I had met with him once before and was totally intrigued by his positive attitude.
The last time we met we had a common connection to Memphis Tennessee.
Kathy, my bride was from Memphis and he grew up in that town.
So a year had passed and he remembered our first visit.
Vincent still had that great smile and incredible gratitude towards God for all the blessing He had given him over the past year.
I had to apologize to Vincent for not writing... some policy had changed regarding letters...
He told me he understood and that was the norm in his life...
He asked me about my oldest son Johnathan who was with me the first time we had met.
I told him that he was coming... but later found out that he was turned away at the gate... Something that happens upon the whim of staff.
I told him that his picture was in my office.
He smiled even bigger and said it was nice to know that there were some who cared.
Vincent told me that he was always trying to stay busy.
I could not imagine what that "busy" actually looked like.
From what I could see through the Pie Hole - he had a cot size bed - a book shelf - a shelf with some food items, mostly junk food.
Oh yes there was a toilet and sink.
We talked about surface stuff - but mostly hope and God and gratitude.
Before I knew it our time was up.
I didn't want to leave - I wanted more time with Vincent.
I wanted to talk and encourage and love on him.
The guard was getting closer and Vincent said he didn't want me to get into trouble...
I was the last in the pod except for my good friend The Rev. - Chaplain over the prison.
I told him that I loved him and he told me that he loved me too - we shook hands and I left Death Row.
I had a lump in my throat and still do when I think of him.
I learned three things from Vincent that day.
1 - No matter what your circumstances there is always Hope.
2- Nothing - I mean Nothing - should stop you from having a positive attitude.
3 - God is always there for you and offers peace that we simply can't understand.
I ask that you hold your friends and family tight this Thanksgiving.
and remember Vincent.
Activists for homeless - inmates and the poor of this world.