You know, all those headache remedies promise fast relief, of course, but they all actually take time - even the best of them, whatever one that is. I mean, can you imagine someone with a headache and they take two aspirin, and immediately they say, "Nothing happened! My head still hurts. This stuff is bogus!" So they pop three more. In five minutes this person says, "I've still got a headache!" They pop several more.
We had two weeks in our area that I call "The Ice Age." And a car actually slid into our vehicle in a parking lot. So the right side looked pretty ugly. Interestingly enough, that damage didn't affect the performance of our car at all. Like so many older cars we've had over the years, the outside was banged up but the engine was running fine.
Our friend is incredibly creative - including creating jewelry. You know, she told us about how she made a beautiful gold ring. Actually the ring is designed in wax. When she has the ring design that she wants carved in the wax, she pours plaster-of-Paris around that molded wax ring. Then she puts it in an oven. Well, of course, the intense heat melts the wax away until there's no wax left, just a vacuum, which is shaped like the ring she wants. Then she puts this in a centrifuge, and that spins gold into the vacuum where the wax used to be. Gold rushes in where it used to be just wax. And out comes something very beautiful and a whole lot more valuable.
When I came home from my first trip to Australia, my kids were eager to see what souvenirs I brought back for them. I couldn't fit the kangaroo in my suitcase, but there was one very Australian item I did bring back - a boomerang. Those things are amazing. You know, if you throw it right, that boomerang will go out, make a U-turn, and come right back to you. It's probably a good idea, then, to pay attention after you throw your boomerang. I can just see a klutz like me throwing it, turning my back, and getting boomed with my own boomerang!
A friend of mine who's served on his local school board for many years. And, of course, this year there are unique challenges. But over the years, they've had challenges too. The more demands that have been placed on schools in recent years, the more complicated the work becomes and they've got more things to figure out. One of the days that he was most frustrated that kind of surfaced in a conversation we had. And he said, "You know, our state keeps passing mandates to us for things our school system has to do, but lots of times they give us the mandate without the money. They decide what we have to do, and we get to figure out how to pay for it."
My friend Andy used to pastor in West Virginia. The little town they lived in was situated in this long, narrow valley - actually a pretty dark valley, according to Andy. The sun didn't rise high enough to shine on that town until like mid-morning, so it was actually dark for quite a while each day. My friend said that the town itself was kind of a (well, in his words) a dingy, dirty place. It's the kind of a place where you often battle feeling down emotionally. But Andy used to love to go up on the mountain, he said, because it overlooked the valley, and from up there, he said the view was beautiful. Even the town looked really nice from up there!
It was one of those rock-and-roll airplane flights. And we're not talking music here. No, those are exciting, especially if you're a flight attendant. Especially if you're in the aisle trying to serve passengers something; which they don't much of any more. And that's where we were when our flight hit a stretch of serious turbulence. The captain made sure all of us passengers had our seat belts securely fastened, and he wanted to make sure that we all knew where the "motion discomfort" bag was (I'm only kidding). It looked like dinner was about to be called off as the flight attendants rock-and-rolled in the aisle. Then the captain came on with a hopeful announcement, "I'm trying to go to a higher altitude, folks, and see if we can find some smoother air up there." (I thought that was a great idea.) Well, it worked! In a couple of minutes we were cruising along so smoothly and we were eating our dinner instead of wearing our dinner! That was good.
I was doing a little reading about the unusual man that was President when my mom was a little girl, Calvin Coolidge. Now he was a classic Vermonter, but not a classic politician. He was a man of very few words, great common sense, and very strong character. Even after his presidency he remained very popular with the American people. Now, Calvin Coolidge was remarkably cool under pressure, even that day when a letter was handed to him in Los Angeles that warned him of a plot to assassinate him. Coolidge blandly handed the note to his guard with just five simple words, "Guess this belongs to you."
We were visiting some of my wife's cousins, and we got to talking about the incredible fishing results that Cousin Marty gets. It doesn't seem to matter when he fishes or where he fishes, he brings back a stringer of big ones. He wouldn't understand at all about a fisherman I heard about recently. It was one of those days when it wasn't just the bugs who were biting; the big fish really were. And this particular angler kept reeling in fish that were at least a foot long, and then he kept throwing them back. A fisherman in a nearby boat kept watching this with a mixture of amazement and disgust. Finally, he couldn't resist. He called over to the fisherman after he had just thrown back another fish that was over a foot long. He said, "Hey! Why are you throwing back all the big ones?" The answer was more disturbing than his not keeping them. He replied, "Hey! I've only got an eight-inch pan!" What?
Every once in a while we had the treat of seeing a guinea hen in our backyard. Now, I wouldn't even had known what that was except for my farmgirl wife. But she was talking to a neighbor about guinea fowl, and he told her some interesting discoveries he had made about them. Apparently, they have this amazing ability to literally fly straight up when they have to. So, when a coyote is chasing say a chicken, he's got a pretty good chance of having a chicken dinner because his prey takes off at an angle. But guinea fowl can just suddenly take off and go straight up thus seriously disappointing Mr. Coyote. Well, our neighbor said, "They're talented, but they're stupid!" That's because of a phenomenon he observed when some guinea hens were running in his wife's flower garden. They literally got lost in the flower patch and they just kept running back and forth, back and forth, actually trampling the flower garden. They just kept running. They were baffled! They didn't know how to get out. Uh, guys look up! You can fly right out of here!