraught with writer-material.

It was a second marriage for both.

Fortunately (for me) my first marriage produced no children. The same can’t be said for fertile Carol. She had two toddlers, Liz and Tricia.


When we met she was separated from her first husband – and in the process of divorce. Obviously there was more going on in their rocky marriage than just fussing and fighting. As the divorce papers were being signed, she received the unexpected news that she was pregnant with her 3rd – Lois.

A few weeks later while on a double date, the other girl in our group just happened to be Carol’s sister, Mary Ellen. I didn’t even know that Mary Ellen had a sister.

That night she commented that I might like to meet her sister. Why not? A soon-to-be-divorcee with 2 toddlers – and one on the way? Hey, you said MEET her, not MARRY her! Famous last words.

That weekend I met Carol, pooch belly and all. The next day I was introduced to Liz and Tricia. Before the week was out, Carol and I were talking marriage!

But first, there was this small ‘issue‘ concerning baby number 3.

Soon the divorce was finalized. The ex-husband all but rode off into the sunset. We hardly heard a peep out of him. We set the date for Valentine’s Day.

I took Carol to church with me, and proudly introduced her to my pastor, S. W. Valentine. “This is Carol, my pregnant girl-friend.” Hey, it was the truth! Much to Carol’s chagrin, I used the “pregnant girl-friend” line a lot. I received a deep, satisfying pleasure in using such a shadowy, shameful line in such a totally innocent and honorable manner.

Carol must have enjoyed pregnancy, or maybe her doctor charged by days-of-pregnancy. Liz was 2 weeks overdue. Tricia had been 3+ weeks overdue. Lois broke the record. It got to the point where in calculating the time we met and adding the usual 9 months gestation period – I was beginning to look like the guilty daddy.

We moved the wedding back.

There are dozens of old-wives-tales on how to induced labor. Believe me, none of them work. We tried. Carol drank yucky concoctions that would make a virgin go into labor – but nothing. She tried physical exercise. Nada. Concentration didn’t help, even with me helping. Day after day we failed to launch Lois from of Carol’s belly. The kid was obviously happy where she nested.


The car I drove at this time was a 1968 Dodge Charger – a real ‘muscle car.’ We’re taking Dukes of Hazard Dodge Charger. It had magnesium wheels, wide-oval tires, and an 8 track tape deck. That car could MOVE!

Late one night, when the city streets were deserted, we took the Charger down on South State. There’s a railroad crossing not far from the south end of State. The track sits higher than the street, so the street’s elevated, RAMP-LIKE, to make it level with the tracks.

We hit that crossing going at least 90, all 4 wheels leaving the ground. It was a flight worthy of the Dukes. We even tried it from the opposite direction. But alas, even that didn’t dislodge Lois.

“She’ll come when she’s ready,” said the doctor.

She finally arrived, 5 weeks overdue. And like the others before her, when she came, she was READY! I got the call at home, around 1 AM. “Come quickly,” I was told. I was needed to baby-sit the other two while Carol was rushed to the hospital. Expecting a long delivery time, I settled myself comfortable on her mother’s sofa. Before I had time to hardly close my eyes, the phone rang. “It’s a girl.”

Our 4th, Molly, was also late in coming, but not nearly as late as Lois. But her actually delivery time was even faster.

Carol had a “standard” late-term check at her doctor’s office that day. I was at work, so Carol’s sister took her to the doctor. Just about the time I was preparing to go to lunch, I got a call from ME. “Come to the hospital. Carol’s in labor!” Before my lunch hour was over, Molly arrived! I barely made it to the hospital.

I told you that our lives have been amazing and unusual. Why just this past week…




Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 11.04.48 AM© 2017 Bill Murphy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s no small wonder that I survived childhood. Those “Don’t try this a home” warnings only made us want to try it all the more!

Even with running the risk of being investigated by the FBI, ATF, AEC, and LSMFT – I’ll relate this story of how I (and my neighborhood pal and partner in crime, Jay Tolar) built – and exploded, a rather impressive Hydrogen Bomb in his back yard.

OK, I’ll admit it – Jay was the real ‘brains’ behind this undertaking.

Jay lived one block over, on Winter Street. His Dad was a radio/TV repairman, and had a quite impressive radio/TV shop in his backyard garage – filled with all manner of exotic things both electrical and electronic. Of course, it was ‘off-limits’ to us. But to 12 year olds, ‘off-limits’ actually meant ‘just don’t get caught.’

