Divine Rescue at the Motel Pool-by Pam Patterson

My 70-year-old father-in-law jumped in the water first. But he couldn’t get to my daughter. His arms flailed, tangled in the camera strap around his neck.

“Mommy!” three-year-old Jinny cried, her eyes wide with panic. She’d started swim lessons at 18 months and did fine in shallow water, but she’d drifted into the deep end of the motel pool.

Jinny reached frantically for me. She was in the middle of the pool, too far for me to pull her to safety from the deck. Before I could do a thing, she went under.

I looked around, desperate. My husband, Bob, had gone back to our room to get something. No lifeguard on duty. No one else was close to the pool. Just me. And I couldn’t swim. I was terrified of the water.

Some college boys were horsing around on the far side of the deck. “Help us! Please!” I shouted. They didn’t even look my way. They were laughing too loud to hear me.

I couldn’t wait any longer. I wasn’t going to watch my daughter drown. I leaped into the pool. All I could get out before the water went over my head and swallowed me was one word: “God!”

I couldn’t see a thing with water in my eyes. I stretched out my arms. I felt a tiny foot against my palm. Jinny! I got my hands on her back to try to push her to the surface. At that second, I sensed something pushing against my own back. The pressure of two large, strong hands propelling us to the edge of the pool.

The next instant, I was standing on the deck by the deep end, with Jinny in my arms. We didn’t climb any steps or ladder to get out. It was as if we were lifted right out of the water and gently set on dry ground, safe.

A blur flew by me. Bob. He dove in the deep end and pulled his dad out of the pool. My father-in-law coughed and sputtered. Then he caught sight of Jinny and me.

“You’re okay,” he said, wonderingly. “Was there a lifeguard?”

“Yes,” I said, catching my breath. One we never saw and never will see on this earth.

The Window Through Which We Look

~~A young couple moved into a new neighborhoodThe next morning while they were eating breakfast,The young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly.Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”Her husband looked on, but remained silent.Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry,The young woman would make the same comments.About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.”The husband said, “I got up early this morning andcleaned our windows.”And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

IN PURSUIT OF GLORY

I’m not sure when I first discovered Morning Glories. If pressed toRecall, I believe it was in a silk flower store. I’d never seen naturalMorning Glories, but I instantly fell in love with the traditional variety– radiant blue with butter yellow centers.This year, my love was tested. You see, I’m a self-professed vineFanatic. As a child, I drew meandering vines in my notebook when I wasSupposed to be learning geometry. I decorated countless homemade cardsWith flowing vines and wondered about a career as a vine artist. (TurnsOut, there’s not much call for that.)As a novice gardener, I’ve planted moon vines, cardinal red vines andClematis of varying colors. I’ve even allowed a beautiful “weed vine” toWind around the posts of my back porch, just because it looks so graceful.Now its trunk is two-inches in diameter.Last year, I planted my first Morning Glory. It also happened to beThe same year I discovered the beauty of ordering plants over the Internet.While flicking through the pages of one gardening site, I saw MorningGlories and was smitten once again. I clicked, paid and waited. A fewDays later, my precious six-inch seedling arrived unharmed. For the restOf that summer, part of my fence disappeared each morning under dozens ofBrilliant blue Morning Glories.This year I had bigger dreams. I wanted to cover my entire fence withThese gracious vines, but no! The garden site was gone! Three nurseriesIn our area had no seedlings! It was up to me and two packets of seeds.In early April, I made my hands raw nicking over thirty rock hard,Morning Glory seeds. I carefully soaked them for the prescribed amount ofTime, and tucked them into starter pots. Every day my daughter and IChecked under the plastic domes for sprouts. We couldn’t wait for theFirst green head to poke through. So we waited, and waited some more.Finally, two seedlings arrived.Two.My daughter lost interest.I put the seedlings on the window sill and kept them safe until theDanger of a rogue northeast frost had passed. When they seemed strongEnough, I picked a safe spot along the fence (sunny but not one of theDog’s’ favorite spots), mulched, watered and waited.Then I waited some more.One seedling died.The final seedling seemed dazed. Although it didn’t grow, it didn’tWhither either. The next six weeks were some of the hottest and driest onRecord. The seedling held its ground with the help of persistent wateringAnd whispered encouragement, but it stayed the same size as the day IPlanted it.In August, the seedling woke up and remembered it wasn’t meant to be a3-inch plant — it was a vine! Slowly, it made its way up the chain linkFence. There were no flowers, but I was content watching it grow about anInch a day.One morning, over four months after I began this odyssey, I walkedInto the kitchen. My heart sank at the site of a mountain of dirty dishes.I stood absentmindedly in front of the sink, staring out the window,Trying to decide what to tackle first. I was so taken by what I saw that IAudibly sucked in my breath and uttered a soft, “Ohhh!”At the top of the fence was a crown of three luminescent blue MorningGlories. I left the dishes, walked into my backyard and stood next to theVine, grinning from ear to ear.What a triumph! This vine had beaten thirty to one odds by feelingIts way up the fence an inch at a time. Once it woke from its daze, itKept reaching out, believing there’d be a place to take hold. And, as ifTo trumpet its arrival at the summit, the vine splurged with a grandOpening display of three flowers.Silly with pride, I knew this plant had taught me a lesson in gracefulPersistence and relentless faith. Four months, thirty seeds, two seedlingsAnd one resilient vine later, it was well worth it!Believe. Grow. Reach. Trust. Never doubt the pursuit of Glory.– Teri Goggin

