Okay, so they won't deliver mail on Thanksgiving. But it still might be a good day for someone you love to get mail. Possibly hand-delivered by you!
Now, in our world, you know that rare means something is valuable, like antiques, baseball cards, all kinds of collectibles. The less there is of something, the more valuable it is. How about "thank you". Yeah, that's rare.
A lot of great sights to see in New Orleans. But it's hard to think of New Orleans for very long without remembering Hurricane Katrina and the devastating wind and waves that so wracked that city. Now, afterwards of course, there was a lot of finger-pointing as to who was to blame for those tragedies. And the subsequent revelations showed that there seemed to be plenty of blame to go around at all levels. But one fact became clear: the single greatest cause of death in New Orleans' darkest days didn't come so much from the storm but from the levees that couldn't hold back the waters of the storm. The walls around New Orleans just weren't strong enough to withstand like a high-magnitude storm.
We had three children, two boys and a girl. Our boys had the privilege of growing up with a sister. Did they always get along with their sister? Silly question! Of course not. But if it ever looked as if anyone was going to hurt their sister, oh, stand back folks! I mean, they even insisted on the right to approve the guys she dated; they wanted veto power. Almost no one was good enough for their sister. They didn't want her to be with anyone who wasn't going to be good for her. I guess if you're a brother with a sister, you know what I'm talking about-this strong instinct to protect your sister or eventually any woman you care about, from anything that could hurt her.
When I was in college, there were certain times of the year when there was a huge crowd of guys jammed into my little room. One was when my mother or my girlfriend had sent homemade cookies. Somehow, everyone knows when those arrive, and then your popularity suddenly skyrockets for some reason. But the busiest time in my room was before mid-terms and final exams. One simple reason: I had the notes. I always scoped it out this way. You've got to be in class anyway, and you have to learn all this stuff eventually. Right? Why not make the most of class time, get good notes, learn all you can while the teacher's presenting it. That system worked pretty well for me, but it's not that I was particularly smart. Maybe I was just smart enough to realize that it pays to listen and record it when someone's teaching you something!
When our kids were growing up, it was hard to find a ride at the amusement park you could get us all to ride. We have roller coaster lovers and roller coaster no-way-ers - that's me. But there was one we all liked to do – bumper cars. You know, those little electric cars inside that fenced-in area. That's old school, man! They turned them on, and everyone starts out together, then you start speeding around that circle. Some end up spinning out, going backwards, going forward, intentionally or accidentally running into other cars – especially those you love. Each one of us would each get into our little hot rod. We'd basically start out heading the same direction, but in no time we were heading in five different directions and occasionally bumping into each other. Does that sound like any family you know?
There are some decent, often values-oriented things on television for children. But, as you know very well, there's a lot of garbage, too. And in between those two extremes, there are shows that are mostly good but have some words scattered in them that little ears shouldn't be hearing – or big ears, for that matter. And then there was this service, you know, called the TV Guardian – which automatically replaces a naughty word with a nice word, thus removing what could be bad for your child. Occasionally, the replacements are actually a little amusing. Like the word "sex" for example. The new word is "hugs." Which gets a little interesting when someone asks, "So what will be the hugs of your baby?" But I do think the idea of a TV Guardian is a pretty good idea.
I was teaching at a training school for people entering youth ministry when I learned about a call home that must have been heartbreaking for the dad who made it. The school was three weeks long, and dad had already been gone for over two weeks. He was seriously missing his wife and a two-year-old son, and they were missing him. Well, he waited patiently in this long line that formed every day after classes in the lobby to get to the pay phone. (Let's hear it for cell phones today!) He finally got to talk to his wife. When he asked how his son was doing, she said, "Not too well, honey. Yesterday he came up to me and said, ‘Mommy, is Daddy dead?'" Ouch!
You never know what your kid's memories are going to be. You know? Our son was like 20 years old, he was in college, and they asked him to write about a childhood memory. You know that's when they are in these family classes and you get to pay for them analyzing you and their family relationships. Great! Well he picked the day that he and I played wiffle ball together for the first time. He couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old. You know wiffle ball, it's that little plastic ball. It's got enough holes in it to keep it from going far, and he had this little plastic yellow bat, and I was pitching to him from a few feet away in the backyard. The first time he ever tried to hit a ball, and strike 1 - he chopped it instead of hitting right and he missed it. I threw it again real gently - strike 2. So I stopped and I went over and I reviewed with him, you know, keep your eye on the ball - don't chop - swing evenly. And then I said one more thing that I hadn't said the first two times. I said, "I really believe you can do it." The next time, BAM! He hit that thing way over Daddy's head.
Now, I'm not a deer hunter. I think I was brainwashed by "Bambi" a long time ago, but I tell you, something incredible happens in a lot of parts of the country when deer season opens. Some places they close school for a few days because of the deer, and in many places it's just understood. I mean, workers aren't going to show up for work that day; they're going to be somewhere in the woods on Operation Buck. Unfortunately, sometimes the hunt can end in tragedy-for the hunter, I mean, not the deer.
The passengers were there and the plane was there, but our plane wasn't taking off that day. Oh, it was time, but we were still sitting in the flight lounge, and there were not many smiles that day. Then we finally found out what we were waiting for - our pilot wasn't there. See, his earlier flight was delayed and he hadn't landed yet. So even though we all had to get somewhere, our pilot was flying somewhere else when we needed him.