We had no access to items radio-active, unless you counted the recently repaired and now working Crosley Portable Radio sitting on the shelf in Mr. Tolar’s shop. (That radio was now ‘active.’ Get it?)

Jay and I built our bomb using the everyday and very plentiful items HYDROGEN and OXYGEN – the two ingredients which make up common WATER! Thanks to the excellent teaching of the Jackson Public School System, we knew how to separate common tap water into hydrogen and oxygen. We had also learned (in school) that hydrogen BURNS – and that oxygen SUPPORTS combustion! Yes, we paid attention in school.

Our ‘factory’ which did the work of breaking down our water into hydrogen and oxygen was a simple quart Mason Jar. This same Mason Jar also served as out bomb casing.

Not wanting to give our great grand kids too much information on how to blow their heads off, I’ll just say that our ‘bomb’ was one evil step beyond a simple class-room experiment in electrolysis. And because we intended to build a bomb, and because bombs are supposed to ‘go boom,’ we really didn’t want to blow our own heads off either.

Using a post hole digger, we dug a really deep hole in which to place our little home-made, back-yard, Hydrogen Bomb. This way, we reasoned, the blast would go UP. So what if we punched a hole in a cloud?

We buried our bomb that afternoon. Early the next morning and before school, we turned on the current to begin the hydrogen/oxygen separation process. It merrily made hydrogen and oxygen all day long! We could hardly wait to get home.

Jay had access (when we didn’t get caught) to a large timer. We disconnected the wiring from the Hydrogen/Oxygen separation circuit, and transferrer it over to the Detonation Circuit, and attached these leads to the timer. We set the timer for 60 seconds, and crouched safely beside the garage – not really knowing WHAT to expect.

What happened was far more than we’d expected. All that was missing was the familiar mushroom cloud – and the unhealthy dose of radioactivity.

What we had instead was a very, very tall/vertical cloud/column of mud, dirt, glass, wire, grass, and probably quite a few earthworms. Oh, and the earth shook. It really shook. It was probably quite loud too. It was a few minutes before our hearing returned.

Jay’s mother came running from the back door, her mouth wide as if in a scream. As our hearing slowly returned, her screaming only intensified. I decided it was best that I mosey on home. Exit, stage right.

Amazingly, the hole was not all that much larger, but I do believe it was deeper.

Only once more was I ever that close to a really big explosion. That was the time I emptied a full can of Carbide into the sewer drain not long after a good rain. When I threw the match in after it, the blast actually raised the man-hole cover in the middle of Evergreen St. high enough to see light beneath it. Now that blast was LOUD!



© 2017 Bill Murphy

My family has a long history of spiritual/ghostly encounters, and this somewhat spooky event is perhaps the most unusual – and the most delicious!

Pie 2

To most folks, they’re known as CHESS PIE. Mama Murphy, my Dad’s mother, called hers CORNMEAL PIE. Excuse the pun, but they really were ‘to die for!’ Her always from scratch Cornmeal Pies were the hit of every gathering.

Sadly, Mama Murphy passed away in the late 70s, as did her recipe! It wasn’t many months after her passing when cooks of the Murphy Family suddenly realized that no one had a copy of Mama Murphy’s recipe for this delicious Cornmeal Pie.

A futile search was made for the recipe, but none could be found. Mama Murphy had no need of a written recipe – for it was firmly engraved on her heart and mind – just as the sweet taste of that pie was solidly engraved upon our collective memories. For months, cooks of the family got their heads together to recreate the recipe. Dozens of version were attempted and rejected, but none produced the results that Mama Murphy achieved with each and every one of her pies. This failure was a major disappointment.

Perhaps a year had passed since the last Cornmeal Pie failure. And then one night, my mother had a dream.

In her dream, she was in Carthage, as she’d been so many times before. She was in the kitchen with Mama Murphy. And in her dream, she asked Mama Murphy to bake a Cornmeal Pie. And in this dream, my mother observed closely, taking note of each and every step, each and every item, and each and every amount of those elusive items. My mother was recording in her heart and mind the recipe that Mama Murphy kept recorded in her heart and mind. When Mother awoke, she wrote down what she had witnessed in the dream. And then she baked one. And yes, it was ‘the one’ and only – Mama Murphy’s Cornmeal Pie!




