No, HERE’S What We Are Going To Do, “Mister” Policeman…

I will need to make a disclaimer for this week’s story. I have good friends who are policemen/women, and they are good, honest, caring, and the kind of honorable professionals who would truly give their lives to protect you. This story is NOT about them and should not be considered as my opinion of this particular profession.

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I DID NOT WANT HIM!! I was doing just fine being the baby girl, and then, suddenly, one day, they brought him home. They tell me that I went out to the carport, sat on the steps, placed my head on my arms, and sobbed my little heart out. At least that’s what I did until Grandma came out, scooped me up in her lap and arms, and whispered the words that I so badly needed to hear…”You can be my baby…” And that was that! My world was fixed for the moment. Of course, I was still going to have to deal with him…

As you can tell by the expression on my face in the photo, my feelings for the little fella changed…I grew to adore him. He ended up being “my baby,” and I have loved him all of his life. I am his fierce protector and friend…ALWAYS looking out for him and taking care of him….no matter how old he gets…and tomorrow is his birthday. He is four years younger than me, and do we have stories…

As most of you know, my Father was a minister, which made us four children “preacher’s kids.” Out of the four of us, my brother was the only one that rebelled against everything that he was taught. From the period of high school to early adulthood, he was into everything…especially alcohol and drugs. My parents tried everything within their power to help, guide, and attempt to get him to realize that he had a huge problem. After one too many incidents and car accidents, my Mother told him, “No more! If you are involved in any other type of altercation or accident, do NOT call me of your father. We won’t be coming to help you!” We knew they meant it! I tried to help him with everything that was in me, but it fell on deaf ears. I tried to get him to understand that there would be no “next time” with Mother and Daddy. I could not, for the life of me, understand how this precious child/young man, who I loved more than life itself, had gotten so messed up.

I happened to be home visiting with my folks on this particular weekend. My brother left for a night of partying with his friends. At 1:00a.m. Mother got the call from the hospital…my brother had just wrapped his car around a telephone pole, right at the entrance of our little town’s hospital. In fact, the hospital was using emergency generators, as his wreck had knocked out their electrical power. I found out later that the emergency room staff had been listening to the police chase on their radios before the accident occurred. Mother came to my room and woke me up with the news. She said, “I’m not going to the hospital. I told him that if he did not straighten up, I would not come the next time.” She was crying as she spoke the words. I was shocked, even though I knew it was the right decision, and she and Daddy had to stand firm. So I got dressed as quickly as I could, and dashed out to the hospital.

I got to the hospital and they let me in to see him as soon as I arrived. Fortunately, he only had a few cuts and bruises. God had spared his life one more time. He was crying for Mother, and I explained that she would not be coming. He cried harder, repentant and asking forgiveness…with both of us knowing that he would not change…At that moment, one of the policemen, who had been chasing him (quite a few times…not just this particular night) asked to see me outside. We stepped out into the darkness at the entrance of the emergency room. He brought out a little white bag of cocaine and said, “We found this in your brother’s car. I’m going to have to arrest him.” In that moment, I remembered that little baby boy being brought home, all of our loving times together, and now this policeman was telling me that he was going to prison. I then did something unexpected. I looked at that cop, and said, “NO! You are NOT going to arrest my brother! You are going to let me take him, away from this town, and you will never see him again!” He said, “You know I cannot do that. I have to take him in!” And I said, “If you arrest my brother, I will tell your wife (a friend of mine) about the affair you are having with…(and I spoke the name of the young lady with whom he was involved).” He knew I was speaking the truth, and that I would not hesitate to follow through. My heart was beating a mile a minute as I waited for his answer. He slowly put the bag of cocaine back in this jacket, and said, “Get him out of here!” I did!!

And as they say….the rest is history…I did take him away from that little small town, and he did live with me for a number of years afterwards. There were “slip-ups”…I would find the occasional bag of marijuana…he had my car impounded while I was away on a business trip…but the end result was what I was hoping and praying for. He ended up getting his life together. I got to introduce him to the lady who became his wife. Together, they have been ministers for most of their lives. A happy ending after all…He will never know the number of prayers that were whispered for him by literally hundreds of people…CONSTANTLY! He was given that “second chance,” and has worked hard to “make it count.”

Don’t ever say “never.” If you had asked me beforehand, if I would ever blackmail a policeman, I would have thought that you were out of your mind…preposterous! However, in that moment, realizing the ramifications of my brother’s choices, and how those choices were going to impact his future, I acted in the only way that I could…The only way that my heart and love would allow. (And just for the record, I found out about 10 years ago that my brother did NOT have any cocaine in his car, or on his person, that night. He had every other kind of drug, but not cocaine. It was a setup!) My message for this week is this: keep having hope and believing in miracles. Don’t ever give up! Remember, someone, somewhere is whispering your name in prayer…Won’t you join me? Just for this week….

