It was a 911 call that alerted the first responders. A man was slowly wading out into San Francisco Bay, inching his way to ending his life there. Pretty soon a group of firefighters, and a crowd of about 75 people, were watching as this desperate man went a little deeper and a little deeper, and sadly occasionally glancing back at the shore. They stood there watching for an hour...and they watched him die, without anyone making a move to help him.
Over the years, I've learned a few lessons about how to meet a little child for the first time and how not to. I used to stand there all big and adult and come on real enthusiastic, "Hey, how you doing, Billy?" Well, at that point the child promptly turned his head and disappeared somewhere in his mother's leg.
When it was 7:00 a.m. in the Hutchcraft house, the word "chaos" took on new meaning - a typical school day morning. It was very exciting to get two teenage sons up, get them around, and get them dressed and out to school. Of course, both of them were a little crazy like their Mother, and that contributed to the chaos as well. Finally we were able to get them off to school.
Our four-year-old grandson loved that Sunday night program the church had for boys his age. He learned lots of Bible verses there, he made friends, and he participated enthusiastically in the special activities they offered. And then they announced that the next week the kids should come dressed as what they wanted to be when they grew up. Our daughter asked our grandson what he wanted to be. He said, "I want to be a grandfather." She shouldn't have told me. I know, that kind of made me melted grandfather all over our carpet. I expect his other grandfather probably felt the same way. They borrowed some of my clothes and they went to work making a grandson into a grandfather. He said, "I even smell like Grandpa!" I'm not sure what that meant. But it did feel good that a grandfather is what he wants to be.
It started out as a major battle for Jason. It turned out to be a major blessing for someone else. In early March, Jason's symptoms were just a mild cough and congestion. Then the headaches. Then the fever, the body aches, and the shortness of breath. And, you guessed it, by mid-March the test showed he had coronavirus. He isolated himself for ten days to protect his wife and his 11-month-old daughter. Finally, he was able to announce on social media that the medical folks said he had beaten it. It was about that time, there was another COVID patient, though, in his area who was in dire condition and not responding to medications. That's when they contacted Jason to see if he'd be willing to help with an experimental treatment - donating his plasma to be given to the endangered patient. Hoping Jason's antibodies from fighting COVID might help, they gave him those antibodies. They gave him that plasma. Last report - that patient was breathing better each day and starting to recover. Jason looked back on his COVID battle and said: "This thing ended up possibly saving someone's life."
If you're a parent, or even a grandparent, when your kid gets a great teacher, they become a hero to them and to you. But every once in a while, a teacher does something so unforgettable that we nominate them for the Heroes Hall of Fame. Robert Bailey - he was in the news a while back - is one of those. He's a 27-year-old British teacher, serving in a school in Japan. A school that suddenly was right in the path of a monster tsunami that swamped northern Japan. The students there had eight minutes to find a safe place after the tsunami sirens went off. He described the moment that earthquake hit this way: "We first heard a weird cracking noise, and then came the violent shaking."
Television at its best - which it all too seldom delivers - can take you to some fascinating places in the world that you might not see any other way. Like the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, for example. The ruins of that ancient city, high up in the Andes Mountains of Peru, are remarkably well preserved, almost as if the city was just abandoned a night long ago. A recent documentary showed burros making their way up this rugged, winding, perilous road to Machu Picchu, carrying the burdens of the humans who were leading them. You'd expect animals to be pretty skittish on a narrow trail and this deadly drop-off only feet away. Oh, but not those burros. No, they were remarkably calm the whole trip. Of course, there was a reason. They were blindfolded!
Frankly, I have never enjoyed eating worms. I don't know about you, but I assume you would agree with that. It's never really been appealing to me. But I know the saying, "The early bird gets the worm." Well, if that's the case, why would anyone would want to be the early bird? I mean, fish like worms. Oh, yeah! I never understood that, but they really do. I like pizza. But how would you like to go fishing and try to put a slice of pizza on the hook? See how many fish you catch when you use what you like to eat. Now, if you're not catching fish, I think any fisherman would tell you it's time to check your bait.
It was one of those unexpected phone calls that leaves you stunned. Our friend Curt, one of the most experienced private pilots we know, had crashed two hours earlier. He was landing on a grass strip near his home, a strip where he's landed hundreds of times. This time he somehow went into a skid that propelled his plane right into a tree. The plane caught fire and exploded, and our friend Curt was in heaven. As a beloved leader in our community, I can tell you that his death rocked a lot of people, including me. Because of a collapsed wheel, he had been in a crash fourteen months earlier; one which should have been fatal but which he actually escaped from with serious but survivable injuries. I can't tell you how grateful I am he did not die then. See, something very important happened between those two crashes.
You know how it is after say a week of rain, you start to forget what the sun looks like. We had just been through a week like that, and it was like pouring as I was driving home. And, actually that's what it had been doing the whole week. You didn't even have to listen for the weather forecast; I think they just had it recorded. You knew what it was going to be the next day. Well, I glanced at this office complex of a major insurance company that was along the road on the way home. And what to my wondering eye should appear, but sprinklers! Yeah, all their lawn sprinklers were out and going full blast. Now, what is going on here? I mean, they were watering, drowning a not very thirsty lawn. After a week of torrential rain, the sprinklers were on! They were like saturating what was already saturated.