I rested my elbows on the windowsill and videoed away..so to speak.
I can’t tell you how upset I am with myself.
It’s been at least three years since I’ve seen a fox in the neighborhood. This morning at quarter to 7 I looked out the “next to my computer” window and there he was. It was only starting to get daylight and there was always the possibility the photo wouldn’t finish well. But, I took it anyway. In fact, I took several shots and the one above is the only one that worked.
“That’s not the end of the world”, I said to myself.
Just then large flocks of Canadian geese began to fly over the far hay field in preparation to land and feed. They were making a great deal of noise, as only the large flocks of geese may do, and I immediately set my camera to video. By this time, the sky had become light and the view from my camera lense was perfect. I rested my elbows on the windowsill and videoed away..so to speak. What an exciting opportunity for me. The flocks circled the fields three times, honking and calling all the way. One portion of their flight passed very close to my home.
Eventually, I decided to work with my pictures and see what I had accomplished. There were pictures taken yesterday and I saved the ones that were good. There weren’t many. The photo above, of the fox, was the best I had on the camera.
The videos require me to send them to a different place on my computer, so I decided to delete the still pics and the videos to work with later.
After marking each photo for deletion I arrived at the place where it says, “delete all?”, and I said “yes”.
And I did…delete all..that is.
My camera is empty. I wanted so much to share with all of you the wonderful videos I had made of the geese, sound and all.
They’ve been deleted.
Maybe they’ll fly by another day. Maybe they won’t. But take my word for it, those videos were really something else.
The gymnasium was filled to capacity when we arrived. Two large blocks of chairs, with an aisle between, faced the lonely casket.
Friends and family were quiet. It seemed best, for us, to sit in the bleachers.
Row upon row of floral arrangements had been placed on tiered shelving, occupying an area the length of the gym. Local florists had been asked to stop delivering orders since there was no more space for display.
Many were already seated..
Moments before the appointed hour of the service, a group of young men began to arrive. Neatly groomed in white shirts and jeans, carrying their hats, the young rodeo men quietly took their seats near the back of the congregation.
He was so young..
His name and date of birth were printed on the program. Nineteen short years on earth and today we were mourning his passing.
Riding chaps lay draped over the casket. A large painting of the deceased was placed at the side.
Travis was a rodeo man.
He traveled the circuit..
On his way to Alabama to compete in his specialties of Team Roping and Saddle Bronc riding, he was tragically killed while driving through the state of Kentucky.
Tired and excited about the next event, he asked his friend to drive while he rested his head against the back of the seat. As he slept they came upon an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road. Too late to react, their truck veered off the road and lodged underneath the semi.
The friend survived the crash. Travis did not.
There were many reasons for sadness..
I am usually in control of my emotions at funerals. My husband and grandson were attending this sad occasion with me. Our grandson was, at that time, a bull rider in the rodeo circuit. Knowing the potential for injury and death, our love and concern for him and for these young men was strong.
For them, the excitement and the challenge outweigh the potential danger.
I was determined to control my emotions.
Near the end of the service, the Dad and Mom of the young man quietly approached the casket. A song I’d never heard before, was played through the sound system.
It was the perfect message in a time of sadness.
There are angels among us. I hope you take the time to listen to this song.
It has always seemed unusual to me that a horse named Mable will win a race in which a horse named Star Of Glory will come in six lengths behind.
AMERICAN LITERATURE ASSIGNMENT….1952
Mary Anne Whitchurch….10th Grade High School…
West Branch, Michigan
I am intrigued by the names of race horses.
My observation has been, the most beautiful names are given to the plain horses while the most beautiful horses get the stupid names.
For instance, you will notice such beautiful names as Show Boy, Black Beauty, Silver Star, Arabian Knight and Princess Ann are attached to the old plug who can pick up only three of its feet.
Then, of course, there is Beetlebaum.
On the other hand, a really beautiful and fast race horse, who leaves all the others in the dust, is named Blackie, Dutch, King, or Major.
Then, of course, there is Beetlebaum.
It has always seemed unusual to me that a horse named Mable will win a race in which a horse named Star Of Glory will come in six lengths behind.
I don’t know how Beetlebaum entered this little story although it seems to be a good name. I wish he would leave the same way he came in.
To continue…………It is now 2019…I’m surprised (at the age of 84) how many people don’t remember Beetlebaum. However, as times change and so do we, I can now share “him” with you. Spike Jones will tell you the story.
As a young girl, I was asked to baby sit for my infant nephew while my sister and her husband went out for the evening.
Since the child had a slight cold, my sister’s instructions were to give him a spoon full of cough medicine from a bottle she had placed on the kitchen counter.
When it was time to give him the medicine, I picked up the bottle, poured the liquid into a spoon and offered it to the baby; not bothering to turn on the light. The baby coughed and cried. He choked and spit out most of the medicine on his pajamas. I didn’t feel it was an unusual response to bad tasting medicine.
Turning on the kitchen light to assess the situation, I saw another bottle sitting on the counter.
