Stories Told - Page 1

Her Hair Was Up In A Pony Tail, her Favorite Dress Tied With A Bow.
Today Was Daddy's Day At School, and She Couldn't Wait To Go.

But Her Mommy Tried To Tell Her, that She Probably Should Stay Home;
Why The Kids Might Not Understand, if She Went To School Alone.

But She Was Not Afraid; She Knew Just What To Say.
What To Tell Her Classmates of Why He Wasn't There Today.

But Still Her Mother Worried, for Her To Face This Day Alone.
And That Was Why, Once Again, She Tried To Keep Her Daughter Home.

But The Little Girl Went To School, Eager To Tell Them All.
About A Dad She Never Sees, A Dad Who Never Calls.

There Were Daddies Along The Wall In Back, For Everyone To Meet.
Children Squirming Impatiently, Anxious In Their Seat.

One By One The Teacher Called on A Student From The Class.
To Introduce Their Daddy, As Seconds Slowly Passed.

At Last The Teacher Called Her Name, Every Child Turned To Stare.
Each Of Them Was Searching, for A Man Who Wasn't There.

"Where's Her Daddy At?" She Heard A Boy Call Out.
"She Probably Doesn't Have One," Another Student Dared To Shout.

And From Somewhere Near The Back, She Heard A Daddy Say,
"Looks Like Another Deadbeat Dad, Too Busy To Waste His Day."

The Words Did Not Offend Her, As She Smiled Up At Her Mom.
And Looked Back At Her Teacher, Who Told Her To Go On.

And With Hands Behind Her Back, Slowly She Began To Speak.
And Out From The Mouth Of A Child, Came Words Incredibly Unique.

"My Daddy Couldn't Be Here, Because He Lives So Far Away.
But I Know He Wishes He Could Be, Since This Is Such A Special Day.

And Though You Cannot Meet Him, I Wanted You To Know
All About My Daddy, And How Much He Loves Me So.

He Loved To Tell Me Stories, He Taught Me To Ride My Bike;
He Surprised Me With Pink Roses, And Taught Me To Fly A Kite.

We Used To Share Fudge Sundaes, And Ice Cream In A Cone.
And Though You Cannot See Him. I'm Not Standing Here Alone.

'Cause My Daddy's Always With Me, Even Though We Are Apart;
I Know Because He Told Me, He'll Forever Be In My Heart"

With That, Her Little Hand Reached Up, And Lay Across Her Chest.
Feeling Her Own Heartbeat, Beneath Her Favorite Dress.

And From Somewhere There In The Crowd Of Dads, Her Mother Stood In Tears.
Proudly Watching Her Daughter, Who Was Wise Beyond Her Years.

For She Stood Up For The Love Of A Man Not In Her Life.
Doing What Was Best For Her, Doing What Was Right.

And When She Dropped Her Hand Back Down, Staring Straight Into The Crowd.
She Finished With A Voice So Soft, But Its Message Clear And Loud.

"I Love My Daddy Very Much, He's My Shining Star.
And If He Could, He'd Be Here, But Heaven's Just Too Far.

You See He Is An American Soldier And He Died Just This Past Year,
When A Roadside Bomb Hit His Convoy And Taught Americans To Fear.

But Sometimes When I Close My Eyes, It's Like He Never Went Away."
And Then She Closed Her Eyes, And Saw Him There That Day.

And To Her Mother's Amazement, She Witnessed With Surprise,
A Room Full Of Daddies And Children, All Starting To Close Their Eyes.

Who Knows What They Saw Before Them; Who Knows What They Felt Inside.
Perhaps For Merely A Second, They Saw Him At Her Side.

"I Know You're With Me Daddy," To The Silence She Called Out.
And What Happened Next Made Believers, Of Those Once Filled With Doubt.

Not One In That Room Could Explain It, For Each Of Their Eyes Had Been Closed.
But There On The Desk Beside Her, Was A Fragrant Long-Stemmed Pink Rose.

And A Child Was Blessed, If Only For A Moment, By The Love Of Her Shining Star.
And Given The Gift Of Believing, That Heaven Is Never Too Far.

They Say It Takes A Minute To Find A Special Person, An Hour To Appreciate Them, A Day To Love Them, But Then An Entire Life To Forget Them. Send This To The People You'll Never Forget And Remember.

Take The Time...To Live And Love. Until Eternity.
There Must Be Many Children In The Same Boat As This Little Girl.
Thanks To Our Servicemen And Their Families For The Sacrifice They Are Making To Keep Our Country Free.

Don't Forget Them, PRAY FOR OUR TROOPS!!!    Jesus Bless You :)     Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire.

Links: Susan Ogle is this Civil War Museums director

 This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.

Secrets to a long life

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: "Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustine's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support "No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added, "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said "If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said, "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words, "I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns."

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.