Category Archives: Making the World a Better Place

HOW COURT REPORTERS KEEP STRAIGHT FACES

WANT A GREAT LAUGH TO START YOUR DAY?

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 These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?

WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’

ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?

WITNESS: My name is Susan!

_______________________________

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

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ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?

WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

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ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?

WITNESS: July 18th.

ATTORNEY: What year?

WITNESS: Every year.

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ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?

WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.

ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?

WITNESS: Forty-five years.

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ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?

WITNESS: I forget..

ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

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ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?

WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

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ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.

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ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?

WITNESS: Are you shitting me?

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ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

WITNESS: Getting laid

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ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: How many were boys?

WITNESS: None.

ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

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ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?

WITNESS: By death..

ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

WITNESS: Take a guess.

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ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?

WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard

ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.

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ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?

WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

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ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?

WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

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ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

WITNESS: Oral…

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ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM

ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?

WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

____________________________________________

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ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

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And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?

WITNESS: No..

ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

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Keep smiling. It will make you feel good. Share it with your friends and spread your cheer around.

* THE GIFT OF FAMILY by Donna Surface

When I was introduced to Pat Surface he was sitting down. Then he stood up to shake my hand, and it seemed like he just kept going . . . up. I am only 5′ tall and at nearly 6’8″ Pat’s stature, and his story, both really impressed me.

Pat’s future didn’t look very promising in 1957. He was abandoned as a newborn infant and brought to an orphanage in St. Paul, Minnesota. Little Pat was placed in a series of foster homes, where, he later learned, he was treated pretty badly. After the last family brought him back to the orphanage, he was completely traumatized. As a result, he ‘acted out’ in ways that made him, well, less than ‘adoptable.’

But in every happy ending story there is a turning point, and in this story it started with a phone call from the orphanage to Lillian and A.J. Surface, a couple who had already adopted two children from their agency. ”Would they consider adopting one child more?” Well, they honestly couldn’t afford a third child, so this was not an easy decision for them. But an inner voice whispered to them and, fortunately for Pat, they listened. Pat says he was ‘rescued’ instead of adopted when he was brought to Grand Rapids, MN to live with his new family. He thinks of his adoption date as the day he was born.

A surprise for Pat’s parents – he grew tall. Very tall. They struggled to keep him in clothing that fit. Pat didn’t stop growing until he reached nearly 6’8″, a natural basketball star in the making. Actually he did become a college all-star, a MVP of the largest amateur basketball team in the country, a member of a semi-pro exhibition team, and eventually a college basketball coach. But he yearned for more.

Pat grew up with his brother, Jim, of Korean and Hispanic heritage, and his Native American sister, Linda. The gift of being included in this blended family fueled his appreciation of diversity. It never occurred to him to view anyone as ‘different.’

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Pat and his beloved guitar

 Pat’s future didn’t look very promising in 1957. He was abandoned as a newborn infant and brought to an orphanage in St. Paul, Minnesota. Little Pat was placed in a series of foster homes, where, he later learned, he was treated pretty badly. After the last family brought him back to the orphanage, he was completely traumatized. As a result, he ‘acted out’ in ways that made him, well, less than ‘adoptable.’

But in every happy ending story there is a turning point, and in this story it started with a phone call from the orphanage to Lillian and A.J. Surface, a couple who had already adopted two children from their agency. ”Would they consider adopting one child more?” Well, they honestly couldn’t afford a third child, so this was not an easy decision for them. But an inner voice whispered to them and, fortunately for Pat, they listened. Pat says he was ‘rescued’ instead of adopted when he was brought to Grand Rapids, MN to live with his new family. He thinks of his adoption date as the day he was born.

A surprise for Pat’s parents – he grew tall. Very tall. They struggled to keep him in clothing that fit. Pat didn’t stop growing until he reached nearly 6’8″, a natural basketball star in the making. Actually he did become a college all-star, a MVP of the largest amateur basketball team in the country, a member of a semi-pro exhibition team, and eventually a college basketball coach. But he yearned for more.

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Pat, center, with his sister, Linda and brother, Jim

Pat grew up with his brother, Jim, of Korean and Hispanic heritage, and his Native American sister, Linda. The gift of being included in this blended family fueled his appreciation of diversity. It never occurred to him to view anyone as ‘different.’

Another gift from his family was his love of music. His mom was born a LaPlant, a family with a strong musical heritage. Her mother, Bessie LaPlant, was related to William Boyd, known as Hopalong Cassidy, The Singing Cowboy. She passed her musical legacy on to her eleven children. Years later, Pat wrote the song, “Belle of the Ball”, to honor her.

