Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring and Derby

A busy week this week, what with Derby and all the activities that go with it. A true dilemma this Friday...Goo Goo Dolls at Fourth Street Live and the B52s on the waterfront...both start at the same time and both are free. Anyway, a friend at school sent this to me. What do you think?

What kind of impression do we leave on our students? This sweet story reveals the power of kindness. Pass it on and be kind to the people around you.

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprizing a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes, but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
'Hello Barry, how are you today?'
'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'
'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'
'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'
'Good. Anything I can help you with?'
'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.
''Would you like take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.
'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'
'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'
'All I got's my prize marble here.'
'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.
'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'
'I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.
'Not zackley but almost.'
'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble', Mr. Miller told the boy.
'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.' I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one.
Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while there I learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.
Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.
Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket.
Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. 'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt.'
'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho '.
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
The Moral :
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.
Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles.
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work.
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good old sing-along song on the radio.
Your keys found right where you left them.
Send this to the people you'll never forget.
I just Did... If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur. It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Summing it Up

This was pushed my way today. An interesting look at the power of music.
Short but sweet.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ramblings while listening to the ball game

I think Spring has finally arrived in Louisville. It looks like 70 degree temps for the foreseeable future. Received great news today...I was selected for a National Endowment for the Humanities workshop. The title is "Race and Place; African American life in Washington, DC 1800-1954. Really looking forward to the trip to Washington the first week in August. Washington is truly one of the great cities...the fact it is all expenses paid is even better. I will be living at George Washington University for the week. Other tidbits: Brian has a new website for the true Tiger fan. He is covering the 1968 Detroit Tigers on his website For a person my age this year in Detroit history is a blast from the past. Check it out. Philip Roth is receiving great praise this week for his 75th birthday. One of the great American writers. Among all his great works, three are especially close to my heart:
The Plot against America is a look at America if Fascism came to our shores.
The Great American Novel is a great baseball novel. It is the story of the Ruppert Mondays, a team so bad that they never play a home game because no city will claim the team. Check it out if you are a baseball fan.
Finally, The Breast, the greatest work of satire I have ever found. It is a takeoff on
The Metamorphosis by Kafka. In Roth's work the hero turns into a female breast rather than a cockroach. Just the premise is enough.
All three of these works are worth a look.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Break 2008

I'm home, no thanks to American Airlines, but that is another story. My trip to Texas was great...where do I start? Amanda and Justin are going to have a baby...yep, another grandchild. They told me in a unique way. When I arrived, they asked me if I wanted to see a new DVD they had received. It was a DVD of the first ultrasound. It was beautiful. This began a great week. I ate too much and drank too many beverages. The food was great. I have three recommendations if you ever travel to the Big Bend country, and I do recommend the trip. Big Bend is God's country, beautiful and isolated. Back to food. The first is Alicia's on the south side of Alpine. The best hamburger I have had since Watkin's closed. The second is in Study Butte, pronounced "Stoody". Its name is Cathy's Crazy Cowgirl Cafe. It is a true dive. The Frito pie was excellent even though it came in a bowl rather than the bag. Non Texans wouldn't understand. The final spot is the best of the three. The Edelweiss Restaurant is in the Holland Hotel in Alpine. Not only is the chicken fried steak to die for, but it has a mirobrewery. Try the Brewster Blonde. Beside the food, the attractions were great. Justin, Amanda and I went to a star party at the McDonald Observatory. I was a crystal clear evening. I have never seen so many stars in one place at one time. In our trip to Big Bend we visited Chisos Mountain Lodge. The views were spectacular. The rest of the week I wandered the back roads, visiting Fort Davis and the Museum of the Big Bend . I left Alpine on Thursday morning, knowing that my flights home had been cancelled. Never one to be stopped by a "pissing contest" between the FAA and American Airlines, I rented a car in Midland Texas to drive home to Louisville...a 20 plus hour drive. As soon as I rented the car I decided to visit Dee, David and the grandchildren in Temple. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. It was great to see them, if only for a few hours. I will be spending three weeks with them in June, but seeing them for a short time was tremendous. The drive home on Friday was uneventful. I left Temple at 7:00AM and arrived home, turned in the car, unpacked and was in bed by 11:30PM. but now comes the difficult part: SCHOOL. Tomorrow morning at 6:15.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes?

An interesting observation from one of my students. It's great teaching students who understand critical thinking.
"I used to work in a pharmacy, I now work part-time in a restaurant, and I did work at a soup kitchen. This project has asked me to detail what I have learned in the course of this service. I learned that people everywhere are nasty to people who serve them food, yet ironically are very friendly to the people who give them their medicine. Perhaps this is evident of society's growing dependency on drugs. Or maybe it shows that rich or poor, some people will still try to take advantage of those whom they have power over. Maybe it is reminiscent of a cultural perception in America that people in food service deserve to be treated badly. My last theory is that in the presence of food-a most basic need, even above medicine, people revert back to their feral or instinctual brains and this causes a survival mentality. This survivalist attitude causes a person to forget humanity and focus completely on meeting the basic need. For this reason they will be rude. My theories may seem pessimistic, I assure the reader they are not. Many people in both food venues displayed basic human kindness. However, the similarity as a whole between the two interested me from a purely observational, psychological, and introspective manner and so the pessimistic view won in terms of what I gained from the experience."
Not bad for a senior in high school.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

May 22, 2008

This is the day that the new Indiana Jones movie opens. Check out all the info at A great website. Can you believe it's been 26 years years since the first Indiana Jones movie hit the big screen? Has it really been that long? Only 72 hours until my arrival in Alpine, Tx. to see Amanda and Justin...counting the minutes.
That's it for now.
Talk to you later.