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My Two Cents
by Stephen Scalf
This year on April 3rd, the skies opened up and dumped rain on us like it hasn't done for quite some time.
Why April 3rd?
I don't know, but a rainy, stormy April 3rd is a day that will always bring back memories for me.
On April 3, 2006 I was in still in the Army, deployed to Iraq. It had been hot and dry - I don't think I had seen a drop of rain in the six months I had been there. But on that day - of all days - the sky turned black with heavy rain clouds. There was thunder and lightning, wind, and rain like Iraq hadn't experienced in decades.
I was reminded of the events of April 3, 1974. I was 12 years old at the time.
Many of you may recognize the date. It was the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded, with 30 F4/F5 tornadoes reported. There were 148 tornadoes in 13 U.S. states. At one point, there were 15 tornadoes on the ground at the same time.
It is a day I will never forget.
Spring break fell during the first week of April that year. The youth group from our Church (for kids 14-18 - I was still too young to go) went on a trip to a historical site in Illinois. They were leaving early Monday morning, so my mother let my 14 year old sister, Liz, spend Sunday night with a friend who was also going on the trip. On the way home, my mom was suddenly gripped with panic. She wanted to turn around, pick up Liz, and keep her from going on the trip. But she didn’t want to be the over-protective mother. Besides, Liz would be with good kids from Church.
My own account of the events started the previous day, Saturday, March 30. We had company that day, including Liz’s best friend, Cherise. The adults were discussing the latest hit movie they had recently seen, “The Sting.” Four of us kids half-jokingly asked, “We know it’s getting late, but can we go see ‘The Sting’, tonight?”
The parents hemmed and hawed about this for a couple of minutes until Cherise’s parents suggested letting us go to the movie. Cherise could spend the night with us until church the next day.
This was unheard of! For my parents, Sunday started at midnight on Saturday, and you didn’t go to movies on the Lord’s Day. But this one time, they relented.
We were already five minutes late when we got to the theater and started running to the box office. Liz tripped over something and fell. Embarrassed, she accused me of tripping her. I protested my innocence. Because the movie was starting, we let drop what normally would have led to an energetic argument, and hurried inside.
The next day after church and dinner, Liz packed a few things and got ready to go. Because they were leaving early the next morning, the girls decided to overnight at one girls' home so they’d all be together and ready at the same time.
Liz was saying her good-byes when she grabbed my arm and led me down the hall to her room. She said she knew I hadn’t tripped her the night before and was sorry for blaming me.
I must have looked confused by this unexpected admission because she explained, “I may never see you again, and I didn’t want to leave with any hard feelings,” and then gave me a big hug.
And then she left
The youth group had a great time all Monday and Tuesday, and were on their way back to Fort Wayne, Indiana on Wednesday, April 3.
The weather looked very threatening, but as they headed east, they got ahead of the storm and decided to stop for lunch.
They had just gotten back underway and reached Monticello, Indiana when the storm overtook them.
The car with the boys got stopped at a traffic light and the VW van with the girls proceeded across the bridge. The boys had lost sight of the girls, but got the sudden impression that they needed to move the car immediately. They made a right turn on the red light and drove around the block.
When they came back around the final corner - where they had been stopped at the light, they saw that the upper level of the building had collapsed, dumping bricks and heavy rubble exactly where the car had been.
The boys made their way around the debris and began crossing the bridge when they saw an injured man crawling back towards his car. They stopped to help and the man told them he had seen a tornado pick up the VW van, throw it through the power lines, and drop into the river. The tornado then tore his car door open, pulled him from the car, and threw him about 100 feet.
Liz had been right when she told me she might never see me again. She and five others were killed.
But this year, April 3rd was also Good Friday. Even though it was another rainy April 3rd reminding me of that day 41 years ago, I was also reminded that because Jesus had also died that day, and then rose again on Sunday, someday I will see my sister again.
And that's my two cents,
Sharing a Smile
by Tom Metcalfe
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Sing along with Waylon and Willie:
Don’t let them pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Make them be doctors and lawyers and such
Can you imagine Gene Autry as a doctor?
“Doctor Autry, you are needed in ER.”
How about Roy Rogers as a lawyer?
“Mr. Rogers, do you have a cross examination for this low-down dirty hombre?”