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Come on out, Wolf!

A while back, we lived for a year at the top of a mountain near the Smokies. It was absolutely gorgeous! The swing on the porch faced those magnificent mountains, and there was a “drop-dead, take your breath away” sunrise and sunset every day! A friend of mine lived in her own little chalet, one mile down the mountain from our home. That sets the scene, now to the story…

The mountain where we lived was fairly remote, and most of the people who lived there, had been born in the area…really good people, and certainly what you would refer to as “mountain people.” They either liked you, or not…NO in between. Fortunately, for us, we fell into the first category. Strangers would drive out from the various towns around us and do the unthinkable…drop off unwanted puppies and cats, leaving them to fend for themselves against the elements of nature and the wild. Most of us on the mountain would either adopt the ones we found, or try to find good homes for them elsewhere.

My friend “down the mountain” had as soft of a heart as I did, so when this “part hound dog/part wolf/part German Shepard pup started hanging around her house, she took him in. She named him “Wolf!” He was the sweetest dog you would ever meet. He finally grew  into his paws and was a massive sight to behold!

One night Wolf got into a fight with some other animal on the mountain, and received a severe scratch to one of his eyes. His “Mama” rushed him to the vet, had him cared for, and returned to the mountain with instructions to clean and apply drops to the injured eye twice a day…otherwise, Wolf would lose vision in that eye. Not a problem for my friend; however, she could not do it by herself, he was too big to manage. Enter, the friends from up the mountain…namely, me…I would go down twice a day, and help my buddy hold Wolf, while she applied the drops.

She had to go out of town a few days on a business trip, and asked if I would go down and apply Wolf’s eye drops while she was gone. Of course, I said “Yes!” I “coerced” a friend into helping me. We were successful the first few times, but Wolf quickly caught on to what our arrival meant…

On this particular night, Wolf ran upstairs to one of the bedrooms. I followed him in the dark and was trying to coax him from under the bed. I was down on my hands and knees, talking ever so sweetly, when my “helper” came up behind me and asked, “Cat, what ARE you doing?” I said, “I am TRYING to get Wolf out from under the bed so we can put the drops in his eye.” She said, “You don’t say…” and flipped the light switch on. Standing directly behind her was Wolf! I quickly turned back around to see “who” or “what” I had been trying to coax from under the bed….and there before me was the cutest little rocking horse that I had ever seen. I had just spent the last ten minutes trying to talk a rocking horse into coming out from under the bed! We were laughing so hard, that we almost never got the eye drops in.

Sometimes we think we are doing “exactly the right thing,” when in reality, we don’t have a clue! I was so busy taking care of Wolf, that it never crossed my mind that he was not even in the room. I was not paying attention to any of the “signs,” because I was SO convinced that he was in the room. People give us “signs” everyday and we ignore the messages…continuing to see things “our” way, or the way we “think” it should be. I’m going to start paying more attention to those signals…and I think I will stop talking to rocking horses under beds…Won’t you join me? Just for this week….

You stole something from someone???

Hope everyone has had an excellent week! I cannot believe we are in August already. WHERE did the summer go? School is upon us, so I thought another “going to school” story would be in order…

I have twin sisters who are three years older than me (something I like to remind them of on occasion…). Being older meant they got to go to school before me. They would come home each afternoon telling me of all the activities, events, and fun times they were having. I just could NOT wait until I was old enough to go to school. I pictured myself sitting in a little desk, learning how to write, add and subtract, having such fun at recess, and making a lot of new friends. The day finally came around and my dream came true…I was going to school! For some reason, however, it just did not turn out as I had planned. I got THREE zeros (out of a possible score of 100), AND I got a spanking on the first day! You won’t be able to guess what it was for….OK, I’ll tell you…TALKING!!

We were in our little reading circle, and the teacher was called out of the room for a moment. Before she left, she told us to remain quiet (which I guess is the meaning of “not talking”). Of course, as soon as she vacated the room, I could not possibly have sat there and kept my mouth shut. (Those of you who know me personally, know this to be true…) I started talking, and as a result, all of us in the reading circle were talking when the teacher returned. She simply went over, got her little paddle, and “made the circle,” lightly tapping each of our legs. I was devastated! However, I learned a valuable lesson that day: you don’t talk when the teacher leaves the room and has told you NOT to talk. As an aside, I will tell you that throughout my school years, I had to write the sentence, “I will not talk in class.” about a zillion times…And by the way, I ended up having the teacher, Ms. Bertie, for first and second grade, and loved her so much that we kept in contact till her death (and she lived to be 90+). She taught me more than I can convey, but that is not really the story for this week. It is just the “lead in.”

