If you're a mayor, you're used to taking the heat, of course, but not the flames. Several years ago there was a story that was pretty amazing. It came from Newark, N. J. where Cory Booker was Mayor, and what he did to save his next door neighbor.
The Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri are known for their rocks. They make for some hard farming, some beautiful views, and some challenging road building. Like this one stretch of highway from Branson, Missouri, to Springfield, Missouri, that they widened. As you slowed down through those construction zones, there were some pretty impressive changes that were taking place. Some places were nothing but solid-rock mountain, but somehow they managed to blast away at those mountains and they literally made a road where a mountain used to be!
He was only supposed to be a minor character in what was then a new television series. It's called "Happy Days." It was a hit series about 1950s teenagers. And as it grew in popularity, so did the popularity of a character known as Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a., Fonzie or "The Fonz." With his motorcycle and his greased-back hair and his ability to have a girlfriend literally with the snap of his fingers, Fonzie became one of the best known sitcom characters ever. Fonzie was like the epitome of "cool," well, most of the time. He wasn't cool when he tried to say three little words. No, not "I love you." A strange paralysis seemed to take over his tongue whenever he tried to say, "I was wrong." Maybe you remember. It always came out something like, "I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wro-wro..." He never seemed to be able to get those words out.
Wow! Talk about so near and yet so far. Poor Desmond Bishop. He missed what could have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the White House and meet the President of the United States! Actually it was a few years ago.
Sometimes when our son comes to visit, he comes with a box of doughnuts under his arm. Just what we need! Now these are not just any doughnuts. They're from a doughnut chain that has become very popular in America. I don't do ads, so you'll have to figure it out. But we were driving with our son through a tourist community a while back, and he suddenly exclaimed, "The hot light is on!" I thought my car was overheating. Nope! It was good news. He meant that the light in the window of this doughnut store was on, which is their signal that a hot batch of their delicious doughnuts has just come out of the oven. And I have to tell you, when you get them fresh like that, oh, can you say "irresistible"? Did I just make you hungry?
When people ask me why I'm not going on some roller coaster that goes upside down and around and around at something like 200 miles per hour, I don't want to just tell them I'm chicken. So, I tell them I'm not tall enough. You know that picture they have of a little person? They have them at the entrance to rides that are a little more challenging. You're supposed to stand next to it, and if you're not as big as that person that they've drawn, you're not allowed on that ride. I've got grandsons, on the other hand, who would love to get on some of those rides. They don't have the wisdom of my years. They don't have the well-developed survival instincts that I have, but for a long time they weren't allowed on the ride. They just didn't measure up.
It was a 911 call that alerted the first responders. A man was slowly wading out into San Francisco Bay, inching his way to ending his life there. Pretty soon a group of firefighters, and a crowd of about 75 people, were watching as this desperate man went a little deeper and a little deeper, and sadly occasionally glancing back at the shore. They stood there watching for an hour...and they watched him die, without anyone making a move to help him.
I guess you could call it a "tale of two cities." It was during the Civil War. The Confederate Army had again invaded the North. The Confederate General came to Hagerstown, Maryland, and he threatened to burn the town unless they came up with a $20,000 ransom. A local businessman rallied the townspeople and he collected the ransom. Hagerstown was spared. Then the Confederate forces moved up to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and they made the same demand. Those folks didn't come up with the ransom. Chambersburg was burned to the ground.
It was one of those milestone wedding anniversaries for my wife and me. I got congratulations cards. She got sympathy cards. But we had a wonderful couple of days in a romantic location, even doing some romantic things. Like a horse-drawn carriage ride through some beautiful countryside. Along the way, our driver pointed out a forest of tamarack trees which the Indians reportedly called "twice-burning wood." Our driver explained that tamarack trees need a fire in order to reproduce. Their bark is petroleum-based rather than glucose-based like most trees, so it takes a fire to burn off the bark to expose the seeds that produce new life. Interesting!