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ARCHIVED ESSAYS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES


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FENDER SKIRTS
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Essay written by Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News.

Tom Dodge is the sage of Midlothian, TX.  The other day I received this look at a copy of his essay collection, "Tom Dodge Talks About Texas."

Well, one of those little pieces sent me off on a reverie almost immediately.  It was about Big Jim Tidwell of Whitney - "The Fender Skirt King of Texas."

And I thought, "Fender skirts!"  What a great blast from the past!  I hadn't thought about fender skirts in years.  When I was a kid, I considered it such a funny term.  Made me think of a car in a dress.

Thinking about fender skirts started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice.

Like "curb feelers" and "steering knobs."

Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first.

You kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.
Remember "Continental kits?"  They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them "emergency brakes?"  At some point "parking brake" became the proper term.  But I miss the hint of drama that went with "emergency brake."

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the "foot feed."

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - "store-bought."  Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days.  But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.

"Coast to coast" is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing.  Now we take the term "worldwide" for granted.  This floors me.

On a smaller scale, "wall-to-wall" was once a magical term in our homes.  In the '50s, everyone covered their hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting!  Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.  Go figure.

When's the last time you heard the quaint phrase "in a family way?"  It's hard to imagine that the word "pregnant" was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company.  So we had all that talk about stork visits and "being in a family way" or simply "expecting."

Apparently "brassiere" is a word no longer in usage.  I said it the other day and my daughter cackled.  I guess it's just "bra" now.  "Unmentionables" probably wouldn't be understood at all.

It's hard to recall that this word was once said in a whisper - "divorce."  And no one is called a "divorcee" anymore.  Certainly not a "gay divorcee."  Come to think of it, "confirmed bachelors" and "career girls" are long gone, too.

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure-'60s word I came across the other day - "rat fink."  Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - "percolator."  That was just a fun word to say.  And what was it replaced with?  "Coffeemaker." How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro.  Words like "DynaFlow" and "ElectraLuxe."  Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with "SpectraVision!"

Food for thought - Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago?  Nobody complains of that anymore.  Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening their kids with castor oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list.  The one that grieves me most - "supper."

Save a great word.  Invite someone to supper.  Discuss fender skirts.


 
AN IRISH FRIENDSHIP WISH
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May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

 
DOG, MY FRIEND
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When God had made the earth and sky,
The flowers and the trees,
He then made all the animals
And all the birds and bees.

And when His work was finished,
Not one was quite the same.
He said, "I'll walk this earth of Mine,
And give each one a name."

And so He traveled land and sea,
And everywhere He went,
A little creature followed Him
Until his strength was spent.

And when all were named upon the earth,
And in the sky and sea,
The little creature said "Dear Lord,
There's not one left for me!"

The Father smiled and softly said:
"I've left you till the end.
I've turned my own name back to front,
And called you dog, my friend."

Author Unknown

 
The Two Wolves
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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego."

"The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."

"The same fight is going on inside you. And inside every person too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


 
Senior Citizens
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Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others. BUT, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:

        The melody out of music,
        The pride out of appearance,
        The romance out of love,
        The commitment out of marriage,
        The responsibility out of parenthood,
        The togetherness out of the family,
        The learning out of education,
        The service out of patriotism,
        The religion out of school,
        The Golden Rule from rulers,
        The nativity scene out of cities,
        The civility out of behavior,
        The refinement out of language,
        The dedication out of employment,
        The prudence out of spending, or
        The ambition out of achievement,

And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!!

Does anyone under the age of 50 know the lyrics to the Star Spangled
Banner?

Just look at the seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts as they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts!

Remember...Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened!

Yes, I am a SENIOR CITIZEN! I'm the life of the party... even if it lasts until 8 p.m.

I'm very good at opening childproof caps with a hammer.

I'm usually interested in going home before I get to where I am going.

I'm awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.

I'm smiling all the time because I can't hear a thing you're saying.

I'm very good at telling stories; over and over and over and over.

I'm aware that other people's grandchildren are not as cute as mine.

I'm so cared for -- long-term care, eye care, private care, and dental care.

I'm not grouchy, I just don't like traffic, waiting, crowds, politicians.

I'm sure everything I can't find is in a secure place.

I'm wrinkled, saggy, lumpy, and that's just my left leg.

