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."

It took a while to determine the winner of the 2000 Presidential election in America – but as soon as George W. Bush was declared the winner, he and his staff went into high gear to staff his new administration. It’s got to be pretty exciting to pick up the phone and hear someone from the President’s staff inviting you to join his team. Right after the Inauguration, I watched the swearing in of Bush’s White House Staff. You could tell the significance and privilege of what they were about to do. They committed themselves to some pretty high standards of integrity and morality. But nobody seemed to mind. They understood what an honor it is to be asked to serve in the administration of the most powerful man in the nation.

The election of 2000 will not soon be forgotten in the United States – it lasted 36 days past Election Day. The loser actually got the most popular votes, and George W. Bush finally prevailed with the most votes in our Electoral College. Now it wasn’t the first time there was an interesting presidential election. Take the one in 1888. Like Al Gore, Grover Cleveland carried the popular vote but he failed to carry his own state. And like George Bush, Benjamin Harrison became President with a majority in the Electoral College. In those days, of course, it took a while to get the news. When the head of the Republican Party arrived at Benjamin Harrison’s home in Indianapolis, he proudly announced that they had emerged victorious. As the Party leader crowed over the victory, he found the President-elect in what was described as a prayerful mood. Benjamin Harrison’s response? He simply said, “Providence has given us the victory.”

I was the Boone County Spelling Bee champion once. Aren’t you impressed? I held the title for a little while. That was soon forgotten, and someone else held the title. I’ve been chairman of some things, president of some things – but the titles come and go. You can be “captain”, “most valuable player”, “director”, or “Woman of the Year” – nice titles, but they don’t really have any lasting significance. There’s one that does ... and you’re a candidate.

The men in our family are avid football fans. It is not an uncommon malady in the American male. And no matter how many games you’ve watched, there is one highlight that never ceases to be exciting – when the quarterback lofts a long pass downfield to a receiver who leaps into the air to catch it. Unfortunately, as dramatic as those catches are, they don’t all count. Because sometimes the pass receiver steps out of bounds in the process of bringing in that pass. That’s why those players try every kind of twisting and turning imaginable to stay in bounds. Because it doesn’t matter how impressive the play is – if you’re out of bounds, it just doesn’t count.

            

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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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