Pete came to me with this very unusual request when we were freshmen in college together. He asked me who I thought were the five best girls to date in our class. (Just call me Dr. Love.) Well, I gave him my top five list; four of whom I had actually been out with on my mad "date them all" freshman rush.
For years, Haiti's had a special place in the hearts of my wife and myself. We've been there sometimes. My wife went down there on a photography mission. It's always touched our hearts. And when it's in the news, like earthquakes etc. it really gets to us. You know, I remember some years ago when my wife brought back a strange souvenir from her visit. She came home with I guess you'd call it a bacterial souvenir from a mission trip there.
I guess it might be nice to own a copy of the Declaration of Independence. It's not on my top ten list of things I'd like to have, but if it's cheap, why not? That's what Michael Sparks thought when he bought a copy of the Declaration in a thrift store. Yeah, he spent a whopping $2.48. What a deal! It turns out what he bought for $2.48 is one of the 200 "official copies" commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820. So, the man who bought it for $2.48, sold it for almost half a million dollars!
Now, look, if we get together regularly by radio, we kind of have sort of a strange relationship. I mean you know me by radio, but maybe only by radio. Some people might think that gives you a break because they'd say, "Yeah, that's probably better we just know him by radio." You just know my voice, right; sort of a one-dimensional relationship. It's pretty amusing when people find out how I look. Yeah, they get this mental image of what they think I look like. One lady said "You don't look like yourself." What? I've never looked like anybody else. I'll be somewhere I'm speaking, they'll say, "Oh, we thought you looked different. This is it?" Yeah, this is it.
Oh I've come a long way for a technically challenged person. Well, there was a time I'd never used a computer - wasn't planning to. Somebody bought me one, said, "You're gonna." I didn't understand all about it, but I did learn how to use it. I remember back before the days of autosave, you know? There were some lessons I learned the hard way: I'd type in part of a book or a magazine article or notes of some kind, and then type in a password to save it. But I'd make one fatal mistake. See, you were supposed to hit this little key that said Enter or you wouldn't be seeing that material again. Just because it appeared on the screen didn't mean I had it. You had to save it by pressing the Enter command.
Some years ago, I took my second trip on behalf of a youth ministry to South Africa. On the first trip, I remember how very lost I felt when I got to the airport. I'd been on an airplane for 18 wonderful hours. I got there late at night, I had no car, no directions. I didn't know anything about anywhere in the nation of South Africa.
If you want to ask me the five greatest victories in my life, I'm not sure I can tell you what two, three, four or five would be. But I could sure tell you what number one would be - my wife! She was not an easy conquest, man. She was dating this other guy. I was after her long before she had any romantic thoughts about me. So I really had to work on this one. So I plotted ways to be with her, I plotted ways to impress her. I plotted ways to try to help her. Is this stalking? I'm not sure. But this is all under the heading "Oh, we have a brother and sister relationship." That's what it was.
Because I lived in the New York area for so many years, went to the World Trade Center so many times, even knew people in the building, the events of September 11th always come back to me. And part of the incredible impact of the attacks on the World Trade Center was that everyday people suddenly became national heroes. Fire trucks would roll through New York City with weary firefighters on board. Can't you picture it? Maybe you saw that stuff on the news. And New Yorkers would erupt in spontaneous cheers - scenes that I would never forget. Ground Zero, that devastated area at and around the site of the collapsed towers, became known as Ground Hero. Professional athletes, who are supposedly our nation's heroes in less turbulent times, kept saying, "We're not the heroes - they're the heroes." Americans will not soon forget those firefighters, the police, the medical personnel, and those countless volunteers who gave everything they had to try to rescue those who were caught in those collapsing towers. I'll tell you what. For me, the word "hero" was never the same again.
For many years now I've spent most of my summer working with Native American young people. So I was especially interested when I heard the touching story of an Indian chief who was chief during the time when tribes were still wandering tribes. He had a reputation for being a really great leader. In fact it was said that he was always just, but he was always loving. That was about to be severely tested, though, in a way he could have never dreamed.
When you've been sick in bed for six weeks, you are pretty desperate for things to do. That's probably why my wife spent so long just watching a frustrated lady bug one day during an illness. My wife had been sick long enough to be almost at that point of desperation.