Quickly reading the label on the bottle I had used, it became clear the liquid I had given the baby was Tincture of Benzine Compound, a substance used in vaporizers for the easing of breathing problems. The cough medicine, which I had been instructed to give, was in a second bottle on the counter, which was not noticeable to me in the darkened kitchen.
I was devastated that this baby I loved so much could have been poisoned by my irresponsible action. (He was fine and suffered no ill effects from my carelessness.) (see note at bottom of article)
Because of that experience, I’ve adopted a discipline that has served me (and others) throughout my life.
Never administer, nor take, medication without first checking the bottle’s ingredients and directions, in the light.
This practiced custom has served me well.
I’ve been thinking. When the habit of attending church becomes customary to us, we are ready to live, worship and praise.
We are enabled to love and be loved, and to listen and share His word within the congregation of Christ on Sunday mornings.
… not burdened with a weekly decision.
This custom serves us well.
When we make a decision to be in a study group with other Christians, on Sunday morning or another time during the week, we place ourselves in a position to grow.
The opportunity to incorporate the meaning of His Word into
our lives may become our custom.
Jesus gave us the example by His own life. “He went to the synagogue, as was His custom”….
Are your customs serving you well?
Are your customs serving Him well?
The answers may save your life.
Lord, teach us your ways. Shine your light on us. Help us to develop customs that will allow us to be used by you in your ministries..Amen
(Note: My “infant” nephew is now 67 years of age..enjoying retirement and a happy life.)
As often happens in life, my future was unknown. I couldn’t have imagined at the age of 50, I would become the owner and operator of Mary Anne’s Hallmark Shoppe.
Holiday of Love…
Houghton Lake Resorter
Houghton Lake, Michigan
FEBRUARY, the month of sweethearts and historical birthdays. Gifts and cards are abundantly given and received.
Red is the color of this holiday of love. It represents the warmth and caring which doesn’t end by the passing of time nor the graying of crowns. From grade school parties to a valentine for the teacher, the bloom of romance,the joy of marriage, or an annual pledge of sentimental thoughts, moments of love and friendship are conveyed through the verse on the card.
From a commercial standpoint, the greeting card industry prospers from every holiday.
(Talk to a Hallmark dealer and they will tell you Valentine’s Day is the best card selling season of the year.)
Some holidays have been long standing, while others have been more recently incorporated into the lives of the public.
The card purchaser sends a card of congratulations for many celebrations. From birth to graduation, from weddings to anniversaries, from operations to get well cards, there is a card suitable for every occasion.
Are your friends leaving town or have they just arrived? Has someone recently purchased a new home or remodeled the one which they already own? Hallmark has a perfect card for the occasion.
Good wishes can be found in the card shop in just the language you want to use.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and the New Year rate high on the holiday card list. As the years go on, St. Valentine’s Day will remain the sentimental favorite.
Send a card or a gift, the affectionate gesture is always thoughtful and pleasantly received.
To Mom and Dad, friend and lover, children and neighbors,
Happy Valentine’s Day 1963.
* * * * *
My thoughts were penned in 1963.
I was twenty- eight years old, a stay at home Mom with three little boys. The youngest was one year old.
My life was closer to Valentine’s Day grade school parties than to browsing through a Hallmark shop looking for the perfect card to send to family and friends.
As often happens in our young lives, my future was unknown. I couldn’t have imagined at the age of 50, I would become the owner and operator of
Mary Anne’s Hallmark Shoppe.
For thirteen years I observed my caring customers. They took the process very seriously. Choosing the perfect card with just the right sentiments, for their loved ones, was what they were seeking.
Valentine’s Day is truly the most heartfelt card sending day of all the celebrated holidays during the year.
My most intensely involved customer was the gentleman choosing a card for his wife or sweetheart. No amount of time spent was too much, when choosing that card with a special message of their love. Valentine’s Day will always be
Ever wonder what kind of an impression you left on folks today? Think about it.
How can I tell you my story without letting you know the main character? Would that be the sheriff, the little girl, or my grandson?
When he was seventeen, our grandson entertained an interest in bull riding.
Yes, I said bull riding. We had taken him with us to several rodeos when he was very young.
It soon became apparent that his main interest was the activity in the bull pens. There was always a place to stand behind the spot where the contestants began their ride.
Always visible to us from our place in the grandstands, there was no need to wonder if he was okay. Closely watching the riders, his attention was riveted on their every move.
We shouldn’t have been surprised at this fairly unusual pursuit of the sport of bull-riding. Beginning in junior high school, his interest was maintained in many sports including wrestling, weight lifting and football, well known teen sports throughout high-school years.
Nothing could keep him from attempting to become successful at the projects he decided to pursue. With personal determination and a plan for accomplishing the goals he set for himself, dedication brought results.
Although we planned to be at every bull riding event in which he participated, there was one in the northern part of our state we were unable to attend.
A surprise communication arrived…
Sometime after the event, a letter arrived for him from the sheriff in a northern Michigan community. The sheriff was asking our grandson to consider sending him an autographed picture.
