Tribute to Gary Raynard Green

March 2023
By Charles Don Flores

“Walk with me Lord, walk with me walk with me Lord, walk with me while I’m on this Christian journey I want Jesus to walk with me!”

–Worship song sung by men in the faith-based program on Texas’s death row

Gary Green
Gary Green

Gary Raynard Green was one of my closest friends and a man who I called brother. On March 7, 2023, he was executed in Huntsville by the State of Texas. Like the vast majority of men, Gary was on Texas’s death row for the very worst day of his life. I learned long ago to not ask about another man’s case here because I might hear something that will change my thought on an individual. As a general rule, when a prisoner arrives on death row the slate is wiped clean. This isn’t general population where you serve your sentence then leave. The State of Texas is trying to murder every one of us on death row. So it doesn’t matter if you were a former police officer, TDCJ prison guard, one who harmed children, or someone actually innocent, you get a fresh start here.

Gary was from Dallas, which gave us something in common and more often than not, when “doing time”, you become friends with guys who are from your hometown. I met Gary when he was first sent to Texas death row but it was a while before we were housed in the same section, which allowed us to go outside for recreation together. Outside rec is the only “private” setting we have here. We’re locked in side-by-side outdoor recreation yards and no one is out there except us. This is how I truly met Gary Green. We began to chat and I liked him right away. He was funny, charismatic and a great storyteller. He had a deep bass voice and a great laugh and he began to tell me a story. In the beginning, I did not know where this story might end up. Most times guys will tell old war stories about adventures they had when free. But Gary’s story was different. The story he told me was the story of the series of events that led him to be sent to death row. When he was done, I couldn’t believe he had the courage to tell me that story, which was the absolute worst day of his life. I say he had “courage” because what would it take for YOU to tell someone you just met your deepest darkest most terrible secret? The thing nobody knows about except you. Everyone has one, including the people reading this.

Gary told me his story himself to lay it before us and let me decide if I was going to be his friend or judge him not worthy of friendship because of what happened to him on the worst day of his life. I try very hard not to judge anyone. I know what it’s like to be judged and I wasn’t going to do that to him. From that day forward, me and Gary were true friends. He proved to be loyal, faithful, and a true brother from another mother, someone I could always count on in an hour of need. In 2015, Gary began to practice Buddhism. In 2018, I was moved to a different pod and we were separated. In November 2021, I was moved to the faith-based program and to my great surprise and joy, Gary Green was put in the cell next to me! We were part of our brotherhood here, he was one of the guys I could count on to lead a song, say a prayer or share a word. It was here that Gary rededicated his life to the Lord and was baptized here on what we now call “life row.” I was honored and overjoyed to have been part of that great event in his life.

His baptism was attended by Warden Dickerson and the chaplain. It was video recorded and is supposed to be on the Polunsky Unit’s radio station website (Tank Nation). Gary’s favorite worship song was, “Walk With Me Lord”. He loved to sing it slow, gospel style so you’d feel it in your soul. The day he was baptized, when he come back to our housing section soaking wet, we all began to sing to him, ” Walk with me Lord! Walk with me!” And as he turned the corner, he was singing at the top of his lungs with us. What a glorious day, Hallelujah! Gary Green was part of the revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit that’s continuing. Where people who were once dead spiritually are coming to life in the Lord Jesus Christ. When Gary turned his life over to the Lord, he called home and told his parents about his decision. His dad starter hollering and praising God! “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! My boy has come home! praise Jesus!” That is who Gary Green became at the end of his life. Everything changed in September 2022, when Gary as given an execution date and was ripped away from the Texas death row faith-based program and moved to “death watch.” The day he was moved, I was in the day room and when Gary came out of his cell I reached through the bars and hugged him and told him I loved him. He also told me that he loved me too. That was the only time I ever hugged my brother in over a decade. Gary lived his last 6 months of his life on death watch. I was able to get to death watch a few times and talk to him and he had his good days and bad days. Being torn away from our brotherhood, from him being able to worship and sing with us, really took a toll on him. Isolating Gary after he’d found his place in the faith-based program was torture for him. He did the best he could and somehow held it together.

On March 7,2023, the last day of Gary’s life he began singing at 5 am. From his cell in A-section we heard his booming voice, “Walk with me Lord walk with me!” As he sang, we joined him from our section. After we sang his song, Gary said, “There’s too many of y’all to name individually, but each one of you have been a true blessing in my life and I hope I’ve been a blessing in yours.” We all expressed our love for him and told him to keep strong and continue to walk with the Lord.

When Gary left 12 building for his final visit, he shouted his good byes, and we did the same. And as he walked out he broke out in song, “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made! ” I had my brother on my mind when an escort team came to take my neighbor to a visit. One officer is a guy I get along well with, and I asked him how was Gary when he left for Huntsville at noon? He said that Gary was good. He was singing when he left, “walk with me Lord walk with me!” I was relieved to hear that Gary was able to go to his death with such peace and dignity. Believe me, when I say that singing that song, “Walk With Me Lord”, was what gave my brother the wherewithal to walk to his death.

By 7pm my Christian brother Gary Raynard Green was no longer among the living and had been executed.

On March 9,2023, another execution was scheduled. Authur Brown Jr. would also be pushed out of existence by the State of Texas. I was having a very difficult time that day having lost Gary and now Authur. So I decided to stop focusing on death and think of my loved ones instead. I sent an eMessage to my attorney expressing some of what I felt. My usual way of dealing with pain and grief is humor and laughter with those I care for the most. I let her know it had been a hard week for us, losing Gary had been really hard and I was glad to be able to see her at visit on March 10th. She asked me what was Gary’s favorite song–which was her way of asking me to sing it.

That Friday, March 10,2023, I went to legal visit and saw my attorney Gretchen. We talked about my stuff and then the conversion turned to Gary. I sang his favorite song for her in the visitation booth. As I sang it, I closed my eyes and I thought about my brother and in my mind. I could see his hands cuffed behind his back, walking out of the visitation room down that long covered walkway with a team of officers dressed in riot gear and a gaggle of TDCJ officials trailing him. As he walked to that van that would take him to his planned execution, I now knew he had been singing that song, “WALK WITH ME LORD! WALK WITH ME! WALK WITH ME LORD! WALK WITH ME! WHILE I’M ON THIS CHRISTIAN JOURNEY I WANT JESUS TO WALK WITH ME!” I knew that song, that praise to the Almighty, was what gave Gary the strength to keep his head up. After I sang it to Gretchen, I told her about Gary and that he was singing that song as he left. I then became overwhelmed with emotion. I could not continue, all I could say was that the situation was hard. When I opened my eyes, I could see that she was also tearing up. This is why I care about her so much. She loves us all no matter what sent you here she cares like few people do and that’s why I love her greatly. We got through the visit and I come back to my cell and I’ve been thinking about that experience ever since.

