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Keep Them Close

I grew up with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen before they had a name for it. A father who was happier trying to fix or repair broken cars and things around the house or getting old shoes fixed rather than buying new ones.

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat, a wrench in one hand and a paint brush in the other. Mom in a house dress, washing clothes, packing school lunches, cleaning house and cooking supper every day. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating leftovers, second hand clothes, used books, etc., I just wanted to have something new and just throw away all that old stuff. Throwing things away didn’t always mean that you could go out and simply get “new” stuff, but it gave a sense of knowing that there’d always be more.

But then my dad died suddenly and fixing things became a lot harder. Some years later, my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain in learning that sometimes there isn’t any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away…never to return.. So… While we have it….. it’s best we love it…. And care for it… And fix it when it’s broken…….. And heal it when it’s sick.

This is true. For marriage……. And old cars….. And children with bad report cards….. And dogs with bad hips… And aging parents…… And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special. Keep them close!

~ Author Unknown ~

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Lord, I Hate Buttermilk

A visiting Priest was attending a men’s breakfast in Ohio farm country. He asked one of the impressive older farmers in attendance to say grace that morning. After all were seated, the older farmer began …

“Lord, I hate buttermilk.”

The Priest opened one eye and wondered to himself where this was going.

Then the farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard.”

Now the Priest was overly worried. However without missing a beat, the farmer prayed on,

“And Lord, you know I don’t care much for raw white flour.”

Just as the Priest was ready to stand and stop everything, the farmer continued,

“But Lord, when you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em up, I do love fresh biscuits.”

“So Lord, when things come up we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what you are sayin’ to us, we just need to relax and wait ‘till You are done mixin’, and probably it will be somethin’ even better than biscuits.”

Amen.

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The Half-Wit

A man owned a small farm in Missouri.

The Missouri State Wage and Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him. The agent starts out demanding:

“I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,”

“Well,” replied the farmer, “I have four farm hands that have been with me from three to five years. I pay them each $200 a week plus they get free room and board.”

“Then there’s the cook that has been here for 18 months. I pay her $150 per week plus she also gets free room and board.”

“Then there’s the half-wit who works about 10 hours every day and does about 50% of all the work around here. He makes about $100 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.”

“That’s the guy I want to talk to. The half-wit!” says the agent.

“That would be me,” replied the farmer.

~ Author Unknown ~

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World War II Love Story

* A World War II Love Story *

It was a time of Harry James and Betty Grable; a time of seams in the ladies stockings, of Rosie the Riveter, ration stamps for gasoline, shoes, fuel oil, sugar and tires.

It was a time of the 35-mile per hour speed limit to conserve gasoline and tires, and a time when all the church bells rang in all the little towns for all the people to come to pray for the success of the Normandy invasion. It was a time when couples married hurriedly in order to have a few days of married bliss before he went off to war.

Such a marriage was that of Luther and Jenny. They had dated all through high school in the little town of Miller, Missouri. She was a cheerleader, and he was captain of the basketball team, both known and loved by all the townspeople in that little community of 600.

Then Luther got his draft notice. They married quickly and rented a tiny house at the north end of town, near the end of the railroad spur that came from Mt. Vernon, the larger town eight miles to the south.

The townspeople watched Luther off on the train, and Jenny went back to the little house to wait for his return. Luther’s letters to her came daily at first, then sporadically after he reached Europe where he was a bombardier on a B-17 bomber. Jenny would carry his letters with her and read them not only to her friends, but to anyone in town who would listen, and everyone would. Jenny kept the little house clean, the lawn mowed, the flower garden cultivated – all in anticipation of Luther’s return.

The telegrams began to arrive. Will Johnson had been killed, Perry Abiattia had both hands blown off when he picked up a land mine, Herschel Sexton had been shot and had a plate in his head and his Purple Heart had been sent to his wife, Dixie, who showed it to all the townspeople and wept over it.

Still, Jenny said that Luther would come home safely. She knew it. Two years went by. We little boys played our war games. We would run about holding our arms outstretched, making airplane noises and dropping imaginary bombs on imaginary targets.

“I just bombed Hitler”, one would say, “I just bombed Mussolini”, another would say, and then the war was over in Europe and the letter came from Luther.

“My dearest Jenny,” it said, “We will be ferrying our B-17s across the United States to California. I will ask my pilot to break formation and fly over Miller and your house. Be out front on April 3rd at 10am.”

Now, none of us in that area had ever actually seen a B-17. We had seen that giant airplane only on recruitment posters and movie newsreels. The word flashed across Mt. Vernon, Aurora, Greenfield, Lockwood and several other little towns in the area, and on the appointed date, at least 6000 people had gathered in front of Jenny’s house, many having left their cars parked nearly two miles away.

The people left a large opening in front of Jenny’s house where she stood awaiting this monumental event. I think I was about 7 years old then, and I stood holding onto my mother’s hand, waiting.

We heard it long before we saw it. The roar of those giant engines began to build up until it nearly deafened us, and then there it was. Just over the trees, from the east, nose high, flaps down, wheels down, bomb bay doors open, the huge propellers clawing the sky. It seemed to just hang there, and yes! We could see Luther in the bomb bay as he waved at us!

The gigantic war machine banked to the left, flew around the water tower and made another pass. This time Luther dropped a small supply parachute which opened just a few feet in front of Jenny. It had a small box attached. Jenny ran to it, picked it up and ran to the house. She later made a dress of the parachute, it was of the camouflage type, and wore it proudly around town.

Yes, that amazing scene took place over 50 years ago, and most of those who witnessed it are now dead, but Jenny and Luther’s love for each other never died.

As a matter of fact, I just saw them last week. They are still together, enjoying a love that to this day is as big as that B-17 we stood and watched in awestruck wonder.

We may have come from a small town, but our memories and our feelings run very, very deep.

~ The Author is the late Joe Edwards from Missouri who was a semi-retired Jazz pianist. He played all over the country. His primary base was Kansas City, known as the home of good jazz. Joe often wrote about his little hometown of Miller, Missouri. ~

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Lord, Prop Me Up

Often when I pray, I think of my good friend that was a deacon and always prayed:

“Lord, prop me up on my leaning side.”

After hearing him pray that prayer many times, I asked him why he prayed that prayer so fervently. He answered,

“Well sir, you see, it’s like this. I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time, it’s withstood a lot of weather, it’s gone through a lot of storms, and it’s stood for many years.”

“It’s still standing, but one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side, so it wouldn’t fall.”

“Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I have been around a long time, I have withstood a lot of life’s storms, I have withstood a lot of bad weather in life, I have withstood a lot of hard times, I have developed a bunch of bad habits, and I’m still standing, too.”

“But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop me up on my leaning side, because I figure a lot of us get to leaning, at times.”

“Sometimes we get into the bad habits of leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning towards not taking good care of our selves, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t, so I need to pray:”

“Lord, prop me up on my leaning side,”

“So that I will once again, stand straight and tall.”

— Author Unknown —

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