I'm having trouble remembering simple words like...

I'm realizing that aging is not for wimps.

I'm sure they are making adults much younger these days.

I'm wondering, if you're only as old as you feel, how could I be alive at 150?

I'm a walking storeroom of facts...I've just lost the storeroom.

Yes, I'm a SENIOR CITIZEN and I think I am having the time of my life!

Now if I could only remember who sent this to me, I would send it to many more!

 
Heaven's Entrance Exam
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A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. St.! Peter says,

"Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in."

"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart."

"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth three points!"

"Three points?" he says, slightly concerned. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."

"Terrific!" says St. Peter. "That's certainly worth a point."

"One point!?!" he moans, now really getting worried. "I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."

"Fantastic, that's good for two more points, " he says.

"Two points!" the man cries. At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!"

St. Peter nods and says, "Bingo, 100 points! Come on in!"

 
MEET ME IN THE STAIRWELL
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You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news On September 11, 2001. Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-Bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK...I am ready to go."

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.

Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; "Come to Me... this way... take my hand." Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go."

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

God

 
Thoughts for the New Year
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1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop," the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be alive while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country, but not to guilt country.

10. Tell the people you love, that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

 
From a speech made by Capt. John S. McCain, U.S.
(Ret) who represents Arizona  in the U.S. Senate:
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As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement of two or three to a cell.

In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.

This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian. Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a  pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He  later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a  Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.

Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed. As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. As said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag.

He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge allegiance to our flag and our country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world. You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

 
Ted Nugent
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(Written by Ted Nugent, the rock singer and hunter/naturalists upon hearing that California  Senators B. Boxer and D. Feinstein denounced him for being a "gun owner" and a "Rock Star". This was his response after telling the senators about his past contributions to children's charities and scholarship foundations which have totaled more than $13.7 million in the last 5 years.)

I'm a Bad American - this pretty much sums it up for me. I like big trucks, big boats, big houses,
and naturally, pretty women. I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some mid-level governmental functionary with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts squirting out babies. I don't care about appearing compassionate. I think playing with toy guns doesn't make you a killer. I believe ignoring your kids and giving them Prozac might.

I think I'm doing better than the homeless. I don't think being a minority makes you noble or victimized. I have the right not to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird or make me mad. This is my life to live, and not necessarily up to others' expectations. I know what SEX is and there are not varying degrees of it.

I don't celebrate Kwanzaa. But if you want to that's fine; I just don't feel like everyone else should have to. I believe that if you are selling me a Dairy Queen shake, a pack of cigarettes, or hotel room you do it in English. As of matter of fact, if you are an American citizen you should speak English. My uncles and forefathers shouldn't have had to die in vain so you can
leave the countries you were born in to come disrespect ours, and make us bend to your will. Get over it.

I think the cops have every right to shoot your sorry butt if you're running from them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word 'freeze' or 'stop' in English, see the previous line. I don't use the excuse "it's for the children" as a shield for unpopular opinions or actions.

I know how to count votes and I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation do a recount when needed. I know what the definition of lying is, and it isn't based on the word "is"-ever.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you qualify for any special loan
programs, gov't sponsored bank loans,etc., so you can open a hotel, 7-Eleven, trinket shop, or any thing else, while the indigenous peoples can't get past a high school education because they can't afford it.

I didn't take the initiative in inventing the Internet.

I thought the Taco Bell dog was funny. I want them to bring back safe and sane fireworks. I believe no one ever died because of something Ozzy Osbourne, Ice-T or Marilyn Manson sang, but that doesn't mean I want to listen to that crap from someone else's car when I'm stopped at a red light. But I respect your right to.

I think that being a student doesn't give you any more enlightenment than working at Blockbuster or Jack In TheBox. I don't want to eat or drink anything with the words light,
lite or fat-free on the  package.

Our soldiers did not go to some foreign country and risk their lives in vain and defend our Constitution so that decades later you can tell me it's a living document ever changing and is open to interpretation. The guys who wrote it were light years ahead of anyone today, and they meant what they said - now leave the document alone, or there's going to be trouble.

I don't hate the rich. I help the poor. I know wrestling is fake.

I've never owned, or was a slave, and a large percentage of our forefathers weren't wealthy enough to own one either. Please stop blaming me because some prior white people were idiots - and remember, tons of white, Indian, Chinese, and other races have been enslaved
too - it was wrong for every one of them.