Rustling Raspberries

Stealing? Well, yes — I guess we WERE stealing, if you want to get all Technical about it. But in our 13-year-old brains we were Just using the raspberries as God intended them to be used. The matter of ownership never occurred to us. We just Knew that the Jordans had the best raspberries in the Neighborhood, and that their bushes were always heavy With fruit. And suddenly that summer Friday night, a Handful of freshly picked raspberries sounded good. Maybe TWO handfuls. So we Snuck into the Jordans’ backyard — which, come To think of it, should have been our first clue that we Were doing something wrong we “Snuck.” Anytime Sneaking is involved, it means you don’t want to get Caught, which usually means you shouldn’t be doing it. But we Snuck into their backyard and positioned Ourselves carefully around the bushes and started Harvesting their sweet, juicy berries. Now, I’ve got to tell you, there isn’t anything that Tastes better than vine-ripened raspberries, fresh off The bush. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but they seemTo taste even better if there is a little subterfuge Involved. And we were savoring every bite of ill-gotten Berry when all of a sudden the Jordans’ backyard Lights flicked on, and Mr. Jordan came charging Outside. “What you boys doing out here?” he shouted as my Friends scrambled off in all directions, uneaten Raspberries flying every which way. He made a valiant attempt to grab one or two as they Dashed past him, but they were too quick for the Older gentleman to catch, and within seconds the Boys disappeared into the dark of the summer Evening. All except one. Uh, that would be me. Speed was never my strength. I was tall. I was Strong. But I wasn’t very fast. Fast was for the littleQuick guys. I was all about size and power, neither of Which come into play when you’re trapped in a back Yard, your lips red with juice from a neighbors’ Precious raspberries. So I stood there, deer-in-the-headlights style, and Quickly considered my options. I could run, but I Knew perfectly well that even as old as Mr. Jordan Was, he could probably out-run me. I could lie, but I Couldn’t come up with a believable story that would Explain why I was in their backyard wearing a T-shirt stained with fresh raspberry juice. Or I could Just stand there and accept whatever punishment Would surely come my way from the Jordans and my Parents. To be honest, I didn’t like that last option, but I Didn’t really have a choice. I took the tongue-lashing That Mr. Jordan gave me as he marched me down theBlock to my house, where my mother took over andEscalated the harangue to new levels of righteous Scolding. My friends said they could hear every colorful wordShe uttered from the darkness of our back yard, Where they had gathered to celebrate their escape — And to observe my capture. They teased me about it for days afterwards, while All I could do was complain about how unfair it was That I had to pay the full price for doing the exact Same thing all of them had done without any Noticeable consequences. After about a week of this, I complained to my Father about the inequity of the situation (and inCase any of the boys are reading this no, I didn’t rat You out. I think the statute of limitations on Raspberry rustling had already elapsed). “I don’t think it’s unfair at all,” Dad said. “You took Raspberries without asking, and you got exactly the Punishment you deserved.” “But what about the other guys?” I asked. “They Didn’t get punished at all!” “That’s not my concern, nor should it be yours,” Dad said. “You can’t control what happens to otherPeople. You can only deal with what happens to you. You made a bad choice that night, and you were Punished for it. To me, that is completely fair.” Back then I thought Dad just didn’t get it. But Through the years I come to realize that, as usual, He knew what he was talking about. We didn’t come to earth with a guarantee that life Would treat us fairly. And it doesn’t. That’s why we Can’t get bogged down comparing the various Vicissitudes of our lives with the lives of others. Like Dad said, that isn’t our concern. The only thing we can actually deal with is what Happens to us. How we choose to respond to whatHappens to us is truly the standard by which the Quality of our lives will be measured.~Joseph Walker~

The Table



I remember when growing up at my aunt and uncle’s
farm eating there on Sunday. The table would be pulled
out and the leaves would be inserted for the family that
would be there. Oftentimes the minister from the Church
would eat with us. The men when they entered the home
would take their hats off and hang them up by the door.
All would wash their hands and sit at their designated place.
My uncle would sit at the head of the table, his wife at the
opposite end. The best dishes were used every Sunday along
with the best silverware. During the hot, dusty summer,
the dishes might be turned upside down to protect them
from the dust and flies, as this was before air-conditioning.
Sometimes if the meals were served and my aunt was not
ready to eat, the plates would be covered with a clean
dishcloth.

