A Cup of Cold Water

There  are very few things any more satisfying or refreshing than a  cup of cold water on  a sweltering hot day. In my neck of the woods, there have been  a bunch of those kind of days  lately. As  a letter carrier, I am out in the midst of that heat on  a daily basis, so it is crucially important to maintain an adequate supply of liquids.

I have a couple of folks on my route that are  kind enough to provide  some welcome refreshment when  I am delivering their mail. I am always very thankful for their kindness since it is something they do willingly out of the goodness of their hearts.

Their action brought a verse of scripture to mind, Mark 9:41.

                For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I( Jesus) say to you, he shall not lose his reward.

In New Testament days, water was  a precious commodity as it still is in that part of the world. Saudi Arabia, for example , has to obtain virtually all of its water through desalinization. So, a gift of water was a precious gift indeed. Fortunately, water is not that hard to obtain for us. But, for me, it is still  a precious and highly appreciated gift.

So, to these who give, I say, Shalom!


July 7, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where has it gone and what did I do with it?

Several years ago, Billy Crystal starred in the movie, City Slickers. It was a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed for its comedy, Norman the calf, crusty old Jack Palance, as well  the comic genius of Crystal himself. But it was much more than a comedy. Its premise of three friends in various stages of midlife crisis was really well done and thought-provoking as well. I am uncertain if I have had my mid- life crisis although I have definitely passed the mid-life part. Unlike Crystal and friends I have zero desire to go on a cattle drive .

There was a phrase spoken by one of the main characters which has begun to resonate with me of late, or rather its meaning has. For me, it goes something like this. What if you have already done the best you’re going to do, achieved your potential whatever it was, in life and career and relationships. And therefore, everything from here on out is a gradual downhill slide into mediocrity or even worse irrelevance?  Maybe this says it better, you’ve done the best you’re going to ver do and it wasn’t all that good?

Sounds sorta morose does it not, which is exactly how Crystal and friends felt in the movie. But as often happens in the the c inematic world, there is  not closure but rather a chance for redemption, another chance one might say.

Alas, life does not always imitate art and  I am abit apprenhensive that it will not in my particular case. This would be  a good time to be a politician, if there ever is. At the time when the careers of most are winding down, the career of the politician is just getting underway. Think otherwise, then look at the ages of  our senators and representatives. And vying to join them from the Tar Heel State is 64-year-old Elaine Marshall. She is now our Secretary of State but  running for the U S Senate. Seems that Ponce de Leon  was off on the location of the Fountain of Youth by a few hundred miles. It is not in Florida, but  749 miles to the north in Washington, DC.

For the vast majority of us, we never find that fountain at all.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Life, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Burgundy Potato


The Baked Potato-Before

Ever since I was a child, the lowly spud has been one of all time favorite foods and it remains so today. But  the potato of which I write is not an edible variety, but rather one that was at one time mobile.

Almost a decade ago, when I was a very new rural mail carrier substitute, I needed to replace my delivery vehicle. Rural carriers deliver out of their own  vehicles and it is an ongoing struggle to find and keep transportation. At this particular time, I was fortunate to but  a vehicle from a fellow carrier who had just upgraded. Turns out that the $500 I paid was one of the smartest purchases I have ever made.

The vehicle in question was a 1979 Ford LTD, nicknamed the baked potato since  there was a small hole in the floorboard that allowed heat to enter. It had been plugged  with aluminum foil, I believe.

Not long after the purchase, I was delivering mail from tis vehicle when I was rear ended by a truck traveling at a rather high rate of speed. Although sitting still at the time, my vehicle was propelled  about 100 feet or  so down an embankment and into a tree.

To this day, I consider myself very blessed to have been uninjured except for being very shaken up. The wife still thinks I suffered a minor concussion but for some inexplicable reason, I declined medical attention. ( Duh!!)

When you view the “after” pictures you will no doubt share my amazement at being unhurt. I have never been a big fan of Ford products but I shall always

be indebted to the vehicle that became known as yes, the mashed potato!