Gary Raynard Green was a Christian and his salvation secure. And the steps that he took here on the faith-based program were steps on a journey that will last for an eternity. Brother Gary is in a better place now, and I know when I get there I’ll hear him singing, Walk with me Lord, walk with me, walk with me Lord walk with me!

We love you and moved miss you, brother. God Bless you.

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Texas Death Row News – October 29, 2022

1. “WE do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing…but within the realm of our choicelessness, we can choose how we live.”–Joseph Epstein.

Time flys when you are having fun! I have been in the inaugural class of the Texas death row faith based program [FBP] for ten months, and it has been an amazing life changing opportunity. When the twenty-eight Texas death row prisoners that are part of the first FBP began this adventure we were not sure what to really expect. The chaplaincy was not sure what to expect because nothing like this had ever been attempted in a solitary confinement environment like Texas death row. We were given this opportunity and we have chosen to make the most of it and soar high in the sky with success.

On Friday, October 29, 2022, the FBP had a graduation service for completing the 12 week class named “Anger Management”, and the 26 week classed named “Authentic Manhood. Anger Management helped us identify our triggers and manage our anger effectively. It taught us self-control over our thoughts and actions and gave us the tools to communicate in non-violent ways. We also learner how to give and receive support from others.
Authentic Manhood was an intense look into manhood and what it should be based on. We learned what Authentic Manhood’s focus was, it’s chief elements, major challenges and it’s passions. WE also learned the Men’s Fraternity The Quest For Authentic Manhood’s definition for authentic manhood: one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously, and expects God’s greater reward. Both classes were escellent and taught me a great deal. I loved them both.

Flores certificate - Authentic Manhood

Flores certificate - Anger Management

2. “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will make a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the desert. The beasts of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give My people, My chosen.” –Isaiah 43:18-20.

Our service began with prayer, singing and praising by the church band and a few songs by the FBP brothers as well. We had TDCJ Director of Chaplaincy C.F. Hazlewood, senior warden Daniel Dickerson, Texas Prison Outreach volunteers DAvid and Justin, Polunsky unit head chaplain Joaquin Gay, along with our FBP field ministers and program coordinators, Terry Solley and Troup Foster.
Solley shared with us that we have set the standard of what success looks like with the choices we have made here and how we are living our lives. All our success, our accomplishments, this is what it is all about. We are on the right track and need to continue to do the same and hold the course.
Troup shared with us Isaiah 43:18-20. He reminded us that we were all created by the Lord and we have been redeemed. And God is creating a new thing in us and on the FBP as in Isaiah 43:18. Troup said that for many years he lives in the past with all the pain that he had caused his loved ones. But he was finally able to let that go and focus on God. That we have to do the same, focus on what the Lord has to say about us, not what the world might say. Troup stated that we have been in this program for about a year and he was proud of us and to keep moving foreward, always prssing ahead.

Director Hazelwood congratulated us for completing the classes. He said that everyone needs change, not matter how old you are you can always change for the better. He said that we are all a work in progress. Hazlewood reminded us of the story of the paralytic being healed at the pool of bethesda in John 5:1-11. For thirty-five years that man was paralyzed. And Christ found him and asked him, “Do you want to be well?” Hazlewood said that unless a man wants to be healed we will not get well. Nothing happens until you want to change and get well. And this kind of healing comes from God, and once we come to the Lord our lives are His and what we do today today is part of a walk that will continue for eternity.

Our actions in this life will pay an eternal dividend. Hazlewood said there were three steps to change. 1. Desire to change; 2. Removal of sin from our life; 3. Persevere. Director Hazlewood told us that he was pleased with us and wanted to thank the field ministers, chaplains and wardens. Without them nothing would be possible. But most important was our participation, without it nothing would happen.

3. “Everyday, either you live by your priorities or you live by pressures. There is no other option. either you decide what is important in your life, or you let other people decide what is important in your life.”–Rick Warren.

Warden Dickerson began saying that a whole lot of work was being done by us. We were the change that Director Hazlewood was talkin about. We were agents of change that Executive Director Collier was also talking about because what were were doing with out lives here was inspiring
many. Warden Dickerson told us that we were offering folks hope in their lives in the free world. Because there were people who have no hope, but us death row prisoners who might be considered to have no hope were living for the Lord and choosing to live a life worth living.
He told us of a former TDCJ employee, a man who worked as a guard on Texas death row, who had been here when darkness reigned and was at the point of giving up in life. But he saw a video of us worshiping, singing, praising and worshiping the Lord here. And he found hope in that and
inspiration because if we could live life like this here the he could do the same where he was at. Warden Dickerson reminded us there were consequences in life, but it is how you live your life and how you overcome that counts. Everything happens for a reason and were were all agents
of change. Change was hard work but for us to keep pushing foreward, keep our heads up and do not get discouraged!

I was very touched by what the visitors shared with us. We are often limited by our situation and do not see what other see in us. It is humbling and encouraging to know that the FBP is changing things in the Texas prison system and abroad as well as giving hope to those who had none. I think if we did nothing else by that, give hope in the world then we could considerselves a success!

Charles D. Flores No:999299
Texas death row Faith Based Program

Texas Death Row News – October 22, 2022

“We all got a date, be it here on ‘life row’ or out in the freeworld. Our task is to have our heart and mind right with Jesus Christ so we’ll be ready when that date comes.”–John “Big Sky” Montana.
  1. Bikers for Christ Motorcycle Ministry! Have you ever heard of them? They are just that, a group of Harley-Davidson motorcyle rideing bikers-Christian brothers who are active in prison ministry, and their leader is John “Big Sky” Montana. Big Sky is what you probably expect a biker dude to look and sound like except for one thing. He follows the Lord Jesus Christ and that vida loca drinking, drugging and giving it hell is definitely not part of the program! Bikers For Christ were here to worship with us on the faith based program (FBP), to encourage and to also be encouraged Friday, October 21, 2022.

Big Sky is one cool brother and he shoots straight, tells it like it is and says some of the realest, truest, and funniest things. He’s been there and done that, lived the life that most of us have experienced and by the grace of God did not end up in a cell for the rest of his life. So, whenever Big Sky goes to places like prison or death row, he always commands the honor and respect he deserves, and people stop and listen to him. On Friday, Bikers for Christ were here early at Sam and they had the Polunsky unit’s chapel band with them, band members Carlos, Tee and 33 were ready to play. At 8:30am the band and field ministers were on our pod setting up the sound equipment and I had a feeling we were going to have a really great service.

Bikers For Christ learned about the Texas death row FBP through one of our field ministers who is a coordinator, Terry Solley. Solley and Big Sky’s son, John both attended and graudated from seminary together, and since then Big Sky and Bikers for Christ have been visiting and are a blessing for us.

“We all need God don’t we? We need Jesus Christ don’t we? God has a plan for everybody, that’s why Bikers For Christ is back to be with ya’ll.”–John “Big Sky” Montana.