Everyone sat upright, no elbows on the table, when my
aunt entered the room everyone stood up, it was expected.
She was being honored. My uncle would either say Grace
or ask someone to say Grace. After the prayer was
concluded he would take the first dish of food and put some
on his plate and pass it to his right, and on it would go.
Usually the elders would sit to his right with the children
being the last served. This was normal and there were no
questions asked.

At the table people discussed family events, church
events, school happenings, matters of consequence. Never
was there a heated discussion, and always proper manners
were in place. When finished eating, you asked for
permission to be excused from the table and you cleaned
your mouth with a real napkin. You politely removed
yourself, and put your chair back into place. The women
would clear the table and do dishes while the men would
retire and discuss matters for menfolk. The children would
go outside and play. The table would be put back in it’s
place until it was used again.

When did the table lose it’s place in our family? Or is
the better question when did our family lose it’s table?

When did manners fade away? When did respect of
our Elders dissolve? Do you pray before receiving your
food? Do you bless your food? Do have your family time?
Does what I describe to you sound like a better way of life,
of living? Take the time. Start at home. Home…what a beautiful
word. Think about this…. The Lord gave us Hope with His
Last Supper at the Table. Commune with your family.
Start today.

BJ Cassady

WHEN I SAY I’M BROKE – I’M BROKE…



A little old lady answered a
Knock on the door one day, only to be confronted by a well-dressed
Young man carrying a vacuum cleaner.. “Good morning,” said the young
Man. “If I could take a couple minutes of your time, I would like
To demonstrate the very latest in high-powered vacuum cleaners.” “Go
Away!” said the old lady. ”I’m broke and haven’t got any money!”
And she proceeded to try to close the door. Quick as a flash, the
Young man wedged his foot in the door and pushed it wide open.
”Don’t be too hasty!” he said. ”Not until you have at least seen
My demonstration.” And with that, he emptied a bucket of horse
Manure onto her hallway carpet. “Now, if this vacuum cleaner does
Not remove all traces of this horse manure from your carpet, Madam, I
Will personally eat the remainder.” The old lady stepped back and
Said:”Well let me get you a fork, cause they cut off my electricity this morning.”

Scent of SummerBy Georgia H. Smart

The shrill chirp of katydids always gets to me. Add to this the soft glow of a street lamp filtering through the leaves of a big maple tree, the sound of children playing down the block, and the creak of our old porch swing as I relax in the warmth of a summer evening. These combined sounds have the power to transport me back in time over four decades, and I am a child again. I feel the silkiness of sun-warmed dust as I sift it between my bare toes, the heat of a hot afternoon sun flushing my cheeks and heating my body. I walk slowly, savoring the smell of the unpaved streets as I near my own home after a day of play with little friends.And in the evening, supper over and the dishes done, with the pure pleasure and stamina of the very young, I run and play some more. Then, breathing hard, I sit for a few minutes on the front stoop with the family, my head resting on Mama’s knee. We love this time of evening, the quiet, the beginning coolness of the night. We watch the fireflies with their flashing glow and the June bugs batting against the screen door, seeking the inside light.Then, on the next corner, I hear the sounds of big brothers and friends gathering under the streetlight for games — Red Light, Hide-and- Go-Seek, Kick the Can — and I beg to go too.I am allowed only the privilege of standing on the fringe of their activity and observing since I am too young to play, they say.Too soon, too soon, I hear Mama’s call. Time to come in. Reluctantly I head for home, a little sullen because the boys can stay longer.The soft dust is cooler on my bare feet now. Passing a house, I hear a piano, the sound pretty and bright and happy. I tarry a few minutes and listen with pleasure. I move on past another neighbor’s flower garden and stop again — this time to sniff the sweetly scented night air from their flower garden.Young as I am, I wish these joys would never end. When I walk into our kitchen, tired at last, I dread the chore ahead. I think, it’s so much fun to go barefoot, but I wish — I wish! Mama wouldn’t make me wash my dirty feet tonight!

