If you've driven across America much, you might have seen a sign at one point that says "Wall Drug Store." It's in Wall, South Dakota. They advertise all over the country. I was even in Singapore years ago. I saw an arrow pointing West. It said something like "Wall Drug Store 10,000 miles." This once little drug store in an unknown town grew into a major tourist attraction. On some days I've heard they'll draw like 20,000 people! But it wasn't always that way.
As a kid, I often rode my bike up to the old theater on 79th Street for the Saturday afternoon flick. But this day was different. They handed me this strange-looking pair of glasses made of cardboard with tinted plastic lenses. Those goofy-looking glasses opened up a whole new world where the events in a movie no longer just stayed flat on the screen. They leaped off the screen and right into my face. Hello, 3-D!
I've lived in the city; I've lived in the country. And when I live in the country... there are a lot more farm animals, so I learn a lot. I've actually learned a lot about donkeys. It's kind of fun to hear their braying. I mean there's no other animal that sounds quite like a donkey. Now, the ones that I knew best, the gray one and the brown one, but they both have the same marking on their back. It's one long dark line along their spine and then there's a shorter dark line across their shoulders. It actually makes a cross. One old farmer told my wife that all donkeys have that cross, and that they have it because a donkey carried Jesus to His birth and on Palm Sunday. I don't know the reason, but there's no doubt that many donkeys carry the cross on their backs.
The Kentucky Derby always has its share of drama. I remember the 2006 Kentucky Derby. That was a blowout! A horse named Barbaro took the lead in America's most famous race and left every other horse in the dust. Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby by an astounding 6 & 1/2 lengths! Many thought that horse could go on to be one of the few who has ever won the Triple Crown. Well, sadly, an injury ended that dream. But it didn't take away the glory of Barbaro's dramatic Kentucky Derby victory.
I invented this little game years ago to play with our two young grandsons. I call it Bible Charades. We tried it one Sunday afternoon during a visit to our house, and then they wanted to do it every time. It's pretty simple. Just write a brief description of several Bible stories on cards, and then the boys would take turns drawing a card and acting out the story with either their Daddy or me as their teammate. Whoever isn't playing is supposed to be guessing. My favorite was when the younger boy - who was three years old - was David and his tall Daddy was Goliath. Yeah. The little guy pretended that this dishtowel was his slingshot, and he spun it around his head - followed by Daddy holding his forehead and crashing dramatically to the living room floor. No talking is allowed. You can only act it out. One problem: our five-year-old grandson knew a lot more Bible stories than his three-year-old brother, which made the game pretty challenging and sometimes kind of frustrating for the little guy. The story that we hoped that he'd guess by our actions might be a story he doesn't even know!
My wife always said I usually try to cram in one more thing before I leave for an appointment. No, she was right. Yeah, she'd say that I usually try to make it up on the road, and sometimes I do have to plead guilty I guess. And it usually works okay if the weather's on my side. And then there are those very rainy days when it's a little tougher to hurry. You know, you're zipping down the highway at top speed, and suddenly you feel yourself losing control of the rear wheels. You ever had that happen to you? Yeah, it's what they call hydroplaning. The water builds up under those tires so that well, you're suddenly skiing. You're skimming along on water rather than on the pavement and the rear of your car starts to go somewhere you don't want it to go. Now, if that's ever happened to you, you know it is a scary feeling to start hydroplaning because, well, you're going so fast and you're starting to start losing control.
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.
When we moved to New York City many years ago, one of the first landmarks I wanted to see was the Statue of Liberty. And when we went out there on our first weekend, the guide told us an amazing fact I never realized. He said, "From the day in the late 1800's when her light was first lit up right here on that island, to the moment we are looking at right now, the lamp of Liberty has never gone out." Wow!
When our sons were playing high school football, their job was to run their body into other guys' bodies. Yeah, they were linemen - they blocked. Of course, one of their great rewards for all this body slamming was when they could stop or deflect an opposing lineman - thus opening up a hole through which their teammate could run with the ball. And the good ball carriers knew what they had to do: spot the opening and go through it as fast as they could!
Anne had ridden her mountain bike through a California wilderness park a lot of times before, but the ride this day would change her life. She was attacked by a mountain lion that hours earlier had actually killed another biker. As the cat literally held her in his jaws by the back of her neck, all she could do was pray. Humanly speaking, her friend Debbie was her only hope. Debbie jumped off her bike, grabbed Anne's leg, and screamed for help just kicking at the mountain lion. Imagine that!