Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Modern Balaam Story



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Some call it sensationalism and perhaps it is, but it is a part of the J. Frank Norris legacy.

Red and Claire Thompson, two world famous rodeo performers, had reached the peek of their careers.  They both had reached the time in life when the glory days fade, there is a tendency to think of the afterlife.  Much of the story of Red Thompson focused on his last days in the hospital, knowing that his days were numbered.

Red and Claire had been nursing back to health a pony named Hog Eyes.  With the heart of a real life cowboy, Red Thompson became so attached to Hog Eyes, the pony’s well being became the obsession of Red and Claire.  As a prelude to the real story, Claire managed to sneak old Hog Eyes up back the elevator at the hospital where she managed to escape the attention of hospital personnel. 

When Red, at this point in time, had lost his eyesight, but feeling the presence of Hog Eyes gave him a sense of joyful reunion. 

Claire, ever so eager to see Red make that all important decision, had now convinced Red to go into the baptismal waters and make a public commitment to Christ. 

J. Frank Norris heard from Claire and all the details leading up to this occasion.  He agreed to the wishes of Red and Claire.  Just before the actual immersion of Red took place, he screamed out “Hog Eyes, where are you?”  Norris nodded toward the door where Hog Eyes was waiting.   Whether or not Hog Eyes was lead into the baptismal waters is not clear at this moment, but one eye-witness, Louise Oldham, is one still living witness to this event in 1944.

Norris then asked the all important question “Jack Thompson, do you now trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for your only salvation”, and Red replied “I do.”

The concluding remarks by Norris were, “It isn’t every day that you find yourself performing a baptism with a horse as witness in the pool alongside you.”  The crowd disbursed singing ”Shall We Gather At The River.”

Roy Falls
February 9, 2012

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