Graduation: Three in Six Days: Introduction to “Class of ’57”

Hi Friends:

This started as a short introduction to the Statler Brothers’ song, written by Don Reid and Harold Reid, “The Class of ’57.”
I hadn’t planned on writing much … but here we go …

This will serve as an introduction to the video, which we’ll feature next time …

Somehow, I feel comfort when I think that I wasn’t even born in 1957, but the words from this popular Statler Brothers song continue to ring true today:

“We all thought we’d change the world
With our great works & deeds
Or maybe we just thought the world
Would change to fit our needs
The class of ’57 had its dreams”

I’ve been a “ticketed” guest at 3 different High School Graduation ceremonies in one week, at 3 separate, very different venues. 3 in 6 days. That’s one every two days.
I’ve witnessed speeches, marches, and the look of fear, anticipation, gratitude, joy, and excitement, with tassels being turned, and caps thrown into the air.

I’ve seen the pride and joy, that look of accomplishment, of a student who would be the first in their family to graduate High School.
I’ve also looked into the eyes of a student who had just been told that they would not be graduating …
The first place they came was to the Library …

I’ll never forget last Friday, when a group of graduates, as they saw me arrive, began shouting my name, running up as a group to hug me … It was exactly the same scene I had, a few years ago, when I walked into a local McDonald’s, and as I walked from the side entrance, through the restaurant, to the front counter, I passed a group of tables … where a group of my students (now, this was K-2), having “lunch at Summer camp,” saw me, and … there is no better word to describe it … they mobbed me … screaming my name as they ran up, surrounded me, and, literally, “jumped on me” …
You just don’t forget those moments.

By the way … and, all teachers know this:
When you teach K-2, and you see a student at Wal-Mart, they mob you.
When you teach High School, and you see a student at Wal-Mart … they ignore you … like they’ve never seen you before …

This past Monday, in another city, a pretty long drive, I was there to witness the Graduation of a student who had worked for me in the Library at the High School … first, as an internship, then, on a volunteer basis … The traffic in town was incredible, and I finally found a place to park. The only chairs available were at the back of the assembly, which was great, because, the Graduates entered the large hall from the back entrance, just behind me. As they slowly, step-by step, made their way up the aisle, I was turned around to see each Graduate as they “entered” the Main Hall area … I will never forget the look on this young man’s face, as he entered the “staging area” directly behind me … As he stepped into view … He saw me there on the back row … I’ll just never … ever … forget the huge smile that erupted from his face, as he realized I was there …

This young man had made a special trip to our High School, a couple of months before, to present me with the “ticket” to attend the ceremony … I, nor he, had any idea that he would be presented/awarded with an award at Graduation, that is the highest honor a Graduate could receive … in honor of Public Service … His Mother was a featured guest speaker at the Ceremony … His “sash” had the “USAF” banner … I was so proud of him … The photos of me and him, as he displayed his “Raymond Burton” Award, in full “cap and gown,” with the “USAF” sash draped across his shoulders, was one of the proudest moments of my life … eclipsed only by the opportunity to take several photos of him and his Mother … with her camera! I’ll just never forget that …

Then, on Friday, our High School had our Graduation ceremony.
More memories:
The young lady who sang the National Anthem, and whom I have written about in a previous post (I’m so proud of her!), practiced the Anthem … just outside the Library door … that is one picture I’ll always treasure …

I was able to fulfill a promise to another young man who had interned … and then volunteered … to help me in the Library this year. He is a proud member of the United States National Guard, and I had promised, if he would stop by, before Graduation, to take pictures of him (and us together) in his “Dress Blues,” which he proudly wore underneath his Graduation robe. He had just received his “PFC” ranking, and with his Insignia Pin, Award Medal, and sash proudly displaying “National Guard,” we were able to take his picture … and … which meant so much … “our” picture, in the Library …

I saw so many students … maybe, let’s be honest … I may have been seeing for the last time … who have helped me, on a volunteer basis, in the Library.
So many who just loved to stop by and visit …
So many … many students … maybe, let’s be honest … I may have been seeing for the last time …

It’s not that I may have meant much to them … that I may have influenced and affected their lives …
It’s how profoundly they have influenced and affected my life.
That they did … and do … mean so much to me.

