Brothers

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.  It is like the precious ointment upon the head . . . . and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion . . . .”  Psalm 133

In July 2015, I posted on attending the 100th anniversary of the Gamma Alpha Beta fraternity at Augustana College.   Many of the brothers from my era showed up.  We have remained a close-knit group since graduation. 

I wasn’t destined for college (see post of October 13, 2013).  My future was to work (assistant plumber) after high school.  Frankly, it’s a fluke that I even applied (after h.s. graduation) and got in to “college.”  And that I came to know my brothers. 

There are amazing memories and stories (most of which are gladly remembered — and a few that shall not be repeated).  One I personally relish is the dark night when my entire pledge class was corralled by police and taken off to jail (it was nothing serious).  One quick-witted pledge escaped detention by launching himself over a window well and clambering up onto a fire escape.   Yeah.  That was me. . . . 

The GAB’s won the Homecoming Sing with the ballad I sang to Lauren every night when she was little — “Oh Shenendoah.”   It was that song I picked for the Father-Daughter dance at her wedding (see post of August 14, 2011).  We had tears in our eyes as the music played.  It’s interesting how when you meet old friends, you pick up where you left off.    It’s as if time stands still and you’re back being 19 years old again.  In my brain, I’m still 19.  Now if only my body would cooperate . . . . .        

Sidewalks

[A repeat from September 24, 2012] Sidewalks.   We walk on them – they serve their purpose.   Providing a durable and predictable path from Point A to Point B. 

When I walk to and from the train station, I keep an eye on where I’m walking — looking for cracks or holes in the sidewalk.  Or those slightly elevated slabs.   That habit has helped me avoid trips and twisted ankles and to find money, jewelry, wallets and such as I reported in my post of August 2, 2012.  While I walk, I also peruse those permanent stamped impressions identifying the contractor — and the year the sidewalk was laid down.

One stony sidewalk near my home bears the weathered yet clear date “1912.”  Wow!   A century.  As I walk from the train station to my office in downtown Chicago, I pass two such markings which go back decades.  One is 1935 — six years before the U.S. entered World War II.  Another is 1947 — the year I was born.  I think of my trips downtown — with my parents.  Years ago.  I’m sure I walked here.   Then.  My parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents probably walked on these same sidewalks.  And here I am today — sharing the same space.  Walking.  On the sidewalk.     

Thanksgiving

In my post of November 11, 2011, I mentioned an occasion when I was asked by a friend “what is your favorite day?”  Quirky question but I thought – and replied “Thanksgiving.”   It’s a long weekend.  Family time.  Great food (stuffing – my favorite).  Detroit Lions on t.v. (yawn).  Though this year it’s versus the Bears.  And Christmas is on the way.   Christmas??  YIKES!!  So I asked my friend his favorite day.  “December 21st” he responded.  The day of the winter solstice — when the days begin to get longer.  I can relate. . . . .     

Well, it’s another November.   Eight years later.  Wow!  The days are often slow.  And arduous.  But the years go quickly.  Faster it seems every year.    

I hope that Thanksgiving is a favorite day for you.  But Thanksgiving is more than just a day.  It can be an attitude as well.  An every day attitude.  Of gratitude.   My best wishes to you for a wonderful, happy and blessed Thanksgiving weekend.   

Heart Healthy

Donna and I went to a restaurant the other night. The menu was speckled with admonitions like:
 LC – Low Cholestorol
 HH – Heart Healthy
 LS – Low Sodium
 PF – Peanut Free                                                                                                           GF – Gluten Free                                                                                                          And so on

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see legends like FFF for “Fat Fat Fat” or HS for “Heart Stopper” or LC for “Loaded with Cholesterol” or MSS – “More Salt than Siberia.”  How about CG – “Calories Galore.”  I mean they put warnings on cigarettes (“you will die“) but the warnings on food rarely describe the destructive effects of salt and sugar and the artery-clogging and unbalanced nature of fast foods, red meats and genetically-modified foods.   

Then again . . . . Burger King has a “Rodeo King Burger” (1,480 calories; 2,340 grams of sodium) to which you can add fries and a Coke (another thousand calories).   And – if you can go next door for a Sonic Blast beverage, you  tack on 1,540 calories.  Frankly, when I order a couple of Triple Whoppers, I like them with bacon and cheddar fries.  I finish with a massive piece of cheesecake.  Yum.  I wash it all down with a cup of black coffee with NutraSweet (certainly not sugar).  Now that’s living.   (Yawn)  I think I’ll take a nap.

Make A Difference in the World

I want to make a difference in the world. So do you. But the clock is winding down.   So just what can we do?   I ponder this question.  I often pray about it.  Share it with others.  I recently happened across some quotations – on this very topic.  Let me share a few with you — to consider.  

We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll

No act of kindness – no matter how small – is ever wasted” – Aesop 

One person can make a difference.  And everyone should try”  – John F. Kennedy

If you cannot feed a hundred people, feed one” – Mother Teresa

We can change the world and make it a better place.  It is in our hands – to make a difference”  — Nelson Mandela

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence” — Martin Luther King

I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference — Jimmy Carter

There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit” — Ronald Reagan

Let’s make a difference in the world.  As Lao Tzu puts it – “the journey of a thousand miles – begins with that first step.”  Take a step. . . .   

Five Riddles

[A repeat from June 29, 2014]   I remember “what’s black and white and red [phonetic] all over?”  Answer:  a newspaper.  The following are good 🙂

1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?   

3. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away ? 

4. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday?  

5. This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious as to just how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though. Study it and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching!

THE ANSWERS . . . .

1. The third room. Lions that haven’t eaten in three years are dead.  That one was easy, right?

2. The woman was a photographer. She shot a picture of her husband, developed it, and hung it up to dry (shot; held under water; and hung).

3. Charcoal, as it is used in barbecuing.

4. Sure you can name three consecutive days– yesterday, today, and tomorrow!

5. The letter “e” which is the most common letter used in the English language, does not appear even once in the paragraph.

Why Are You Here?

[While we’re talking about being pulled over – let me offer a repeat from November 5, 2015.  And “No” I don’t have any more stories to share about being stopped by police] 

Some years ago, I was asked to make a presentation to the Mexican Corporate Bar Association – ANADE (Asociacion Nacional de Abogados de Empresa) at their annual meeting in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Donna and I flew in to Mexico City International Airport and rented a car – Budget – for the 270 mile drive. 

We pulled out of the Budget lot over the angled ground spikes and headed out onto the street.  I adjusted the rear view mirror and noticed that a police car had pulled in behind me — about 100 yards back.  Hmmmmm. . . .    I kept driving.  Carefully.  After a mile or so, the police car put on its flashers and pulled me over.  I got out of the car and held up my license.  An officer got out, adjusting his Sam Brown belt and walked up.  “You almost hit a car back there.”  Bull.  After some discussion in Spanish (I suggested contacting the Embassy), he looked at me quizzically and asked “why are you here?”  And I told him I was giving a speech to the Asociacion Nacional de Abogados de Empresa.  He turned, waved and said “just be careful.”  He got in his car and drove away. 

Why are you here?   I think about these words.  In my heart, I believe that each one of us is “here” for some purpose.  I love a quote of Albert Schweitzer – “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”  Then again, there’s the quote of W.H.Auden – “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for, I don’t know.”