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WITandWISDOM(tm) - July 24, 2002
"Before you borrow money from a friend, decide which you need more."
Source: Heart Touchers, http://www.hearttouchers.com
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
It was fifty years ago, on a hot summer day, in the deep south. We lived on a dirt road, on a sand lot. We were, what was known as "dirt poor".
I had been playing outside all morning in the sand. Suddenly, I heard a sharp clanking sound behind me and looking over my shoulder, my eyes were drawn to a strange sight! Across the dirt road were two rows of men, dressed in black and white, striped, baggy uniforms. Their faces were covered with dust and sweat. They looked so weary, and they were chained together with huge, black, iron chains. Hanging from the end of each chained row was a big, black, iron ball. They were, as polite people said in those days, a "Chain Gang," guarded by two, heavily armed, guards.
I stared at the prisoners as they settled uncomfortably down in the dirt, under the shade of some straggly trees. One of the guards walked towards me. Nodding as he passed, he went up to our front door and knocked. My mother appeared at the door, and I heard the guard ask if he could have permission to get water from the pump, in the backyard, so that "his men" could "have a drink". My mother agreed, but I saw a look of concern on her face, as she called me inside.
I stared through the window as each prisoner was unchained from the line, to hobble over to the pump and drink his fill from a small tin cup, while a guard watched vigilantly. It wasn't long before they were all chained back up again, with prisoners and guards retreating into the shade, away from an unrelenting sun.
I heard my mother call me into the kitchen, and I entered, to see her bustling around with tins of tuna fish, mayonnaise, our last loaf of bread, and two, big, pitchers of lemonade. In what seemed "a blink of an eye", she had made a tray of sandwiches using all the tuna we were to have had for that night's supper.
My mother was smiling as she handed me one of the pitchers of lemonade, cautioning me to carry it "carefully" and to "not spill a drop." Then, lifting the tray in one hand and holding a pitcher in her other hand, she marched me to the door, deftly opening it with her foot, and trotted me across the street. She approached the guards, flashing them with a brilliant smile. "We had some leftovers from lunch," she said, "and I was wondering if we could share with you and your men." She smiled at each of the men, searching their dark eyes with her own eyes of "robin's egg blue." Everyone started to their feet. "Oh no!" she said. "Stay where you are! I'll just serve you!"
Calling me to her side, she went from guard to guard, then from prisoner to prisoner — filling each tin cup with lemonade, and giving each man a sandwich. It was very quiet, except for a "thank you, ma'am," and the clanking of the chains. Very soon we were at the end of the line, my mother's eyes softly scanning each face. The last prisoner was a big man, his skin pouring with sweat, and streaked with dust. Suddenly, his face broke into a wonderful smile, as he looked up into my mother's eyes, and he said, "Ma'am, I've wondered all my life if I'd ever see an angel, and now I have! Thank you!" Again, my mother's smile took in the whole group. "You're all welcome!" she said. "God bless you." Then we walked across to the house, with empty tray and pitchers, and back inside.
Soon, the men moved on, and I never saw them again. The only explanation my mother ever gave me, for that strange and wonderful day, was that I "remember, always, to entertain strangers, for by doing so, you may entertain angels, without knowing." Then, with a mysterious smile, she went about the rest of the day.
I don't remember what we ate for supper, that night. I just know it was served by an angel.
By Jaye Lewis mailto:email@example.com
Source: Christian Voices, http://www.christianvoices.org
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
Letter from New Recruit At Boot Camp
Dear Ma and Pa:
Am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Army beats working for Old Man Minch a mile. Tell them to join up quick before maybe all the places are filled.
I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m., but am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some things -- no hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. You got to shave, but it is not bad in warm water.
Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, beef, ham steak, fried eggplant, pie and regular food. But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit between two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon, when you get fed.
It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on "route marches," which, the Sgt. says, are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys all get sore feet and we ride back in trucks. The country is nice, but awful flat.
The Sgt. is like a schoolteacher. He nags some. The Capt. is like the school board. Cols. and Gens. just ride around and frown. They don't brother you none.
This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bull's-eye is near as big as a chipmonk and don't move. And it ain't shooting at you, like the Higsett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it, you don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.
Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellows get onto this setup and come stampeding in.
Your loving son,
P.S. Speaking of shooting, enclosed is $200 for barn roof and ma's teeth. The city boys shoot craps, but not very good. - Z.
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
In a software design meeting, we were using typical technical Jargon to discuss a data exchange interface with a vendor. One co-worker said the programming we had ordered was delayed because the vendor was suffering from a "severe nonlinear waterfowl issue."
Curious, the team leader raised his eyebrows and asked, "What exactly is that?"
The programmer replied, "They don't have all their ducks in a row."
Source: Marty's Joke of the Day, http://www.geocities.com/martysjotd
1) Forty-one percent of adults who attend Christian church services in a typical week have not accepted Jesus as their Savior.
2) In the past two years, the percent of Americans who believe in an absolute moral truth has dropped from 38 to 22 percent.
3) Religious teaching and values play a minimal role in people's moral choices. Research found the major influences to be expected personal outcomes, minimizing conflict, and values their parents taught them.
4) Research indicated that Americans are comfortable legalizing activities - such as abortion, homosexuality, and pornography - that they feel are immoral.
Source: Gleaner, June 2002, ISSN 0746-5874, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Nancy Simpson