I have been on Texas death row for twenty-three years. In that time I’ve exchanged with letters with many people from all over the world. Whenever the topic of God comes up, I have always shared with my friends that it is easy to say that you do not believe in God, there is no evidence that God exists, etc. because you have never been in a situation where the only thing that can sustain you is God. you know when you need God? When you mother and father die in a car crash when they are on their way to your house for Thanksgiving dinner. when your husband or wife has terminal brain cancer and the love of your life is dying just a little bit every day and you are there witnessing it. When you are sent to death row for the worst day of your life. Or worse! You are sent to death row for a crime that you are innocent of. That is when you need god. These are situations where no amount of money, influence or resources can change. When you face these kinds of troubles in your life, you will understand why Big Sky says that we all need God. He’s been there and done that and he understands. So do I, and I know that for me, my belief in the Lord has gotten me through the most difficult times in my life.

  1. “The Devil is like the Wizard of Oz. Defeated but he still wants to act like he is still in charge.” –“Maytag”, Biker For Christ.

“Maytag”, was one of the Bikers For Christ who spoke Friday. He told us they call him Maytag because he was the agitator of the group, but today he had come to turn his agitation into motivation and he had some very good things to share. Maytag reminded us of the damage we do to our testimony when we are hyprocrites. Because the world, (non-christians) are always watching and listening, the moment we do not walk the walk that matches our talk, whoever sees this is discouraged and says, “You are doing that and you claim to be a christian? Why would I want to be like you?” Maytag reminded us of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus, and how in Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul talks about putting on the whole armor of God”, and keeping it on. Not to be taking it off, then putting it back on and off again, because Satan knows our weaknesses and he will attack when you have the Lord’s armor off. He really hit home when he told us that the devil was like the lilizard of Oz, defeated (by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) but still runing around trying to act like he is still in charge. The thing about that is YOU have to believe the devil’s lie and be convinced that he is in charge for his mess to work on you!

Jose, was the next Biker for Christ to share with us. He began by telling us what a blessing we were to them, how they come here to uplift and encourage, and we do that for them. Personally, I wish I could experience our worship and praise from outside this cell. We have been singing and worshiping with the brothers who are part of the chapel band for ten months. So when we sing songs like, “In The House,” or “Redeemed,” or ” I Can Only Imagine,” these concrete walls ring with glory and praise for the Lord that comes from over thirty men singing together.

As we sing and praise, I can see our visitors singing and praising with us, and how it effects them. They raise their hands and put their face up to the heavens as the feel the Holy Spirt swirling around in this space. I can also feel it in here in my cell but it would be so special to experience the Spirit of the Lord being manifested from outside this prison cell.

“And we know all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”–romans 8:28.

“Lockdown”, was the next brother who shared. He is called, “Lockdown” because he served eight years in prison. While he did those eight years he said he went through very difficult times including losing his mother while in prison, but God gave him peace and joy. He said that Romans 8:28 was his favorite Scripture and what got him through his troubles while doing time. Lockdown shared with us that we are with him daily, we are part of his testimony for Christ. He tells every one about the brothers on life row and how we’re all waiting on an execution date, but choose to worship and praise the Lord like there is no tomorrow. That really touched me and made me feel good. This brother is spreading the word and using us as an example for the Lord!

  1. “Don’t give the devil a ride because he’ll want to drive!” –Big Sky Montana.

Finally, Big Sky spoke. Again, Big Sky looks exactly like you might expect a biker to look like. He’s a big guy, long grey beard, black t-shirt, jeans, boots and he serves it up raw and uncut. He talked about us all having dates and our job was to use today to get ready for when that date comes. He also told us that people ask him when he visits people in the hospital does he go to pray for them? He said no! HE goes to ask them if they will take Jesus as their Lord and savior before it is too late. That He and Bikers for Christ were real about their ministry because Jesus Christ was real. Man, I felt that big time. E have to be ready because tomorrow is promised to no one.

Then Big Sky said that we have to be real about living for the Lord as well, we can’t go back and entertain the, “old man” inside of us. You know, that old joker who got us put in this prison cell? That one! He said don’t give the devil a ride because he’s going to want to drive! haha! We all laughed at that. you know why? Because it is true. Giving the devil a ride is when you, a professed Christian goes out with non-christian friends for drinks at a bar. Or you meet a really lovely girl and she likes to smoke weed so you smoke with her because you “Like” her. You have as much business as the man on the moon smoking weed or going to the bar for drinks. Because in a week, you can easily be carrying around your own bag weed to smoke like you used to, or going to that bar everyday for drinks like you used to! That’s giving the devil a ride and him ending up driving before you know it.

Big Sky said we can all be gone tomorrow and that is why we have to be serious about our walk with the Lord. We can’t go back and entertain the old man inside of us. Instead of giving the devil a ride, focus on Jesus and living free of the “flesh”. Because Satan is here to destroy. Destroy your family, destroy your friends and also destroy you! That the devil’s desire is to steal, kill, and destroy. If we participate in a Satan driven world, (remember that drinking at the bar and smoking weed with that pretty girl? It starts there) all we end up with is nothing but prison time or sitting on death row. I can relate, I have been there and done that and have had a belly full of it too. Better to live for the Lord!

“If your not on fire yet, your wood must be wet!”-Big Sky Montana.

Big Sky closed with letting us know that when they come to be with us they take off two days from work, from being with their families and from doing their thing. While they are doing this they are praying for us. He and Bikers For Christ asked us to write down prayer requests on pieces of paper with uor names and they would pray for that too. As we closed we sang “I Can Only Imagine” and it was very special and moving. Everyone was singing and praising God and after we finished singing that Big Sky said if you were not on fire (with the Holy spirit!) your wood must be wet! Haha! We all laughed some more at what he said. Big Sky left us with this thought, if Jesus Christ can change an old dope friend like him the Lord can do it for anybody! I say amen to that! Thank you brother for all you do for us!

Charles D. Flores No:999299
Texas Death row FBP

PDFDownload “Straight Outta Darkness“, a testimony of the grace and forginess of the Lord Jesus Christ – as told to Terry Solley

Texas Death Row News – October 12, 2022

“Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you enough chance to love you enough.” –Dinah Shore.

1. Life is not easy for anyone. Life is especially not easy for me. Two weeks ago, I received the news via jpay email that my oldest brother, Antonio Garcia Jojola, had been killed in a senseless act of violence. Antonio, who we all knew as “Tony” was sixty-six years old when he lost his life. In the past twenty-three years that I have been on Texas death row, I have lost my mother and father, and now three brothers. This news shocked me and rocked me to my core. I could not believe it, could not wrap my mind around the fact that my beloved brother was gone. I had been waiting on the Texas prison system to issue us securus computer tablet so I could finally talk to Tony on a daily basis and reconnect with my brother, sharing as much of life with him as I could. Life was hard for my brother and this made it difficult for him to be in my life on a daily basis. I understood and was excited about talking to him on the phone all the time, and now he is gone.

