I first met Delbert "Cigar" Daisey in 1992 when my friend David A. Lawrence journeyed with me to Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Mr. Daisey, twice World Champion Waterfowl Carver, is really like one of the last remaining true American folk heroes.
Though Mr. Daisey had just met me, he said "You are a man of God and I want you to tell me everything you can about the Bible and having personal faith." I was in awe of his request, guessing that David had told him in advance that I would be leaving for Bible College a few months later -- yet, David was as much in awe as I was. Actually, he was more like "in shock" at the spontaneous request (God was at work, let's just say.) With David's coaxing, I obliged Mr. Daisey's request.
David was leaning in and listening intently the whole next hour or so as I went from Genesis to Revelation. At the conclusion Mr. Daisey humbly delayed becoming a true believer but that would not be the end of the story.
In 2013, -- yes, 21 years later (David having passed away by now, while in his 50s) -- I made a trip to the Eastern Shore at the Lord's summoning. I went to reacquaint myself with Mr. Daisey in hopes of continuing our faith conversation that began 21 years earlier and telling him about the prayer David asked me to pray with him while on his death-bed. (That's a story for another time.)
Anyway, I found Mr. Daisey at the physical location I had originally met him, yes, still inside his waterside carving shack. However, he was at an entirely different place spiritually. Yes, now in his mid-80s, he wanted to exercise his faith and allowed me to gently but boldly lead him in a beautiful broken prayer of belief to validate a relationship with Jesus.
Since that visit we've tenderly kept up a conversation on the phone with me making occasional visits his way to be face-to-face. Last week was one of those visits. He now lives in a rest home along the Eastern Shore and though it took me a while to locate him, it was joy for us both when I did. We talked about Jesus, Heaven and prayed together. My heart was strangely warmed. The moral of the story? Longevity is the greatest convincer!🕯
(Click images below for full-frame views of my most recent visit with Mr. Daisey at the rest home. Also, a second photo of his old carving shack and a third shot of a pair of his hand-carved decoys, Red-Breasted Mergansers, we call 'em 'fishing ducks' -- that are on sale for about $10,000 at a decoy shop on the Eastern Shore. And, finally, a fourth and final image of my hand in Mr. Daisey's as we prayed together.)