All eyes were on the mountain-the volcano nearby. Our friends' daughter, a missionary, was living in a city that sits in the middle of several volcanoes. And one of them was showing some of those Mt. St. Helen's-type symptoms: the bulging and the boiling that suggests a possible eruption in the near future. Scientists were predicting that could very well happen. So living anywhere near that boiling mountain was, to say the least, like nerve-wracking.
It's a very impressive bridge. We saw it as we traveled near the Ohio River years ago. As you looked at it from the city where we were staying, it appeared to be complete. But when you went a few blocks and you looked at it from downriver, some additional information became apparent-in fact, important information. The bridge was only partly completed. It would get you part way there, and then it would drop you in the river.
When my granddaughter was three years old she had big eyes, a big smile, and a backpack to match. She'd loaded her little red backpack with every book that she could jam in there. And being a firstborn, she must of course, carry it all by herself-which she was trying to do one day when it became clear to Daddy that she was really straining with that load. He saw again how determined she can be. (Determined actually is a grandparent's word. Parents call it stubborn.) He suggested she remove a few books and lighten the load, and that idea was a total non-starter. Then she tried taking another step. That's when she started to take off her backpack, and she said with a sigh, "Here, Daddy. I can't carry it anymore." Her Daddy gladly took it and he asked, "How's that, honey?" Her answer melted her father's heart, "All better, Daddy. All better."
Usually, the only way we know a musical artist we like is through listening to their CD or maybe watching their music video. We've come a long way from Grandma's old 78 RPM records. In fact, someone's listening and saying, "What's a record?" But there's something much better than either the audio or video recording of a great musician. It's called going to their concert where you can actually see them and hear them live in person. There's nothing like the live concert.
It used to be a lot simpler, you know, helping your kids with their homework. First of all, most of us have forgotten more than we remember from school anyway. Second of all, they're studying things we probably have no clue about! And they're learning things a lot sooner than we did. So here comes Junior, looking for answers. You can't just tell him you don't know. I mean, you're a parent! You're supposed to know everything, right? So you find some diversion: you have a sudden coughing seizure, a call you forgot to make. You don't need to know all the answers. All you need is to be able to Google things. You may not have the answers, but you have the source of the answers!
They call it "The Welcome Home You Never Had." It's a special week they have done in the past at Branson, Missouri, designed to honor all those who served during the Vietnam War. There were shows featuring some of the music stars of the '60s and '70s along with special appreciation events. Years after that war, I mean, I know there's still a lot of debate about it. But what there's not much debate about is that America's soldiers went there, risked their lives and sometimes laid down their lives. But because of how that war tore our nation apart at the time, these men and women fought the battles, but unlike the returning soldiers from America's other wars, their courage and sacrifice had been largely uncelebrated and unappreciated. Until someone decided it was time for the "welcome home you never had."
When I'm on the road-which is quite a bit of the time-I really need my cell phone. For all the dropped calls and dead spots and interruptions, a cell phone really is a tool to keep vital communication going. So every night, you know, going to the motel, faithfully take out your cell phone and the power cord to recharge it from an AC outlet. Most days that little guy gets a workout and, just like the guy who uses him, he's pretty exhausted by the end of the day (except I can't plug me in). Wouldn't it be interesting, though, if people had bars that registered how much power they have left like a cell phone does? Not long ago, I got up and turned on my phone, anticipating another day of needing it a lot, and it was virtually dead. "Hey, what's the deal here? A power outage in the night?" Nope. An owner who's a "dufus." Yeah, I had the cord plugged into my phone, but yeah, you've got to plug it into the wall too apparently!
It was Father's Day, and my friend Dave and I were making the most of it. Our families were spending the day together and Dave and I knew what our job was on Father's Day-loafing and making sure everyone understood our needs. And sometimes someone even paid attention to us for a second. Well, all of us were sitting at the picnic table in the yard and I was explaining what the day's activities were going to be and why Dave and I were the ones making the plans. I said, "It's Father's Day." To which his son mumbled this interesting comment, "At our house, every day is Father's Day." Yeah! Well, you know what? That got me thinking.
It was a race against time. That last ferry boat to the island where we had a hotel reservation left at 8:30. We did everything the speed limit would allow. When we stopped for gas, we did one of my infamous Hutchcraft drills where you fill the car, empty yourself, and grab a meal in just minutes. All that's missing is the stopwatch. Yep! We roared into town and up to the dock at 8:40. We got there too late. We missed the boat...the last boat.
"Daddy, will you play with me?" I can still hear those echoes from when our kids were little. And I can still remember how preoccupied I was a lot of times when they asked that. So I can relate to the man who was reading his Sunday newspaper - you know, one of the big ones that comes in volumes. His little guy kept tapping on the newspaper and asking his Daddy to play with him. Dad kept giving him little things to do to keep him occupied. Finally, he tried another way to be able to finish his paper. He actually tore out a page that had a map of the world on it and he ripped it into pieces. He said, "Scotty, why don't you put this puzzle together. As soon as you've got it finished, I promise I'll come and play." Two minutes later, Scotty was tapping on Dad's newspaper again. "I'm finished," he said. And there it was, the whole map of the world together on the floor. Dad said, "Son, how did you ever put that together so fast?" His little guy replied: "It was easy, Daddy. There was a picture of a man on the other side. If you put the man together right, the world goes together just fine!"