2. It is hard to make sense of the loss of a beloved family member when you are on Texas death row. Because you are incarcerated you are not present when your loved one passes away. You do not see this, you are not at the burial you do not take part in the memorial service honoring their life. They are just gone, like a light that has went out in the world. That is what I have been dealing with inside this solitary confinement cell and it has not been easy. I have lost most of my immediate family in the two decades that I have been on Texas death row, how do you make sense of that? I have been doing my best and have friends and supporters who have reached out to let me know they are with me in my hour of need, love me, and care for me more than ever which has helped greatly. My issue is this – I am so good at making this, “death row experience” look easy, that I sometimes fool myself. I tell everyone that I am fine and I got this, but the truth of the matter is that I am not fine, and I’m hanging on by a thread.

3. On Friday, October 8, 2022, my friend and amazing classical composer and musician, Eric Genuis come back to the faith based program pod to perform again. Eric and his group were here at 9am, and they played for the other side of the pod. I could hear the music and while I waited on them to come to our side and perform for us, my mind drifted back to my troubles. I have precious few photos of my brother Antonio and Juan Elia Jojola, both of who passed away in 2022, and have gathered them into one envelope to have on hand. While waiting, I was looking at my brother’s photos and allowing my mind to go back and reminisce on the good old days spent with them.

4. About noontime, the field ministers and Eric began to bring the sound equipment for the show to our side of the pod and set up. I’m in a different cell now, I have a “front row seat” to the performances, so I pulled my makeshift chair to the cell door and quietly watched the preparations. I still had my brothers on my mind, and the losses that I have experienced I quietly mediated and prayed for my loved ones and waited for the show. A short while later Solley, one of our field ministers, stopped by my cell and told me that Eric had said that he wanted to come talk to me and would do that after the show. That made me feel good. Eric is such a kind compassionate person, he has so much going on in his life, but makes time for people like me because he wants to. Not long after that Troup, our other field minister suggested we sing a song for the musicians while they setting up was completed. We agreed, and I let the brother know that we’d been requested to sing. We sang our gospel version of the old Christian hymn, “Blessed Assurance”. As we sang I noticed that two of the group were different musicians. My attention went to one lady who had a long dark hair braid running down her back, and how we really had her attention when we sung. Shortly after it was time for the performance.

“It’s so good to be back! I am a composer and performer who goes around the world playing for the incarcerated because I want to share beauty in the form of excellent music because beauty uplifts the human condition.”–Eric Genuis.

5. The new musicians were Valerie Height, soprano Anna Mayo, along with cellist Brendan Phelps, and of course Eric. Valerie was the one with the braid, and because she stood to play I watched her through the entire performance. I could see her in motion and she was amazing. I was spell bound by her play and how she could make her violin speak. I could see the emotions on her face as she created this wonderfully beautiful music, was mesmerized by the speed in which she moved her bow across the strings of her instrument. As she played, the music lifted me so high and then would bring me back down low Some of the songs they played were close to fifteen minutes long. I was in awe how each musician new exactly what to play and when to stop to allow a cello or soprano solo, or when to perfectly jump back into the stream of music like Valerie did again and again. I cannot do justice in my attempt to describe the beauty of the music they created. For me, there are not enough words to express that kind of beauty it must be experienced.

6. When the group played, “Panes Angellicus” [Angel’s Bread], it was incredible. At one point during the performance Valerie stopped playing the violin with her bow and played it with her fingers, it was unbelievable! Until that point, this was my favorite song of the performance because the words were written in a poem eight hundred years ago, and Eric completed the music they play only a few years ago.

7. Then they played, “Here I Am”, a love song Eric wrote for his daughter. as Eric introduced the song, Solley set up a microphone in front of Valerie and I wonder why? As Eric began to play the piano I learned why, Valerie stepped up to the microphone and she began to sing. Up until this point I had been able to control my emotions, but as she began to sing, her voice was so beautiful the tears began to flow. As I listened to Valerie sing like an angel, I forced myself to keep my eyes open so I could experience it and remember this once in a lifetime performance that was happening right in front of me. When she stopped singing and began to play her violin I focused on her, all of the music was amazing, but I tuned into her play and thought of my brothers while she made this heart breakingly beautiful music. After hearing Valerie sing, then play, “Here I Am” was the most beautiful song they performed for us. In a word, it was divine. As Valerie played, it was as if every incredible note of music she created cut into the grief and sadness that I was surr- ounded by, and with every stroke of her bow she lifted me out of that terrible dark place. She was the sun and she shined her light into the dark corner that I was stuck in and burned all that ugliness away. I cannot tell you how it happened, all I know is it did happen. Valerie’s light come into my little world and with her angel’s voice and violin she chased the darkness away. It was a moment in my life that I never forget.

8. After their performance, I was able to thank them for their kindness and the precious gift of the show at my cell door. It was only for a minute or two, but I did my best to thank them and I got to speak with Valerie, and I told her that she was not fair! She could play the violin like she did, and sing like that? She was not fair! We all laughed, and when I said that I watched her the entire performance, that I could not keep my eyes off of her, Eric said that I had a ten-thousand dollar seat to the show front row seats!

9. The next day I woke up still riding the wave of beauty-spirituality-positive energy that Eric and company had left me with, replaying their performance in my mind and in a flash I knew what they were, especially Valerie! They are all “heaven leavers!” Because they have the kingdom of God within them, everywhere they go, they leave a piece of heaven behin It is rare to have such wonderful heaven leavers like this come into my little world and share their gifts and light with me. Eric, Valerie, Anna and Brenden are such a blessing to us all.

10. I am still not over losing my brother, but I now have a once in a lifetime memory to wrap them both in. The memory of Valerie cutting me out of that place of pain with her light and music, and everytime I think of it I smile and feel joy and peace flood into my entire being. Thank you Eric, Valerie, Anna and Brendan too!


Charles D. Flores No:999299
Texas death row October 12, 2022.
To access Eric Genuis’ music go to this link

Picture of Charles's brother Juan Elias "Johnny", their mother Lily and father Carter, and Charles's niece Jessika and nephew Ipseph. Taken April 4, 2019.
Picture of Charles’s brother Juan Elias “Johnny”, their mother Lily and father Carter, and Charles’s niece Jessika and nephew Ipseph. Taken April 4, 2019.
Charles's brother Johnny and Johnny's grandson Ryder.
Charles’s brother Johnny and Johnny’s grandson Ryder.
Charles's brother Johnny and their mother Lily, and father Carter. Taken October 2, 2004.
Charles’s brother Johnny and their mother Lily, and father Carter. Taken October 2, 2004.

Eric Genuis & Concerts for Hope in Polunsky (July 15th 2022)

JULY 15th 2022 | By Charles Don Flores #999299

Shout for joy to God, all on earth; sing the glory of His name; give Him glorious praise! How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power that your enemies come cringing to You. All earth worships and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your name.“-Psalm 66:1.

1. On July 14, 2022, the Texas death row faith based program (FBP), had a guest named Eric Genius. The men on the FBP did not know much about the guest except that he was a classical musician, was come to perform, and would be accompanied by a cellist and a violinist. At 5pm they arrived and began to set up their equipment.