No, I can’t imagine my son, Neal, getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch his “cowboy moves” if Hopalong Cassidy was a banker either.
How about this one? “Kemosabe!” says Tonto to the Lone Ranger, “We hurry to town to emporium to fill prescription for squaw who have sick papoose.”
Roy Rogers (Leonard Slye of Cincinnati, Ohio) and Gene Autry (Orvon Grover Autry of Tioga, Texas) were the most popular of the “singing cowboys” back in my day. Of course there were others, Tex Ritter, Eddie Dean, Ken Maynard, and Bob Steele. Why even John Wayne and Clint Eastwood tried their hand at singing in at least one movie. (They probably should have used their voices.)
In his early career, John was once known as Singing Sandy. Eastwood sang in the musical, “Paint Your Wagon.” Neither of them was a Orvon or a Leonard. Or should I say, Gene or Roy?
Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd originally from Hendrysburg, Ohio, but grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma) and The Lone Ranger (TV version played by Clayton Moore or Jack Carlton Moore of Chicago, Illinois) were never known to be singing cowboys. For that matter, I don’t remember Tonto (Jay Silverheels who was really Harold J. Smith from Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, near Brantford, Ontario, Canada) being a singer either.
It is easy to see why these fellows had stage names. Can you imagine someone saying, “Who was that masked man?” and someone else says “Why that’s Carlton and his faithful companion Harold!”?
Or how about, “We’d best be moseying along before Grover or Leonard start shootin’ them six irons!” I guess the name “Cowboy Billy” might have struck fear in some hearts if he had chosen to use that name rather than Hopalong.
I am truly sorry if I have let you down too hard from your childhood memories of these rough and tough heroes. As children (and maybe even now) our heroes were very important. The fact is, they were important to business too! How many cap guns, holsters, cowboy hats, chaps, boots, and stick horses do you suppose would have been sold without the cowboy TV shows?
We need to mention some cowgirls like Dale Evans – the “Queen of the West” (Frances Octavia Smith of Uvalde, Texas) and Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Mosey from Darke County, Ohio) in order to complete this report. Oakley was known more as a sharp shooter in the “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show.” I guess there could have been more, but unfortunately, when I Googled “cowgirls”, I did not get much helpful information.
Next week, we’ll look at the big money cowboy movie makers. Meantime, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smiling until then.”
Last week’s trivia question - What are cowboys that work in the South American pampas called? – Gauchos
This week’s trivia question – What was Hopalong Cassidy’s horse’s name?
And On That Note...
by Ross Haney
Are You Afraid?
Are You Afraid?
What are you afraid of? Maybe it’s snakes, or large birds, or oblivion, or death, or spiders. But whatever it is, you’re not alone. It’s likely that you’re afraid of the same thing as someone else, because at the end of the day – no matter how tough we say we are – we’re all afraid of something.
Personally, I’m extremely frightened by jump scares in movies, snakes, mice, spiders, and many other things – both physical and mental. But I don’t think that our fears are caused by the presence of something, but rather by the absence of something else.
When we’re afraid of snakes or spiders or the creepy crawlies, we’re actually just afraid by the absence of our security rather than the presence of the animal we are afraid of. We know that it could possibly harm us, because we know stories of these animals’ reputation for being aggressive and scary, and by seeing them immediately lose our sense of security. And that loss of security and comfort turns us to fear.
But not all fears are physical. In fact, I believe most of our fears are actually inside our heads rather than actually in front of us.
I’ve always hated the idea that all of us will eventually die one day – that we will live these boring lives in which we have impacted no one. And at that point, why are we here in the first place?
Eventually, our world as we know it will cease to exist, and no one will be alive to remember the great people of our world – Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey, George Washington, Ellen DeGeneres, or any of those other great people – let alone little old me. My fear is not the presence of death, but the absence of hope.
But that fear is something I only think about in the bad times – when I have a lot to think about. Because when I’m happy, and things in my life are starting to turn out well, it doesn’t matter that one day it will all end, because, well, at least for today I’m still alive and well.
So why do we continue to be afraid? Why do we not face each day without fear, knowing that we can either run and hide, or face our challenges head-on. What’s out there that’s so scary?
Are you afraid?
And on that note, I’ll leave you!
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