As I saw the “caps and gowns” of some I have known since they were just “kids,”
I didn’t feel any older.
I felt prouder.

“And the class of ’57 had its dreams
But living life day-to-day
Is never like it seems
Things get complicated when you get past eighteen
But the class of ’57 had its dreams”

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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From 1965: “If I Were the Devil” by Paul Harvey

Hi Friends:

… Chills …
There are no words adequate to introduce this recording of Paul Harvey from 53 Years Ago.
There just aren’t words.
53 Years Ago.
… Chills …

His voice among the most recognizable in American History, Paul Harvey (September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009) broadcast his “News and Comment” on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous “The Rest of the Story” features.

From 1952 through 2008, Harvey’s programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. “Paul Harvey News” was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 American Forces Network stations, and 300 newspapers.

In his lifetime, he received 11 Freedom Foundation Awards, as well as the Horatio Alger Award. In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ most prestigious civilian award.

When I think of Paul Harvey, I remember
“Hello Americans,”
“Page Two …” (and Three and Four)
“From Chicago”
“Good Day!”
“Our For What it’s Worth Department”
“Among Today’s Sue-eerrss…”
“”He would not want us to mention his name … “
“Here’s a strange …”
“And now, you know … the rest of the story …”
On his 12:30 (Mid-day) show, he would always have the couple’s names who were celebrating the “most years together” anniversary.

I can’t think of Paul Harvey without thinking of his beloved wife, Angel.

And, now, I won’t think of Paul Harvey without thinking of this … stunning … chilling …
recording, made 53 years ago.
… Chills …

The words have been added to the audio recording of:
“If I Were the Devil,” by Paul Harvey.
53 Years Ago.
1965.
… Chills …

By the way … the time on the recording … 3:16
… Chills …

I Remember: “Free Air”

Hi Friends:

I remember when every Gas Station had an air hose … sometimes, it was between the gas pumps, and sometimes it was near (or just inside) the “Service Bay.”

Come to think of it … I remember Gas Stations … Real Gas Stations, where they would pump your gas, check your oil, and clean your windshields.
Just thinking about the term “Gas Station” brings back a lot of different “I Remember” categories.

I remember the saying that, “When gas was 25cents a gallon, they’d pump your gas, check your oil, clean your windshield, and you’d always get something free like a dish or a glass, or something free … Then, when gas got to be a dollar a gallon, they did none of this.”

Here’s another:
Yes … I remember … when gas was 1.00.
If you really want to get crazy … I remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon …

I remember when Daddy would stop and get gas, and he would never mention how much gas he wanted, by dollar amount, but by gallons. He’d say, “Give me 5 gallons.”

We don’t have a “Service Station” within driving distance, and, frankly, I don’t even know where the closest “Gas Station” is.

I remember, as time went by, in different towns I’ve lived in, that there was always one “Gas Station” in town. Where you could get gas, get air for your tires, and, they even would have an active Service Bay, with “Mechanic on Duty.” Often, this was where you would take your car to get it repaired, and it was the only place where you trusted the mechanic, because you knew him … maybe, even went to the same Church.

Gradually, one-by-one, these Gas Stations, where they would pump your gas for you, disappeared. Replaced by “Convenience Stores.” For a long while, these “Convenience Stores” offered “Free Air” to go with their gasoline.

I remember when there would be only one place left in town where they would pump your gas for you. Remember always pumping your own gas, even though they would do it for you?
I remember driving up, getting out, raising my hand in greeting, with an “I’ll get it” to let them know you knew how to do it.

I remember when you actually had to learn how to pump your own gas … how to operate a gas pump … when these things were new …
I remember when the “Self-Serve” or “Self-Service” signs were used.

Change happens gradually … even in the gasoline business.
I remember when many Gas Stations offered two distinct sets of gas pumps:
Full Service.
Self-Service.

I can remember, even then, going to the “Full Service” section, and pumping the gas myself.
It never seemed to bother me, then, that the “Full Service” gas cost more. If a gas pump was available, I’d spend an extra 30 cents to not have to wait in line.

I can also remember when ladies, in particular, didn’t like to pump their own gas. So, this helped keep these stations stay in business as long as they did.

