He wasn’t the first person to take me fishing but he taught me more about fishing than anyone else. Tyson’s pond was in the general area of our homes and Billy Ray Carpenter took me there one summer day. Billy Ray had two brothers, Glynn Allan and Richard Arnold. Richard died from leukemia while I was away at College.
Billy Ray married Carol Ann Stone. I can’t imagine how he pulled that one off, but he did. Carol Ann said to me, “Bill and I had lots of fun together.” He was not the Billy Ray that I grew up with. When I think about Saul and how God used him, as Paul, I think about Billy Ray and how he glorified God in his new life. He had a wonderful wife and two exceptional children.
They say the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. That was true for Bill and Carol. At his funeral I met one of his close friends. A fishing buddy and a pastor friend that lives in south west Arkansas. His name is Vernon Livinston and he was Bill’s gift to me. Vernon has a prison ministry among other thing and travels through Nashville about every three to six months.We have a meal together when he is in the area.
I have learned so much about Bill Carpenter from Vernon. Bill was certainly not the Billy Ray that we grew up with. Bill, for some reason, has been on my mind today. He would laugh if he heard me say this, but if God could use Bill he could use anyone. It gives me reason to pause.