Thursday, September 28, 2006

It was four months after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center that a moving postscript was added to the accounts of rescue heroism that we had already heard. Some 343 firefighters lost their lives on September 11, going in to rescue people at a time when everyone else was fleeing. But a subsequent review of the fatalities revealed that sixty of those who died were "off duty" when they rushed into the burning towers at the World Trade Center. Some of the firefighters who gave their lives that day had been at home or working second jobs when they heard about the fires at the towers and they sped to the scene in taxis or in their own cars. A fire department spokesman said, "Those who were 'off duty' joined those who were already working in a valiant and courageous effort to save as many lives as possible."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Commercial flying can be a real adventure. Like the day I booked a last-minute flight to the Northwest to support some Native American friends of ours who had just lost their young son. I was supposed to fly into Spokane, Washington, but fog shut it down and we were diverted to another airport for the night. So, the airline put us up in a hotel overnight and promised us they would do their best to get us to Spokane the next morning. I knew if I didn't get to the reservation that next day, I would have missed what I was going for. I really needed the real scoop on whether or not our plane was going to get into Spokane.

Friday, September 22, 2006

There have been a number of airplane crashes over the years. A few of them are the kind you just don't forget. One was the crash of United Flight 232. Captain Al Haynes and his crew were desperately trying to control a plane that was almost out of control due to an equipment failure. They were diverted from Chicago to Sioux City, Iowa. There was no way they were able to maneuver that plane to the airport. Their best hope of saving at least some lives was to try to bring it down in a nearby cornfield. Captain Haynes became a national hero when he somehow managed to do just that. Tragically, some lives were lost in the crash landing and the subsequent fire, but there were many survivors from a crash that could have easily killed all aboard. Captain Haynes said he had a hero that day. His crew had checked every procedure book to see what to do in an emergency like they were facing. They found no procedure. So Captain Haynes' hero was the flight controller that talked him through that terrifying crisis. Here's what the captain said: "There's nothing like a calm, soothing voice talking to you, telling you everything you need to know."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Dad, you're on E!" I've heard those words from my kids for years as we were driving along - as if I didn't know the fuel gauge was nearing the empty mark. Of course, I knew. Why stop sooner than you have to. Right? Now, I must admit, I have sometimes created undue stress for me, my wife, and my children by flirting with an empty fuel tank. Oh, and they'll gladly remind me, for example, of the time we sputtered to a stop along the New York Thruway; somehow we had run out of gas. Actually, and don't tell my family I admitted this, but it really isn't very smart to keep driving with a tank that's almost on empty.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The power was out this morning when some of our neighbors woke up. In fact, several hundred customers were without electricity. Now, it wasn't the power company's fault. It was the fault of a driver who ran his car into an electric pole. Oh, not on purpose, of course. See it was a grandfather returning from an all-night hunting expedition with his grandson. Unfortunately, his body didn't want to wait until it got home to sleep. So the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Now, he was injured, his car was damaged, and lots of folks had no power.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We had been working on our production for our college's Junior-Senior Banquet for months. It was an original musical drama, written and directed by my roommate and me, based on the book of Esther. The orchestra had rehearsed night after night, the chorus had rehearsed, the actors, the light crew, the sound crew; we had prepared as much as we could. The night before, we had the dress rehearsal. But all those months of preparation and practice came down to one evening - the night of the big performance, and it was show time!

Friday, August 4, 2006

I keep telling my wife that I'm expecting Tarzan or George of the Jungle to come swinging through our house any time now. She's set up a corner of the house as her own personal little jungle to accommodate the new guests in our house - our orchids. My wife has found some sources for orchids that are pretty reasonable, and she's really been enjoying collecting some in recent weeks. They're very stately. They come in some beautiful shades of lavender, purple, red, yellow. (Now, please don't write to us and ask us about orchids. We're just learning about them.) I will tell you that my favorite gardener is doing her best to create the kind of conditions those delicate flowers are used to; warmth in the day, cooler temps at night, light, pure water, humidity. Orchids are tropical plants and they're often found in out-of-the-way places; which poses a fascinating scenario: millions of these spectacular flowers over many centuries, displaying this exotic beauty where no one may have ever seen it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I never really liked TV game shows, until my son got me interested in one. It comes on after the evening news, which is what I watch on television. Maybe you have seen it - Jeopardy. What an appropriate title for a show that comes on right after the world news. There are three contestants who are given several categories, ranging from U.S. Presidents to Cat Food. First, a contestant picks a dollar value question, and the host gives the answer to the question in that category. Then the three contestants vie to see who can give the right question first, because the right answer is usually a question (if you understand that). Some of them do very well and they win lots of money. I saw one man who won fifty thousand dollars, but others just fold. I said to my son. "Look at some of those people. They wind up in a hole with their money. How do they get on the show?" My compassionate son reminded me, "Dad, it's hard to come up with right answers when you have all that pressure on you."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In high school, our teenage son lived a very, very busy life which I think might go with having this last name. And I could sometimes find him finally ending up on the couch for just kind of a collapse, you know, and he deserved it. He would set up this little comfort zone there. He'd have his New York Giants mug, and his school books, and his TV guide, in case he had time to watch. And most important, he had his phone. Unfortunately, the phone hooked up two rooms away. That means the cord was stretched to the max to get it to the couch, and I could tell when he had the phone there, because I kept hearing people muttering through the house after they tripped over the cord. It was right where everybody had to walk to get to the living room or to the kitchen. And I'd say, "Son, you've got to do something about this thing that people keep tripping over." Well, so do you!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When you drive in the New York City area, lane switching becomes a well developed art form. Of course, the danger zone in switching lanes is your blind spot. That one area in your rear vision where you can't see in any of your mirrors - that's pretty critical. Actually, the words blind spot have taken on new meaning for my wife and me. She had some vision problems and she developed what the doctor believed to be a temporary blind spot. He injected some dye to see how much of her vision was blocked, and I was surprised as the doctor showed us the results. He said, "Now, here is the blind spot that we all have." I said, "I do?" Right around the optic nerve, there are no rods and cones to produce a visual image, so we all have a blind spot.



Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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