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CURRENT ISSUE: april-may 2009


EveryOne:Reaching Farther Together







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Danny's Way

danny's Way Out

by Brenda Evans



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How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?

In 1939 at Race Pond, Georgia, on the eastern edge of the Okefenokee Swamp, a man could find just one wide road to walk down—U.S. 23 that led north to Waycross and Atlanta or south to Jacksonville and the barrier islands lying up against the relentless Atlantic.

For a small boy, most roads were just paths whirling with gnats, mosquitoes, and the smell of fresh-cut lumber. Danny lived on the fabled “Trembling Earth” of Seminole lore, the swamp with man-eating alligators and insect-eating plants where earth, air, fire, and black water reformed a boy’s inner landscape, but offered no way out.

The tent-church was humid, swelled with sweating bodies and swirls of sawdust stirred by comings and goings. Six-year-old Danny sat on the front row, watching, because he had never been to church before. A neighbor had promised him Mike and Ike gingerbread men and lemonade if he would come that day. Across the aisle, a nursing baby lay on his mother’s arm. Danny was there to collect on his bargain.


Danny's Way


The preacher’s deep voice bellowed a challenge, and the congregation rumbled “amens.” The mother laid her baby down, rose suddenly, gyrated with joy and shouted “Glooo-rry!” Danny sprang up, bolted down the sawdust aisle, out of the tent, and all the way home. It was six years before he went to church again.

Young Danny Dinkins’ father was a woods foreman for a timber company in Okefenokee. “Every few weeks, we would travel the 20 miles to Waycross. Daddy gave each of us a quarter. My older brother would buy a book. My next brother would get candles or matches to make a fire. I always bought candy.” After his family was permanently out of the sawmill camp, Danny did return to church and was saved in a Methodist service.

But in many ways Danny was still a floating island of peat trembling on dark acidic water. “My parents were away from the Lord—and me, too, in my teen years,” Danny says. “At 14, I lied about my age to get a job clearing land for buried cable for AT&T. The boss knew I wasn’t 16, but he told me he would give me 65 cents an hour if I’d be there at 6:00 the next morning with gloves, an axe, and a file.”

Danny also looked down the wrong road for a pattern to follow. “There was a motto over the door to my junior high: We become like those whom we constantly admire. A new photographer came to town and put up pictures of a WWII vet leaning back in a chair with a cigarette in his hand, smoke circling above his head. I thought he looked handsome and cool, so I went out and bought cigarettes and ended up smoking for 20 years.”

“But I learned something from whatever I did, especially if it was a failure. When I finished high school in 1950, I went to work for a sawmill. Officially I was bookkeeper. Actually I kept the time sheet, commissary, and pulled lumber off the conveyor chain. My boss was a hard taskmaster, but he trusted me, and eventually let me use his ’50 green Plymouth to court Faye.”

“Every week he’d give me a check to deposit at the bank to cover payroll. One time I stuck the check in the glove compartment, went to get Faye, and forgot all about it. That caught up with me, of course.”


For Danny, the way up and the way down have sometimes been the same.

By 1976, after 25 years of marriage to Faye, Danny was prospering financially but missing something. Finding it took him down a road that lead back to the Lord. “Faye had never left church, so I started with her at a Methodist Church. About 10 years later we began attending Philadelphia FWB Church and really began to grow in the Lord.”

With a grin, Danny says that in 1982, the “need-more” urge caught up with him again. “I had learned that all a man can do working with his hands is feed himself. So I decided to buy something and sell something to make a profit. I studied and got my realtor’s license. The first house I listed sold within a week.” In the years that followed, Danny and Faye developed a flourishing real estate business and also bought homes, fixed them up to rent or sell.

When you walk into Danny and Faye’s office on West Main Street in Folkston, Georgia, you see that they have found the right road out. It’s an odd mixture of what Danny calls fist-and-skull furniture—old hardwoods with a grain, luster, and sturdiness that outlive people—and new pieces like the backgammon table made by a friend with half a dozen kinds of wood.

A 1915 Grafonola plays their collection of 78 RPM Decca, Mercury, and Columbia records. Along the walls and on desks are pictures and scriptural passages that speak of faith, hope, and community. Hot coffee is always in the pot, and in winter there is homemade fruitcake.

For Danny and Faye the way out of the black-water swamp starts with an irrevocable commitment to the Lord and a strong marriage. Keeping a balance of marriage, family, church, and business includes time for relaxation and wise money decisions.

Right now, Danny enjoys his motorcycles. Over the years they have bought horses, boats, an airplane, and golfed for relaxation, but the best is motorcycles, he says. “If you have only 15 minutes you can straddle that thing and enjoy that 15 minutes. Plus you don’t have to fence it, feed it, tow it to a river, look for it in the woods, or tie it down in a hangar. It’s perfect.”

Regarding money, Danny says, “Don’t put dollar signs on everything. A few years ago the Lord laid it on me to divest and we sold off a lot of property. That gave us time to take care of each other.” The Dinkins also transferred cash and property into a charitable trust at FWB Foundation with a goal of providing income for their lives and supporting the Lord’s work after they are gone.

For Danny and Faye it is not how many roads you walk down but whether you find the right one. On the back side of Danny’s business card is a prayer: Lord, I am convinced there is nothing that can happen to me this day that You and I cannot handle together. No question. He has found the way out.


About the Writer: Brenda Evans lives in Catlettsburg, KY, with her husband Bill. To learn more about the planned giving options offered by the FWB Foundation, visit

©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists