Wednesday, May 22, 2002

My wife and I passed a sign for a town with what I found to be an amusing name - "Girdletree." Now, if you live there, I'm sorry - but I did get a chuckle out of that name. And then my wife let me know that "girdletree" really described a process I had never heard of. She said, "When I was a kid, my Dad used to girdle trees on our farm." Now without further explanation, that's going to get some ridiculous images going in your overactive imagination. Now, what she described to me was a process her Dad, and other farmers, used to soften a tree so it would be easier to bring down the next year. He took his ax, and he cut a ring in the bark that "girdled" the entire trunk at that point. The idea was to cut off the tree's sap delivery system. And it worked. The next year, that tree was softer and pretty easy to bring down. So, I'm not laughing anymore.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Our daughter called the other day and told us that we had to hear what our three-year-old grandson had just said to her - totally unprompted, out of the blue. He got on the phone and simply said, "Ronald." My wife and I cracked up. That's exactly what my wife says to me when I'm doing something weird - which, of course, is very, very rare. It's her lighthearted way of trying to correct this crazy guy she's married to. But our grandson had even mastered the tone of what she says - "Ronald." All this time he's been listening, recording - and now reproducing. Like we should be surprised?

Monday, May 20, 2002

Let's say you have a friend who's a classical music fan - and he really likes the music of this composer named Beethoven. Now, you don't know much about this Beethoven guy, but you accept your friend's invitation to go to a concert where Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is going to be presented. The performers are the local junior high band. Now your friend has told you repeatedly that Beethoven was a genius and his music spectacular. But, after hearing the squeaking and squawking of 13-year-olds giving that symphony a go, you walk out saying, "Man, forget this Beethoven guy and his music!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

The financial collapse of Enron's energy empire sent shock waves through America's financial community. When questions began to arise about the practices of Enron's accounting firm, the damage from the quake spread faster and farther. That firm has been one of America's "Big 5," doing both the accounting and financial consulting for some of this country's biggest corporations. It may take many months, even years, to sort out what really happened. But the questions alone have had a devastating effect, with client after client bailing out of their relationship with the accounting firm, leaving it severely crippled. And it all happened so fast.

Friday, May 10, 2002

My wife had plans for that particular Saturday. And, I was busy working with our high school football team. But all that changed really fast. A friend came running to get me because our then 12-year-old son had injured himself playing a pickup game of football in the park. As I arrived at the field, he came walking up to me holding one arm, breaking my heart with the most pained and pitiful look I think I've ever seen in his big blue eyes. One glance told me that he had broken his arm - it was protruding grotesquely. And, needless to say, our plans for that day went out the window. There was something much more important to do. We had a broken son.

Thursday, May 9, 2002

My wife was driving one night recently when she saw a sad sight by the side of a busy interstate. She first noticed a dog standing dangerously close to the edge of the highway. Then she realized that the dog was actually standing over another animal that was lying in front of him. The dog was sniffing his companion, and nuzzling his companion, and apparently pushing it trying to get some response. She said the dog would look up at passing motorists with an expression that seemed to say, "Can anybody do something?" Well, no one could.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Now, I'm a passenger on airplanes, not a pilot. And that's a good thing. But I have a lot of friends who are pilots - and they've taught me a lot about my attitude. They tell me that "attitude" is actually a pilots' word. As they've explained it to me, the attitude of your plane has to do with its relationship to the horizon. Other things are variable - terrain, weather, even the pilot's perceptions. But the horizon is the one thing that doesn't move. So you want the nose of your plane properly aligned with that horizon. When it isn't, problems can develop - like friction, for example.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Only four people survived above the 78th floor on that awful September 11, when a hijacked jetliner struck the south tower of the World Trade Center. Two of those were in a group of six that were on the 84th floor, right in the middle of where the plane crashed into the building. The six men ran to the stairwell and started that long trip down. At the 81st floor, they met a woman who said, "You can't go down. The floors below are in flames. We have to get above the smoke and fire." The six coworkers debated whether to go up or down. Four decided to climb up, hoping for a helicopter to rescue them from the roof. They could not have known that the rooftop doors were locked, and the roof was smothered in smoke. Their other two colleagues continued down, heading right into the dense smoke that had made others turn back. They struggled to breathe, but thankfully that smoke lasted only a floor or two. They were the last people who got out of the south tower alive. Their friends didn't make it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

In his Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis created a magical land called Narnia where the animals talked - and which he used to illustrate allegorically some important Biblical truths. The Christ-figure in the Chronicles is a majestic lion named Aslan. And, there's a little girl named Lucy, who's one of the children who discovers Narnia. Now, in the Narnia book, Prince Caspian, Lewis relates a reunion between Lucy and Aslan, whom she has not seen for some time. And, it's a tender reunion. What follows is a short, but very insightful, conversation. Lewis says that Lucy "gazed up into that large, wise face. 'Welcome, child,' he said. 'Aslan,' said Lucy, 'you're bigger.' 'That is because you are older, little one,' answered he. 'Oh, not because you are?' 'I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.'"

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Apparently, they were talking about America's reservoirs in terrorist centers in Afghanistan. As al-Qaeda documents were uncovered by American troops there, it became clear that folks who want to attack American interests have been at least considering some of our major water systems. So, security has really been beefed up at those kinds of facilities. And that's a good thing.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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