The LaPlants have been fiddle champions for decades, best known for their gospel and bluegrass music. They are also well-recognized for their instrument building skills with LaPlant crafted instruments, described by The Minnesota Monthly Magazine as “exquisite guitars and flawless mandolins of national note”. Pat remembers the day he received his first LaPlant guitar – he was 19, it was Christmas, and the gift changed his life. To this day, Pat plays the guitars hand-built by his eighty-two year old Uncle Lloyd LaPlant – the master builder whose amazing guitars and mandolins are used by famous bluegrass performers even today.

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Uncle Lloyd, Pat, his mom, and Uncle String

Music was calling Pat, and in 1987 it became his full-time commitment.

This story continues in the Tales2Inspire™  

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Emerald Collection

THE FENCE by Herman Rosenblat (a survivor of ‘the camps’)

August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland  **
The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow’s Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square.
Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.
“Whatever you do, Isidore,” my eldest brother, whispered to me, “don’t tell them your age. Say you’re sixteen.” I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker.
An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age.
“Sixteen,” I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.
My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people.
I whispered to Isidore, ‘Why?’ He didn’t answer.
I ran to Mama’s side and said I wanted to stay with her. “No,” she said sternly. “Get away. Don’t be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.”
She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.

Buchenwald Gate

My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany.We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.
“Don’t call me Herman anymore.” I said to my brothers. “Call me 94983.”
I was put to work in the camp’s crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number.
Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald ‘s sub-camps near Berlin.

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One morning I thought I heard my mother’s voice. “Son,” she said softly but clearly, “I am going to send you an angel.”
Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.
A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone. On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree. I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German. “Do you have something to eat?”
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She didn’t understand. I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life. She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence. I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat – a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple. We didn’t dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both. I didn’t know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she  understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me?
Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.

Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia . “Don’t return,” I told the girl that day. “We’re leaving.” I turned toward the barracks and didn’t look back, didn’t even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I’d never learned, the girl with the apples.

We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed. On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM.
In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I’d survived. Now, it was over.  I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited.
But at 8 a.m. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers. Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived; I’m not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival.
In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person’s goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none.
My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.
Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America, where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.
By August 1957 I’d opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in. One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me. “I’ve got a date. She’s got a Polish friend. Let’s double date.” A blind date? Nah, that wasn’t for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma.
I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn’t so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life. The four of us drove out to Coney Island. Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too!
We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn’t remember having a better time. We piled back into Sid’s car, Roma and I sharing the backseat. As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, “Where were you,” she asked softly, “during the war?”
 “The camps,” I said. The terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss. I had tried to forget. But you can never forget. She nodded. “My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin,” she told me. “My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.” I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world. “There was a camp next to the farm.” Roma continued. “I saw a boy there and I would throw him apples every day.”
What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. “What did he look like?” I asked. “He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.” My heart was racing. I couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be. “Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?” Roma looked at me in amazement. “Yes!”“That was me!” I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn’t believe it! My angel.
“I’m not letting you go,” I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn’t want to wait. “You’re crazy!” she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week. There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most
important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many  months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I’d found her again, I could never let her go. That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.

** This story was forwarded to me by a friend as part of a memorial chain to all those who became victims of concentration camp atrocities during Wold War II. However, since posting this story, I have learned that although the author is a survivor of the concentration camps, he falsely presented his story as truth, when in fact it is a work of fiction. 

You can read more about this hoax at:

 

MAKING LEMONADE FROM LEMONS by Shannon Gordon

The year 2007 is one the Taylors are not likely to forget. In February of that year, my daughter Heidi was diagnosed with MS. Her first born son, Thomas was six years old at the time.  Brayden was merely three. They had said as a family that they would make lemonade out of the lemons they had been dealt. From day one Heidi was determined to be the Commander of her life rather than allowing MS to navigate her ship!  When summer arrived and school was out, Thomas said that he wanted to do something to help find a cure for MS. Heidi learned that Sunkist Corporation had lemonade stands available to folks who would sell lemonade and give a portion of the proceeds to a charity. Heidi asked Thomas if he was interested and with his usual zeal, he said YES!

Subsequently, he held lemonade stand sales in his driveway every Saturday that summer. When the sales were completed each day, he took his money into the house and divided it into four equal accounts—one for his friend who was his “employee”, one to pay back his Mom and Dad (Clark) for the lemonade and cups, one for his special savings account for the MS Society, and one for his own savings account.

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Thomas’ first lemonade stand . . . and the story begins

Additionally, that summer he became an official fund raiser for the MS Society of Utah. After signing their form, Tom received an official fund raiser shirt to wear at the stand and informational materials to distribute.