Although we are in the FBP, we are still in solitary confinement, housed in maximum security cells, where there are metal gates, stairs, bars, and wire mesh throughout the pod. There is no open space in the FBP housing areas, so depending on where your cell is located, you can see the visitors speak, sing, perform, or you can’t.  I am housed on the ground floor, towards the middle of the section, and when I stand at my cell door I can see the area where our visitors stand and perform reasonably well. When Eric Genius began to set up his equipment I stood at my door and quietly watched as they ran cables, connected speakers, keyboards; and I was also watching Eric too.

2. I know nothing about classical mus. My family did not listen to it nor did any of my friends. Nor can I remember ever seeing classical musicians perform. So, as I watch Eric set up I saw him connect a keyboard to a soundboard. I saw a young dark haired young lady with a violin, a young man who had a cello, and I saw another lady who was part of their group with no instrument, and thought to myself, is she the singer? If so, what kind of music does she sing? The times that I had listened to classical music on the NPR radio station, I did not hear anyone sing … could she be an opera singer maybe? These were my thoughts as I watched the activity, waiting for the performance to begin. When Eric, his fellow musicians and the field ministers had completed the job, we had 6 large Bose style speakers on custom stands positioned in A, B, and C sections and the show was ready to begin.

3. Eric Genuis began by introducing himself and his fellow musicians, Anna the violinist, Brandon the cellist, and Kelly the singer. Eric said these musicians were as good as any classical musicians you might pay hundreds of dollars to see in symphonies across the country. And they were all here to donate their time and talents to share their music with us. Eric said that he was not making any money from performing for us, he was losing money by being here with us this evening because no one was paying him. But he wanted to be here with us, in fact this was his 100th performance they had given in a prison setting. Eric was 55 years old, from Kentucky, and all the music performed tonight was composed by him. I was immediately clear that Eric was very passionate about his music and sharing it with others from the positive energy coming from him, and it was all love. His music was also free. If we wanted to have it given to your family write and ask him and he would send it to him, he said he answered every letter that was written to him.

  1. Eric said that when he was a young person, he had to save his money, then go to the record store and buy an album, then bring it home to listen to it on a record player. Nowadays, music is everywhere and available to anyone 24 hours a day. You see kids with their ear buds in where­ ever you go listening to music. Unfortunately, not all music is good music. Eric said the top-selling record last year had a title so vulgar that he would not repeat it’s name. He quoted Confucius, ”If you want to know the morality of any people, let me hear their music.” And Aristotle ” If you want to rule the people govern their music.”

These quotes made me consider how music affected us and brought to mind something I heard long ago, “just as you are what you eat, you are also what you listen to.” And this was why they had come to perform for us because he wanted to share the beauty that music can have. As Eric said this, I knew it was true because I had heard the violinist warming up playing solo and she was amazing with what she was playing and the music was very beautiful.

  1. Eric said that beauty was what we were all meant to be bathed in, and then the performance began. The first song was”Rabello”, which included the violin, cello and piano. Eric then sat down behind his keyboard and was transformed into someone else!

When he hit the key on his keyboard the atmosphere come alive with an amazing wave of sound that flowed from the big black speakers, then the violin and cello joined in and I do not know how, but the musician’s instruments began to speak! That is such an inadequate description of what we heard but it is the best that I can do, words do not exist to describe such beauty – it must be experienced because their music was alive. Eric lead this tidal wave of music with his piano. It was incredible to me because his small keyboard sounded like a huge concert hall size piano. And the way Eric played it, he seemed to be in super motion, he was moving his hands so fast, fly­ing and down the keys. He would get caught up in what he was playing, leap up and create this awesome sound, then sit back down and play some more, it was unbelievable. Their first song lasted 8 to 10 minutes then suddenly the music stopped, Eric leaned back and had a big smile on his face and with a flourish he lifted his hands from the key and we knew it was the end of the song. And our applause thundered throught this building. Words cannot do justice to what we experienced.

  1. The next song was titled, “Promise.” This was the violin, cello, piano and vocalist. The thing was, she would not sing words. She would use her voice as an instrument, and when they began, what an instrument it was! Kelly sang in opera style and it was glorious. The way these musicians blended their sounds, it was heavenly. Not one word was said but the music was so beautiful and touched me deep inside my soul that all I could do was laugh.

After the second song, Eric spoke and told us a story about an experience they had performing for some juveniles and the leader of this group of young people was 16 years old, was deeply moved by the music. This boy was the alpha of the group, and he peppered them with questions, he wanted to know how could Anna, the violinist play so fast? How did she know where to press the strin­gs on her violin as she played in what appeared to be a blur? And why had we never heard this kind of music before? This boy knew every rap song that was popular and all about the culture that produced that kind of music but had never heard a violin play. Never heard the beauty of classical music, and was sentenced to be sent away for 30 years in prison. Then the boy requested the violin play a solo, and she played for him. As she played, the boy stood up and as he listened tears began to run down his face. The beauty of the music hit to the core of who this child was, and he was touched in a way he had never been touched by music.

  1. Then Eric played a song called, ”Redemption.” It was also very beautiful and touched me deeply. After this song, he began to tell us about himself and how he had a son who had committed suicide, and later he would tell us he had a daughter who was born with Down’s Syndrome, and then I knew who Eric Genius was. He was a man who was climbing his second mountain. He’s scaled his first mou­ntain with success with his musical talent, but like many people, including myself, life had brok­en us. Yet, somehow we have found a way to put the pieces back together and live for a higher purpose. Brother Eric knew what life has taught me – suffering is universal but victimhood is optional. When we have lost the most precious people we’ve ever known, we must find a reason to keep on living. He said something that struck a chord inside of me, that the greatest form of charity was putting yourself to serve the craziest, lowest person around. And the greatest human experience was love.
  2. Eric, Anna, Brandon and Kelly would also play, “Hero,” and “Here I Am” and they were also deeply moving beautiful As he closed the performance which lasted 2 hours, he told us he would be back in October 2022! When they were done, we got to meet Eric and the musicians as they walked through the housing area, from cell to cell chatting with us. When I talked to Eric, he saw the hand made cross necklace I wore around my neck and he said look! And out from under his shirt, he pulled out a handmade cross that he also wore! It was such a blessing to meet Eric and his friend and I cannot wait until they come to play for us again in October. I know that will be another amazing performance!

>> Read more about Eric Genius & Concerts for Hope

Texas Death Row News – 1st April 2021

TEXAS DEATH ROW NEWS _ April 1st 2021

“ We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize we only have one.”

_ Tom Hiddleston.

