I've got a lot of friends who live on some pretty isolated Indian reservations in the United States. And, frankly, there just aren't many jobs there. But recently, a couple of them have suddenly found themselves making some pretty big money on a construction job. One of my Native friends said, "Man, this is a great job! They're building a road, and I got hired, and it's great money!" Actually, when you're working construction, it usually does mean some pretty decent pay.
For some people, a long drive is anything more than an hour or two. Over the years for my wife and me, well, it just had to be many hours before we could call it a long drive. Oh, good night, I think back! We've driven so many marathon trips over the years and, for the most part, we've enjoyed it...if we traveled together. It's not fun driving a long haul alone. In fact, unless you're a professional long-hauler, it's not even safe to drive a long trip alone. It never is a good idea to nap and drive simultaneously I believe. If you really want to cover a lot of miles, take somebody with you. You can go a lot longer. Oh sure, that second person might slow you down a little sometimes, but hey, they're worth it. There's an old African proverb that says it pretty well: "If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together." That's cool, huh?
When you use our kitchen sink, you might notice this little contraption attached to the faucet. It's one of those sophisticated water filters. Before the water arrives in your glass or your container, it passes through that filter. I don't like surprises in my H2O, you know? I don't know about you, but I don't. I was amazed the first time we took that filter off to clean it. Oh, it needed lots of cleaning! It had screened out of our drinking water this layer of dirty stuff. I didn't even want to think about that stuff going into my body. Let's hear it for the filter!
There's been a run on graveyards these past years. Not because more people are dying, but because more people are connecting the dots in their family tree. There were some TV programs that show famous people pursuing the story of their family's past, and those have fueled an explosion of interest in genealogy research. Just ask the librarians who are welcoming visitors from all over to their newly-enhanced genealogy resources.
Both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush called him one of the American Presidents that they revered the most, and he's right up there with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore - Theodore Roosevelt. He became a national hero, and soon President of the United States after his heroic leadership in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The objective of his unit was to take this strategic Kettle Hill and then San Juan Hill. Ultimately, his troops would have to advance uphill in the face of withering enemy fire. And his soldiers would long remember the order he gave to launch what turned out to be an historic advance. Unlike many military leaders, Teddy Roosevelt did not say, "Charge!" Instead, he shouted, "Follow me!"
If it's spring in America, someone is going to get hit with floods unfortunately. Years ago, I think it was April 1997, North Dakota got hit hard - especially in the area around Grand Forks, North Dakota. One woman who had to flee her home was interviewed by a reporter. She was eating her lunch in a school shelter where hundreds of victims were bivouacked. She must have surprised that reporter when she said, "You know, I feel very fortunate." I mean, after all, what had been her home only a day before was now awash in sewage and fuel. Then she gave her reasons for feeling fortunate. And you often hear this after a disaster. She just said, "My children are all safe. The rest is just stuff."
You know, we celebrated not too long ago the wonderful first guys to land on the moon and walk on the moon. Neil Armstrong, of course. But, you know, when he first stepped onto the surface of the moon for his "one small step for man," he really didn't look like himself. No, he was totally wrapped up in that modern-day armor we call a space suit. Well, there is a reason of course. The moon is an environment hostile to humans. An unequipped, unprotected astronaut would have died in an instant of lunar exposure. Why? No oxygen. That big pack on his back - that was the margin of survival.
My wife was a really gifted photographer. Actually, she missed some memorable photographs because of her husband. See, I was in too much of a hurry to stop. Here's how the scenario went, "Honey, look at that picture!" Well, I don't see what she sees. But there is one there, and it's usually some beautiful scene somewhere we were driving. And on several occasions I would say, "Hey, you know we'll be back this way a little later. Why don't we get it then?" Somehow the same picture isn't there later. The same objects are usually there, but the lighting, the shadows, the mood; the magic moment has changed. I remember one time we were driving along in New England, and there was this cabin nestled back in the woods in this little valley, and a beautiful rainbow over that. And I said...Now, here was a really smart guy, "Honey, listen, we'll be back in just a few minutes." Well, now, you know that picture wasn't there a few minutes later. Duh! It's amazing how there's this brief...I guess you'd call it a window during which you can capture the scene, and then it's gone. It might be the same players and the same setting, but the golden moment is gone.
A local pastor told me about an incident that reportedly happened when a world-famous professional golfer was playing in Saudi Arabia. Apparently, the King was so impressed with this man's playing that he said to him, "I'd like to give you a gift of appreciation." This renowned golfer told the King that no gift was necessary; he just appreciated the opportunity to play in his country. But the King was insistent, not only that the golfer receive a gift, but that he could name any gift he wanted.
I was in my office, trying to crawl out of an avalanche of papers on my desk. Suddenly, there was a knock on my door and in came one of our team members with his wife and their bright-eyed eight-month-old little boy, Zachary. My wife joined our little Zachary party back then and proceeded to plop this animated little bundle right in the middle of my desk, in the middle of a mountain of paperwork, right where I couldn't ignore him. Oh, great! And you know something, I didn't actually mind. Little Zachary and I had a great conversation, which means I did all the talking. We played, we laughed, and Zachary creatively reorganized (shall we say) the project I was working on. It was one of the best things that happened that day. It took me a while to reconstruct my project, but it was sure fun having that little guy right in the middle of everything!