In August, Sunkist contacted Heidi and asked if they would be interested in holding a stand at the Albertson’s store in Sandy. They agreed and were the highlight of KSL-TV that weekend! It was a huge success!


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Thomas and friend at their Take-a-Stand lemonade stand

Later in the Fall, the MS Society of Utah invited Thomas to share his story and success for the MS Society with the Humana Corporation. Humana was in the process of gathering information from charitable organizations in order to distribute $1 million dollars to local charities in Utah. Humana awarded the Utah MS Society $10,000.00.

Thomas and Heidi attended the event and he made a great presentation of his summer activities. He met and joined in the presentation with Bob Harmon of Harmon’s grocery. They attended the presentation of the awards evening and the MS Society was granted a $6,000.00 donation–thus the start of the Take a Stand program.

 Take a Stand with Heidi, Brady and Tom

Left to right: Heidi, Brady (sitting) and Thomas – standing 

at Take-a-Stand lemonade stand

Thank you Thomas for reminding us that we are never too young or too small-in-number to make a difference. You are a shining example of  what one human being can accomplish. Determination and perseverance  are powerful forces indeed!

* SNOW PATROL AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO ME by Melissa Dallago

As part of the human condition, we try to forge connections and patterns with the world around us. This may be due in part to our need to have a semblance of balance and order in our lives in what is often a chaotic and ever changing world. As we travel through life, our brains are assimilating information and creating connections between the external and internal worlds. Music, I believe, is the strongest example of these connections.

How often have you found yourself listening to the radio and a song begins to play and you have a strong, visceral emotional reaction to it, whether it be a lyric, melody or thumping bass line, something in that song reach into you and shakes you, hard.

Upon being confronted with this reaction, your mind begins to form connections and you may find that the song relates to some facet of your life, either a moment of sadness, a moment of joy, or even a good time in a dance club.  Once that connection has been forged nothing can break it, and whenever you hear that song, you will smile knowingly and remember that moment of epiphany. Even more, that song may become your personal mantra, a source of strength; a part of the soundtrack of your life.  The band that I have forged such a connection with is Snow Patrol.

Snow Patrol has been together for 17 years. I was fortunate enough to find them in 2005 when they played at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. When the band stepped onto the stage and the guitarist hit the first chords I felt myself come alive as the vibrations went through my body. This was my first time hearing their music, but instantly, I felt that I had known their music forever and that we were very old and comfortable friends.

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The very next day I tracked down their album Final Straw. I listened to the album continuously and I sang along trying to match harmonies and failing miserably. I forged connections with the songs and they altered my perspective on some of the events that were then occurring in my life.

Snow Patrol’s songs have masterful lyrics. You can listen to the songs over and over again, and while the lyrics may appear simple, if you listen to the tone of voice the lead singer Gary Lightbody uses and the open, poetic nature of the lines, you can infer a much deeper meaning from the song. Their lyrics are amazingly flexible, yet intimate; each person listening can take away an entirely different meaning. This lyrical ability is what, in my opinion, makes Snow Patrol so special. There are so many levels to their songs, some simple, others deeply complex, yet all true to life and comforting. They may sing about painful experiences, yet in each chord, each utterance, they offer hope and light.

At every juncture of my life Snow Patrol’s music has been relevant. When someone told me to “Open My Eyes” to the troubles of my three year relationship, their album Eyes Open played continuously. Upon opening my eyes I saw that the man who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with was, in fact, an alcoholic who was not only destroying himself, but me as well. Snow Patrol’s music gave me the courage to make the painful decision to end my relationship and move into my first apartment. Their soft lyrics calmed and embraced me as I cried and mourned the loss of my relationship.

Their steady bass line urged me down the path to truly discovering my inner strength and determination in learning who I really was. The “Lightening Strike” happened after I successfully conquered my inner demons and met my true self for the very first time. The song “Take Back the City” celebrated with me as I reached a pinnacle moment in my life when I discovered that I was a strong, amazing and fierce woman. Snow Patrol’s album A Hundred Million Suns echoed my shining happiness and joy in learning to truly accept and love myself.

Yet the happiness did not last as I began to “Run” after my father died in 2010. I grieved his passing for two long silent years when Snow Patrol’s songs were not played. During that time I experienced a darkness and depth of sadness that I never thought possible. Yet over time my pain eased and Snow Patrol’s music was there to welcome me back and reminded me that “This Isn’t Everything You Are.” Their album Fallen Empires gave me the reassurances that “Called Me Out of The Dark” as “Those Distant Bells” of life beckoned to me.

As my “Life-ning” began to happen I met my true love David. As we developed our relationship Snow Patrol’s song “Make This Go On Forever” was always on my mind. As the “Engines” of our love began to fire I sensed that my Dad had a hand in helping me to find David. Dad always said “You Could Be Happy” with the right person, and I am truly happy for the first time in my life. Snow Patrol’s music played when David and I decided to “Just Say Yes” to beginning a life together.  We moved in together last year, and a day does not pass without my being thankful to my Dad and the powers above for helping me to find a man who is my lover, my partner, and my best friend to share my life and “Chocolate” with.

Snow Patrol’s music has always played at each “Finish Line” in my life. Their music has become an affirmation of my life, love and existence. As Snow Patrol’s music and talents have evolved, so have I.

Seven years after our original meeting, Snow Patrol returned to St. Petersburg, Florida and blazed onto the stage at Janus Landing on March 31, 2012. Their concert was a homecoming for me and a musical review of how I have grown and how far I have come. At the end of their amazing concert, I was hopeful for a brighter future.

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Snow Patrol is an amazing band and I look forward to having their music as a part of my life for the next 7 years. It would be nice if they came back before that, but whenever they come back I will be there cheering them on again. This is why Snow Patrol means so much to me; their music is my touchstone, my anthem, my soundtrack.

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OLD GUY AND A BUCKET OF SHRIMP

This story was sent to me by my friend, Sonia Smith. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

I welcome your heartwarming stories and will post special ones on this blog.

It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

 Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier.. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now.

Everybody’s gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts…and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.

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Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, ‘Thank you. Thank you.’

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn’t leave.

He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like ‘a funny old duck,’ as my dad used to say. Or, ‘a guy who’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,’ as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

 shrimp

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant …. maybe even a lot of nonsense.

Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters.

Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida . That’s too bad. They’d do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero back in World War II. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

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 Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft..

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap.

It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck.. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal – a very slight meal for eight men – of it. Then they used the intestines for bait.. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait…….and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea…).

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull… And he never stopped saying, ‘Thank you.’ That’s why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

PS: Eddie started Eastern Airlines.

Reference:

(Max Lucado, “In The Eye of the Storm”, pp..221, 225-226)

* GARDEN OF MIRACLES – by Heidi DuPree

One Saturday afternoon shortly before Christmas, my husband and I returned from shopping to find a strange dog in our backyard garden. Our son, Jonathan, had been watching through the window and indicated the dog had not moved from that spot for some time. The dog had a collar, but we couldn’t get anywhere near him to read the tags. As soon as we approached, he yelped and shook in fear, and then ran away.

The garden may not have looked like much in the dead of winter, but it was no ordinary garden. The lost dog had found his way to what I considered sacred ground. Years earlier, building the garden had been a creative outlet when my ability to create another child seemed blocked. Working on the garden became a daily healing ritual, providing solace for my sorrow from years of infertility and early pregnancy losses. In those quiet moments when I laid the stone path and the soldier row of bricks that contained it, and planted the hollies that lined it – all seemed right with the world.

Several years later, the miracle I prayed for in the garden did come true when our family was completed with the birth of our son, Jacob. It made sense that the dog had felt safe in that sacred space. Unfortunately, he was too frightened of us to stay in the backyard sanctuary.

A few hours later, my husband, Robert, was out for a run in our community when he heard a woman calling, “Aussie!  Aussie!” through her open car window as she drove slowly along the road.

THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE TALES2INSPIRE™  

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EMERALD COLLECTION

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heidi DuPree is a holistic nurse and a certified traditional naturopath passionate about restoring lost knowledge of energy medicine to the Western culture. She seeks to challenge our thinking about life, health, and the nature of miracles. Heidi is a contributing author to the 4th edition of Nurse Entrepreneurs: Tales of Nurses in Business and has just completed the manuscript for her first book The Other Medicine That Really Works. Her blog on transformational healing titled You, Me and My DuPree Knee was inspired by her recent knee replacement surgery.  She lives in Ashburn, Virginia with her husband Robert, her youngest son Jacob, two dogs, and two cats. Visit her website

 

* A GLASS OF MILK by Lois W. Stern

Over the years, the true story of A Glass of Milk has been embellished to the point of being almost unrecognizable from its original. In fact, the tale as written below has actually been published in several collections of inspiring stories and self-help books in the urban story format you can read below.

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.

He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”.”You don’t owe me anything,” she replied.”Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said….. “Then I thank you from my heart.” As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.

Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill

was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.

She read these words….. “Paid in full with one glass of milk”

(Signed)

Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands.”

But the true story, taken from the notes of a diary Howard Kelly started at age 17 and apparently kept throughout his lifetime.  These notes were supplemented by his biographer, Audrey Davis, who maintained a 20 year friendship with Dr. Kelly and inherited his notebooks and journals upon his death.