I remember the “Mechanic on Duty” signs.
I remember the “Full Service” signs.
I remember when the Gas Station didn’t have coolers, or groceries. Maybe a couple of candy bars and chips, up at the counter (which was always dirty). They would only have a Coke machine, and that was it.

I remember the “hose” that stretched across the parking lot, running across the pumps … that, when you drove over it … it would make a bell ring … to alert the owner that someone was at the pump?
Remember that?

Ok … yes, I even remember, it was always something you had to do, when you were on your bicycle … you would have to, as least once … run over that hose … make that bell ring … maybe … and, of course, I would never do this … of course … but, you would, maybe, run over that hose a second time … or more … whatever it took to make the man come outside to see “who’s there.” The trick was to be gone as fast as you could pedal … before you got screamed at …

Riding your bicycle to “the store” was always a thrill … we would seem so “grown up” … and, we would always get air in our tires. At the very least, we would always stop at the air hose to check our tires.

I guess tires … and cars … have gotten so much better that we don’t need “Service Stations” anymore. I know that there are still “Full Service” stations left, but not as many.

I remember “Re-Treads.”
Just thought I’d throw that in.
I remember “Used Tires.”
I don’t even know if these are available anymore, but there was always that one place in town where you could buy “Used Tires.”

Which would account for, sooner rather than later … needing that “Free Air.”

I remember when Daddy always carried a “Tire Pump” in the trunk of the car.
They were always red.
I remember when all tires had tubes.

I remember when there was this new kind of tire … I didn’t understand it at the time … but, they came out with something called “Tubeless” Tires.

I remember when, along with the tire pump … you always carried a “Tube Repair Kit,” which always included at least one “Tube Patch.” Remember the shape of the can? The “sandpaper-like” top of the can? Remember the glue?

I remember that having “Free Air” was a “selling point” for a gas station or convenience store.
I used to always buy used tires … so … knowing where you could get air for your tires was a necessity.
I never dreamed you would, one day, have to pay for air.
But, then, I never dreamed that, one day, we would buy water.

Anyway, those gas stations and convenience would always have a big sign … like they were so proud of it … the sign, and air, would always be off to the side … I guess to handle the rush of folks waiting to avail themselves of this service … the sign would proudly proclaim:
“FREE AIR.”

If you know me, then you could see this:
I would love to park near the “Free Air” Sign, get out, and then go stand near the “Free Air” sign. I would make an exaggerated, big deal of it. I’d stand there … beside the sign … and, just breathe … in exaggerated motions, arms flailing in and out, chest heaving … your get the idea, and, proudly demonstrate for the passersby (and interested on-lookers), the fact that I was enjoying the “Free Air” that was advertised to be available … at that exact spot.
“Hey … over here … there is free air!!!”

Maybe this had something to do with why they don’t offer “Free Air” anymore.

At least, here in my town … “If you want air … you’ll have to pay for it …”

Here, you have to pay 1.50 for the air … for “Five Minutes of Air.” Seems like just last year, it was only 75 cents. Don’t get me wrong: I am thankful for this air … even if I have to pay for it. If you’ve got a tire going flat … how about the ‘ol slow leak … it’s a real bargain …
This machine even takes a credit card!
Even has a “chip reader!”

I have learned to get my money’s worth by taking the stems off the tire valves before I put the money in.
What a genius idea:
How do they make these machines to run out … while you are in the middle of filling up the fourth tire? It never seems to fail.

Which leads me to a quote I uttered recently, while I was making sure all the tires on my truck were properly inflated. This is a “must-do” after the Winter, when all the tires have been exposed to the cold concrete of the garage, or just being outside in the daytime.

Remember when “Make sure all the tires are properly inflated” was at the top of the list for trip preparation? I guess it still is.

Anyway, I was on my knees, filling up the tires, when a friend of mine, came out of the convenience store where the “Air Machine” is. We talked for a moment, and, from out of the blue, one of “those quotes” just came out.
As he was laughing at me (I’m sure he has an air compressor or air tank) for having to pay for the air … It just came out:

“I remember when the air in this Country used to be free.”