2 egg yolks                  1 C. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla               3 heaping tsp. cornmeal

3/4 C. butter

Beat butter, sugar and eggs. Then add meal and vanilla. Bake in uncooked 8” lined pastry pan until thickened. Add stiffly beaten egg whites and 5 tablespoons sugar and brown. From my experience, I cook over a slow flame until well mixed and begins to bubble. Stirring almost constantly, raise flame a little and continue until mixture thickens or is done. At same time, bake pie shell. Empty into shell and brown.



Remembered Treasures

© 2017 Bill Murphy

The following was written to be presented at the 66th Annual Murphy Family Reunion to be held in a few weeks in Carthage, Mississippi.

I was born in 1941, 10 months before Pearl Harbor. Although the world was in chaos and turmoil during my childhood years, I was too young to understand it – and too sheltered to be affected by it. I was blessed. I believe that my sister and I had the happiest childhoods of any kids ever. Money doesn’t buy happiness – but love and family supply those blessings in boundless measure.

Our family lived on a quiet and peaceful little street in south Jackson. From the time I was born until I’d finished high school, only one house on our end of the block changed hands. Now that’s stability! Such was my childhood. My mother’s parents lived next door to us. But to visit Dad’s parents – Mama and Papa Murphy, was a drive of around an hour. Dad wasn’t known for driving slow.

In the happy days of the 1940s, there were no interstate highways, no Highway 25 cutting diagonally across the state – and the Natchez Trace was still mostly in its original state, a simple walking trail. To get to Carthage we drove north on US 51, (the first part of which was North State Street in Jackson) and on to Canton, where we turned right onto Hwy 16 and on into Carthage. We made the trip OFTEN, at least ever 4 to 6 weeks. Dad loved his parents, and I loved visiting with them!

In a closet in the front room Mama Murphy had a box filled with ‘toys’ for us ‘cherubs’ as she referred to us small fry. Few if any of these toys were store bought. I remember jars of buttons, and dozens of blocks of wood and empty sewing thread spools. I’m not convinced we’re doing right by our children today by giving them battery powered and electronic toys that DO EVERYTHING for them. Mama Murphy’s box of goodies compelled us to CREATE – and by that I mean – we first learned to build upon our God given ability of IMAGINATION – simply because we had to. And then with our imagination, we made those common objects to be we wanted them to be. Using nothing more than an empty spool, a couple of matchsticks, a rubber band, and a dab of wax – Mama Murphy taught us how to make TANKS which crawled across the floor, and even over things!


I can’t say enough about the old China Berry Tree. I thought it was the most wonder tree on earth. It was our treehouse which needed no re-modeling. It became a fortress, a sailing ship, a jungle, anything that our minds could conjure. We spent hours in that old tree. And I can’t remember anyone ever falling from it. It was so EASY to climb. The berries of the tree were greasy inside. And the branches were basically hollow, filled with pith, much like marrow in a bone. The older boys, using nothing more than pieces of branches and berries, made GUNS which would shoot those tiny little berries down a stick-barrel – hard enough to hurt! We though those were the most amazing things.

I don’t remember the year, but later on the children of Mama and Papa insisted that they join the modern age by updating their kitchen, and adding a bathroom. Up until then, she cooked on a cast-iron wood-burning stove, and they (and visitors like us) used the outhouse out back. They was no Charmin Tissue in the privy – it was old Sears and Roebuck catalogs! As a young boys, we’d feel real naughty peeking at the underwear ads.

The outhouse sat away from the house, and slightly downhill, for sanitation reasons. To get there you had to go through a gated fence. You always had to remember to close and latch the gate, because this part of the back yard was also the chicken yard. Chickens were valuable. They supplied eggs – and Sunday dinner. This latched gate helped teach me RESPONSIBILITY. We cherubs had a saying, religiously repeated at each passing through the gate, The last one through knows what to do!

The outhouse did NOT sit over a septic tank. It was a far cry from a modern porta-potty. Things septic simply fell to the ground, under the outhouse – in full view and access to the chickens! And believe it or not, when Mama Murphy made chicken (giblet) gravy, she included the (well-washed I hope) chicken feet – in one long piece, knee to toes. Ray and I would take a foot from the gravy, peel back the leg skin to gain access to the tendons which controlled the toes – and made the feet grasp and claw at our female cousins. Nightmare On Elm Street was years away, so we created it at the dinner table, much to our cousins horror.