I believe a self-righteous liberal Democrat with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

I  want to know exactly which church is it where the "Reverend" Jessie Jackson preaches; and, what exactly is his job function.

I own a gun, you can own a gun, and any red blooded American should be allowed to own a gun, but if you use it in a crime, then you will serve the time.  I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continues to make more. If it makes you mad, then invent the next operating system that's better and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

I don't believe in hate crime legislation. Even suggesting it makes me mad. You're telling me that someone who is a minority, gay, disabled, another nationality, or otherwise different from the mainstream of this country has more value as a human being that I do as a white male. If someone kills anyone, I'd say that it's a hate crime. We don't need more laws! Let's enforce the ones we already have.

I think turkey bacon, turkey beef, turkey fake anything sucks.

I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child-it takes a parent with the guts to stand up to the kid and spank his butt and say "NO!" when it's necessary to do so.

I'll admit that the only movie that ever made me cry was Ole Yeller. I didn't realize Dr. Seuss was a genius until I had a kid.

I will not be frowned upon or be looked down upon or be made to keep silent because I have these beliefs and opinions.  I thought this country allowed me that right.  I will not conform or compromise just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings. I'm neither angry nor dis-
enfranchised, no matter how desperately the mainstream media would like the world to believe otherwise.

Yes, I guess by some people's definition, I may be a bad American.  But that's tough.

    -Ted Nugent

 
Close Your Eyes ... And Go Back ...
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  Before the Internet or the MAC Before semi automatics and crack Before
  SEGA or Super Nintendo ...

  Way back ...
  I'm talkin' bout hide and go seek at dusk.
  Red light,Green light.
  Playing kickball & dodgeball until your porch light came on.

  Mother May I?
  Red Rover.
  Hula Hoops.
  Running through the sprinkler.
  Happy Meals.

  Wait ...
  Watchin' Saturday Morning cartoons.
  Fat Albert, Road Runner, Smurfs, Picture Pages, G-Force & He-Man.
  Wonder Woman & Super Man Underoos.
  Playing Dukes of Hazard.
  Catchin' lightning bugs in a jar.

  Christmas morning ...
  Your first day of school.
  Bedtime Prayers and Goodnight Kisses.
  Climbing trees.
  Getting an Ice Cream off the Ice Cream Truck.
  A million mosquito bites and sticky fingers.
  Jumpin down the steps.
  Jumpin on the bed.
  Pillow fights.
  Runnin till you were out of breath.
  Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt.
  Being tired from playin' ...
  Your first crush ...
  Rainy days at school meant playing "Heads up 7Up" in the class room.
  Remember that?

  I'm not finished yet ...
  Kool-aid was the drink of summer.
  Totting your friends on your handle bars.
  Wearing your new shoes on the first day of school.
  Class Field Trips.

  When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there.
  When a quarter seemed like a fair allowance and another quarter a miracle.
  When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry
  groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
  When your parents took you to McDonalds and you were so cool.
  When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the
  fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.

  Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive
  by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc.
  Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!
  And some of us are still afraid of em!!!

  Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that!
  There's nothing like the good old days!  They were good then, and they're
  good now when we think about them.
  Share some of these thoughts with a friend who can relate, then share it
  with someone that missed out on them.

  I want to go back to the time when ...  Decisions were made by
  going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" Mistakes were corrected by simply
  exclaiming, "do over!"
  "Race issue"; meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
  Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly.
  Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening.
  It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends.
  Being old, referred to anyone over 20.

  The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.
  Nobody was prettier than Mom.
  Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.
  It was no big deal to finally be tall enough to ride the "big people"
  rides at the amusement park.

  Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.
  Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare".
  Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles.
  The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.
  Water balloons were the ultimate ultimate weapon.

  Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest  protectors.

  If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED!!!!

 
God Bless My PC
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Every night I lie in bed
This little prayer inside my head
God bless my mom and dad
and bless my children
and take care of my spouse
who brings me so much joy ...

God, there's just one more thing
I wish that you would do
if you don't mind my asking
to bless my 'puter, too??

Now I know that it's not normal
to bless a small machine
but listen just a second
and I'll try to explain ...