Men, Be careful what you wish for!

A man was sick and tired of going to work every day while his wife stayed home. He wanted her to see what he went through so he prayed, “Dear Lord, I go to work every day and put in 8 hours while my wife merely stays at home. I want her to know what I go through, so please create a trade in our bodies.” God, in his infinite wisdom, granted the man’s wish.The next morning, sure enough, the man awoke as a woman.He arose, cooked breakfast for his mate, awakened the kids, set out their school clothes, fed them breakfast, packed their lunches, drove them to school, came home and picked up the dry cleaning, took it to the cleaners and stopped at the bank to draw out money to pay the power bill and telephone bill, drove to the power company and the phone company and paid the bills, went grocery shopping, came home and put away the groceries. He cleaned the cat’s litter box and bathed the dog. Then it was already 1 p.m. And he hurried to make the beds, do the laundry, vacuum, dust, and sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Ran to the school to pick up the kids and got into an argument with them on the way home. Set out cookies and milk and got the kids organized to do their homework, then set up the ironing board and watched TV while he did the ironing.At 4:30 he began peeling potatoes and washing greens for salad, breaded the pork chops and snapped fresh beans for supper. After supper he cleaned the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, folded laundry, bathed the kids, and put them to bed. At 9 p.m. He was exhausted and, though his daily chores weren’t finished, he went to bed where he was expected to make love – which he managed to get through without complaint.The next morning he awoke and immediately knelt by the bed and said, “Lord, I don’t know what I was thinking. I was so wrong to envy my wife’s being able to stay home all day. Please, oh please, let us trade back.”The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, replied, “My son, I feel you have learned your lesson and I will be happy to change things back to the way they were. You’ll have to wait 9 months, though. You got pregnant last night!”

The priest and the nun

A priest and a nun were lost in a snowstorm. After a while, they came upon a small cabin. Being exhausted, they prepared to go to sleep. There was a stack of blankets and a sleeping bag on the floor but only one bed. Being a gentleman, the priest said, “Sister, you sleep on the bed. I’ll sleep on the floor in the sleeping bag.” Just as he got zipped up in the bag and was beginning to fall asleep, the nun said “Father, I’m cold.” He unzipped the sleeping bag, got up, got the blanket and put it on her. Once again, he got into the sleeping bag, zipped it up and started to drift off to sleep when the nun once again said, “Father, I’m still very cold.” He unzipped the bag, got up again, put another blanket on her and got into the sleeping bag once again. Just as his eyes closed, she said, “Father, I’m sooooo cold.” This time, he remained there and said, “Sister, I have an idea. We’re out here in the wilderness where no one will ever know what happened. Let’s pretend we’re married.” The nun said, “That’s fine by me.” To which the exasperated priest exclaimed, “Get up and get your own stupid blanket!”

Homemade Cat Treats

  • ▢ 10 ounces canned salmon untrained so
  • ▢ 1 egg beaten
  • ▢ 2 cups whole wheat flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Pulse 10 ounces of undrained, canned salmon in a food processor to chop as finely as possible.
  • In a stand mixer, combine salmon, 1 egg (beaten), and 2 cups whole wheat flour until dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add up to 1/3 cup water. If it’s is too wet or sticky, add a bit more flour. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  • Roll dough on a floured surface until about 1/4-inch thick. Use a 3/4-inch cookie cutter in the shape of your choice to create your treats.
  • Place treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. When they’re slightly browned and crunchy, they’re done.
  • Allow to cool before serving.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ⅓ cup pure pumpkin
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Instructions

  • Start by processing the oatmeal into a fine powder in a food processor or blender. Then add in the pumpkin and peanut butter and process until smooth.
  • Place the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper and flatten it out with your hands.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out as many treats as possible.
  • Carefully remove the excess mixture around the shapes. Save that excess mixture for your next batch of treats. Transfer the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool.
  • Transfer the dog treats into a jar to keep them fresh.