This story continues in

Tales2Inspire™  Emerald_RD The Emerald Collection

Lois invites all interested in either cutting edge physical beauty news and tips, her energy renewing, spirit uplifting stories, or both to visit her Facebook Page If you like what you see there, please click on the LIKE button at the top of the screen.

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HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS, SO DANCE!

Some weeks ago I posted Pauline Hager’s ‘tale’ about the power of a smile. This posting is about the power of dance and how it brings joy to both participants and observers.

Although dance styles can be as varied as the people who perform them, the desire to dance seems to permeate all human societies across the globe.

And here is the special power of dance: It can rise above cultural, political, economic and religious differences to transmit happiness to those touched by it. It helps people from diverse backgrounds feel connected by the common bond of being members of the human race.

The video I’m about to share has a similar “feel good” feeling. Matt Harding put this video together while dancing in the streets of many different countries with the people who knew those streets best – those who lived there. Matt explains why he thinks travel is important. “It helps us learn what we’re capable of, that the path laid in front of us isn’t the only one we can choose, and that we don’t need to be so afraid of each other all the time.” It’s hard to watch his video  without smiling, so do take a moment to make that click on the link below to watch it. Not only will it make you smile, but it will make those around you smile as well. Remember, happiness is contagious.

Watch this video and smile!

Get more info, ‘how to’s’ and ‘what if’s’ about Lois’ Tales2Inspire project here. 

 

 Beauty Within 

                  Beauty Without . . . 

                                  What’s Your Passion?

 Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 

JUST LOVE THOSE GARDENS! by Lois W. Stern – Part 2


So as you can see, I love my gardens.

But sometimes my gardens don’t love me! 

 So as you can see, I love my gardens. I really do. But sometimes I think my gardens don’t love me. I don work gloves, a long sleeve shirt and long legged pants before I putter about, moving a rock here, pulling a weed there. But despite all precautions, poison ivy seems to find me. Last year was particularly bad. My skin turned raw and blistery. Prescription strength cortisone cream just didn’t seem to help. I was scratching in my sleep, waking several times during the night to apply hot water compresses. It was time to pay a visit to my dermatologist, Dr. Roger Koreen, who set me straight about a few myths and facts surrounding poison ivy.

It helps to be able to identify the plant, so let’s start there.

                Poison Ivy

                                                                                                                                              Poison Oak

Next, I thought this would be a good time to share some information I learned from dermatologist,  Dr. Roger Koreen, about the myths and truths surrounding poison ivy.

Myth: Once exposed, there is nothing you can do but wait and hope.

 Fact: If you are susceptible to poison ivy, take a hot water shower and scrub any exposed areas with soap immediately after gardening. But if you think you might have come in contact with the plant, don’t wait. Stop gardening, come inside and do that soap and water scrub down right away.

 Myth: It must be systemic as once it starts, I keep getting new breakouts.

 Fact: When we get outbreaks days or even weeks apart, it is not because the poison ivy is traveling through our system, but because we have been exposed to it more heavily on some parts of the body than others. Areas of increased exposure will erupt sooner.

 Myth: You must have direct contact with the plant to get poison ivy.

 Fact: You do not need direct contact with the plant to get poison ivy. On a windy day the offending agent, microscopic proteins called allergens, can blow in the air and attach themselves to you or other plants.  So it is possible to be exposed without actually touching the poison ivy plant.

 Myth: You can’t catch poison ivy from another human or animal.

 Fact: Although usually true, if you are in direct contact with a person or animal who was just exposed and has the active protein on their skin or fur, then you can be the unfortunate recipient of it as well.

 Myth: Since pets don’t get poison ivy, it won’t be a problem if they come in contact with the plant.

 Fact: Since the protein can remain on fur, it is possible that you can pick up poison ivy from your pet when you touch or cuddle it.

 Myth: The most effective way to treat severe cases of poison ivy is with steroid injections.

 Fact: Steroids often present other complications. If Cortisone Creams aren’t working for you (and they weren’t working for me), there are other drugs that can be effective. (The 0.05% Clobetasol Propionate Cream Dr. Koreen prescribed did the trick. I felt almost immediate relief. And that was indeed a relief!)

 Myth: Steroids should never be used to treat poison ivy.

 Fact: Although it is best to avoid oral steroids if possible, there are times when they are recommended. For example, if eyelids are swollen shut from a poison ivy outbreak, steroids might be the treatment of choice.

 Wishing you all the joys of gardening without the itch!

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                  Beauty Without . . .

                                  What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty

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