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

Quote: “Ready or Not, the Future Will Come”

Hi Friends:

I wanted to share this quote from a soon-to-be graduating Senior at our local High School.

One of our televisions in the Library is always tuned to a news channel, so current events are always “on display” for patrons to view, and, often, to share their thoughts about.
Today, like all days, the news was on, and, like always, we hear comments like “What’s this world coming to?” Or, concerns about “What’s going to happen next?” Needless to say, world political events, and especially the United States’ part in them, are always at the forefront of discussion, especially among adults.

I guess these are the same questions that mankind has had, to a certain degree, always. And, to a certain degree, “always” will have.

For a Senior graduating High School, getting ready to “step out there” for the first time, it does give a different angle to “all things become new.” I sensed the apprehension this young man had, as he contemplated the future … especially his future. We spoke about this, and then, “from out of nowhere,” seemingly grasping wisdom well beyond his years, he said this:

“The Future is going to come faster than you think it will.
The only thing is, “Are you prepared for it?”
Because only you can make your future become reality.
Everyone else can only help you from the sidelines.
Remember:
The future is going to come, whether you are ready or not.”

I Remember: “Bruno!” “Bruno!” “Bruno!”

And now, I must write about Bruno Sammartino.

I once wrote that “Mickey Mantle … was … well … Mickey Mantle.”

Bruno Sammartino was … well … Bruno Sammartino.

To me, like so many of you, when you hear the name “Bruno,” there is only one man’s image who comes to mind.

Many times, I’ve been to Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” and marveled at the large poster-displays of legends like Elvis Presley, Walt Frazier … and, Bruno Sammartino.

Bruno Sammartino.

If you are a baseball fan, you “just remember,” just know, Mickey Mantle’s lifetime batting average, how many home runs he had, what number he wore, etc.:

Please keep in mind that in these “I Remember” posts, I never research … I just write from memory, so here goes:
.298
536
Number 7
Etc.

I’m thinking that, in much the same way, you remember Bruno Sammartino:
Headlined at Madison Square Garden … and sold out Madison Square Garden … 188 times.
No one has even come close.
No one has even come close to coming close.
Set the World’s Bench Mark Record, “benching” 565 pounds. He held the weights for 2 seconds on his chest, before raising the weight. He did this without wrapping his wrists or elbows.
Known as “The World’s Strongest Man.”
Superman … “The Italian Superman.”
The Living Legend.
Wrestling 18 minutes with a broken neck.
A true gentleman.
Class personified.

Just last Summer, I was in Pittsburgh, in Bruno’s “hometown,” and spent time in Bruno’s old neighborhood, the “Oakland” section of Pittsburgh. A neighborhood where both Dan Marino and Andy Warhol were raised.

Yes … I know it was Professional Wrestling … but … Bruno held the World Championship longer than any man in history. He beat Buddy Rogers in 48 seconds (I still know that!) at Madison Square Garden, to win his first World Championship. That was in 1963.

Bruno would hold the World Championship (this first time) until January 18th, 1971. Think about how long a time that was. You guessed it:  No one has even come close. No one has even come close to coming close. I have to look this up to make sure: seven years, eight months, and one day (2,803 days). I think of those who grew up during the Great Depression. The only President of the United States they knew was Franklin Roosevelt. In much the same way, kids growing up during this time only knew Bruno Sammartino as Champion.
Bruno lost the title to Ivan Koloff, at Madison Square Garden, on January 18, 1971.
I mention that date to bring back the memory.

A couple of days ago, I watched that match on YouTube. At the end of the match, the announcer said, “You can hear a pin drop at Madison Square Garden.”
Grown men were seen weeping in the crowd.
Later, Bruno would say that he thought he had suffered ear damage, because he could not hear the crowd. His ears were fine. The sold-out crowd was just that stunned.

 Interestingly, one of our favorite shared videos, and most popular, features Ivan Koloff, sharing his testimony of how Jesus saved him, and brought him into the ministry.

Here’s a quick link to that story and video:

https://pastorappreciationblog.com/2013/07/26/special-video-testimony-ivan-koloff/

Yes, Bruno would re-gain the World Championship in 2 years, defeating Stan Stasiak. Remember that?