You see, that little metal box
holds more than odds and ends
Inside those small components
rest a hundred loving friends.
Some it's true I've never seen
and most I've never met ...

never shaken hands or
ever truly hugged, and yet ...

I know for sure they love me
by the kindnesses they give,
and this little scrap of metal
is how I get to where they live.

By faith is how I know them,
Much the same as I know You.
I share in life it brings them,
So if it's OK with you ...

Just take an extra minute
from your duties up above ...

to bless this little hunk of steel
that's filled with so much love.
So God, Please Bless My 'puter ...

-Author Unknown

 
23rd Psalm Explained
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The Lord is my Shepherd...THAT'S RELATIONSHIP!

I shall not want...THAT'S SUPPLY!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures...THAT'S REST!

He leadeth me beside still waters...THAT'S REFRESHMENT!

He restoreth my soul...THAT'S HEALING!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness...THAT'S GUIDANCE!

For His name sake...THAT'S PURPOSE!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...
THAT'S  CHALLENGE!

I will fear no evil...THAT'S ASSURANCE!

For thou art with me...THAT'S FAITHFULNESS!

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me...THAT'S SHELTER!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies...
THAT'S HOPE!

Thou anointest my head with oil...THAT'S CONSECRATION!

My cup runneth over...THAT'S ABUNDANCE!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my! life...
THAT'S  BLESSING!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord...THAT'S SECURITY!

Forever...THAT'S ETERNITY!

 
Spring Dawns in Kentucky
(from the Sunday Afternoon Rocking series) by Jan Philpot
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Spring dawns in Kentucky.  The hills are alive with fresh young yellow-green leaves, some tiny, still coiled, and just emerging from their budded nests. Others are already shining brilliant in the sunshine and softly rippling a  promise of greater things to come.  A week or so ago, brilliant displays of fushia peppered the landscape, red buds announcing in startling color that the mountains were rustling their skirts, shaking out the bonds of winter.  Ground squirrels make a noisy path through the fallen leaves of last autumn, chattering to warn their cousins of the trees a strange "hooman" is in their midst.  A fawn peers out around a peeling birch at this strange being, then darts a bounding crooked path back to "mama", white tail bouncing like anything but a surrender flag.  It never fails to amaze me, seeing this annual display, that anyone could possibly believe there was no Creator, no deeply managed plan and then close upon the heels of that brilliant flash of red bud fushia comes the final affirmation.  The dogwoods bloom, heralding in their very design, that yes indeed there was, IS a plan. Yes indeed, my thoughts on the matter were so for there is the golden crown of thorns, the creamy petals extending to what could be nothing other than the memory of cruel nails, crimson stains about the edges.  Small wonder it is that a walk in the wilderness of a springtime Kentucky is an awakening and a renewal of faith, an affirmation of life.

With such a weekend, my husband and I hit the trails.  We pitched our camp deep in the wilderness and nothing walled our world but that which was living.  Nothing stirred the silence but that which was natural and curious about our presence.  And in such a world I looked at my
husband suddenly and said, "We are rich."

"If I had at my disposal all the money in the world," he replied, "I would wish to be doing exactly what I am doing today, have nothing more than I have at this moment." And our eyes met in perfect understanding.

Strange and comforting  it is, with nature around one, with the leafy green trees the wallpaper, and the soft fall of last year's trees the carpet. Strange it is how true it seems that one could live with nothing more, could easily leave behind all the trappings of civilization simply to be surrounded by this.  Strange it is, how easily one is able to wake in the morning when welcomed by the chirping birds of a forest, or how easy it is to fall asleep in the gentle enveloping world when the spangle of stars is the ceiling.

And as always, when I walk the historic trails, the land untainted since the days the first ancestors walked this way I wonder if they too had those thoughts.  If the calling of that great untouched wilderness, with its living wallpaper of shimmering rustling leaves, its floor blanketed with soft browns, its ceiling a never ending display of daytime colors and star-studded nights, must have been far richer to those folks than all the fine mansions of the east  I think so, for some else they would not have left it.  And for others, they too must have recognized the promise.  A good thing it is, that our country has seen fit to preserve a part of it lest we never understand.  We are rich.

