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QUIT PLAYIN: The Lord Gave us Nancy!

By Vincent L. Hall

Nancy Hall
Nancy Hall, former executive vice president CWA Local 6215 and her husband Carlton of the Hall’s Chicken family, a Black Dallas dynasty.

Believe it or not, in the early 1970s, few African Americans could afford to live in Pleasant Grove. The only Black family who lived east of Masters Road other than my family was the family of Joe Cooper.

Our family caught hell on Amity Lane. Watermelon or eggs on the windshield, insults, you name it.

Because being Black in this “new colony” was so challenging, my family was glad to know that Joe Cooper was there.

My mother knew of Joe and Lillian Cooper because of their work in the South Dallas community. This couple was the supreme example of love, marriage, family, politics, and style.

After meeting the Coopers, Joe gave the okay for Nancy to ride to school with me some days. I had a purplish blue Toyota Corona. Working 33 hours a week at Gibson’s Discount Center in high school was paying off.

Nancy and I became the best of friends. No man is complete without a female ride-or-die.

My dad often said, “The only man smarter than a woman is a man who knows he is never smarter than a woman!” (You will get that sometime between now and Labor Day.)

We were friends because no one could match the love of her life, Carlton Hall, “one of the Henderson’s Chicken boys.”

By the time he was 16, he was driving new Corvettes.

Carlton and his family were so cool, debonair, and balling hard! I never said I was one of the Hall boys, but I didn’t always deny it either!

Carlton, his son James and his brothers went on to establish the second phase of the Henderson dynasty. Hall’s Chicken is still the best known in Dallas. If Nancy got a dollar for every time her phone rang from somebody “wanting some chicken,” she would be filthy rich.

The day after graduation, I moved out of my home, and the Coopers were sick. We spent that whole summer in their backyard pool, just chilling. We parted ways by Labor Day that year, but we would eventually meet again.

We lost touch, but as I set foot on the firmament at the University of Texas at El Paso, who would call out my name but Nancy Cooper. After that, we rarely saw each other.

Years later when I got to Southwestern Bell Telephone, she was already there. She was pivotal in my baptism and ordination into the Communication Workers of America, Local 6215.

Nancy eventually retired as the Executive Vice President. We had so many life ties.

My Erinn and her James are months apart. My Alison and her Jennifer are weeks apart. Her baby, Jazmine, came as my oldest niece Jessica was born.

However, Nancy was resolute when the word came forth that my Bonus Hailee was set to arrive. “Immo pass on this one Potna’! You on your own!”

Nancy and her family graced me to speak words of comfort at her father’s funeral. Joe “Cool” left as effortlessly as he came. Unfortunately, my dad died six days later

Nancy is that kind of friend you want to call you when you are down or when you suffered a tragedy that went public and viral. When I lost my election for the city council, I called her.

I called Nancy for advice and comfort when the news soon broke that a divorce was imminent.

When my dad was “going through” and I was singing the woes that are far too familiar to every caretaker, I called Nancy,

We have sat with each other through every kind of life drama and trauma that most could imagine. We worked the backrooms of politics like night janitors. We have grieved over loved ones and mutual friends.

There is no more soothing balm than a friendly ear devoid of judgment and self-righ- teousness. Just somebody who knows the rotten side of that shiny apple you show the world. Somebody who can keep a secret while they keep you sane. This is my testament, and hundreds of others could write a similar testimony.

Nancy lost a short battle with cancer the other day, and I finally came to grips with the “B” portion of Job 1:21, a scripture that always eluded me.

“The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Thank you, God, for gifting my life with Nancy Marie Cooper Hall.

Love you, Carlton! We got this!

Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.
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