As I’ve gotten older, do you know what I remember most, think about most, when I think of Bruno Sammartino?
His story.
And … how it inspires me.
How much his family went through.
This is what I remember:

What a thrill it is to see those old videos of Bruno, and, in the introduction, “From Abruzzo, Italy” … I have a special connection to Italy … Yes, Bruno’s family would move to Pittsburgh, but, the way his story began …

There were seven children, and Bruno was the youngest. Four (yes, 4) of the children would die during Bruno’s childhood. Bruno’s father would go on ahead to Pittsburgh, but, before his children could follow … World War II broke out, and Germany invaded Italy … Bruno’s mother took her children, including a young, sickly Bruno, and hid out in the nearby mountains. They would hide all day in the mountains, and then, at night, Bruno’s mother, Amelia, would sneak into town, under cover of darkness, gather whatever food and supplies she could find, and bring them back to her children …

It was a miracle, but, Bruno, underweight, and sick, somehow survived. I’ve heard Bruno speak of this … how sick and weak he was … how he wished his mother “could see her little Bruno now … “

When Bruno arrived in Pittsburgh with his remaining family, he was little, weak, and sickly. He could speak no English. Want to imagine what a target he became to local bullies?

Accidents happen. Even in a well-planned event.
On April 26, 1976 (I did have to check the exact date), at Madison Square Garden, Bruno wrestled Stan Hansen (yes, we remember “the Lariat” and Borger, Texas). Something went wrong. Bruno suffered a “neck fracture.” Yes, a broken neck. Bruno literally, and I mean literally, for real, had his neck fractured during the match. A broken neck. In the middle of the match. I’ll never forget it … because of what happened next … and, next … and, next …

Bruno Sammartino wrestled for another 18 minutes … another 18 minutes … with a broken neck … a broken neck …
He wrestled for 18 minutes with a broken neck. Bruno would later say that his doctors advised him that he came within a millimeter of being paralyzed from the neck down. I remember the cover of the Wrestling magazines, with Bruno on a stretcher … with the neck brace on, and everything …

Keep in mind that I, like many of you, lived “way out in the boonies,” so we only got a couple of local TV channels, so we only got to “see” our heroes in magazines … which made them, somehow, even more of a hero …

Was this real? Yes, it was. I’ve written how, because of how honest my Father was, I never doubted the story of Abraham Lincoln walking 5 miles to return a book. In the same way, I never doubted how tough Bruno was. My dad was that tough, so I never doubted how tough Bruno was. 

By the way … remember? … the rematch with Stan Hansen had to be held at Shea Stadium … Madison Square Garden would have been too small to hold the crowd … Yes … Shea Stadium … I’ve seen that match, too …

I’ll probably watch that one again tonight …

Today, Saturday, as I do laundry, the grocery shopping, the bills, and, instead of going outside to enjoy the first “almost warm” sunny day in recent memory, I write … I remember … What a privilege it is, to be able to share my thoughts on the great Bruno Sammartino.
Not the wrestler.
The man.
The gentleman.

This week, once again, grown men, including myself, were “seen weeping” over a Bruno Sammartino loss … The Great Bruno Sammartino …

Here is a video announcement of Bruno’s death, from KDKA Television in Pittsburgh … where we hear Bruno speak of his Mother … Note the look in his eyes … the sound of his voice … as he says, “My Mom showed the courage of a lion … I don’t know if I’d been man enough to do what she did …”

 

The Slide Show: John Michael Montgomery’s “The Little Girl”

Recently, we featured the song “The Little Girl,” written by Harley Allen, and sung by John Michael Montgomery, from his album “Brand New Me,” which was released in August, 2000.

I wrote how I had wanted to do a “slide show” of this song, but never got around to it. Years later, I had never forgotten the song, or wanting to feature it, in some format, some day.

Here’s a link to that post:
“The Little Girl:” John Michael Montgomery

I found a “slide show” done to the song, and feature it now.

I will admit, readily, that, frankly, I went “back and forth, back and forth” about sharing this. Yes, I received notes like “That’s the saddest song I’ve ever heard.”

When I featured the song, I wrote:
I think about how blessed I’ve been, how fortunate I’ve been, and, I think of this verse:
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”
Psalm 27:10

I thought … and thought … about sharing this slide show. It does have some disturbing images.
But … Not all of them are.