Just a thought,
Jan

 
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE
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  1.  Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  2.  Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older,
          their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
  3.  Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
  4.  When you say, "I love you", mean it.
  5.  When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.
  6.  Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
  7. Believe in love at first sight.
  8.  Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
  9.  Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10.  In disagreements, fight fairly. No name-calling.
11.  Don't judge people by their relatives.
12.  Talk slowly but think quickly.
13.  When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer,
          smile and ask, "Why, do you want to know?"
14.  Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15.  Say, "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
16.  When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
17.  Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others;
          Responsibility for your actions.
18.  Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
19.  When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
20.  Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
21.  Spend some time alone.
22.  Open your arms to change but don't let go of your values.
23.  Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. ie...
           Never pass up a good chance to keep quiet.
24.  Read more books and watch less TV.
25. Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back,
           you'll get to enjoy it a second time.
26.  Trust in God but lock your car.
27.  A loving atmosphere in your home is so important.
           Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
28.  In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
29.  Read between the lines.
30.  Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
31.  Be gentle with the earth.
32.  Pray. There's immeasurable power in it.
33.  Never interrupt when you are being flattered.
34.  Mind your own business.
35.  Don't trust a man/woman who doesn't close his/her eyes when you kiss.
36.  Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
37. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living.
           That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.
38.  Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
39.  Learn the rules then break some.
40.  Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for
          each other is greater that your need  for each other.
41.  Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
42.  Remember that your character is your destiny.
43. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

 
HEROES OF TODAY
(From an Internet message board)
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Too many people are looking for heroes in all the wrong places.  Movie stars and rock musicians, athletes and models aren't heroes, they're celebrities.  Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn't make the news.

There is no precedent for the level of violence, drugs, broken homes, child abuse, and crime in today's America.  Public education didn't create these problems but deals with them every day.

         ...You want heroes?
Consider Dave Sanders, the school teacher shot to death while trying to shield his students from two Neo-Nazi youth on a bombing and shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Sanders gave his life, along with 12 students, but other less heralded heroes survived the Colorado blood bath.

         ...You want heroes?
Columbine special ed teacher Robin Ortiz braved gunfire, moving from classroom to classroom, shouting at students and teachers to get out of the building.  His action alone cleared the east side of the high school.  No one will ever know how many lives he saved.

         ...You want heroes?
For Ronnie Holuby, a Fort Gibson, Okla.., middle school teacher, it was  a routine school day until gunfire erupted.  He opened a door to the school yard and two students fled past him. A 13-year old student had shot five other students when Holuby stepped outside, walking deliberately toward  the  boy, telling him to hand over the gun.  He kept walking. Finally the boy  handed him the gun. Holuby walked the boy to the side of the building,  then sought to help a wounded girl.

         ...You want heroes?
Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, N.C., teacher, was moved by the plight of one of her students, a boy dying for want of a kidney transplant. So  this pretty white woman told the family of this handsome 14-year old black  boy that she would give him one of her kidneys. And she did. When they  subsequently appeared together hugging on the Today Show, even tough  little  Katie Couric was near tears.

         ...You want heroes?
Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a teacher. She not only made it, she was one of those wondrous teachers who could bring the best out of every single child.  One of her fellow teachers in San Jose, Calif.,  said "she could teach a rock to read." Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig's Disease, which is always fatal, usually within five years. She asked to stay on the job-and she did.  When her voice was affected she communicated  by computer. Did she go home?  She is running two  elementary school libraries. When the disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the families that she had one last lesson to teach -- that dying  is  part of living.  Her colleagues named her Teacher of the Year.

         ...You want heroes?
Bob House, a teacher in Gay, Georgia, tried out for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire..  After he won the million dollars, a network film crew wanted to follow up to see how it had impacted his life. New cars?  Big new house? Instead, they found both Bob House and his wife still teaching.  They explained that it was what they had always wanted to do with their lives and that would not change.  The community was both stunned and  gratified.

         ...You want heroes?
Last year the average public school teacher spent $468 of  his/her own money for student necessities-work books, pencils-supplies kids had to have but could not afford. That's a lot of money from the pockets of the most poorly paid teachers in the industrial world.

Public schools don't teach values?  The critics are dead wrong.  Public education provides more Sunday school teachers than any other profession.          

The average teacher works more hours in nine months than the average 40-hour employee does in a year.