Today began like every other day, after 7 hours of sleep I was up to meet the struggle head on. What has become normal and expected happened to us on Polunsky Unit. It goes like this : the officials test for Covid19, they find a very high number of positive results, and they put us on emergency medical lockdown. We stay on medical lockdown for two weeks, they try to get back to what used to be our normal routine: recreation, showers and daily hot meals. Then they will test us again, find more positive results, and back on lockdown we go. We’ve just come off the last medical lockdown and I’ve had recreation two days in a row. When I started my morning I took note of a prisoner in the day-room for recreation, then the guards came and put him back in his cell before his 2 hours recreation period was over. I knew what happened, there are not enough guards to operate Texas death row as intended, so they pull off the guards from each pod, which leaves only one guard staffing the housing area. So, no more showers, no more recreation, no more anything. This is normal operating procedure to the point where I have accepted it, but it’s interesting how mind/ego tries to buck against my control. You see, all we get are recreation and showers, so when it is cancelled, it feels like they are stealing from us.

As I prepared for my daily exercise, I took time to read from my daily devotional, hopefully putting a positive theme into my head to take into my meditation practice after exercise. Today’s message recounted an incident the author experiences while riding the train, sitting next to a stranger, and in-between stops, the stranger asks: “what are you doing about the snakes in your attic?”

The author replied : “Me? I don’t have snakes in my attic.”

The stranger answered: “Honey, sure you do. Everybody’s got them. They slither and slide, draining the life out of you.”

What a perfect way to describe the daily battle we wage in our head against the negative thoughts, negative emotions, and negative acts we engage in as a result of having them snakes slithering and sliding in our hearts and minds. In this age of Covid19, where everyone and everything is affected in life across the world, it’s so easy to let the snakes take control. Have you ever watched a snake? They move silently, almost without notice, one second you see them, the the next they’re gone.

So are our mind/ego based reactions that we take when these lower self impulses cause us to act out. Everyone is dealing with it at this point in the pandemic. We’re all weary of dealing with Covid19, frustrated, anxious, stressed out, and that is exactly when mind/ego pounced on us, high-jacking our person, and before you know it you’ve lost control. We say or do something that only makes things worse, and when the Presence that is US manages to regain control, we find ourselves in a ditch, where mind/ego wrecked us into, or worse: in the country jail with criminal charges on us!

One of the most difficult things I had to do in 2020 was accepting the fact that everyone in the world was screwed to some degree, and there was nothing we could do about it until Covid19 was first controlled, then eliminated. It took me 10 months to do this, and that was a long drawn out battle, but thankfully, I won the war. So today, when I saw that Covid19 was once again slithering its way into my daily life, I did not for one second allow myself to indulge in the negative. I adapted on the spot, actually giving thanks for a day to write and do some things I was not able to complete yesterday. And in this manner poured cool water on the tiny flame those snakes were trying to start inside of me, trying to provoke a negative reaction.

“We can only acquire Shanti (peace) when we know we are the embodiment of Shanti! Ashanti (restlessness) is something that possesses us like a phobia which has no grounding. Shake it of! You are free! It is the role that is tragic, not the actor. Remind yourself that this is a play and you are playing the role of a tragic hero! Sage Narada learned this and his equanimity was never again disturbed.” _ Baba Saï.

I remember when I first began my spiritual journey, one of the first self-help/spiritual texts I read was a book titled “The four agreements”, a book of Toltec wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this book, he spoke of us all being the main actor in our own motion picture, and our lives is the role we’ve been given. Understanding this absolute truth has helped me along my journey. The character we play in this epic saga that is our life, no matter how tragic the role is, it is not us! We’re just the actor, we can have as much peace as we dare to have if we accept we’re the embodiment of peace. Restlessness, anxiety, fear, stress, etc., only serve as the ways and means by which the snakes gain control, and because we want the excuses victimhood gives us, we refuse to accept what is happening in our lives.

It was interesting, when recreation was cancelled, the guards even had death row prisoners in the single men showers. These men stayed stranded in the showers for over 2 hours. And believe me, when you are locked in a shower the size of a closet in an apartment for 2 hours, and you know the guards know you are locked in the shower but only show indifference to your predicament, these snakes get slithering and sliding! You begin to lose grip of your self control and before you know it, you are yelling at the guards to come get you out of the damn shower! You’re kicking the metal door, Boom! Boom! Boom! Demonstrating the pain and trauma you are subjected to by being locked in such a cramped space. How do I know? Because snakes have had me doing that more than a few times in my 20 years on Texas death row.

In a moment of insanity, all I could do was give thanks that it was not me locked inside the shower, and be grateful that I have accepted this new reality and live my life on my own schedule. If it looks fishy, like the guard working the pod that day is a member of the goon squad that gets called to run off and assault some other prisoner who is acting out, then I do not go to shower! Or I see the guards are super lazy, I do not go the shower for fear I am left in there for an hour or two while they get lost somewhere. I have water inside my cell and I bathe when I want to, thereby eliminating the possibility of the slithering snakes getting ahold of me.

“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” _ Marcel Morin

I think about my life when I fist was sent to death row. I was not a happy camper at all. But as I began to learn who and what I was, I understood that for me, there was a need to believe in God. Not in a wistfully wishing upon a star kind of way. No, in a real, live and active way, believing in a higher power and through this belief, having faith and hope that the character I was cast to play in the movie that is my life does not meet his end on Texas death row. In the beginning I did not know Her voice, so I resisted Her efforts to lead me. But as time went on, I grew accustomed to Her presence in my life and I learned to recognize and trust Her voice. Today, I follow Her and allow Her to lead me because I have faith that She will not lead me astray. And that one day soon I will be led out of this new age death camp, into freedom where it is always sunny. In the meantime I do my part by holding peace in my heart, accepting all that comes my way with an “OK, that’s happened. It sucked, what next?” kind of attitude. In this way I maintain control and do all I can do rid my attic of those wicked snakes! And if I can do that here, you can do it from where you are!


Texas Death Row News – 21st February 2021


Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become, “–Heraclitus,

In case you haven’t heard, Texas has had some cold weather! The low temperature was 6°F. (- 25° degrees below freezing), which caused the main water line to burst Tuesday night. This resulted in the Polunsky unit going without water for 34 days. I won’t go into the details, but I’m sure you can imagine what it was like, The arctic blast also caused us to have no mail service, incoming or outgoing all week long. This has never happened before on Polunsky unit, mercifully, we did not lose electricity so we had heat and lights.

Did I mention we’re in the middle of an emergency COVID19 medical lock down on Polunsky unit? It has been two weeks now, and the rumour is we will go back to the regular routine, hot meals, recreation and showers daily tomorrow. We shall see – but one thing is for sure, what is to be will be and I’m fine with that.

In spite of all this, I have survived. Not only survived but I thrive, more focused and determined than ever to live my best life. And here is why ~ suffering is universal and victimhood is optional. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we are in complete control of how we respond to it. And personally, I chose to be relentless. Relentless in my fight for freedom. Relentless in my pursuit of the number one goal in life, the completion of my transition into part II of my life, forever free and far away from Texas death row. I am focused on achieving this here, and I hope you are doing the same there where you are at. It is possible because we all have the power to choose how we respond. My response is to keep pushing forward – if I stumble, gather myself and get hack to pushing. I am able to do this because I accept all that is happening totally and completely and will continue to accept whatever happens until I reach my ultimate goal. Freedom and life after this Texas death row experience and acceptance is key in making it possible.