However … it is about life … which can, for so many … carry “disturbing images.”
But … Not all of them are.

However … I then realized that … it’s not about the beginning … it’s about the ending …
Now, that’s a familiar theme …

Now, I’m reminded of this verse:
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8
That was written by King Solomon, considered to be the wisest man who ever lived.

The beginning of this story does carry some disturbing images.
The beginning of many of our lives carry some disturbing images.

I thought, “Our only goal, our Mission Statement here, is
“To bless, inspire, and encourage.”

Well … this story “ends well.” In fact, it blesses, inspires, and encourages me.
My heart breaks at the beginning … and … guess what?
When I went in and watched this, just now … for “the hundredth time” … those were real tears I was wiping away …
Why do I feel “it’s the right thing to do” to feature this?
Because those tears came at the end of the slide show … not the beginning …

Disturbing images?
Maybe … just maybe … I need to be disturbed … I need to “feel as He feels,” heart breaking, as He sees choices made, and “at what cost.” Maybe I do need to be reminded to care more … to pray more … to do more … Maybe I do need to be “disturbed” …

Plus … I really love the ending … It “gets me every time.” The fact that it features the Police and Military, two groups I respect and admire … and, then … there is Jesus … He died for me, too … He loves me, too … He cares for me, too …

It’s not about the beginning …

In my research, I found this profound statement on the website, Greater Grace World Outreach,” in a commentary on the verse from Ecclesiastes:
“We are not able to know how something will end by the way it started.”

Great News! Praise God! “The Buzzards are Circling!”

Hi Friends:
It’s funny how you can take one “old saying,” and apply it to two different circumstances, and it mean two totally different things.

All my life, the saying that “The Buzzards are Circling” was a bad thing.

A very bad thing.
In fact, it always meant that, as bad as things are now … they were about to get worse.

That is … until I moved into the North Country.
To the Great North Woods.
A place where even words like “Spring” have a totally different meaning than from anywhere else in the Country.

A little over 2 weeks ago, our version of “Spring” arrived.
As with a lot of things “up here,” what things mean “everywhere else” means something different here.

Please don’t take this as “always negative,” either. It’s amazing the difference that even something like “an old saying” can take on a totally different meaning … based solely upon the attitude of the person who is saying it. That’s the case with this “Buzzards are Circling” phrase. All my life, it has meant that things were going to go from bad to worse … and, that fact was so evident that even the buzzards knew it.

We all know what buzzards do. Like so many things we may consider as “undesirable,” they have a purpose and a benefit.

I’m thinking that the saying “The Buzzards are Circling” came from the Old West, here in the United States. My earliest memories of hearing the phrase came from watching those old Western movies, where, at a really bad time, the characters, always in a desperate situation with no hope for rescue, would look up to the skies … where, sure enough, the buzzards would be circling. We all knew what they were waiting for. What they were expecting to happen.
So, this phrase, it just went without saying, meant that all hope was gone. It’s over. I mean … things are so bad, that … well … the buzzards are circling …

Enter the Great North Woods.
Literally.

The land across the road from our house is wooded.
Tall, tall pine trees.
Thick branches.
Perfect for roosting.
Guess what roosts every year in the top of those big pine trees?
Buzzards.
Guess when they begin to gather and roost in these trees?
At the end of Winter.
Not, necessarily, at the beginning of Spring.
But, at the end of Winter.

I honestly don’t know where they stay during the Winter months.
I really don’t.
I mean, I see them all Winter, all over the countryside.
But, they don’t roost here.
I don’t know where they stay all Winter.
All I know is that they show up, like clockwork, at Winter’s end, a couple of hours before dark.
First, only a couple of buzzards are seen circling around the trees.
Then, as we get closer and closer to dusk, the number increases.
Increases greatly.
You see them circling … first, in wide circles … then, gradually, the circles get smaller … and smaller … until, one by one, they land in the tops of the trees.
You can hear their wings ruffle as they get comfortable in the trees.
You can see them, through the branches, as you hear them “settle in for the night.”

Again, they only start doing this at the end of Winter … and, they continue to roost there all Summer, and deep into the Fall.