In explanation, he wrote that he was working with an eleven year old girl who was having difficulty, as he explained it, in finding a good path to follow in her life.
The sheriff went on to write that during his counseling he had asked the girl if she had any heroes. She said yes, and then indicated our grandson who she had seen riding in the rodeo in the northern part of our state,
was her hero.
Think about it. She must have indicated our grandson by name or there would have been no way for the sheriff to make this personal contact.
Bull riding events are well attended and the grandstands are usually filled to capacity. There was no personal contact between the girl
and our grandson.
This scenario amazed me.
Being the grandmother I am, I didn’t miss an opportunity to offer a lecture on good behavior. “What do you suppose you were doing when she saw you?”, I asked. “You had no idea you were being watched other than when you were actually riding. Were you chatting with other riders, were you watching the activities?”
At bull riding events, the young riders I’ve noticed, are neatly dressed. Our grandson always pressed his shirts with a crease in the sleeves.
(Only a Grandmother notices things like that, or so I thought.)
He didn’t smoke, or drink or chew. Any of those things could have been noticed by someone observing him at an event.
This time, a confused young girl was watching our grandson and later counting him as her hero.
He found a photo of himself, as the sheriff had asked, and penned a message on the back. In the message indicating that he hoped she would find good paths for her life in the future.
Since this incident happened, and it was a long time ago, I’ve had many opportunities to think about people who may be watching you and me right now.
What are they seeing? What are they hearing?
It would be unusual to be aware that someone is observing our actions.
We may never know when it’s happening. Are they noticing the way we’re dressed? Can they hear what we are saying? Have we influenced someone’s life? Did we make them wish they could be like us? Or, did they wish they would never be like us? Were we an influence for good? Do we present a pleasant space around ourselves?
Perhaps, in an off moment, we may convince someone never to act as we do. It’s quite possible something we’ve done, or said, or the way we have planned our lives, has influenced someone to change direction, or maybe to continue in a direction they’ve already chosen.
Someone is watching and listening to you and me right now. We will never know who it is or how our lives may have influenced them
to direct their own life.
I’ve shared this story with many people over the past years. The incident has made a difference in how I see myself, Sometimes I hope no one is looking or hearing; other times I hope I made a good impression.
My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house. Every day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.
“Night fell, and darkness hid the two from sight”
He worked at walking.
Stumbling, weaving, tumbling, falling…and
Each night at dusk he headed home, deaf to traffic sounds.
Sometimes reeling into a roadside ditch, he would lie upon the ground in bleak half-conscious stupor.
With effort, he would crawl laboriously to the ditch’s edge, then work at walking once again.
The man continued through his nightly ritual.
Someone approached the sodden hulk and bending down, they knelt beside the fallen man. With steady arms, they began the rescue.
The person was not a hero. And I was a bystander. Though years have passed, the vivid scene remains.
Whose life is changed when a journey reaches a crossroad? When is a path interrupted by a chance encounter? Could it be the rescuer? Perhaps it was a friend? Maybe it was me as I watched this scene unfold.
What are you thinking now?
Night fell and darkness hid the two from my sight.
Many years have passed since this incident took place.
While my husband and I were standing at our living room window, we saw a man walking along the distant road.
The man lived nearby in a broken down house.
And each day he walked two miles
to a neighborhood bar
where he spent the entire day.
We didn’t usually see him traveling on the morning journey to his destination. Nor did we see him when he was going home at the end of the day.
But this time
we saw him walking toward home. As we watched, he staggered and stumbled, falling into the deep ditch beside the road.
For moments he was out of our sight. Then, we saw him crawling out of the ditch and struggling to his feet. Walking a few steps, he fell once more. Again, he crawled up the side of the ditch on his hands and knees
and attempted to stand.
I became aware my husband had left my side. Now, in his truck, he was driving down our driveway toward the distant road.
He stopped at the place where the man was lying beside the ditch. Getting out of his truck, he approached the figure.
Taking him by the arm,
he helped the man to his feet.
My husband later told me he intended to help him into the cab of the truck, but the man protested.
“I’m not clean enough to sit in your truck. Help me into the back. I’ll ride home there.”
As I watched this scene unfold before my eyes, I was surely not aware it would be in my memory and my heart many years later.
How many of us, including me, would leave the comfort of our own home to help a drunken, smelly man get safely to his home?
This was a view of my husband about which I wasn’t aware. Yes, he was kind, gentle and caring.
The scene I watched was more than that.
The experience changed me and maybe it has changed you.
At this stage of life it has become clear to me that we all need to be rescued.
Our Friend is on His way.
In later years, as we discussed the incident some facts revealed themselves about the man who was rescued.
He was a veteran from World War 2.
As years have passed, we’ve become aware of the experiences our soldiers endured during that time of war.
They were too horrible to remember for many of the soldiers.
We now call it PTSD.
It has been found, for some of the veterans, it is easier to drink away the memories
than to relive them in their minds.
In our village, there were three World War 2 veterans who spent their days at the same local bar.
The world called them drunks. Should we call them heroes?