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WIT & WISDOM - August 7, 1998
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel 
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
A STORY TO LIVE BY
by Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends'. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing-I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good Friends I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.
Every day, every minute, every breath truly is . . . a gift from God. 
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
In rural Carbon County, PA, a group of men were drinking beer and discharging firearms from the rear deck of a home owned by Irving Michaels, age 27. The men were firing at a raccoon that was wandering by, but the beer apparently impaired their aim and, despite of the estimated 35 shots the group fired, the animal escaped into a 3 foot diameter drainage pipe some 100 feet away from Mr. Michaels' deck. Determined to terminate the animal, Mr. Michaels retrieved a can of gasoline and poured some down the pipe, intending to smoke the animal out. After several unsuccessful attempts to ignite the fuel, Michaels emptied the entire 5 gallon fuel can down the pipe and tried to ignite it again, to no avail. Not one to admit defeat by wildlife, the determined Mr. Michaels proceeded to slide feet-first approximately 15 feet down the sloping pipe to toss the match. The subsequent rapidly expanding fireball propelled Mr. Michaels back the way he had come, though at a much higher rate of speed. He exited the angled pipe "like a Polaris missile leaves a submarine," according to witness Joseph McFadden, 31. Mr. Michaels was launched directly over his own home, right over the heads of his astonished friends, onto his front lawn. In all, he traveled over 200 feet through the air. "There was a Doppler Effect to his scream as he flew over us," McFadden reported, "Followed by a loud thud." Amazingly, he suffered only minor injuries. "It was actually pretty cool," Michaels said, "Like when they shoot someone out of a cannon at the circus. I'd do it again if I was sure I wouldn't get hurt." 
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
Never ask a man where he is from! If a man is from Texas, you won't have to ask, he'll tell you! And if he isn't from Texas, you shouldn't embarrass him by calling attention to it!" 
The black-tailed prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus, lives in extended "cities" that can contain millions of individuals. The largest prairie dog city ever recorded contained over 400 million animals! It was discovered in Texas in 1901, and covered about 25,000 square miles.
Prairie dogs are actually ground squirrels. They live in complex systems of underground burrows throughout the great plains of North America.
For pictures and more information, visit these sites:
http://www. scz.org/prairie/pdog1.html 
 (Judy Robinett via DailyQuote c1997 http://www.dailycast.com)
 (Lynda Walcker, J. Morgan Tangent, Sharon Unger, J. Guy Muse)
 (Humor Break http://www.dreamhaven.org/~morph/jokes/)
 (Chuck's Dad via Laugh-A-Lot! email@example.com)
 (The Learning Kingdom http://www.LearningKingdom.com/join.html)