BROKEN HEARTBy Bobbi Hahn

They-were an unlikely pair — she, an adult Maine Coon, sleek andDignified, elegant and graceful in all of her movements — he, a young,Immature grey tomcat, large and boisterous, playful and quick moving. When they joined our household a year apart, I had no idea whatWas in store for all of us. They nevertheless fell in love, and eventually it became obviousThat Griz was pregnant. I’d never had a pregnant cat, so I consultedThe vet for all the details on what I needed to know, and do, when theTime came for her to give birth. His advice was, basically, provideHer with a safe, comfortable place and then get out of her way, lettingMother Nature take over. Griz went into labor on a Sunday morning, just as we were preparingTo leave for church. I hoped witnessing a miracle might take precedenceOver attendance at Mass just this once, so I decided to allow our sonsTo stay home. The area beside our claw-foot tub had been chosen by Griz as herLabor room, so we prepared a nice soft bed of fluffy towels for her. SheSeemed uncomfortable, and I wished I could do something for her, butThe vet’s advice stayed with me, and I resumed my role as bystander. Gus, however, had not heard the vet’s advice, and would not haveHeeded it anyway. The love of his life was in pain, and he comfortedHer as best he could. He’d go in there and lick her face as if toSay, “I’m here, Griz, and I’ll be by your side every step of the way.”We’ve all heard of expectant fathers pacing the floor in Maternity wards,And Gus did the same, checking in with Griz frequently, softly pettingHer with his paw. The hours passed, and finally the first kitten was born — how coolWas that? Gus helped Griz clean the little creature, as he did withThe other three she eventually produced. I’d been hesitant at firstTo allow him near the kittens because I’d heard of some males eatingTheir young, but he was always such a loving cat that I took the chance.In any event, I don’t think I’d have been able to keep him away. Griz was exhausted from her long labor and delivery, as we allWere from keeping watch, so everyone slept. Over the next few days, the extent of Gus’ devotion soon becameApparent. He would curl up beside Griz when she nursed the kittens,Like he just wanted to keep her company and be close to her and hisLittle family. When it looked like Griz needed a break from mothering,Gus would take her place, curling on his side and allowing the kittens toCuddle up against him. He’d remain in that position for extended periodsOf time, only leaving when one of the kittens tried to nurse. He’d standUp quickly as if to say, “I’ll babysit, but the nursing stuff is OUT!” I’d often find them all asleep together, Mom and Dad curled tightlyAround their babies, all snug and safe in a warm cocoon of feline fur. Gus and Griz groomed the kittens together, washing those adorableLittle faces and holding down a reluctant participant with a firm butGentle paw. When I took Griz to the vet for her checkup, I mentioned what aGreat help Gus was with the kittens, and I asked if that was normal forA male cat, since I’d never had experience with a cat “couple.” He saidHe’d never heard of anything like it! The kittens eventually went to good homes, and their parents seemedTo accept their departures with a minimum of fuss, resuming the routineThat had been normal for them before childbirth (well, kittenbirth!)Their lives were uneventful for a few years, until Gus became ill. The diagnosis of cancer was a blow to us all, but I vowed that we’dFight this thing with everything we had. On the days when he was feelingLow, Griz comforted him, as he’d once done for her. Gussie fought theGood fight, but we lost him when he was only four and a half years old. Griz was inconsolable, and her pitiful cries could be heard allOver the house, as she searched for her faithful companion. She neverStopped looking for him, and would spend hours looking out the windows,Waiting by the door, peering into his favorite hiding places. She wasNo longer interested in playing with their toys, and her shiny coatBecame dull. When she began losing weight, I took her to the vet, whoCould find nothing physically wrong with her. He said some cats justGive up when their companion dies. Griz died a year after Gus — the vet described the cause of deathAs a broken heart. Although I was devastated, I knew she no longermourned for him. I believe they’re together at the Rainbow Bridge,joyous at their reunion, enjoying time with their kittens and grandkittensand great-grandkittens.

Summer Chicken & pomegranate salad

Ingredients

• 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

• 1 cup arugula

• 9 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced

• 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

• 8 red grape/cherry tomatoes, halved

• 8 gold grape tomatoes, halved • 1/2 avocado, sliced

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Red Wine Vinaigrette

:• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar • 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard • 2 cloves crushed garlic

• 4 tablespoons water • salt, to taste

Directions

Step 1

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake to combine. Step 2

Arrange all of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

The grumpy pharmacist

Upon arriving home, a husband was met at the door by his sobbing wife.Tearfully she explained, “It’s the pharmacist. He insulted me terribly Morning on the phone. I had to call multiple times before he would answer the phone.”Immediately, the husband drove down town to confront the chemist and an apology.Before he could say more than a word or two, the chemist told him, “Just A minute, listen to my side of it. This morning the alarm failed to go Off, so I was late getting up. I went without breakfast and hurried out To the car, just to realize that I’d locked the house with both house And car keys inside and had to break a window to get my keys.””Then, driving a little too fast, I got a speeding ticket. Later, when I was about three blocks from the store, I had a flat tire.””When I finally got to the store a bunch of people were waiting for me To open. I got the store opened and started waiting on these people, all Time the darn phone was ringing.”He continued, “Then I had to break a roll of coins against the cash Drawer to make change, and they spilled all over the floor. I Had to get down on my hands and knees to pick up the coins and the phone Was still ringing. When I came up I cracked my head on the open cash Drawer, which made me stagger back against a showcase with a bunch of Perfume bottles on it. Half of them hit the floor and broke””Meanwhile, the phone is still ringing with no let up, and I finally got Back to answer it. It was your wife. She wanted to know how to use a Rectal thermometer.””Believe me mister, as God is my witness, all I did was tell her.”

Cotton Candy

I figured it was time to write about a different kind of cotton. You know I pick on cotton picking nit pickers a lot. Well this is fair time in lot of places in the country. County fairs, state fairs, fairs here, fairs there. You always see people with this cotton picking cotton candy. Looks sticks like. Messy even. 

Now I remember mother telling many a time.. This works both ways. I got told the story many a time. She and her brothers and sister went to this fair of sorts many a time I guess. 

Any ways I got to give you a bit of location of all this. They lived in the little town of Thayer, Missouri. That is on the very edge of Missouri. A hop skip and jump is Mammoth Springs, Arkansas. Now I can come up with a couple stories here. But lets take care of the fair first. If we got time we could get into the other one. 

Some time in August I guess, not sure. The people of Mammoth Springs has a what is called, “Old Settlers Fair” or something like that. There is also a train that runs from Springfield through these villages then on south. Well it also runs the other way too. Back in those days. 1915 and so, the train ran north at midnight. Cost the whole sum of one dime to ride train from Mammoth to Thayer. A trip of a couple miles as the road goes. That kind of hilly there. Road makes a couple twists and turns. 

Now best I remember the story. Should remember I heard it from all of them except a couple. That would be Homer for one. He was the oldest, he died when I was a baby, and I think maybe one other never told me the story. Grandmother was dirt poor. But she could scrape up a dime for each kid. That may have been a total of 50 cents. Five kids went if the two oldest didn’t go. They would have been 17 and 15, there abouts. 

Any ways here goes the tribe. All hot footing it down the couple miles to Springs. One thin dime in hot hand. They may have had a bread sandwich to eat. That would be about it. One dime though. They spent the whole day looking the shows over, that is the outside of the show, can’t spend the dime you know. They would give any thing for a drink of something cool, can’t spend the dime you know. They sure would like to try out the cotton candy, can’t spend the dime, you know. They just did a lot of walking, looking, and got told move on kid you not spending a dime, move on.

At midnight those that still had a dime in hot hand rode the train back home. I think that would be all of them. They knew better then spend that one thin dime on cotton candy.

Now I said I had another story. It is also a sad story. And maybe I should keep quite about it. But I think it shows how slow change comes about. We like to say this would have never happened. But I have had this told to me a few times. At Mammoth Springs was a lot of people of color. At Thayer none. On the railroad station at Thayer was a sign. I will let you figure what the sign said. It wasn’t too nice. The sign is no longer there. 

Back to cotton candy. I too have never tried the stuff. I wonder if i should?? No it’s nothing but sugar fluffed up with air. Think I will pass on it. 


Bill Walker

A Special Mourning Dove Was Her Source of Comfort and Hope-Jeannie Hughes

“Look!” I said to my husband, Roger, pointing to the budding purple wisteria branches. “The mourning doves have built a nest!” As I watched the gray doves take turns coming and going in shifts to sit on their eggs, the waves of grief I still felt over my son Steven’s death three years earlier came less frequently. Here in our backyard was yet another of God’s reminders that he would always be there to reassure and comfort me.

But then on a chilly April day, we watched aghast as a hawk swooped down and took one of the doves, and by the next morning the other parent was gone too. Roger clambered up a ladder to take a peek into the nest. Was it possible the hawk had spared the young? Yes, there sat a newly hatched baby dove! We brought him inside and set up the nesting box with the heat lamps we had used for raising chickens. Then we rushed to the pet shop to buy the formula needed to mimic the mother’s milk. But even with our care and prayers, we knew that the dove’s chances were slim. We were especially worried that our little bird, whom we’d christened Hawkeye, hardly cooed at all. That had to be a bad sign.

But to our surprise, Hawkeye not only survived but also thrived. Within a month, he was able to stand on the rim of a bowl and eat out of a baby spoon, and before we knew it, he was pecking at the seeds we gave him. Having the opportunity to nurture this new life brought me a greater measure of peace with each passing day.

As Hawkeye grew, we noticed that unlike all the other doves in our yard, he had a double breast with a line dividing it. When I did some research on mourning doves, I found out that females don’t often coo.

