Friday, May 22, 2009

How I Broke Some Bones

Middle of June,1996.
Linda and I were fishing up in Canada near the town of Kenora,in Ontario.
We had gone to Perch Bay Resort for many years,so I knew the lakes and rivers fairly well.
The backwaters is where I always liked to fish,it is remote and you don't see much civilization.
The old rocks,the trees,the wildlife and being with your best friend is truly one of God's gifts.
This particular week we took Mark my son and his friend Paul Nelson with us.
We had good weather,good fishing and good eating too.
Wednesday,June 18 was a warm day,just a little overcast.
Linda and I took off in our boat to fish in the farthest part of the lakes we could get to.After a few hours it started to rain a little.It didn't bother us as we often fished in the rain.We were prepared with rain suits.
We decided to drift back towards are camp and let the current take us where it would.
I would move the boat close to the shore,then father away looking for the big fish.
A few more hours we just fished,talked and enjoyed the day.
In the early afternoon it started raining harder.We still were not to concerned.
Then it rained very hard.The wind picked up.I was hoping it would blow over as I wanted to stay out on the boat.
I pulled the boat closer to shore to take some shelter from the wind.The wind continued.
Closer to the shore it was a bit more peaceful so,we fished some more.
The wind got bad then,really bad.
I was 10 feet from the shore when there was a micro burst of wind.This is when the wind can be 100 miles per hour in a localized area.I thought I should land the boat on the shore.I was always a great thinker!
The trees were swaying.The pine trees were almost bent to the ground.
I felt branches on my arms.
My memory at this point is vague but I will do my best to reconstruct what happened next.
I saw a tree coming at us,it was falling right on us,I turned pushed Linda out of the way,I think I said watch out!
In that next moment my life was changed.The tree hit me.On my back.I remember the sound it made as it hit me.
It hit just below the middle of my back.The tree bent the aluminum boat badly.
I was down,laying on my back in the bottom of the boat.
The pain was horrible,I was gasping for breath.I was in agony.
The air would not come into my lungs.I yelled to Linda "I am dying now,I am dying".
Now the memory is not good but I remember Linda praying,asking God to calm me and asking for breath.
Prayer works,as you know.
I lay there,my head cradled by Lin.
I thought I would try to move my knees and my feet.If I could do that I was thinking I would not be paralyzed.
I moved my knees and then passed out.
We must have floated around for 30 minutes. In a boat that looked pretty beat up.
Somehow Mark and Paul found us.They were in the same area as we were and racing back to the camp to get out of the rain too.
I remember Paul was in the water,taking the tree the still was on my and lifting it off.
The next thing I remember was Mark starting the boat motor and trying to get us back to the camp. I know he could not see over the bow of the boat very well because of the way the boat was bent like the letter V.
It was raining hard again,We were 30 minutes from the camp.
We made it to shore.I was still laying in the bottom of the boat,passing in and out of consciousness.
Paul had gone ahead in Marks boat to get help.
There were about 20 fisherman on shore waiting to help.
Paramedics arrived.
One was a lady named Linda and I won't ever forget her.
The 2 paramedics somehow got a board under me and lifted me out with the help of several fisherman.
I awoke in the hospital briefly.I heard my wife talking to the nurses about what to do,send me to a larger hospital in Winnipeg or charter a plane to get me home.
She charted a plane with 2 paramedics and they flew me all the way to Lansing,Illinois.
I had broken about 27 bones,cracked ribs and damaged a kidney.
Recovery time was long.Years.

My back still gets sore now,but it could be that I am older.
I will always be grateful to God,Linda,Mark and Paul for the needed help and needed prayers.
Many stories come to mind now about how friends helped with prayers,visits,so many cards(which I still have and treasure) and even money which was sorely needed then.
I went back to visit that same spot where the tree hit me the next year.I was still in a body brace and could not bend very well but I had the determination to face it.
Half the tree was still there up on shore.
I got out of the boat.Hobbled to the tree and just looked at it for a long time.
I started painting with oils that year and I think I painted that tree a hundred times.
your life can change in one second.If I had died I was ready to go Home.
I still am ready.
And I still go fishing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Remembering Sullivan Ballou

July 14, 1861Camp Clark, WashingtonMy very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution.
And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .
Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . .

Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the first Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.Born March 28, 1829 in Smithfield, R.I., Ballou was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.; Brown University in Providence, R.I. and the National Law School in Ballston, N.Y. He was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1853.Ballou devoted his brief life to public service. He was elected in 1854 as clerk of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, later serving as its speaker.He married Sarah Hart Shumway on October 15, 1855, and the following year saw the birth of their first child, Edgar. A second son, William, was born in 1859.Ballou immediately entered the military in 1861 after the war broke out. He became judge advocate of the Rhode Island militia and was 32 at the time of his death at the first Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861.When he died, his wife was 24. She later moved to New Jersey to live out her life with her son, William, and never re-married. She died at age 80 in 1917.Sullivan and Sarah Ballou are buried next to each other at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI. There are no known living descendants.Ironically, Sullivan Ballou’s letter was never mailed. Although Sarah would receive other, decidedly more upbeat letters, dated after the now-famous letter from the battlefield, the letter in question would be found among Sullivan Ballou’s effects when Gov. William Sprague of Rhode Island traveled to Virginia to retrieve the remains of his state’s sons who had fallen in battle.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stuff That Makes My Brain Hurt Sometimes

Some serious questions,some not so serious.

Asking friends about grace,I get some pretty good answers.
Asking myself about grace I get some pretty crummy answers.

I am a little afraid of people that know every answer to every question.
I am old enough to know there are some answers and some questions do not really need to be asked.

Where there is money,happiness does not come easy.
Where there is not money,happiness does not come easy.

If you manage to make a living doing what you like,that is a good thing.

The faith of some younger people amazes me.

When things go well in my businesses I am pretty spiritual.

When things are not going well I am less spiritual. I am working on this.For most of my life it seems.

When my daughter says she is going to India for a month it was not an easy thing for me to deal with. I came up with about a hundred reasons why she should not go.
Perhaps it was a lack of faith on my part.No matter.
I have every confidence in Rob,my son-in law.
When I look at his life,I see his love not only for my daughter and his family,I see his love of people.And God.

Did you ever read your Bible and come up blank?
Did you ever read your Bible and be astounded?

People who fast should not post daily about their fast.

Conspiracy nuts annoy me to no end.

more to come

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Michelle

May 10, 1973. On that day my life was changed forever.
You were born with dark hair and lots of it! Many of us thought you looked liked a little Indian girl.
How things changed in my life.
I could not wait to get home from work to hold you,to comfort and feed you.
You were easy.You were my real gift from God and how I loved you.
You didn't fuss,you seldom cried.
Of course a dad's memory might have built in prejudice but that is fine with me.
Through the years I watched you.You made your first friends,You made people happy.
You made people smile.I remember so well the compliments I got on your looks,your behaviour,and your smile.
How well I remember singing to you and having you look into this daddy's eyes and then I felt my heart melting.
All through these years I have loved you very,very much.
And Michelle,you still make my heart melt.
Happy Birthday my darling daughter.
You still make my heart melt.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bobby Scales Pro Baseball Player

Bobby Scales was called up to the major leagues this week.
He spent 11 years in the minors,riding buses,eating at fast food joints and staying in sub standard hotels and motels.For 11 years!
He is 31 now,and throughout the off season Bobby was a substitute teacher,trying to make ends meet.
His first time up with the Cubs he struck out,the next time up he got a base hit.
He also did very well fielding some tricky plays.
Bobby may get sent back to the minors,maybe even this week.
Hopefully there will be a spot for him in the lineup.
The thing that impresses me about this is the persistence he has shown.How many minor league players would have given up?
Has anything inspired you to keep trying for 11 years?
I think I would have given up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mothers Day 2009

Mothers Day is celebrated here usually at out home.
I tell her,you don't need to cook you know.There is normally a fairly large crowd here.
I mention that we can just get some chicken,or some other carry out.
She says she does not mind the cooking,the girls always bring something to share.
I tell her it is easier if you don't cook.
She puts me off and says it's not a problem.
I think to myself,it is easier not to cook.
I mention a restaurant would be nice.
She puts me off and says it's pretty hard with over 20 people to get a restaurant for Mothers Day.
She is at her best when serving others.She can talk to 25 people and each conversation she has makes you feel like you are very special.
The granddaughters seem to flock around her asking endless questions.
The grandsons stay busy,running around inside and outside.About a hundred miles an hour.

I watch her.She smiles.She never ever raises her voice.She laughs.
She is happy serving.
I will mention again before Mothers Day is here that she does not have to cook.
I know what the answer will be.
I am still in love,after 39 years. Love does not get old.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cinco De Mayo

Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.