Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday Funnies

For weeks, a six-year old boy kept telling his Sunday school teacher about the baby brother or sister they were expecting at his house.

One day the boy and his mother were talking about the new baby when the mother asked the boy if he would like to feel the unborn child. The six-year old boy laid his hand on his mother stomach and was obviously impressed, but made no comment.

Furthermore, he stopped telling his teacher about the upcoming event. The Sunday school teacher finally asked, "Tommy, whatever has become of that baby brother or sister you were expecting at home?"

Tommy burst into tears and confessed, "I don’t know but I think Mommy ate it!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Political Signs

Lately, here in Colorado, we have been bombarded with politics. Some state races and state ballot amendments are really heating up. Because of that, there has been an increase in mass mailings, phone calls, and television advertisements.

Both sides are now starting to make statements like, “That’s what we said but what we meant was. . .”

It’s like the sign below.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ralph On Fire - Thanks

Most of us were on pins and needles. We watched the clock waiting for the appointed hour. Not one person in the room was looking forward to the meeting yet the Fire Boss had made it clear we owed it to them. . . .

It wasn’t a big town but it was a town. A place thirty or so people called home. It had about ten homes, a grocery store with a gas station, a post office, and a church.

The fire was moving directly towards this small community. We knew there was a slim chance of saving the town but the decision was made - we would take that chance. The firing crew surrounded the town and most of the overhead team was nearby.

The fire crested the hill and started burning towards the town when the order went out to start the backfire. Backfiring is starting a fire with the hopes that it burns enough fuel to stop or at least slow down the main fire.

When the backfire started, I held my breath. Having done this a few times, I knew the chances of succeeding.

About twenty-five minutes into the backfire the main fire started racing down the hill. Our backfire was caught up in the main fire. There was nothing to do except pull back and watch.

From a distance, we watched as flames devoured the town. When the smoke cleared what was once a town consisted of a pile of ashes and one building, the post office, which somehow survived the inferno.

Driving back to fire camp no one said a word. We knew we had taken our best shot and lost. A town, a community, a place people called home was gone because we couldn’t save it.

The following day the sting of the defeat had not lessened. Then word came down that the Fire Boss wanted to meet at 11:00 AM. This was far outside the norm and everyone on the fire team knew what it was about.

The Fire Boss got right to the point. “Ultimately it was my responsibility to start the backfire and I will address that. But, the more immediate need is the town’s people have asked for a meeting with the overhead team at 1900 (7:00 PM). I’d like us all to be there. We owe them that much.” And with that, the meeting was over.

Throughout the afternoon, everyone tried to focus on the task at hand but in the back of your mind was the meeting. We had done the absolute best we could and failed. But, it wasn’t our homes or our businesses that lay smoldering in a heap of ashes.

At 6:55, the overhead team had assembled and waited in silence. Then twenty-nine people from the town walked in. The majority of them carried a bucket of ice cream, or paper plates, or a pie. One man at the front of the group said, “We know you did the best you could to save our town and we want to say thank you. We thought if it’s alright, we could have dessert together.” The entire overhead team stood there in silence. Finally, the Fire Boss walked forward and said we would be honored.

These people had lost most if not all their possessions. Their homes were gone. They had to have a thousand things running through their mind on what needed to be done– yet, they were taking the time to come back and thank us for trying to save their town.

I don’t remember what type of pie I had. I’ve forgotten the flavor of the ice cream. I do know that night I had seen the best side of humanity.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Funnies

After dying in a car crash, three friends go to Heaven for orientation.

They are all asked the same question: "When you are in your casket, friends and family are mourning over you, what would you like to hear them say?"

The first guy immediately responds, "I would like to hear them say that I was one of the great doctors of my time, and a great family man."

The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."

The last guy thinks a minute and replies, "I'd like to hear them say...... LOOK, HE'S MOVING."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hope At 10:23

Setting on the bench outside the office, I was trying to read a report. My eyes were looking at the words but my mind was drifting – not an uncommon thing. I looked at the report while listening to an airplane off in the distance.

At 10:23, the airplane flew directly overhead. Looking up I felt a small smile begin to form. The smile continued to grow as I watched the plane streak across the sky.

Seven years ago, the skies across the United States were silent – all aircraft had been grounded. Today at 10:23, a single airplane provided a sign of hope. Hope for us, our children, our grandchildren, our nation.

Today at 10:23, the skies were not silent – they had hope.

Monday, September 08, 2008

We Can't Forget

The following telephone conversation took place last week.

Caller: Well Ralph, I could meet next Thursday if that would work for you.
Ralph (after glancing at calendar): It won’t. I don’t do routine meetings on that day.
Caller (after a long pause): You don’t work on Thursday?
Ralph: I work Thursdays. But, I don’t do routine meetings on September 11th.
Caller (after another long pause): I forgot.

That last sentence scared me. We cannot afford to forget.

Fly a flag on September 11th and hopefully more flags like the one below will never have to fly again.

Flag 2172
September 12, 2005. Today I walked amongst 5,000 American flags. Each flag measured three feet by five feet and stood eight feet tall. They will be up for a week. It's called the 2005 Healing Field and was constructed on ten acres near my home. Each flag is labeled with a number and a name of someone who has died in the war against terrorism since September 11, 2001. This includes the victims of September 11th, the first responders, and military people who have died in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is also a place where people from other countries have flags placed in their honor.

September 8, 2001. I had been there for a week and stood many times on my hotel balcony overlooking the city. Far off in the distance I could see the pentagon.

Tonight I was invited to join a group of foresters from Hawaii many from an organization called the Outdoor Circle. They were a fun group to be with. Our experiences in the tree world were different but also remarkably similar. As the evening wore on the group thinned out until it was just Christine Snyder and I. The place we met closed and we moved to the lobby of the hotel talking about families, programs, projects, but mainly about trees. Early the morning of September 9th before heading back to my room, I asked if she had any information on the Outdoor Circle. She assured me she did and she would get it to me before we left the following day.

That morning walking towards the shower, I noticed a packet had been slipped under my hotel door. I opened it to discover all kinds of information about the Outdoor Circle and a note from Christine telling me she enjoyed our conversation the night before and was looking forward to staying in touch about tree programs and projects. I showered and headed to the airport. After a week in DC, I was finally heading home.

The flag above is flag 2,172. It has Christine Snyder's name on it. She was aboard flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sunday Funnies

A man was driving to work when a truck ran a stop sign, hit his car broadside, and knocked him out cold.

Passersby pulled him from the wreck and revived him. But, he began a terrific struggle and had to be tranquilized by the medics.

Later, when he was calm, they asked him why he struggled so much. He replied, "I remember the impact, then nothing. I woke up on a concrete slab in front of the huge flashing 'Shell' sign but. . . .somebody was standing in front of me blocking out the "S"!