“We got it all wrong,” I told Roger. “Hawkeye is a girl!”

We realized that as Hawkeye’s surrogate parents, we’d have to teach her to fly. First, we urged her to fly from a finger to the bottom rung of a six-foot ladder, and in no time she was zipping to the top. She lit out for the kitchen whenever she heard the click of the spoon on her bowl.

By mid-June she’d gained full confidence in her wings, so we knew it was time to set our Hawkeye free. We took her outside, but she only fluttered about the yard, even when we left her and went back inside. My heart broke as she watched us through the window, the warm wind ruffling her feathers. Finally, after several minutes, she flew to the wisteria and then took off into the sky. I started to cry. Would I ever see my mourning dove again?

As the months rolled by into fall and winter, the grief that had been held at bay returned more strongly. God had given me a new purpose, a new life to nurture, but now that Hawkeye was gone, I felt bereft. I often stared out the back window, hoping to catch just a glimpse of her. “If I could only see her one more time,” I told Roger, “I’d know everything would be okay.”I had nearly given up hope, but one May morning, two doves landed on the deck rail. The smaller one bore Hawkeye’s distinctive chest markings. She had not only returned, but she’d also brought her mate with her! They built a nest on the very same wisteria branch where Hawkeye had been born. Several weeks later we watched Hawkeye feed her own two babies. And every time she soared into the sky, I felt my own heart soar with her—light, unburdened and filled with Gods grace.

A WONDERFUL GIFT- Melisa Shreve

I cherish the memories I have of my grandparents. I often find myself traveling back in time longing for just one More moment, one more, “I love you”, one last kiss, one more hug. In my mind’s eye I’m in the kitchen learning from well worn Hands how to cook a roast beef and make the perfect deviled eggs. I’m sitting at the table eating the best homemade chocolate meringue Pie I’ve ever eaten and eating it until my stomach hurts. I’m Playing Wa-hoo or Skip-Bo, laughing at funny stories until my sides Ache and rarely winning the competitive game at hand. I’m taking Bubble baths in a sunken tub — sometimes 3 of them in one day! I’m sitting under the awning in the backyard, swinging and Enjoying a nice summer day, watching the dog chase his tail, talking About family that have long passed. I’m studying my grandmother’s Face in the bathroom mirror watching as she meticulously puts on her Make-up and wonder how she can make perfect eyebrows with her skinny Eyebrow pencil and wonder still why it takes so long for one person To get ready just for a quick run into town. I’m helping her make the bed and learning how to do it just Right. I’m listening to her yodel in the car and I try not to laugh. I’m in the kitchen washing her hair, giving her a perm, and wonder How she can stand my rarely tested “beauty shop” efforts. I’m secretly digging through the drawers in her bathroom until I Find her wrinkle and freckle creams, and I put them on my freckled Face, hoping one day I will be as beautiful as she is. I put drops Of her perfume on my neck because she smells better than anyone I’ve Ever known. Although, I would guess she always knew what I was up To, she never said a word. I see myself outside turning cartwheels in the grass and I’m Admiring a perfectly manicured lawn. I’m spending the dollar my papa Gave me on nothing but candy. I’m chasing butterflies in their Flower garden, without a care in the world, knowing all the while I’m Forever loved through their words, actions, and yes even discipline. As my children come into the world, I joyously see the love my Grandparents give them. I am amazed at my grandparents’ patience With my children as they crawl up in the middle of their dining room Table and eat my grandmother’s homemade hot sauce or dig into their Closet to walk around in shoes that are much too big. But, instead Of a scolding, it’s a laugh and a hug — memories to be tucked away And talked about again and again. I’m watching them grow older and more frail now, and I know one Day I will have to face life without them and I don’t want to go There. Not today. So I crawl up in their king-sized bed just to Snuggle one last time, because I know the time is coming and nothing Can prepare me for the grief that is ahead. I study the lines on their faces and memorize the look of their Sweet wrinkled hands because one day I will want to remember and Never forget those wonderful faces, those precious voices, those Sweet kisses, those tender hands. I will want to relive the memories And I often do. Traveling back in time is a bittersweet experience, because Taking that wonderful walk through my past always leads me to the Painful reality that those days are forever gone. I can’t physically Go back there. It’s a journey of my heart and in my mind. It’s not A place where I can live, but a wonderful place to visit and remember — a sweet sanctuary. A place of joy and unconditional love. God has given us a wonderful gift called memories. We make them And then we can travel back in time and visit those places of joy and Relive them again and again. It can be an escape from a cruel world And sometimes it’s a path of healing as we grieve our loved ones and Remember the sweet times we’ve had together. Sometimes we can even find forgiveness there. It’s a place, Lord willing, that I am creating and will create for my children and Grandchildren one day. So I thank you God, for the gift of my grandparents. I thank You for the lessons they have taught me, the love they have given me And my family, and their memory that will stay in my heart forever. — Melisa Shreve

