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Einstein’s Warmth and Wonder

When Jerome Weidman was young, he was invited to visit a rich old friend who had a lovely big home. After supper that evening they went through to the drawing room. Other guests were pouring in and the servants were arranging chairs for a musical recital. Jerome said he was not able to listen to heavy music and sat with some ear plugs in his ears. At the first interval he took out his ear plugs.

An old gentleman sitting next to Jerome took him by the arm and led him to an upstairs room, which was a book-lined study. The old gentleman introduced himself as Albert Einstein.

“Tell me,” said Einstein, “Is there any kind of music that you do like?”

” Yes,” said Jerome, “I like songs that have words.”

Einstein proceeded to put a record on the turntable. Jerome knew the voice and the music, it was Bing Crosby’s “When the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day”. Einstein let the record play a few phrases then stopped the record player and asked,

“Will you tell me please what you have just heard?” The simplest answer seemed to be to sing the lines, which he did.

The expression on Einstein’s face was like the sunrise. “You see!” he cried with delight when he was finished. “You do have an ear!”

He mumbled something about being one of his favorite songs, something he had heard hundreds of times, so that it didn’t really prove anything.

“Nonsense!” said Einstein. “It proves everything! Do you remember your first arithmetic lesson in school? Suppose, at your first contact with numbers, your teacher had ordered you to work out a problem in, say, long division, or fractions. Could you have done so? No, of course not. Precisely!” Einstein made a triumphant wave with his pipe stem.

“It would have been impossible and you would have reacted in panic. You would have closed your mind to long division and fractions. As a result, because of that one small mistake by your teacher, it is possible your whole life you would be denied the beauty of long division and fractions. So it is with music.” Einstein picked up the Bing Crosby record.

“This simple, charming little song is like simple addition or subtraction. You have mastered it. Now we go on to something more complicated.” He found another record and set it going. The golden voice of John McCormack singing “The Trumpeter” filled the room. After a few lines Einstein stopped the record.

“So!” he said “You sing that back to me, please?”

He did with a good deal of self-consciousness but with, for him, a surprising degree of accuracy. Einstein stared at him with a look on his face that his father had as he listened to him deliver his valedictory address at his high school graduation.

“Excellent !” Einstein remarked when he finished. “Wonderful! Now this!”

‘This’ proved to be Caruso in what was to him a completely unrecognizable fragment from “Cavaleria Rusticana”. Nevertheless, he managed to reproduce an approximation of the sounds the famous tenor had made. Einstein beamed his approval.

Caruso was followed by at least a dozen others. He could not shake the feeling of awe over the way this great man, into whose company he had been thrown by chance, was completely preoccupied by what they were doing, as though it were his sole concern.

They came at last to recordings of music without words, which he was instructed to reproduce by humming. When he reached for a high note, Einstein’s mouth opened and his head went back as if to help him attain what seemed unattainable. Evidently he came close enough, for he suddenly turned off the phonograph.

“Now, young man,” he said, putting his arm through Jerome’s. “we are ready for Bach!”

As they returned to their seats in the drawing room, the players were tuning up for a new selection. Einstein smiled and gave a reassuring pat on his knee. “Just allow yourself to listen,” he said. “That is all.”

It wasn’t really all, of course. Without the effort he had just poured out a total stranger he would never have heard, as he did that night for the first time in his life. Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze.” When the concert was finished Jerome was able to add his applause to that of the others.

He has heard it many times since and will never tire of it. Because he never listens to it alone. He is sitting beside a small, round man with a shock of untidy white hair, a dead pipe clamped between his teeth, and eyes that contain in their extraordinary warmth all the wonder of the world.

~ by Jerome Weidman who is author of the book, “I can get it for you wholesale” ~

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“My Master Is There”

An elderly man went to visit his family doctor. As he was preparing to leave the patient said,

“Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

The man then quickly responded:

“You don’t know? You are a man of God and you do not know what is on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said,

“Did you notice my dog? He didn’t know what was inside this room. He knew nothing except that his master was here. When the door opened, he sprang in with gladness and without fear.”

“I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one thing, I know my Master is there, and that is enough.”

~ Author Unknown ~

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“The Game of Life”

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks,

“Which do you want, son?”

The boy takes the two quarters and leaves.

“What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!”

After the customer leaves the barber shop, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store with his newly purchased ice cream cone.

“Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the two quarters instead of the dollar bill?”

The boy licked his cone and replied,

“Because the day I take the dollar, the game’s over.”

~ Author Unknown ~

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“Thank You, Thank You”

Every Friday evening without fail when the sun resembles a giant orange and is starting to dip into the blue ocean. Old Ed comes strolling along the Florida beach to his favorite pier.

Clutched in his bony hand is a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. Everybody’s gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts – and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier. Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile,

“Thank you. Thank you.”

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like “a funny old duck,” as my dad used to say. Or, “a guy that’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,” as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

That’s too bad. They’d do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He started Eastern Airlines and was a famous flying Ace back in World War I. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle.

That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft. Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal of it – a very slight meal for eight men.

Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued after 24 days at sea.

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull. And he never stopped saying,

“Thank you.”

That’s why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

~ The author is Max Lucado and the above is an excerpt from page 221 of his book “The Eye of the Storm” ~

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“The Nails We Lie On”

A man went to visit a friend in the bayous of Louisiana. On the front porch, the man’s trusty old hound was moaning lowly. Puzzled, he asked if the dog were in pain. His friend replied that the dog was lying on a nail.

Confused he asked, “Why doesn’t he get off it?” In a slow southern drawl he said, “Well, I guess it doesn’t hurt that bad.”

This is known as “toleration.” These are little things that we can do something about but lack the motivation because they just don’t hurt bad enough. The papers on our desk, the additional five pounds, the extra effort at work that seems to always be put off until tomorrow or to next week.

We are tolerating more than we think. We put up with and are dragged down by other people’s unmet needs and problems as well as our own behavior and incompletions.

What nails are we lying on? Write down what we are putting up with. Not what we can’t change or have no control over, but things like that five pounds that don’t bug us enough to go to the gym or the pile of papers that has been sitting on the corner of our desk the last three weeks.

These tolerations little by little sap our energy. They nibble away at who we are. Write down one each morning and have it be gone by evening. Do this for one week. If it makes a difference in your life, each week you will become a stronger you.

~ This story was sent to me by Rick Schwartz who is a superb residential broker in Southern California RickismyRealtor@aol.com and is modeled after a similar one in Les Brown’s book “Live Your Dreams.”~

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