It's A Long Way To Chillicothe

I almost had the car door closed when I heard him call. I turned and he walked over.

"My name's John Phillips and I'm from Chillicothe and I'll be honest - my problem's money," is the way he began. He went on to tell me that he had tried one gas station and then another to see if any of them could help him, but no! None of the for profit establishments would give away gas! The nerve! He went on to ask if, by chance, I could help him out.

At first, I did not want to help this guy. With every fiber of my being I wanted to say no and I have a decent reason for denying him. But another voice in my head said something like, "Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you." (Matt 5:42, ESV)

And as it turns out, I had cash. I don't usually. But I gave him some money and watched him go. And I prayed.

Because I had a reason for telling him no.

You see, some time in the last few months, maybe six months ago, on the Walmart parking lot, John Phillips of Chillicothe called out to me and came over to say that, being honest, his problem was money. And that he had been to one gas station and another and they would not give him any gas. And then he asked for money. That time I said no because I did not have cash.

I'll be honest, my problem is this: When is John Phillips from Chillicothe going to get it figured out how much gas it takes to get to Springfield and back?


Day of Giving Thanks, Especially

I don't usually reprint others words in their entirety but I make an exception today. Here, lifted from the Washington Times, is George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation from 1789.

Would that God grant the United States leaders with this kind of leadership more often.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be - That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks - for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation - for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war - for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed - for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions - to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually - to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed - to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord - To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us - and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.


Spencer Tracy's Bad Day

A couple decades or so ago, my dad was talking to me about a Spencer Tracy movie called "Bad Day at Black Rock." I had never heard of this movie and I guess my expression told as much. He was surprised. "You've never seen 'Bad Day at Black Rock?'" he asked. I told him no. He assured me that I should see it and I think my folks had a copy which I borrowed.

I remember watching it twice, I think, and I liked it pretty well. It's not Top 50 material in all likelihood, but it's pretty good. A synopsis might go like this: a forgotten little town that hates outsiders and where something bad happened is confronted by an outsider asking about the bad thing that happened. The town 'boss' and his henchmen finally decide to deal with the outsider.

Tonight I watched it on my computer. The lovely bride and I have a Netflix account now. We signed up for the minimum plan of two DVD's per month. But the plan also allows you to watch two on your computer each month. So, with my bride at a conference, I picked a movie she wouldn't be interested in and watched it on the computer.

I really enjoyed Spencer Tracy in this role - he's the outsider and the good guy - and I liked the way it looked. There are some very pleasing and creative scenes in the movie.

Don't get in a big hurry, but if you are in the mood for "good guy saves the town from the bad guys" kind of movie, "Bad Day at Black Rock" might just be the ticket.

And my dad liked it a lot.


Burst of Blogging

Life is ebbs and flows so it's not surprising that blogging is a reflection of that. Right now I'm having an ebb or a flow. I don't know which.

Blogging isn't my job, but it is an avocation. In other words, I like it. It's just that sometimes other things I like preempts the blog.

It's not business, it's personal.

The Yankee Fan

My friend Gary is a Yankee fan. It's OK. In a country of 300 million people, a few are bound to be, well, special.

He wrote an email the other day wondering where all the comments were about the recent acorn-finding the Yanks had accomplished. We didn't see it for a day or two, but now that I know he's looking for a response, I'll oblige.

He wrote his email on the morning after the Phillies were done laying down. He says, "My office has several new bits of decor today -- all tagged with the infamous "NY". I also wore a "special" hat, a "special"shirt, and dug out my signed Matsui Yankee's bear -- in proper uniform, of course." According to some reports, Matsui will not be re-signed by the Yankees and will become a free agent. I hope Gary can find a little Red Sox uniform for his Matsui bear.

He says: "Hope your day is going as well as mine (snicker)." See, this is how Gary is. He wins. He laughs, points at the score, points at you. He wonders why everyone is slow to respond.

He notes the Congratulations have been slow in coming. "I can't even get people to answer their phones. They know it's me; they have caller I.D. Of course, I'm more than willing to leave a message, which I did in every case. I'm still waiting for return calls." See. See how he is?

He continues, "Did I mention that "27" is a good (make that great) number! What a TEAM! Okay, there I said it." Yes, yes you did.

And actually, Gary, I don't blame you for saying it. The Yankees are pretty good. I thought it would be a close Series that New York would win. I thought it would go 7, but 6 is close enough. Twenty-seven Championships is impressive. If my calculations are correct, there have been 87 championship seasons since 1923 when the Yankees won their first title. That means, having now won 27, New York accounts for about 31 percent of all the World Series titles won since. Every other team is in the Yankees' shadow.

So congrats, Gary! And it was a nice touch, too, that New York won in the first season of the new stadium.


Vacation Recap, Part 6

I almost forgot my ID and password to log on to Blogger so I could write this post. Yeah, it's been a while. I don't know that I am any busier than I was, but it seems like I am.

So, where was I? I seem to recall visiting the Field of Dreams movie site and then it was on to Minneapolis. By the way, the meal of the trip was consumed in Dyersville, Iowa, the town near Field of Dreams. A place called Country Junction. Kathy and I ordered Peppery Parmesan Chicken and we split it. It was the only time on the trip I regretted splitting a plate. Boy, was it good! A breaded and fried chicken breast topped with Swiss cheese and Parmesan dressing. I'd like to have one right now. The fries were great, too. Stop and eat here if you are ever in Dyersville.

The trip to Minneapolis was uneventful. And long. Cornfields the whole way, with gigantic windmills appearing for about an hour or so during one stretch. Did I mention that it was long? Well, it was. It was all afternoon and into early evening getting to Minneapolis . . .

. . . where we hit traffic backed up on I-35. They had one lane closed which caused the huge jam up. You never know which lane is the closed one until you get near and then you have to rely on the kindness of strangers to get in line. We found a kind stranger who let us in. And we crept up the highway until we passed the clot in the road and could then resume speed.

Kathy had driven most of the way after lunch because, as was habit by now, my leg was stiff and swollen and I was running a little temp. To quote Calvin, "Boy, am I mysterious!" (not the theologian, the cartoon)

We got to the room and I got on the bed to prop my leg up. Kathy retrieved some supper and after we ate, she decided to ride the hotel shuttle to Mall of America. This was part of our plan, though we are not really interested in malls. But everybody said, when we mentioned where we were going, "You've got to see Mall of America!" We didn't really want to spend vacation time at a mall, but we thought Friday night, with nothing else really open to see, would be the time to go for a peek. Obviously, I wasn't in any condition to go, but Kathy did. When she returned she reported that it was a big mall.

Still to come - a Catholic wedding and a presidential visit.

(End part 6)