For more than two years, during “life in Austin, act 1”, I spent two hours every Wednesday morning standing next to my favorite gravy guy, ninety year old Dan Watson. Between greeting almost every homeless friend by name and remembering whether they liked their gravy on top of the biscuits or on the side, Dan would tell me stories of his two daughters (who were often close enough to hear him telling stories), his son who lived down in New Braunfels, and his sweet wife who he lost after more than 50 years of marriage. He told me tales of running his flower shop, about playing baseball at UT, and about reffing at basketball games around the state. We would talk about our church and he would tell me of the good work going on in the other area churches (because he served at their Tuesday and Thursday breakfasts- although there, he was the juice man). He always said that folks liked their breakfasts a bit better, because while our biscuits were good, they had eggs. He introduced me to a whole generation of folks in our church family, and I am forever grateful for that.
When Cary and I moved back for “life in Austin, act two”, Wednesday mornings with Dan were a must. I loved being able to introduce my husband to Dan, and later, watch as our college students got the privilege of serving next to him. I always loved hearing him lead the whole room in the Lord’s prayer, and seeing him standing out in front of the church on Sunday mornings always filled me with delight.
And while Dan may be known best for his breakfast ministries, he also had a lunch ministry. He liked to take small groups of folks out to lunch after church – never the same group, never all the same demographic. He was an includer to the core. I still remember the first time he invited me to lunch – Gabriel’s across the street, and while I didn’t know anyone else going (yet!), you don’t say no to a lunch invitation from Dan. I loved running into him at the old Schlotzkys on the corner just so I could see what kind of group he has assembled that week. I could never figure out if he was working his way through the church directory, had prophetic revelations, or just invited the first 5 people he saw that day (or maybe a combination). But one thing was clear, he was truly interested in getting to know each person better.
A few months ago, I took Maddie out to his bench that now sits in front of the church and we prayed for Mr Dan. (Her very first and best stuffed animal friend was named after him!) His health has been declining for several years now, and I’m so glad I got the chance to express all these thoughts to him when he was still well enough to hear them and understand them. I just wish both the girls could’ve spent time with him. He was truly a treasure. There is no doubt in my mind that as Dan entered Heaven on Tuesday, he heard those sweet words “well done, good and faithful servant.” Well done, indeed, Dan. You will be so missed. It was such an honor to be your “biscuit girl”.
Dan’s funeral will be on Monday, April 9th, at 10am at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar.