Friday, August 31, 2007

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It was a day of national mourning; an unusual outpouring of emotion and affection for the man who had died. The final farewell to former President Ronald Reagan began with official funeral observances in the nation's Capitol: the long, all-night lines of everyday Americans paying their respects at his coffin in the Capitol Rotunda, the highest officials of the land paying tribute to the former President, the memorial service in the National Cathedral, and then that final journey on Air Force One to a family service at his ranch in California. One of the more moving moments of a day with many such moments was when Air Force jets flew over in what is known as the "missing man maneuver." Clusters of jets flew overhead, with one jet in the final cluster suddenly peeling up, away, and out of sight. That's a symbol that says a lot.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

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At first, they were frightened and even bruised faces appearing on Iraqi TV. Early in the Iraq War, there were seven American soldiers and pilots who had been captured by Saddam Hussein's forces and then they were paraded on television for all the world to see. After that, none of us could be sure whether they were hurt or healthy, or dead or alive. They've been way too many scenes like that. Well, retreating enemy soldiers informed American troops of the place where the POWs were being held. As the heavily armed soldiers burst into the room, they first shouted for everyone to lie down on the floor. Then, they yelled out an unmistakable command: "If you're an American, stand up!" Seven prisoners stood up, and they were free.

Monday, August 27, 2007

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I hate it when a five-year-old makes me feel dumb; especially when it's my grandson. I mean, he doesn't mean to make me feel dumb. He doesn't know he's making me feel dumb. But he is really smart, and he knows a lot about a lot! Like the solar system, for example. He's got the planets down cold along with all kinds of facts about the universe. Things I either have forgotten or maybe never knew. Another thing our grandson is really mastering is numbers. Man, can he count! He's working on thousands, millions, billions, and his favorite quantity, a google! When it comes to our universe, he's never going to be able to count that high!

Friday, August 24, 2007

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There's a bridge in a park not too far from here; they take carriage rides there. It's just a bridge to most folks, but not to our son and daughter-in-law. That will always be a very special spot to them. It's where he asked her to marry him. It's interesting how a plain old piece of geography becomes forever special when something special in your life happens there: the place you were born, or where you had your first date or your first kiss, or where you were married, or where some significant "first" in your life took place. When a certain place is where something important started, it will always be a special place.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

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Throughout recent military history, the Army Rangers have been there in some of the most dramatic, most heroic combat events, like scaling the cliffs at Normandy Beach on D-Day, climbing right into the face of enemy fire. It's no surprise that the Rangers played a part, along with other Special Forces, in the rescue of the Iraqi prisoner of war, Jessica Lynch, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When you're fighting in the heat of battle, it's important to know that your comrades are going to look out for you, no matter what. The POW rescue was one example of a commitment that is expressed in the Army Ranger Creed; a commitment that's echoed in other branches of the military, as well. Here's what the creed says: "I shall never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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Not long ago, we went on a guided tour of this large cave near us. You walk through these winding and really narrow, passageways admiring the wonders that God has created from stalagmites, stalactites, and underground rivers. We entered this one large chamber, and the guide turned on the light and directed our eyes to this high vaulted ceiling. You can probably guess what animals we saw hanging out up there - bats, lots of bats. The guide told us that the early explorers of this cave had found large quantities of what she called bat guano. If you don't know what that is, never mind. It's gross, that's what it is. But they made lots of money selling that stuff. I thought, "What good could bat dung possibly be?" Surprise! They make gunpowder out of it! And even more surprisingly, they said that they can turn that gross stuff into makeup like mascara and lipstick! Makes me think twice about kissing my wife.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

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Since it's pretty rare to see an eagle in our area, I've had to settle for another bird that at least soars like an eagle. They're the turkey vultures that I see circling overhead so often. I actually love to watch their gracious flight. I hate to think about their repulsive diet, though. As you know, those vultures like to chow down on dead animals. Wherever you see vultures, you can pretty well assume there's a carcass somewhere nearby.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Paula's really been taking some risks lately. She's a Native American young woman who is in a training program in our office. Now, Paula is deathly afraid of heights and my wife and I took her out for lunch at a place called the Cliff House Inn. You guessed it - it hangs out on the side of a mountain. When we went out on the porch to admire the view, Paula asked to go out there with us. We had to hold her hand, but she bravely ventured out and spent a few minutes looking out from that very high perch suspended over a deep valley. The next day she went with a girlfriend to a theme park, and she purposely went with her on roller coasters that she was afraid of. You know something? Paula is not quite as afraid of heights as she used to be.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

OK, so there are more bills to pay than you've got money to pay them. You have to make some choices. There's one I bet you'll really try to pay. You'll probably pay the telephone bill. The phone company has a very effective way of getting your attention. You let your bill go past the payment deadline and pretty soon you'll get this little notice. It goes something like this: "If you don't settle your bill right away, your service will be cut off." It's amazing how a service cutoff can help you set your priorities!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When our friends got married some years ago, they decided they wanted to live and farm in a largely undeveloped area of the Ozark Mountains. They had some interesting neighbors - one in particular. He looked and talked and smelled like a true man of the mountains who had little use for "civilization." After they declined his invitation to dinner a lot of times, they finally consented. It was a memorable night. They stood on the porch of his cabin as he pointed to the hens running around the yard and said, "Tell me which chicken you want for dinner." They did and then they got to participate in executing the lucky winner. The conditions in which dinner was prepared would have given chest pains to any health inspector.

As they sat down at the table, they noticed a dark covering on one dish that they were about to eat. It turned out to be flies! After dinner, the two men sat in the living room and visited. My friend commented on the big holes all along the bottom of the cabin walls. His host explained that those holes were from the mice. "They must be mighty big mice and there must be a lot of them," my friend commented. The host smiled. "Oh, the holes are from me killing ‘em. I just sit here with my old .22 and shoot ‘em when they poke their head out!"

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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