I was zipping down the Interstate one day, and I came up behind this big, black truck with bright red letters on it. And then I noticed what it said: County Bomb Squad. Woah! Needless to say, I did not stay real close to that truck! I didn't want to be behind these guys, but I'm actually glad they're around.
"China's Lost Girls" - that's what they called the National Geographic special that described China's "one child per family" law that had led, at the time, the abandonment of countless baby girls. But the special went on to describe the growing number of American families who wanted one of those little girls, who otherwise would spend her whole life in an orphanage. That came to life some years ago when some close friends started down that year-long process of bringing together an abandoned little girl with an American family. Finally, that long wait was over, and they were on a plane to China. When they got to their hotel room, there was an empty crib. It wasn't empty the next night. No, they were taken to the adoption center where this precious little girl they were adopting was placed in their arms, and that night she fell asleep in her new father's arms. As the family welcomed them at the airport back home, this girl, who only days before had belonged nowhere, was - and always would be - enveloped in love.
You never knew when my wife was going to have one of her attacks. No, it wasn't a medical condition; it used to happen as we were driving through our neighborhood on garbage night. Suddenly she'd go, "Stop! Wait!" And I'd say, "What's the matter?" And she'd say, "Look at that chair." Actually it was the remains of a chair, broken, pretty gross I thought. And then she'd say, "Hey, let's take it." I think there's a name for that. Garbage picking, right? Yeah.
In 1963, the United States Supreme Court outlawed prayer in America's public schools. One of the plaintiffs in that case was America's best-known and most visible atheist at the time, Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Over the years, she was a vocal proponent of atheism and an aggressive campaigner against religion in public life. Then one day she vanished, leaving her sports car in an airport parking lot and $500,000 missing from the American Atheists Association bank account. The Internal Revenue Service seized Mrs. O'Hair's home to pay her creditors and some back taxes, and one of the items at auction was her diaries. And one entry said, "The whole idiotic hopelessness of human relations descends upon me. Tonight, I cried and cried, but even then feeling nothing." Then I was really struck by four words that Madalyn Murray O'Hair reportedly wrote at least half a dozen times over the years, "Somebody, somewhere, love me."
Well after years of being City Boy, living in the country. Yeah, and boy, I learned a lot from the Country Girl I married. One day I was sitting on the front porch, just peacefully reading my Bible, and I noticed that a calf from across the road had decided the grass was greener on the our side of the road. Somehow, he had picked his way across the bars of the cattle guard, wandered down the road and was slowly munching his way toward our yard. Now, we agreed we really didn't want him in our yard all day while we were at the office. He'd probably eat the flowers. He'd probably fertilize our lawn in a way we didn't want it fertilized. My wife stuck her head out the door and said, "Just yell at him; scare him back across the cattle guard and into his pasture." OK, I yelled at the calf. He didn't move. My wife said, "You'll probably have to chase him, too." Oh, she saved that for later! Oh great! Here goes City Boy running down the road (you want to try to picture this?), waving his arms and yelling at a cow. Hey, it worked! The calf went running back down the road, across the cattle guard, and back where he was supposed to be. I wonder if it had anything to do with the fact what I said to him, "Burgers to go, boy!"
"Made you look!" That's a classic line from when we were kids. As we're driving through some of this continent's steep mountain ranges, we've seen a sign that's guaranteed to make me look. You usually see it on a long drive down a steep mountain. The sign says, "Runaway truck ramp ahead." Of course I immediately look in my rear view mirror for some reason. If some big old semi with failed brakes is barreling down the mountain, about to run me over, I would like to be the first to know! I'm not sure what I'd do about it, but at least I'd like a moment for my whole life to flash before me. Those ramps are long emergency ramps, usually covered with something like sand that will help a truck grind to a halt. Now, if you've ever smelled the hot rubber of overworked brakes on a mountain, and you probably have (I have), you know that providing a way to stop runaway trucks is really a good idea. And they must be needed. I hate to say this, but I often see fresh truck tracks in that sand!
We had two weeks in our area that I call "The Ice Age." And a car actually slid into our vehicle in a parking lot. So the right side looked pretty ugly. Interestingly enough, that damage didn't affect the performance of our car at all. Like so many older cars we've had over the years, the outside was banged up but the engine was running fine.
Whenever you look at a sports schedule for the season you'll see one of two letters next to each game - an H or an A. Now those H's are the ones the players look forward to the most - that's the home games. And, of course, the A is the away games. Now, if you're an athlete, you know that your best chance of winning is usually in your home setting. In sports, it's generally easier to win at home; it's tougher to win on the road, which is actually the opposite of how it is in our personal lives.
It was one of those times when there had been a wave of nasty infections going through our area and, therefore, through our team. Thank the Lord, I had not been one who got knocked out for a week or more by this bug. And I was very grateful for all the people who pray for me at times like that. It's got to be one of the big reasons why I'm still going strong is all those prayer warriors. Of course, I try to do what I can do to stay healthy. I've concluded that one of the biggest things you can do to keep from getting sick is just to wash your hands frequently. (Boy, have we heard that recently? I sound like your Mother don't I? "Wash your hands!") But wherever I travel, I take my trusty towelettes and my liquid disinfectant. Because we're picking up germs that could infect us all day long! Look, whether it's a virus or anything, It's still a good idea to wash your hands pretty regularly.
When you live and work on a remote Indian reservation, as our sons did for a number of years, you get good at shopping without going anywhere. Because anywhere is so far away! Our sons got to be very skilled Internet shoppers. They found gifts there I didn't even know existed. They found bargains I was jealous of. Sometimes, I would watch over their shoulder, and I've gotten kind of good at it these days. But I'd see them bid on an item that was being auctioned on the Internet. They're pretty good at knowing what it's going to take to own what was being auctioned. For all the little tricks of the trade, there seemed to be one decisive bottom line. Everyone knows that it belongs to the one who bids the most. Right?