U.C.M. Newsletter of Joy, Humor, Laughter, and Inspiration
Editor: Rev. Doti Boon
Vol. 9 pg. 33 (08-19-10)
I am thankful for what God is giving me
and all of the miracles in my life.
It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail. Old Ed would stroll along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walked out to the end of the pier, where it seemed he had the world to himself, the glow of the sun a golden bronze as it dipped into the Atlantic.
Standing on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts and his bucket of shrimp.
Shortly he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking their way toward the lanky frame on the end of the pier.
Dozens of seagulls circle him; their wings flutter and flap wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. If you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, ‘Thank you.” Thank you.”
In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn’t leave. He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.
When he begins to walk back toward the beach, a few birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the wooden stairs, and then they too fly away. Old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.
If you were there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like ‘a funny old duck,’ as my dad used to say. Or, ‘a guy that’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,’ as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s just another old codger, lost in his own world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.
Rituals can look very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant…maybe even a lot of nonsense.
Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters.
Most would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida. That’s too bad. They’d do well to know him better.
His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero back in World War I and II, earning the Medal of Honor during WW I.
During WW II, he carried out special assignments for Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War. In October, 1942, he was the oldest member of the crew as he flew a B-17, on a mission to help General Douglas MacArthur. His plane crashed into the Pacific. Miraculously, all the men survived and climbed into a life raft.
Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters. They fought the sun. They battled sharks. Most of all, they wrestled with hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food! No water! They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.
They needed a miracle. That afternoon they decided to do a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose.
Time dragged. All he heard was the slap of the waves against the raft.
Suddenly, something landed on the top of his cap. It was a seagull! Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and the starving crew made a meal – a very slight meal for eight men. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait…and the cycle continued. They were able to endure the rigors of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea).
Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull. And he never stopped saying, “Thank you.” That’s why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.
Reference: (Max Lucado, In The Eye of the Storm, pp. 221, 225-226)
PS: Eddie started Eastern Airlines. He died in 1973
Some Delightful Jokes
A temporary Sunday School teacher was struggling to open a combination lock on the supply cabinet. She had been told the combination, but couldn’t quite remember. Finally, she went to the pastor’s study and asked for help.
The pastor came into the room and began to turn the dial. After the first two numbers he paused and stared blankly for a moment, and then he looked serenely heavenward while his lips moved silently. Suddenly he looked back at the lock and quickly turned to the final number, opening the lock.
The teacher was amazed. “I’m in awe at your faith, pastor,” she said.
“It’s really nothing,” the pastor answered. “The number is on a piece of tape on the ceiling.”
A minister, while opening his mail one morning, discovered in one envelope a letter with only one word written inside: “FOOL.”
The next Sunday he announced, “I have known many people who have written letters and forgot to sign their name. However, this week I received a letter from someone who signed his name but forgot to write the letter.”
My minister was making a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he was pounding away, he noticed that a little boy was watching him. The youngster didn’t say a word, so the preacher kept on working, thinking the boy would leave.
However, the little boy didn’t leave. Pleased at the thought that his work was being admired, the pastor finally said, “Well, son, trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?”
“No,” the little boy replied. “I’m just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer.”
“Do you believe in life after death?” a boss asked one of his younger employees.
“Well then, I guess that makes everything okay,” the boss said, “because about an hour after you left yesterday to go to your grandfather’s funeral, he stopped in to see you.”
A church was preparing for Christmas services, and the pastor decided he wanted a banner made for the entryway. The job was promptly delegated to a church member.
The member called the banner company and told the man on the phone the banner lettering he wanted and the dimensions needed for the entryway.
A few days later the sign arrived, with the following lettering: “Unto Mary Jesus was born, six feet long and two feet wide”.
Coming out of church recently, Mrs. Smith asked her husband, “Do you think that Johnson girl is tinting her hair?”
“I didn’t notice,” admitted Mr. Smith.
“And that dress Mrs. Davis was wearing,” continued Mrs. Smith, “Really, don’t tell me you think that’s the proper outfit for a mother of two.”
“I’m afraid I didn’t notice that either,” said Mr. Smith.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” snapped Mrs. Smith. “A lot of good it does you to go to church!”
An old miser at last went to his reward and presented himself at the Pearly Gates.
St. Peter greeted him with appropriate jubilation and escorted him to his new abode. Walking past numerous elegant mansions they finally arrived at a dilapidated old shack at the end of the street.
The old miser, much taken aback, asked, “Why am I left with a rundown shack when all of these others have fine mansions?”
“Well, sir,” replied St. Peter, “we did the best we could with the money you sent us.”
A devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later a cow walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth.
The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the cow’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward, and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”
“Not really,” said the cow. “Your name is written inside the cover.”