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Stop,Norway

A study has been released by the UN  that ranks the quality of life for 182 countries.The annual human development report was issued Monday in Bangkok by the UN development program. The index factors in life expectancy, literacy,school enrollment and  per capita gross domestic product.

Alas, we are not #1. But we are #13, well up in the category called very high human development. That section numbers some 38 countries or about 20% of the total. The list is headed by Norway, which is geographically very close to Denmark, which ranked #16. Hang on to that information for later.

The data that makes up theses rankings is from 2007 and comes from a variety of sources, many, it not most,affiliated with the UN. There is no doubt  alot of interesting data in these rankings and in depth analysis would reveal some quite interesting  things.For my part, I am  a bit curious as to how the US ranked where it did. It appears that a somewhat significant factor is life expectancy, which is lower here  than in  all of those countries  ranked higher. We also do not fare so well in gross domestic product per capita.

But anyway, it appears that the differences in the top tier are relatively small ones. I thought it interesting that some countries ranked higher than I would have expected and vice versa. For example, Saudi Arabia ranks about a third of the way down while Cyprus  and the United Arab Emirates ranked significantly higher than the Saudis.

It seems that the UN goal is human development, in the sense of people reaching their fullest potential. The paradigm was developed by Dr Mahbub ul Haq of Pakistan, whose country, ironically ranks #141, near the bottom of the medium human development section.

Anyway, what to make of all this, briefly. Are theses kinds of statistical tools a method to  squueze the richer countries into doing more for those countries who lack resources, to simply publicize the disparities as a shame on you sort of thing? Perhaps, but for one not inclined to trust the UN approach in hardly anything, I remain suspicious. Oh, by the way, perhaps these numbers shed some light on the Obamas trip to Copenhagen. Denmark is ranked rather high and that Norway looks rather good from across the border. Maybe we need to come again with a little more time to  spend. Only kidding, a little. Oh yes, almost forgot. Our ranking would be much higher without the drag of the Bush effect.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Life | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“I’m On Vacatioooooooon” !

city_slickersAnd so it is. One glorious work free week all to myself. But what to do with all this time. I’m not one who plans a lot ahead, so no great things to anticipate. Unlike City Slickers star Billy Crystal, there is no cattle drive, no Curly, and no Norman the calf on my schedule. So, Helll000, what does one one  do with unscheduled time?

I should correct the above slightly, there is a tentative road trip ahead but plans are not totally finalized. To be honest, I won’t mind sleeping  a bit later, reading a bit more and just being unscheduled. The nature of my occupation requires a fairly strict adherence to a schedule. Certain things have to be done within a certain period of time. Thus the appeal of not being required to punch a time clock.

OK, let us review some options- yard work, house cleaning; nothing le magnifique there is it? Got to be something else, some other possibilities.

Or, to borrow a line from the movie where Billy Crystal says” Have you ever had the feeling that this is the best I’m ever gonna do, this is the best I’m ever gonna feel… and it ain’t that great” ?

And that time has already come and gone?

June 8, 2009 Posted by | Life, Media | 2 Comments

What Would be your Keepers ?

From time to time I wonder what I would do if told I had to get out of my house in say 30 minutes and could only take what I could carry . Today was one of those days . As an aside , my wife tells me on occasion that she thinks I have already gotten rid of almost everything I own so what could be left . Anyway , back to my keeper selections . These are in no particular order of importance . Should you choose to do that with your list of keepers that will be acceptable . So, gotta take the computer ( thank goodness for flat screen monitors ) , a favorite Bible that I have had for years and in which I have made lots of notes, a small metal box that holds things like birth certificates and favorite keepsakes , and finally here was the tough one . I have a significant collection of North Carolina  memorabilia  (ergo the blog title ) and coudnt decide if it all would make the cut . However, thanks to the miracle of Glad trash bags that problem would be surmounted . In looking back at my little list , I had to wonder what it says about me, especially when  one considers the phrase you are the company you keep . Anyway , have some fun and make thyself a list .

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Life | , , , | Leave a comment