Nobody ever said college guys are going to win the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Right? I mean, entering many of their dorm rooms is only for the very brave, and those with a strong stomach. Where is Mom when you really need her?
Some couples' wedding vows get tested sooner; some get tested later. My friends had theirs tested right away. When they went to Mexico for their honeymoon, they promptly picked up some Spanish speaking bug down there, and they got very, very sick in the middle of what was supposed to be their very romantic honeymoon. I think it was commonly called Montezuma's Revenge or something like that.
Tony was one of the best-liked teachers in our local school - at least he had our kid's vote. As he and I were working together on a project at our house, I was really surprised to learn about his background. I never would have guessed it. See, he grew up in a very tough neighborhood in our area. It was sharply divided into these ethnic pockets. Well, actually, into ethnic gangs. And Tony, by his own admission, was a fighter. Most of the guys in his neighborhood were. And then, five of his good friends died violently in two months time - five friends in two months; one of them his very best friend. Two of his friends are now serving prison terms - two of the survivors that is.
Like most countries, America has some holidays that are pretty meaningful. We've got the Fourth of July to celebrate our independence. We've got Veterans' Day and Memorial Day, and those are great times to remember all those who've fought for our freedom. We celebrate the birthdays of some great Americans like Lincoln and Washington and Martin Luther King. And then there's one oddball day on your calendar though - Groundhog Day.
First we hear the stories of the disasters. Then we hear the stories of the people affected by those disasters. Especially the heroes. Some years ago, there were these horrific floods that swept through Queensland, Australia, carrying away loved ones, and houses, cars, and communities. But there's one story from that tragedy that I'm not going to forget. It's about a 13-year-old boy named Jordan - from a town called Toowoomba.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and honestly, this is a true story. Friends of ours have a big dog. And their neighbor threatened them about that dog. She had this white fluffy rabbit and a rabbit hutch in her backyard. And she said, "I'll tell you, if that dog ever hurts that rabbit of mine, I'll sue you for everything you're worth."
I think I still remember one line of poetry from high school, "Water, water everywhere." Well, you know what? For lots of folks during the spring, that isn't poetry. It's their town, their neighborhood, their house. Rivers overflowing, backing up into every creek and stream. It can be a mess.
You know, there's something about a princess. I know our granddaughters growing up, boy they sure thought so. They got princess everything, the dolls, the sheets, the tiaras. We probably got most of them for them. You get the picture. But, you know, our granddaughters weren't that unusual. So many little girls, from lots of generations, have grown up with dreams of being a princess. And look! What's at the center of Disney World's Fantasyland when you go there? Well, of course, Cinderella's Castle.
It was the worst day of this dear woman's life. Her 13-year-old daughter was killed at the hands of a drunk driver. To make it worse, just two days earlier the offender had been released on bail for a hit-and-run drunk driving crash. And he already had two drunk driving convictions with a third that was plea-bargained to "reckless accident." Well, the grief in this Mom turned from grief into righteous anger. She and some friends got together at a steakhouse in California and discussed with them her plan to do something about what had killed her daughter. They formed a group called MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. And they have been a powerful force for helping to save lives since then.
Our kids always loved that amusement park ride where they get to drive those little race cars around the track. I guess I should put the word "drive" in quotes. Oh yeah, kids grab that steering wheel and they do their NASCAR thing as the car speeds around that track at this eye-blurring 3 or 4 MPH speed or something. I could hardly blink! But driving, well that's kind of an overstatement. See, that car is attached to a little rail, and it's going to go where it's going to go, no matter what little Miss or Mr. NASCAR does at the wheel. We won't tell them this, but they're not really in control at all.