Monday, September 3, 2001

My wife was waking up to a sound she hadn't heard before - and she couldn't identify. It sounded like crinkling cellophane - and it was coming from inside our bedroom walls! Now, somehow I missed this little symphony, but she sure picked up on it. Since we were pretty sure no one was actually crinkling cellophane in our walls, we looked into other possibilities. Like carpenter ants, for example. And sure enough, that's what it was! Those little marauders were feasting on the wood in our house...and they were gradually eating our home! We didn't even have to think about what to do. "Hello, Mr. Exterminator?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

After our grandson was born, he wore these cute little mittens much of the time. No, it was not freezing cold in his house. It's just that he had these long fingernails - and since he wasn't very good at aiming his hands, he kept scratching his face with those nails. But in an early visit to the pediatrician, she recommended that the gloves come off. "Try to keep his nails trimmed," is what she said, "but even if you can't, it's better for him to have his hands uncovered." Then she said something that was news to me - "We've learned that when an infant can feel and touch things, their brain cells grow!"

Friday, August 17, 2001

Not long ago I got to take one of my favorite East Coast walks. You know, growing up in Illinois, I didn't know much about the ocean. So when we moved to New Jersey, I quickly developed a pretty deep love for the ocean. So it's no surprise that Ocean City is one of my favorite places to go, right? And I love to walk out on one of the long, rock jetties that reach out into the sea from the beach. I really love it at high tide when the surf is crashing in around those rocks. When you see some of those monster waves surging toward those rocks, it looks like there's going to be a classic confrontation between the irresistible force (the ocean) and the immovable object (the rocks). Well, I'll tell you, the ocean sure overwhelms everything else in its way. But every time those rocks I stand on meet the mighty power of the sea, the winner is always the same. The wave is shattered. The rock remains.

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

When I'm on the road and staying in a motel, I'm often leaving early for that day's responsibilities. But by the time I return late that night, something amazing has happened. The bed is made! I have new, clean towels! Everything is straightened and neat. I even have new little soaps in the bathroom! The Room Fairy has been there! Now, I know that not because I've seen the maid (I haven't), but because I can see the results of her work all over the place.

Monday, August 6, 2001

I'm about 5'8". You probably know that because I sound about that tall, right? Years ago, I was carrying 210 pounds on this little 68" body. Goodyear actually offered me a job as their blimp. But thankfully, I have weighed about 45 to 50 pounds less than that for a lot of years. Of course, I've still got the same metabolism that inflated this body many years ago. So, ohhh, do I know about dieting! And I also know the point at which your diet is in the greatest danger. OK, you've really been good...the scale has been giving you good news the last couple of weeks...your diet discipline is holding. Then somebody offers you something that you just can't resist--let's say, a few french fries. You consume them in one bite. So, you buy a whole order of fries for yourself. And now you feel bad. You have blown your diet. You could just get back on track right then. But no--you say to yourself, "I blew it! I've failed! Oh well, what's the use? I might as well have a milk shake to wash down those fries. Hey, and anybody got the number of Pizza Heaven?" Yeah, you messed up. So you give up--and soon return to your former roundness.

The folks at our local bakery are some of the most effective marketers I know. They don't give you a sales pitch, they don't have highly creative advertising. They just offer samples. For free - one of my favorite words. I walk in to buy two bagels. There, on a plate on top of the display case, are these little bites of cheesecake, and a little sign that invites me to try one. So, I do. I walk out of that bakery with my two bagels and a cheesecake. Now I hadn't planned to get a cheesecake, but they sold it in the best possible way, just by letting me taste it. The taste made me want the whole cheesecake!

When you visit Washington, D.C., you're bound to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building. But there's this one side trip to Northern Virginia that's an important stop...at least for every American. It's Arlington National Cemetery where this endless sea of white crosses reminds an American of the high price of freedom. That price is beautifully dramatized every hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - with the Changing of the Guard. Right there this honor guard from one service passes the sentinel duty to a guard from another service in a simple, reverent ceremony. With his weapon over his shoulder, the guard from the previous hour transfers this solemn responsibility to the guard for the next hour. And if you happen to be close enough, you will hear the departing guard say three words to the incoming guard. In fact, the same three words that have been passed from one shift to another since this duty began decades ago. The words: "Orders remain unchanged." They always have. They always will.

The other day, while I was out of town, my wife woke up to the sound of hoofbeats in our yard. That's actually a problem. Misty, her horse, is supposed to be out in the pasture, inside a barbed wire fence. But this particular day Misty was having a grand old time running around our yard - and, without quick action on my wife's part - soon she would have been out of our yard and in harm's way. Fortunately, my wife managed to get Misty back to her pasture before any harm was done. But the big question was, "How do you prevent this horse from getting out again?" The problem was that storm with 80 MPH winds the other night - it uprooted the tree that was anchoring one corner of the pasture's barbed wire fence. We were hoping that the downed tree and the partially intact fence would be enough to keep Misty in until we could close the gap. It wasn't. Our horse just found the gap and ended up going where she really should not go.

 

After living most of our lives in a major metropolitan area, we are enjoying some of the benefits now of living near one of America's "top 100" small towns. And there's a real feeling of community around here. One of the times you really feel it is during holiday parades. We've got this classic town square with the county courthouse in the middle, a bandstand, and stores all around the square. So we love to take our grandson and get a front row spot to see all the bands and floats and decorated vehicles as they move around the square in a parade. Of course, the part all the kids - including this kid - like the most is when the people on those floats or in those vehicles start throwing handfuls of candy all over the place. They always seem to have plenty, and to throw out plenty, so plenty of children can walk away with plenty of goodies in their pockets!

If you're an older "Star Trek" fan, your guy was Captain Kirk. If you're a younger "Star Trek" fan, as in "Star Trek - The Next Generation," then your guy was Captain Picard. And if you've never watched "Star Trek" any generation, you could care less. Kirk and Picard were the captains of the Starship Enterprise. And no matter what conflict or calamity they encountered, those guys were in charge. I've been told that Captain Picard would speak three words after he gave an order - and you knew who was in charge. With this commanding tone, he would simply say - "Make it so."

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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