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”—Muhammad ALI.

Today, I start a new journey which includes a vow to maintain “The Five Minute Journal.” Have you heard about it? If not check it out at Briefly, it is 8 journal book where you commit to keeping a journal everyday and taking five minutes writing as soon as you wake up each morning, and writing for five minutes each night before you go to sleep. This book is amazing and I know by committing five minutes in the morning and five minutes before I go to sleep everyday it will help me manifest more positive change and growth in my life. And for me, that is what life is all about: growing and preparing for absolute success when I am at last in the free world. Everything else in life comes after reaching the ultimate goal.

I find it amazing that the Universe works completely on its own to send me what I need when I need it. Like this small book, I had no idea it existed, but my dear friend and spiritual advisor Glenna sent it to me because she wants me to make sure I have every tool available to succeed in life. And boy, has she outfitted me well! Glenna has sent me just about every great book that has changed my life, which is something that I’m forever grateful for. I am at full strength, have my focus and motivation back on point and it is full speed ahead. I’ve spent twenty-three years on Texas death row enrolled in the school of life. I have learned so much and now it is time to graduate, and break through into freedom and live the next fifty years of my life in free world. Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” Alice Morse Earle.

n February 2, 2021, my legal team filed the new subsequent application for habeas writ appeal in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. It is 826 pages in length, not counting exhibits. This super appeal is the game changer and will force the change in my life that we have worked so hard for. Soon it will be available on, so check the website if you are interested in reading it.

I feel a momentous shift in my life, one that comes with the year 2021 and I am ready for it. A great realization that I have had emphasized recently is that there is no such thing as luck in life. Only good runs and bad runs of, “the cards” that life deals us. My extraordinary long run of bad cards is over. The river of life has shifted and we’ve entered into a Great run of cards and with them we shall win especially in the legal arena where ultimately we’ll receive the relief this new appeal will create. Now is the time for getting ready for when that change is here at last.

FREEDOM SOON!! Charles D. Flores No:999299 , Texas death row, February 21st 2021.



“To truly understand the « good old days » you need to have lived them, if only for an afternoon.” Will Brantley

This morning I began my day with the usual here in this 60 foot square cage that I have lived the last 22 years in, confined in solitary confinement on Texas death row. I managed to get about 8 hours of sleep and was not woken up 4-5 times during that period. I think it was just 1-2 times so I feel good. The routine is get up, wash up, have some coffee, clean my cell, exercise, spiritual practice and the day is up and running. While having coffee, I picked up a magazine that came in the mail last night called “D Magazine”. It’s a magazine about Dallas, Texas, where I call home.

While having coffee and flipping through the pages I came to an article titled “Memories of the Grill”. In the article, there were 4 people, featured with their memories of grilling food over coals, what we call in Texas Barbecue (bbq).

For a Texas boy little me, bbq is connected to so many of my memories and good times. It was bbq, beer and music. As I read this article, I had a tidal wave of memories of the good old days, when I was young and thought I would live forever. When living was working all week to get into the weekend and meet up with friends and have a good time. It did not include life and death situations.

When I was 16 years old, me and my family moved from West Texas to the Dallas area – a suburb called Irving, Tx. The move was not easy for me and I had problems adjusting and for the first 2 years of living in Irving, I really did not make any friends. Instead, I hung around my dope head elder brothers, which was about the last thing I needed to do because all I learned how to do is be a dope head like them!

Anyway, when I was 18 years old, I met my first true friend in Irving. He lived across the street to a new house we had moved to and his name was Cody. He was a “skater/stoner”, meaning he had long hair and liked to party and rode a skate board. Cody was 16 years old when we met. We immediately became best friends, he was cool and we got along well.

I was the new guy in town and Cody had grown up in Irving. He knew everybody and we always had something to do, some party to attend, some place to go: concerts, fairs you name it. And I had the ride.

When I was 18 my Dad bought me a 1972 El Camino hot rod. He didn’t know about the hot rod part he had no clue what he put in my hands but I did and it was our ride. And El Camino is made by Chevrolet and it its half Car/Chevelle and half pick-up truck! It had a bed in the back and in a word it was cool! Not to mention it had a hot rod 350 c.i. V-8 motor that was more to less indestructible. And when we did break it we could fix it.

Our big thing was to go cruising on Friday nights in Irving. There was a specific street all the young kids drove around in a big circle going slow checking out the girls (or guys!) talking to friends and having a good time. At midnight we’d hit the free way and drive down to Loop12 and Northwest Highway which was one spot where the young people would street-race their cars. Me and Cody were notorious in that El Camino, it was fast, I was tough, he knew everybody and you couldn’t tell us nothing! We thought we’d live forever, you know?

And in the early 1990’s, the street races were an event where several hundreds, sometimes a thousand plus people would come together at and have a big party centered around cars racing in a straight line. It was like what you have seen in the movies and it was a young person’s dream!

Me and Cody would stay out there until 4-5 am when people would start leaving because we’d been partying all night and we would reluctantly get in the El Camino, hit the freeway again and drive back to Irving and somehow some way we’d made it back home in one piece. We did this every week-end Friday night and Saturday nights; you wanted to know where we were – it was the street races. Along with everybody else that we knew.

Now, I’m not saying it was right or glorifying it, I’m telling you that was what we did back in the gap.

Sunday morning would come and we’d sleep till maybe 11am and then we’d be back up again. He’d be in his house and I’d be at my house where I lived with my parents and it was already understood what we did on Sundays. We were loading up my American Pitbull terriers in the El Camino, grabbing the cooler and heading to Lake Grapevine to bbq! This involved going into Mom’s pantry and taking a can of corn, a can of ranch style beans and 4-5 large potatoes.

When I came out of the house Cody would usually be sitting on the porch of his house smoking a cigarette and he’d walk over to the drive way because he knew what we were going to do. Get the large cooler, the plastic milk crate that had the bbq stuff out the garage and throw it in the back of the ride and get the dogs.

When we moved from Midland to Irving, we brought Kelly with us. She was a yellow/blonde rednosed Pitbull dog that was large for the breed, a little taller than my knee and weighed about 60 lbs – all muscle. We bred Kelly with a friend’s Pitbull and I ended up keeping one of the puppies and his name was Spike.

Kelly was a great dog, but Spike was special. He was a buckskin – the color of a deer and 4 black socks on his feet and he had a dark purple nose, he weighed 50 lbs, every ounce muscle. He was very beautiful and could have been a model for the breed. And super smart! Both dogs were obedience trained, me and Cody were always working with these dogs.

He’d go into the backyard of our house and it was like they knew what day it was, they would be ready to go. I’d open the gate and tell them go on! Get in the truck and both would run and leap into the back of the bed ready to go. Dogs love riding in cars and trucks, they live for it! I’d grab their spike collars and leather leashes and we were ready to go.

