Let me give you a little weather preference test (as if we get to vote). Why don't you rank these one, two, three from the best to the worst: rain, snow, ice. I just gave you my ranking. Rain is no problem. I grew up in the Midwest; and I lived in the Northeast so I can handle snow. Even when you have to walk or drive, there's at least something to dig into. But ice? Oh, man, ice storms can leave some very nice things behind. Every branch, limb, and home is glittering with this beautiful coating of ice. But it is a pain if you've got to go anywhere. Reminds me of an old song, "Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow."
Well after years of being City Boy, living in the country. Yeah, and boy, I learned a lot from the Country Girl I married. One day I was sitting on the front porch, just peacefully reading my Bible, and I noticed that a calf from across the road had decided the grass was greener on the our side of the road. Somehow, he had picked his way across the bars of the cattle guard, wandered down the road and was slowly munching his way toward our yard. Now, we agreed we really didn't want him in our yard all day while we were at the office. He'd probably eat the flowers. He'd probably fertilize our lawn in a way we didn't want it fertilized. My wife stuck her head out the door and said, "Just yell at him; scare him back across the cattle guard and into his pasture." OK, I yelled at the calf. He didn't move. My wife said, "You'll probably have to chase him, too." Oh, she saved that for later! Oh great! Here goes City Boy running down the road (you want to try to picture this?), waving his arms and yelling at a cow. Hey, it worked! The calf went running back down the road, across the cattle guard, and back where he was supposed to be. I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact what I said to him, "Burgers to go, boy!"
Whenever you look at a sports schedule for the season you'll see one of two letters next to each game - an H or an A. Now those H's are the ones the players look forward to the most - that's the home games. And, of course, the A is the away games. Now, if you're an athlete, you know that your best chance of winning is usually in your home setting. In sports, it's generally easier to win at home; it's tougher to win on the road, which is actually the opposite of how it is in our personal lives.
I just think all the emphasis on body image is so sick. But there's plenty of it. It's no wonder so many American women are unhappy with their looks. They're comparing themselves to these magazine pictures of these flawless models. Of course, that woman doesn't really exist. She's the creation of hair stylists, makeup artists, wardrobe specialists, special lighting and hundreds of continuous-frame photos, from which one good one is selected and then airbrushed to remove all the imperfections. Nobody looks good compared to that mythical icon - including the real girl in the picture! But with our obsession with a certain kind of beauty, the word "makeover" has become more and more popular. In the past, there have been TV shows where they were totally devoted to transforming a woman thought of as "average" into someone much more stylish. Then they'll take them backstage, and the hair, makeup, and wardrobe magicians work on them. And then with the split screen showing her "before," out steps this glamorous "new woman" with her makeover!
The Greek ferry boat was loaded with more than 500 passengers, and a lot were visitors from other countries. Suddenly, that ship plowed into a rocky outcropping, and in minutes the ferry went down two miles from shore, claiming the lives of 66 people. But you know what? It was a tragedy that never had to happen. Those rock outcroppings are clearly marked on navigational charts, and the ferry had passed by them countless times, and there's even a light atop them that's visible for seven miles. But the captain and three key crew members were not at their posts that night; they were reportedly down below watching a soccer match on television. A Greek newspaper headline proclaimed, "A blind course on autopilot." So as the ship was on a collision course, the captain was not on the bridge.
I've had the privilege of playing several different positions. Not on a baseball or football team, but on a wedding team. I've been the groom, I've been the officiating minister, I've been an usher, and I've been the best man. (Not all at the same wedding by the way.) And on more than one occasion, it's been my job to make sure the paperwork gets done while everyone else is "receptioning." The officiating minister has to sign the marriage license, the bride and groom have to sign it of course (the groom, if the groom is still conscious I mean), and two more important people - the witnesses. The powers that be want it on record that there were some people there who witnessed all these wonderful promises being made by the young lovers.
So you ate something your tummy didn't like. I love the phrase we say, "It didn't agree with me." Think about that. Now your stomach gets its revenge as it puts out an overdose of stomach acid. You experience the distress we call "heartburn" which has nothing to do with your heart, but...anyway. What's that miserable sufferer to do? Well, you know, maybe... well, there was a commercial years ago that said it was a Maalox moment...or we had the Alka Seltzer "tum-ta-tum-tum"...or Pepsid-AC, or I don't know - dozens of remedies out there. The idea is the same. You've got acid eating away your insides; you take a remedy that will neutralize the acid.
Mothers are never really off duty - even at the beach...especially at the beach. My wife was reminiscing one day about those summer days when she would take the three little Hutchcrafts, plus two little friends, to a lake near us. And they would run into the water and frolic like children. And is mother just lying on the beach, catching rays or going for refreshments? Nope! She is sitting on the beach, counting to five about fifty times. That's five, as in five little heads in the water. Good news! There were always as many kids in the station wagon leaving the lake as there had been coming to the lake! That's the goal. Our kids played without fear, and they could. They were safe because someone who loved them was always watching them.
He was only supposed to be a minor character in what was then a new television series. It's called "Happy Days." It was a hit series about 1950s teenagers. And as it grew in popularity, so did the popularity of a character known as Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a., Fonzie or "The Fonz." With his motorcycle and his greased-back hair and his ability to have a girlfriend literally with the snap of his fingers, Fonzie became one of the best known sitcom characters ever. Fonzie was like the epitome of "cool," well, most of the time. He wasn't cool when he tried to say three little words. No, not "I love you." A strange paralysis seemed to take over his tongue whenever he tried to say, "I was wrong." Maybe you remember. It always came out something like, "I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wro-wro..." He never seemed to be able to get those words out.
My oldest son was always a challenging child: creative, active, a mind of his own, a different drummer he marched to than his sister or brother. But we had our share of tender moments, too. Some of the ones I treasure in the photo album in my mind are the times he'd slow down a little and climb into his Daddy's lap. And we'd just cuddle for a while. Sometimes I wasn't sure how he could breathe, he had his head so buried in my chest. And then he'd look up at me with those big blue eyes and he'd say something I've obviously never forgotten, "When I'm in your arms, Daddy, I feel so safe."