My son's dream was finally coming true. He was going to play football as a freshman in high school. Now, they have a lot of scrimmages to get ready for the season, and the coach, of course, he uses those scrimmages to try different players at different positions. And every guy was sitting on the bench all dressed, all bruised from the practices, hoping he'd have his chance to get into the scrimmage.
Well, you probably know the feeling too, you go in the other room to get something, and you can't remember why you went there. Until you go and sit down in the other room again, and then you remember. How many times do we do that? I guess that's the harmless kind of forgetfulness. But too many of us have had loved ones who, as the years went on, remembered less and less; sometimes even the people who loved them. When people's memory goes, they can become very easily disoriented; they can make some very bad decisions and even place themselves in great danger.
If you look on the backside of an American nickel, you'll see a picture of it. It's that domed mansion of President Thomas Jefferson, known as Monticello. It's a living monument, really, to the genius of one of America's great minds - the author of America's Declaration of Independence.
Where we used to live, we had so many leaves to rake and bag, and so few free days to work on it, that one massive Saturday effort was what we depended on. And, of course, dark always came too soon. We'd race to get it all done before the sun went down, but sometimes we lost the race. Every farmer who's ever harvested a crop knows the feeling of racing the dark, but there's no way to postpone the sunset. In fact, today's almanac will tell you exactly when it's going to go down. And the later it gets in the year, well, of course, the sooner you're out of light. When you really need the sun to get things done, sunset always comes way too soon. But if you check that almanac, you'll notice there's another time given next to the time for sunset. Yeah, the time for sunrise. Now here's a scientific fact I know is going to amaze you; it's going to astound you! Have your pencil ready to write this down. Okay? Are you ready? Here we go. The number of sunrises in history is exactly equal to the number of sunsets!
You know, wives love to take their husbands to weddings. Hopefully, the love-feast will jumpstart a little romance in the old boy's soul. Recently, I saw a lot of hand-holding and sitting close when Jimmy and Tanya got married. Oh, it works, girls!
So, is a hammer a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it depends on whose hands the hammer is in. Had you put a hammer in the hands of our little grandson and turned him loose, you wouldn't like the results. He was probably going to do some damage with that thing. But I've watched that same kind of hammer do some really good things in the hands of some skilled workmen; of which I am not one. At our home, our office, I've seen a hammer used to build some things that are really useful. That same hammer in a child's hands, though, "Look out, man!"
Our oldest son worked as a missionary among young people in a Native American tribe in the Southwest. In his first few days there he ended up helping a Native American man weed his corn field. The tribe lives in a place where it's really tough to grow anything. I mean, corn is the most important crop, but it doesn't come easily because they're in a place where I think they only get about 10-12 inches of rain a year.
It was right after Christmas in 2004, and Damian Barrett was on a beach in Thailand. Suddenly he saw the tide go out so quickly that the bay was drained dry. And moments later, the ocean came roaring back with that monster tsunami that claimed so many lives that day across South Asia. A massive wave swept Damian into the shopping area and then into a store which then started filling with water. He was carried to the ceiling by that rising water. He was sure he was going to die there, until the water actually pushed him through a gap in the roof.
There's something about the Olympics that's just larger than life, and there are those images of past Olympic performances we'll never forget. One of those happened in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond was representing Great Britain in the 400-meter event. Unfortunately, he went down on the backstretch with a torn right hamstring. And the medical attendants started to approach him, but he managed to fight his way to his feet. Maybe you remember seeing this. He set out hopping around the track, desperately trying to finish the race. When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, and literally threw aside a security guard, and ran to the injured runner, and hugged him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. Derek was weeping in excruciating pain, and his Dad said, "Derek, you don't have to do this." To which Derek said, "Yes, I do." And Jim Redmond said, "OK then, we're going to finish this together!" And they did. They had to fight off security men. The son's head was sometimes buried on his father's shoulder. But they stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end - as the crowd stood and cheered and even wept.