Friday Five (Vol. 42)

Thankfully, a major hurdle in the campaign season has now been cleared as both major parties have completed their conventions. No word on whether Rosanne Barr’s political party’s convention will be televised or not. What, you didn’t know she was running for President? I kid you not my friends.

— 1 —

For this week’s edition I’m going to move forward with an old favorite.

— 2 —

As a child touching age we think that it’s so
That life love and everything is easy to know
The old, they can’t reach us,
Their ways are not ours
Though the furrowed our futures
Our freedom they bore

The older we get the further we see
The more we mean to each other
The more you mean to me

Last weekend I was able to travel with my family four hours north to eastern South Dakota to attend the family reunion of one part of my side of the family. I went to the annual family reunions at this farm located along the James River Valley every year when I was a child and it brought back a flood of memories. These gatherings had died out in the mid-1980s but began anew around six years ago but other obligations always conspired to keep me from going. This year we made it at last, and my children enjoyed meeting cousins and relatives they never knew they had, and my oldest in particular was fascinated to learn more about the countries from which our ancestors came: Wales, Prussia, Czechoslovakia and Norway. I’ve kept up with the genealogy for the most part and was able to relay several stories to him on the drive home, but a spark has been lit and I suspect he’ll be hungry for more in the coming weeks.

I took a ton of photos, some of which I may share at some point in the future. I took the one below after we left the farm Sunday night and drove out of the valley. This gorgeous South Dakota sunset greeted us as we were following my parents to their home to spend the night. We all said “Wow” and I stopped  to snap this shot.

Click to enlarge.

— 3 —

I believe in these people
I believe in this age
Though I hear about torment in life’s lonely page
Yet still we walk strong
We’ll remember we’re free
For the truth we are given
For what we believe

The older we get the further we see
The more we mean to each other
The more you mean to me

Here’s a story that reinforces my belief in people that was forwarded to me by a buddy of mine. I’d like to introduce you to Wyatt Erber:

Forget toys and video games. When Wyatt Erber won $1,000, the Illinois third-grader knew exactly what he wanted to do with the money.

The 8-year-old gave his winnings to the family of his young neighbor, 2-year-old Cara Kielty, who is battling leukemia.

“He was really aware of what cancer is,” said Wyatt’s mom, Noelle Erber. “When he found out Cara had cancer, his heart sank.”

One week after the Cara Kielty was diagnosed, Noelle Erber asked her son if he’d like to enter a scavenger hunt sponsored by a local bank. The grand prize was $1,000.

“Wyatt immediately said, ‘Let’s do it, and if I win the $1,000, I want to give it to Cara,'” Erber said. “The idea of being able to give a thousand dollars wowed him.”

You simply must click on this link and take a look at little Cara and her hero Wyatt. Beautiful.

— 4 —

I have searched out the answers
To the mysteries the laws
Though still I find barriers
Yet still I would fall
But I struggle on
The truth that I seek
But I must remain strong
For the lonely the weak the weak the old

I’ve finally had to accept the fact that I am still not over an event that occurred in my life almost thirty years ago. Every time I hear of an event like the one that occurred a few hours away the other night it disorients me for about a day. Yesterday, this week, and for awhile my little niece will go through what I did twice in high school. She will face the empty desk that only too recently contained the laughing and carefree face of her best friend. Caroline was one of those who died when a semi-tractor trailer hauling hay collided with a school bus at a dry and dusty country roads intersection on Tuesday afternoon. Initially we had been told that my two nieces had gotten off of that bus just minutes before the fatal accident, but found out the next day that since they live in town they were on a different bus. Unfortunately Allison’s best friend Caroline was not. Caroline’s little sister went to the hospital with severe burns on her feet and hands. Also killed was Dustin, the 18-year old foster son of friends; Travis, the 21-year old semi driver; and Marla, the 59-year old bus driver.

There is more to this story that I know that the media doesn’t. Nothing dark or sinister, just the intimate tragic experiences (that I wish I didn’t know) of the parents and friends of those who were involved. They transport me back to a time I should have put behind me long ago, but still comes back now and then. The empty desk.  

— 5 —

The older we get the further we see
The more we mean to each other
The more you mean to me

I read the following in my unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert, originally published in 1925 by C.E. Cowman. It is the end of a larger devotional on Joy and Sorrow. As I continue to learn to know and appreciate the lessons of joy and sorrow in this life, I pray that my niece Allison, her classmates, and people everywhere are able to do the same.

“Should Sorrow lay her hand upon thy shoulder,
And walk with thee in silence on life’s way,
While Joy, thy bright companion once, grown colder,
Becomes to thee more distant day by day?
Shrink not from the companionship of Sorrow,
She is the messenger of God to thee;
And thou wilt thank Him in His great tomorrow
For what thou knowest not now, thou then shalt see;
She is God’s angel, clad in weeds of night,
With ‘whom we walk by faith and not by sight.’”

Click to enlarge.

Looking south from the farm at the James River valley north of Olivet, South Dakota. Two years ago the entire area was flooded and the excess water killed a majority of the trees that line the river and really lent an intimate feel to the valley. Due to the drought this year the river is down.


2 thoughts on “Friday Five (Vol. 42)

  1. My niece died in a car accident on a gravel road in a small town almost 5 years ago an hour away from Blue Hill. I to mourn her greatly and everytime I hear of an accident of a student on a gravel road I think of all the loved ones left behind and ache for them. So sorry for the loss your niece is experiencing. His healing is beyond what words can describe though and for that I am so thankful. Love the poem above.


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