We’d fire up the El Camino and hit the road. This excursion required us to stop at the supermarket before we left Irving. We’d stop at the closest supermarket and Cody would stay in the truck with the dogs while I would go in and walk straight into the meat department of the store. I would usually buy a large brisket, but sometimes I’d grab some pork chops, or chicken leg/thigh quarters. I’d grab some fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, a bag of charcoal and off we’d go.

The next stop would be back up on Northwest Highway at the Racetrack where we’d gas up the El Camino and get beer. Usually a case of Budweiser and 2 bags of ice which would go into the cooler with the meat and other food items.

Then we’d hit the freeway again and take the ride to Grapevine, Texas, where Grapevine Lake is at. Now the El Camino always has a stereo in it and we’re talking 30 years ago so it was cassette tapes and Cody always had 2-3 in his pocket, heavy metal stuff. Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax. We’d rock down the road, hauling ass in a hurry to get to the lake.

The drive would take maybe 30 minutes and when we’d finally make it to the lake, we had a specific spot we went to where all the bikers would congregate. On a good day, when you’d driven into the sate park area of the lake, you’d see maybe 50-75 chromed out Harley Davidsons parked all in a line. We’d be in a hurry because we wanted one of the covered tables which had a bbq grill built into the cement slab. You’d get there after noon and you’d be out of luck! All the tables/grills would be taken. But we’d always have one and we’d pull the truck into the little area and unload the stuff we’d brought with us. We’d get the dogs out but keep them on their long 8-foot leashes because other dogs and people would be running around and we did not want any static from someone if one of their dogs got bitten by ours.

Cody was always the DJ, he’d open the doors of the El Camino and crank the stereo up rocking out, he really loved Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning” and to this day every time I hear a song off that album I think of these times and my old friend. We’d be 3 beers in by now and he’d usually roll one and we’d smoke it and I’d throw the charcoal on the grill, spray it with lighter fluid that was part of our lake bbq supplies and after 10 minutes of soaking, light it up. The fire would be big and bright and the flames would get the grill clean and as the coals burned down, I would ready the food – I was the cook. I’ve always been a cook! Haha! It would usually go like this – I’d take the aluminum foil and lay out 2 pieces about 2 ft long and about 2 foot square and open the brisket and lay it on the foil. I’d sprinkle season salt on it, chop up the green bell pepper, onions into slices along with the tomatoes and lay them all over the large slab of meat. I’d then warp the brisket back up and make sure it was sealed real good and have it ready to go. I’d get the potatoes and wrap them in foil as well and throw them in the coals which would end up being baked potatoes! Then throw the foil wrapped brisket on the grill and let it cook.

While the food cooked itself, we’d drink about 6 beers each, smoke a few more sticks maybe and sit on the tailgate of the El Camino and watch the people go by. All sorts would be out, older couples that were probably hippies back in their heyday, bikers, and chicks galore! Haha! We we’d of course have the dogs up there with us and this is where Spike would shine. He was gorgeous and I have yet to see a pretty girl walk by him and not want to pet him and get to know him – a perfect conversation starter! Haha! Of course the friends we’d see at the street races would show up and we’d have a bunch of friends out there too. Maybe my brothers would show up, or some weeks we’d all go out to the lake together. Those were the days. So we’d have good music going, cold beer to drink and great friends to chat with, it would be great. In 4-5 hours that food would be more than ready. And after you drink 6-8 cold beers, you are hungry! Haha!

We’d take the cans of beans and corn and put a dent in the side and set them on the grill maybe 30 minutes before it was time to eat along with a long loaf of butter French garlic bread that was in a foil-like bag I’d get at the supermarket too. By the time the beans and corn were hot and the dent in the side had popped out, the bread would be hot and ready to eat. And we’d pull everything off and dig in. The brisket would be perfect soft and tender with the veggies on top to eat it with. The potatoes were perfect, crunchy peel and soft hot inside that would melt the butter and the bread! It was perfect no doubt. We’d eat until we could eat no more, as would the dogs. And for me that was the good old days… And in a flash all of that came back to me as I read the article in this magazine, for me nothing could be better!

Charles D. FLORES #999299

Polunsky Unit, Texas death row

June 27, 2020




“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

–Proverbs 16:24

Recently I read about an orca named Talequah who gave birth last summer. Talequah’s pod of killer whales was endangered and her newborn was their hope for the future. But the calf lived less than an hour. In a show of grief that was watched by people around the world, Talequah pushed her dead calf through the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean for seventeen days before letting her go.

When I read about Talequah and her terrible loss, I was deeply moved because I understand on a gut wrenching level what it’s like to suffer such heart-breaking loss that you can’t find a way to let go. When I lost my mother last year, that loss brought home the realization that with her being gone, so was my father, home and the dream of getting back in time to devote my life to caring for them. Like Talequah’s calf, my everything was gone and nothing would ever bring them back. When you find yourself in that situation, it’s impossible to let go. Impossible to stop thinking about all you’ve lost. Because all that me and my beloved family had shared is now gone forever.

As I look back on those days, weeks and months of heartbreak in my life, I know what got me through it. It was the actions of those who loved me and cared about my well being. All of those who ran to me and lifted me off the ground and shared with me gracious words of love, kindness and reaffirming their friendship with me. True friends who cried with me, who held my hand and allowed their heart to break with mine. Because when you are dealing with such epic losses nothing will “make it better”. And those fair weathered friends, both old and new, flew the situation to distract themselves with whatever their privilege allowed them. Because being human is hard, and it’s extremely difficult.

“The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand at a time of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at challenge and controversy.”—Martin Luther King Jr.

I have come to understand that through grief and suffering in the experience we call life, it’s human nature for us to lament, to be moved to express our pain and sorrow. It is the price we pay for loving someone so much that it feels like losing them will kill you. I often thought about why I went through such extreme long suffering but found no answers – it was just part of life and something we all experience sooner or later.

Then, my hypnosis appeal was denied by the Texas court of criminal appeals (CCA). When I got the news that we had lost and would have to move forward with Plan B, it took me about 5 minutes for me to shake off the loss, and ACCEPT the fact that for whatever reason, it just wasn’t time for me to go free. We’re far from the end with regards to exhausting legal appeals, what this means to me in real time is I will be here for four or five more years, and I’ve accepted that.

As I come to this point of acceptance in my life I realized why I was put through such extreme pain, heartache and long suffering – my parents dying, losing home and our dream, one of my best friends abandoning me – all of that. In an instant I knew that I was put through that to be able to stand tall and keep pushing forward when this loss hit me. Because this is one of the biggest losses I can experience. And I’ll tell you something it was blow, a hard body blow no doubt but I’ve reached a place of such strength that the loss of my hypnosis appeal did not even cause me to break my stride. It’s full speed ahead now more than ever. And the reason I was able to absorb such a blow and keep moving was because of the extreme losses I experienced these past two years.

Dedicated to the Struggle for Life and Justice and Peace for All!

Charles D. Flores No. 99299

Texas death row

June 1st 2020