String Bean Spirituality-Bob Perks


A visit to the grocery store changes the way I look at produce–and people.Patience is a virtue. One of the many I lack. Never more evident than when I am grocery shopping.Some days the only time I get out of the house is when I force myself to head to the market to buy what I need for dinner. Oftentimes I go there with absolutely nothing in mind and find myself inspired by the aromas of fresh-baked bread or slow-roasted chicken. I enjoy the experience, except for the crowded vegetable section of the store. This is where most people slow down so they can inspect, fondle, smell, and squeeze until they have discovered that one grapefruit, that special cantaloupe that everyone else missed.I can be seen, plastic bag in hand, waiting, moaning, and huffing as I finally slump over my cart in frustration. In just a few seconds I’m in and out, green pepper in hand and on my way to the scale to slap that sticker on it. No big deal for me.Except for yesterday.I decided to pick up some string beans. Of all the sections in the vegetable market, the string bean people move the slowest. One bean at a time. “Oh, Lord give me patience!” I said to myself as I approached the counter.There, blocking access with his cart, was an elderly man. His messy white hair, flipped up in the back, made him look like a 80-year-old hippie. He was average height and looked much like a string bean himself. Thin and frail-looking, he moved slowly and his hands seemed to tremble as he searched through the pile of beans.Without turning his head toward me, he said, “It takes time to find the right ones. There’s an art to this, you know.””I didn’t realize that,” I said. “Although that explains why everyone spends so much time here. They’re artists.””I see them as people,” he replied.”The beans?” I asked.”Yes.” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.”See this one? This short, stubby one would tend to get passed over. Its appearance doesn’t fit the perfect image of a long, thin, crisp bean. Most likely, after too much handling, the clerk will toss it out thinking no one wants it. So I take it. People don’t know what they are missing, passing up this one,” he continued.”Now I know this curved one won’t be used either. Some people see food as more than nourishment. It’s all in the presentation. The image of a few select beans, all of the same length, lying on a plate nestled perfectly next to the entrée, supposedly adds to the enjoyment of the meal. I for one see my food as representing life itself. The world is full of texture, odd shapes and sizes. My world is not perfect. Nor is my dinner plate,” he said.Suddenly I realized that we were the only ones in this aisle. Very unusual for this time of day. I was calm and very attentive to everything this man was saying. Also unusual.”Yes, this pile of beans reminds me that people come into my life in all sizes. Some are broken like this one. Others are still attached to the vine where they were nourished and protected and oftentimes were ripped away from their roots, carrying with them resentment and fear. Like this bean, the vine needs to be removed so that it can be seen in its full beauty and not one clinging to things of the past,” he said as he tossed them in his bag.A few minutes had passed as I stood in silence just watching the old man as he dug deep into the pile, turning and tossing them from the bottom as one would stir a salad.”Well, I must go now,” the man said. “I’ll leave you with these ‘human beans.’ Be kind to them. Don’t judge them just by looks. Inside everyone of them is the same life-giving elements. But like people, many will never be given the chance,” he said.”So they end up on the bottom, tossed aside?” I asked.”The difference is,” he replied, “as people we have a choice not to settle for the garbage heap.”He tied the top of the plastic bag and turned away, missing the cart completely as he tried to place it inside.”Sir, let me get that for you,” I said.”Every once in a while I misjudge the distance. I’ve been blind all of my life. You’d think I’d have this worked out by now.”Blind? I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly a young lady appeared from around the corner.”Poppa! I’m over here, straight ahead of you. Would you like me to pick out some nice tomatoes?””No, honey. I know just what I need,” he said.Turning back toward where I was standing, he whispered, “She’s always in such a hurry. She’ll miss the best ones. Have a great day!”What insight. What vision this old man had. A blind man helped me to see what joy I had been missing in the simple act of shopping for vegetables. I wonder what else I have been blind to in the hurry of my day.By the way, tonight we are having brussel sprouts. I can’t wait to get back to the market.

A Cats Prayer


Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray this cushy life to keep.
I pray for toys that look like mice.
And sofa cushions, soft and nice.
I pray for gourmet kitty snacks.
And someone nice to scratch my back.
For windowsills all warm and bright.
For shadows to explore at night.
I pray I’ll always stay real cool
And keep the secret feline rule–
To NEVER tell a human that
The world is really ruled by Cats!