Old Barn Color copy 2

The old barn was our secret hideout, our gym, and our year-round playground. Ray taught me how to get to the barn barefoot in Winter without our feet freezing. You simply stepped from one fresh cow-pile to the next!

Inside, the barn was 2 stories high, the top floor being a large open loft. At ground level there was a dirt floor ‘hallway’ down the middle, with stalls on both sides. The loft began just at the rear the wall of the front stall, making that stall open to the loft area. Cotton seed, used for animal feed, was stored in this stall. We used the cotton seed as if it were water, and the stall was our swimming pool. We’d jump, dive, flip, and fall into the cotton seed below. Oh what fun we had. And – we’re alive today to tell about it.

There was a small creek which ran back aways behind Ray’s house. It was our private swimming hole. No girl’s allowed. We never bothered with swimsuits. We never bothered (or bothered with) the snakes either – which seemed to always be there. The swimming area was a wallowed out basin no more than 8 feet wide and perhaps 10 or 12 feet long. On the north end, ray had rigged a short diving board. Many a time we had to wait to make our dive, until a snake swam out of the way! How did we ever survive childhood?

Off to the west and behind Papa and Mama Murphy’s house was another pond, not on their property, not belong to them. But (according to Ray) we had permission to swim there. This pond was much, much larger. One summer, Ray built a small raft, hardly large enough to hold two small boys. Mama Murphy gave us an old sheet, and we erected a sail for the raft. Of course, we could only make it sail one way – with the wind – and we had to dog-paddle it back to the start line to repeat a down wind trip. It was while swimming IN THE BUFF at this pond one day, that our female cousins paid a surprise visit, and discovered us in the pond! All of our clothes were laying on the bank. Yes, they did. Those girls tied our clothes in knots, and retreated, laughing their heads off.

East of Mama and Papa’s on old 16, before you make the turnoff to Goshen Church, there’s a small bridge crossing Pollard Creek. I was told as a kid that this bridge was haunted! The story said that years before, a car ran off the road and into the creek, and that the bodies were never recovered. (Yeah, sure!) But I believed the story, and was always glad to get safely across Pollard Creek – even in the daytime!

I remember Mama Murphy’s to die for cornmeal pie. And when she baked ‘from-scratch’ sugar cookies, all the cherubs gathered around like hungry dogs around the dinner table – and she kept us filled with those delicious raw scraps. The raw eggs we were consuming never did harm us! After all, they were fresh!

One thing I’ve never understood about that old house. Off the kitchen and to the right of the back door, was a narrow walk-in pantry. The door was always kept closed. But even during the heat of summer, and with NO air-conditioning in the house, you could walk into that pantry and it would feel 10 or 15 degrees cooler! Even today, I can’t explain that.

I remember when Victor and Nell were dating. They took Ray and I with them to the movie one night. For what ever reason, they had to make a side trip out to Uncle Herman’s. I suppose that the young lover’s wanted to stretch out their time together that night, because I don’t believe that Victor got the car over 15 MPH all night! I thought we’d never get there.

I have fond memories too of visiting with cousins Patty and Faye, and staying overnight. You’ve not lived until you’ve spent the night in a tin-roof house when it rains! The old house had no ‘attic,’ so the ceilings were no more than the bottom of the tin-roof. It was absolutely, positive, heavenly! You could hear each and every rain drop as it hit! Today folks pay good money for ‘sound machines’ which mimic the sound of rain to induce peace and tranquility – but they got it for free – and every time it rained! I was envious. Oh to relive those days again.

I have so many, many happy memories of Carthage as a child, even though I was only a visiting relative. I remember Cudin’ Lucian’s store, when it was still open for business – the pot belly stove for heat – the sweet musty smell of that delightful place, the jars of hard candy.

And I remember the drives home on Sunday night – and listening to the radio – Gang Busters, Boston Blackie, Our Mrs. Brook, The Shadow. Who know what evil lurks in the hearts of men, the Shadow knows!

Do I have a good memory because I remember these things? I suppose so. But I remember them mainly because I treasure these memories. And yes, I often dwell on them. Why not? They are a huge part of my life, when my very character and personality were being moulded and formed. These were GOOD times, HEARTY and HEALTHY times, times of TRUTH and VALUE which taught us RESPECT, APPRECIATION and above all, LOVE. These memories are worthy of remembrance. And they are worthy of being shared as examples for future generations to learn from.

Those were the days my friend – yet alas, they too had to end!