My family was poor. We never lacked food or clothing, or any other item that was a “necessity,” however, there was never any money left for “frivolities.” We were rich in family and love! (And to be honest, I did not KNOW we were poor until I became an adult…) When I went to school that first year, I saw students who had EVERYTHING…the neatest erasers, the neatest notebooks, the neatest book sacks. As a young child, it was extremely hard not to notice those things. This one kid (and I will be honest, I cannot remember whether it was a boy or girl) had a way cool notebook. I would watch them open it, write in it, close it, and place it in the little “cubby hole” under their desk seat. I coveted that notebook. I dreamed about that notebook. I wanted that notebook. And I was going to get it….One day, the notebook was left out, unattended. No one was in the classroom, and certainly no one was watching me. I grabbed that notebook, placed it in my little cubby hole, and sat with my jacket covering the seat of my desk, so that no one could see the stolen item. The minute I took it, I felt horrible; however, I wrapped it up in my jacket and took it home with me. Once I got the notebook home, I hid it in my room from my sisters and parents. I could not even look any of them in the eye. I was so ashamed of what I had done, that I could not tell anyone about it…and I certainly could not USE the notebook. I was so filled with guilt and remorse, and I couldn’t return the stolen property, without confessing what I had done, so I just threw the notebook away where no one would find it. I never stole anything from anyone EVER again for the rest of my life. Lesson learned.

Now here is the kicker to that story…to this very day, I wish I could have confessed to that person, and asked their forgiveness. If I knew who the person was, I would track them down, right now, tell them the story, apologize, and ask them to forgive me. It has bothered me that much! There are very few incidents in my life that I regret, but this is one of them…I knew right from wrong, and I knew that you NEVER took something that did not belong to you. It was not, and is not, who I am. You see, I DO have a conscience. I think you should earn what you have, not just take it from someone else. Won’t you join me? Just for this week….

I did what you said….

It seems that it is back to school time…everyone is rushing around trying to enjoy the last few days of “summer freedom,” and parents are attempting to clothe and “supply” their children in order to be ready for that first day… No matter how old I get, I still think that I should be getting ready to go back to school when it nears September. Just to let you know how bad I am about this, and how strong that “pull” is for me, I will share a little secret. At this time of year, when I go into a store, I find myself invariably drawn to the school supplies aisle. I will pick up those “composition books,” new pencils, etc. and hold them to by nose and just breathe in that wonderful smell of “school.” I’m sure I have been flagged in numerous stores as “that woman who sniffs the school supplies.” She’s baaaccckkkk…. So, of course, this week’s post is about school….

My Mother told me that when I was five years old, she was cooking dinner, and I walked up to her at the stove and said, “When I grow up, I am going to college.” Now, I don’t know how on earth I even knew what a college was. We were poor, lived on a farm, and had no TV. However, she said that she never doubted for a moment that I would go, and that I would attain that goal. Twelve years later, I was off to college. I got grants, scholarships, and worked constantly to pay my way through. I did attain that goal. Upon graduation, I was determined to work in my field of education and make a career for myself. I attained that goal. I said that I would have my dream car, a midnight blue corvette, five years after graduation. I attained that goal also. You see the pattern here; right? It started very early for me…

My grandmother had a sister, whose name was Mabel. However, EVERYONE called her “Spunk.” So, to me, she was Aunt Spunk. When I entered the first grade, she told me that if I made all A’s the entire year, that she would give me a dollar. Now, it may not sound like much money to you, but to a five-year old back then, a dollar was a lot of money!! So I worked hard all year, and sure enough…I made all A’s. The first thing that I did when I got the report card was write a letter to my Aunt. My mother did not know anything about the letter – I just “took care of business” on my own. So the letter went something like this….”Dear Aunt Spuck, I made all As. Send me that doller.” I addressed the envelope to “Ms. Spuck,” with no street address, but I did write the town (it was a different one from where I lived) and state with no zip. She got it!! In the return mail, I got her congratulatory letter AND the dollar!! I was so pleased with myself. Fast forward sixteen years later and I was graduating from college. My Aunt Spunk gave me a wonderful graduation gift, and secretly hidden within the gift was the envelope and letter that I had sent her sixteen years earlier, asking for that “doller.” She had kept it throughout the years to give to me, and I still have it today. It serves as a reminder that if you set goals, and work hard, you can attain pretty much whatever you want…

I don’t understand how people get anything accomplished if they never establish goals. Every few years I will ask myself…is this what you wanted?…do you want to change anything or do anything differently?…is there something else you want to accomplish? It is a bit of hope, faith, dreams, belief in one’s self, and a LOT of hard work! As “cliche” as it sounds, today really is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you doing with it? OR what do you WANT to do with it? I want to make the most of my life…and I work at it every day…Won’t you join me? Just for this week…