         ...You want heroes?
For millions of kids, the hug they get from a teacher is the only hug they will get that day because the nation is living through the worst parenting in history. Many have never been taken to church or synagogue in their lives.  A Michigan principal moved me to tears with the story of her attempt to rescue a badly abused little boy who doted on a stuffed animal  on her desk-one that said "I love you!"  He said he'd never been told that at home. This is a constant in today's society-two million unwanted,  unloved, abused children in the public schools, the only institution that takes them all in.

         ...You want heroes?
Visit any special education class and watch the miracle of  personal  interaction, a job so difficult that fellow teachers are awed by the dedication they witness.          

There is a sentence from an unnamed source which says, "We have been so anxious to give our children what we didn't have that we have neglected to give them what we did have."

What is it that our kids really need?  What do they really want? Math, science, history and social studies are important, but children need love, confidence, encouragement, someone to talk to, someone to listen, standards to live by.  Teachers provide upright examples, the faith and assurance of responsible people.  Kids need to be accountable to caring parents who send well disciplined children to school. These human values are essential in a democracy -- anything that threatens them makes our  whole society a little less free, our nation a little less strong. These values can be neither created nor preserved without continuous effort and that effort must come from more than teachers who have students only six  hours of the day.

Despite the problems, public school teachers laugh often and much.  They have the respect of intelligent people and the affection of students who care.  You can bet that homeless little Jesus would have found a warm  public school reception, hot food and a hug if he'd grown up in America.

Teachers strive to find the best in their students, even where some see little hope.  No other American bestows a finer gift than teaching --  reaching out to the brilliant and the disabled, the gifted and the average.  Teachers leave the world a little bit better than they found it, knowing  if  they have redeemed just one life, they have done God's work.

         ...They are America's unsung heroes.

 
Spinning Ball...03.26.2001
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The world spins on an axis, around the Milky Way,
The sun comes up, the sun goes down, in take for granted days.

Some people make a living, others will make a life,
While seconds pass before us, our days turns into night.

With restful eyes we console our souls, and drift away to sleep,
With all the troubles in our world, at times we must count sheep.

Caring friends help make this trip, on a spinning ball, worthwhile,
In the midst of often trying times, friends walk with us a mile.

I wandered from my family, in youth it happened too,
But we're bound by love, and caring thoughts, and that will see us through.

The ball is spinning faster now, it can separate us far,
But thanks to new technologies, communication's up to par.

15 minutes of famous, to me that's rather cold,
It's the hearts we touch in others, that pave our paths in gold.

We all must find a reason, to serve purpose in this life,
in youth I found the meaning, in a woman I now call wife.

It's been a pleasant marriage, although many seem to end,
We overcome our problems, instead of break, we choose to bend.

There's something about a lasting marriage, that really must be told,
We've out lived our appliances, it seems they gotten old.

Our world spins on an axis, and brings another day,
How we choose to live it, charts the course that lights our way.

-Mogs

 
THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN BEFORE
I WENT OUT IN THE REAL WORLD
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A person needs only two tools; WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use the duct tape.

Any and all compliments can be handled by simply saying "Thank You" though it helps if you say it with a Southern accent.

Some people are working backstage, some are playing in the orchestra, some are on-stage singing, some are in the audience as critics, some are there to applaud. Know who and where you are.

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.

Never continue dating anyone who is rude to the waiter.

Good sex should involve laughter. Because it's, you know, funny.

If you tell a lie, don't believe it deceives only the other person.

The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship: "I apologize" and "You are right."

Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.

If he or she says that you are too good for him - believe it.

I've learned to pick my battles; I ask myself, "Will this matter one year from now? How about one month?  One week?  One day?"

Never pass up an opportunity to pee.

If you woke up breathing, congratulations!

You have another chance! Living well really is the best revenge.

Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just proves that the other person was right about you.

Be really nice to your friends because you never know when you're going to need them to empty your bed pan and hold your hand.

Work is good but it's not important.

Never underestimate the kindness of your fellow man.

You are the only person who can truly make you happy.

And finally...Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect; it just means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections.

 
The Pickle Jar
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The pickle jar, as far back as I can remember, sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom.  When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar.

They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled. I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.  When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank.

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production.  Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully.   "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son.   You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back." Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly.   "These are for my son's college fund.   He'll never work at the mill all his life like me."

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream  cone. I always got chocolate.  Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again." He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said.  "But you'll get there. I'll see to that."