So … after such a long, long, cold, cold, seemingly never-ending Winter … last Wednesday, the last week of March … they started to arrive.
What an allegory this is … they arrived Wednesday evening … only a couple to begin with … but they were here!
Praise God!
The buzzards are circling!
Let me say that again:
Praise God!
The buzzards were circling!

Remember that early line about how even an “old saying” can take on a completely different meaning, based solely upon who was speaking it?
I clearly remember, last Wednesday evening, being on the front porch, and saying this, out loud, and I mean out loud:
“Thank you Jesus!
The buzzards are circling!”

God is so good.
So good!
He can even take something like that old saying, those words, and turn them into a praise report!

Oh yeah?
Yeah!
“Well, how is it now?”

Well … I’m looking out the office window, at 5:00PM on Friday, April 6.
What do I see?
Not buzzards.
It looks more like “blizzard.”
Good ‘ol North Country.

That’s ok.
We’ve been blessed.
So it’s snowing.
Hard.
This morning, when I left for School … it was 12 degrees.
But … the buzzards are circling!
It didn’t feel that cold.
Ok … that’s because we just finished a wind storm (good ‘ol high gusty winds with below freezing temperatures), and,
because the wind had subsided, it felt warmer.
How high has the wind been?
One of our neighbors, at School today, asked if we’d lost any trees.
So, 12 degrees, with no wind, was a blessing.
Plus … the buzzards are circling!

Man! I’m still looking outside, and it still looks like a blizzard.
Good ‘ol April 6th!
But … a few minutes ago, about 4:30 … through the snow … as I stood on the front porch … I could make out … through the snow … yes it was …
A buzzard circling!
I saw, and heard, him land in the treetop across the road, and heard the ruffling of his feathers …
Any minute now … more buzzards would be circling through the snow …
We’re at the end of Winter!
I look outside the window again:
Man, those are some big flakes!

I just looked out the back window.
Those are some big flakes!
I rush back to the office to make sure I read the calendar right. Yes … and, this last Sunday was, in fact, Easter.
Yep … Today is April 6.
Baseball season has started.
I gotta get back out to that front porch …
I gotta see more buzzards!
I also gotta make sure I’ve got gas in the snow-blower …

I write of all this, because we have readers all over who just find it so hard to believe that the weather is really “like this.”
It is.
They always ask questions like “How do you handle it?”
(I know they really mean something like “What are you, crazy???)
Anyway, when I left for School this morning, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Beautiful.
What does this mean?
Stick around … it’ll change.
Enter the Great North Woods.

Here’s how we “handle it” in the North Country:
When I left School this afternoon, it had already begun to snow.
I left the School parking lot, and up ahead, a couple of blocks away … through the snow … I could make out an image …
A student, who lives a couple of blocks from the School, was shooting hoops, out in front of his house.
Keep in mind that it is snowing.
This student has a basketball goal at the end of his driveway, so he has to “dribble” in the street. There he was, shooting hoops …
as the snow continued to fall … wearing the “hoodie” which we up in New England have come to love … big deal … he was outside, Friday
after School … snow falling … big deal … he was playing basketball, and hitting layups …
Did he know we were officially at the end of Winter?
Did he know the buzzards had begun to circle?

A couple of streets down … snow falling heavier now … I glance off to the right … the baseball field …
Yep … there they were …. as the snow continued to fall …
Baseball practice.
Baseball practice.
Looks like everyone showed up.
Baseball practice.
As the snow falls.
Did they somehow know that it was the end of Winter?
Did they somehow know that the buzzards had returned?
Did they know, for a week now, that the buzzards had been circling?

For our friends “all over,” who are complaining about the cold weather, this is how we “handle” the weather “up here.”
Yes … the buzzards are indeed circling …
Let’s grab our bats, mitts and gloves … let’s get out there and practice our layups …

For … Praise God … “The Buzzards are Circling.”

Wow! Those are some really big flakes.
That’s ok:
The buzzards are circling!

Just so you know … we’ve used 6 tons … plus 20 bags of wood pellets, in our stove … so far …
For those keeping score … that is 12,800 pounds of wood fuel pellets …

But … Thank you, Jesus … The buzzards are circling!

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.