It’s been a smoky week in Yellowstone, what with the fires burning across Idaho and the winds blowing towards the east. While it dulled much of the light during the day, at dusk the red orb filled the horizon with hues normally unseen.
From appearances the Israeli government has decided the time has come to act decisively and end the conflict once and for all before the old guard loses its control and is pushed from power by younger and more aggressive leadership. In the past five years many of the old lions have wandered off the playing field making an appearance here and there still reliving their old rivalries and people listen if only to remember. Soon those memories will crystalize the legacies of the leadership which has ruled the roost, in some cases ruled just a bit too long and their legacies may pay for their refusal to slide quietly into the shadows only to emerge as elder statesmen who also serve a purposed. Often that purpose is to come out and save the new leadership from itself and at other times to make a bold statement which either rallies the…
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A friend of mine recently visited Vermont from his home in Boston.
He had rented a rustic cabin, far from any people, deep in the North Country, hoping to get “away from it all”.
Sure nuff, after a long Autumn and early and snowy Winter had set in, Christmas approached; my friend began to long for some human contact.
Then across the frozen lake in front of him, a lone snowmobile approached. Slowly and surely it came closer till at last it stopped in front of him, and a lone bearded rider dismounted.
“Howdy, you interested in goin’ to a party?”
Without waiting for a reply he went on:
“Goin’ to have some good music”
“Going to be lots of good food;”
“All right, I could use some home cooking”
“ there is goin’ to be some drinkin’, and there is goin’ to be some swearin’ ”,.
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The U.S. Department of State needs to analyze the Kurdish issue more closely and carefully. When they do, they will see that the problem should not be called “the Kurdish Issue;” it would be more just to call it “the Turkish Racism Problem.”
Kurds in Turkey have always been brutally oppressed, even when there was no organization called the PKK.
Kurds are not the ones who started the war in Kurdistan. Kurdish leaders have openly and frequently made it clear that despite all of the state terror, mass murders and oppression they have been exposed to, they wish to live in peace with their Turkish, Arab and Persian neighbors. There is a war imposed on Kurds.
The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents’ bedroom.
When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.
As a small boy, I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar .
They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.
I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar to admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate’s treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.
When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank.
Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.
Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. ‘Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You’re going to do better than
me. This old mill town’s not going to hold you back.’
Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. ‘These are for my son’s college fund.
He’ll never work at the mill all his life like me.’
We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. ‘When we get home, we’ll start filling the jar again.’ He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar.
As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. ‘You’ll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,’ he said. ‘But you’ll get there; I’ll see to that.
No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar.
To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me ‘When you finish college, Son,’ he told me, his eyes glistening, ‘You’ll never have to eat beans again – unless you want to.’
The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed.
A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words: he never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.
When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.
The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad’s arms. ‘She probably needs to be changed,’ she said, carrying the baby into my parents’ bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.
She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. ‘Look,’ she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins..
I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.
This truly touched my heart. Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life, for better or for worse.
God puts us all in the lives of each other to impact one another in some way. Look for GOOD in others.
The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched – they must be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller
– Happy moments, praise God.
– Difficult moments, seek God.
– Quiet moments, worship God.
– Painful moments, trust God.
– Every moment, thank God.