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town.   Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had  been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.

When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy.  In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, Son," he told me, his eyes  glistening, "You'll never have to eat beans again...unless you want to."

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild.  Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms.  "She probably needs to be changed," she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her.

When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room.  "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins.

With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar.   I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I  felt.   Neither one of us could speak.

Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks UP.

    -- (unknown)

 
Home  PC  Home  02.27.01
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I sit at the computer ready to go places,
I sign online, and go through the paces.
The Internet opens with a page called home,
I'm connected to home by a modem, and phone?

We check our e-mail, we should check them each day,
If left unread, we've transpired delay.
Out of the blue, comes an IM or two,
Do we say Hello, or first check from who?

They came from a friend, we chat for a few,
Saying Goodbye is often hard to do.
Go to your favorites, and click on an URL,
At varying speeds, did you land on that pearl?

Information comes up on our computer screens,
More than we asked for, at times, it seems.
We cut to the chase, and gather our thoughts,
While ads show technology we still haven't bought?

After minutes of searching we find that one link,
It's the one we had looked for, I'm rather sure, I think.
The screen becomes frozen, we let out a hoot,
We lost our connection, we just got the boot!

- Mogs

 
MY FORGETTER
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My forgetter's getting better
But my rememberer is broke
to you that may seem funny
but, to me, that is no joke.

For when I'm "here" I'm wondering
If I really should be "there"
And, when I try to think it through,
I haven't got a prayer!

Oft times I walk into a room,
Say "what am I here for?"
I wrack my brain, but all in vain
A zero, is my score.

At times I put something away
Where it is safe, but, Gee!
The person it is safest from
Is, generally, me!

When shopping I may see someone,
Say "Hi" and have a chat,
Then, when the person walks away
I ask myself, "who's that?"

Yes, my forgetter's getting better
While my rememberer is broke,
And it's driving me plumb crazy
And that isn't any joke!
(unknown)

 
This New Year...2001
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Mend a quarrel ... Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a love letter ... Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer ... Encourage youth.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed ...

Keep a promise ... Find the time.
Forego a grudge ... Forgive an enemy ... Listen.
Apologize if you were wrong ... Try to understand.
Examine your demands on others ... Think first of someone else.
Appreciate ...

Be kind; be gentle; laugh a little ... Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence ... Express your gratitude.
Have faith ... Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child ...

Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love ... Speak it again.
Speak it still once more.
(unkown)

 
St. Theresa Novena
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People will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel ... Here's a little wish that your prayers will come true.

   St. Theresa Novena cannot be deleted. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of reward. Let's continue praying for one another.

   May today there be peace within,
   May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be,
   May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith,
   May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

   May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
   Let his presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and to bask in the sun. It is there for each and every one of you.


 
An Eagle in a Storm
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Did you know that an eagle knows when the storm is approaching long before it breaks?  The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come.  When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm.  While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.
The eagle does not escape the storm.  It simply uses the storm to lift it higher.  It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God.  The storms do not have to overcome us.  We can allowGod's power to lift us above them.
God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives.  We can soar above the storm.  Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.

 
(The following article is from a WhatYouSeek.com Ezine)
Are You Surrounded By Success? ...
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One of the secrets to being a successful manager or a business owner is to surround yourself with the right people.  When I was the general manager of a business that generated 7 million dollars per year in revenue, I made sure to surround myself with a management team made up of people that I felt  were better managers than me or had the potential to be a better manager than me.
I noticed that most of my peers, were insecure about their positions, and hired people that could not replace them or trained their management team to be dependent on them. As a manager, my goal was to find the best people, provide them with the best training possible, and get them promoted to general manager as soon as they were ready.
At no time was I ever worried about job security or being replaced by someone I hired and trained.  After all, if I could find and produce the most talented managers for the company, I knew that I would be considered a valuable asset and a top manager.  In fact, with this philosophy I went on to be the top GM in a company with 150 locations and 150 general managers and thousands of assistant managers. Considering the fact that I was with the company for only 2 years and 22 years old at the time, and earning more than all of the other managers (the majority of them being much older than me), this was quite an achievement.  My staff consisted of 10 assistant managers, and 150 employees.
I can thank my best friend's father for his advice that he gave me and my best friend early on in life.  Mr. Watson told us, "Guys, if you hang around dumb people - you tend to do dumb things, and people will look at you as dummies. But if you hang around smart people - you tend to do act smarter, and people will treat you as such.  So hang around smart people!"
I was just a kid when I learned that lesson, and that piece of advice has helped me succeed in my business and personal life.  What kind of people do you surround yourself with? How do you want to be looked at?  As the mediocre manager with a mediocre management team and mediocre staff, or the great manager with a great management team and a great staff?
BOTTOM LINE: If you want to be one of the GREATS, then surround yourself with great people.
6 Success Tips For Managers ...
When dealing with employees, it is important for you to know that people do not want to be managed.  People want to be led.  So even though you are a manager of your business, you need to be a leader of your people.  The President of the United States is considered a World Leader, not a World Manager.  Keep this in mind when dealing with your employees.
When you enter your business, take the time to shake the hand of each employee.  Depending on the type of business you are in, it may be the only chance certain employees will have to see you and interface with you.  Taking 15 minutes to walk around and shake the hand of each employee lets them know that you care about them and consider them an important part of your business day.
Treat each employee as if they were your most valuable asset. After all, they are.  Think of the time and effort that you put forth to hire and train them.  If you treat your employees like gold, just think about how well they will treat your customers.
When dealing with your employees, be firm but fair.  Your employees may not always agree with you, but if your are Firm But Fair, they will always respect you.
Be consistent.  If you have to enforce company policies, make sure to be consistent and don't play favorites with your employees.
Always give away compliments and feedback to your employees. Compliments are free, and should be given away whenever you have the opportunity to give them.  Feedback is important so that the employees know if they should improve in a certain area of their duties.
(The article above is from a WhatYouSeek.com Ezine)

 
Forgiveness
(Author unknown)
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   Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
   One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work" he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?"
   "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence -- an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow." The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."
   The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.
   The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.
   There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all -- and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."
   The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.
 "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

 
A Nail Story
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   There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

   Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

   Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

   The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.

   A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are a very rare jewel,indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

 
Andy Rooney [on the French]
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If you missed Andy Rooney on Sunday night, read on. Most that heard him couldn't believe their ears.  They kept expecting CBS to cut him off.  (CBS) A weekly commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

You can't beat the French when it comes to food, fashion, wine or perfume, but they lost their license to have an opinion on world affairs years ago.  They may even be selling stuff to Iraq and don't want to hurt business.

The French are simply not reliable partners in a world where the good people in it ought to be working together.  Americans may come off as international jerks sometimes but we're usually trying to do the right thing.

The French lost WW II to the Germans in about 20 minutes.  Along with the British, we got into the war and had about 150,000 guys killed getting their country back for them.  We fought all across France, and the Germans finally surrendered in a French schoolhouse.  You'd think that school building in Reims would be a great tourist attraction but it isn't.  The French seem embarrassed by it.  They don't want to call attention to the fact that we freed them from German occupation.

I heard Steven Spielberg say the French wouldn't even let him film the D-Day scenes in "Saving Private Ryan" on the Normandy beaches.  They want people to forget the price we paid getting their country back for them.

Americans have a right to protest going to war with Iraq.  The French do not.  They owe us the independence they flaunt in our face at the U.N.

I went into Paris with American troops the day we liberated it, Aug. 25, 1944.  It was one of the great days in the history of the world.  French women showered American soldiers with kisses, at the very least.  The next day, the pompous Charles de Gaulle marched down the mile long Champs Elysee to the Place de la Concorde as if he had liberated France himself.  I was there, squeezed in among a hundred tanks we'd given the Free French Army that we brought in with us.  Suddenly there were sniper shots from the top of a building.  Thousands of Frenchmen who had come to see de Gaulle scrambled to get under something.  I got under an Army truck myself.  The tank gunners opened fire on the building where the shots had come from, firing mindlessly at nothing.  It was a wild scene that lasted, maybe, 10 minutes.

When we go to Paris every couple of years now, I rent a car.  I drive around the Place de la Concorde and when some French driver blows his horn for me to get out of his way, I just smile and say to myself, "Go ahead, Pierre.  Be my guest. I know something about this very place you'll never know."

The French have not earned their right to have an opinion about President Bush's plans to attack Iraq.

On the other hand, I have.
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