Shortarmguy's Emails That Made Me Think

On this page, I will post the most inspirational material I receive on any given day.  So email shortarmguy@aol.com the best stuff you get.  Life can be darn tough sometimes and every now and then you might need a little happiness booster.  I'm hoping this page may accomplish that.  After you read a few of these,  you can push back from your keyboard, throw your arms in the air, wave them back and forth and scream "I'm glad to be alive!"  If this happens to you, please send pictures and I'll post them here!

January 29, 2005

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.  They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.  In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition.

With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying.

Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over.

Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive.   She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.

The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, "Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed."   The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister" she stated. Then Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live.

After a moment, he began to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old,  Michael sang:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray."

Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady.

"Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

"You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don't take my sunshine away."

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr.  

"Keep on singing, sweetheart."

"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms".

Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.

"Keep on singing, Michael."

Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't take my sunshine away..."

The next, day...the very next day...the little girl was well enough to go home.

Woman's Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother's Song. The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love.

NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE. LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY

January 22, 2005

The year 2029

* Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia formally known as California.

* Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

* Baby conceived naturally . . . scientists stumped.

* Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

* Last remaining Fundamentalist Muslim dies in the American Territory of the Middle East (formerly known as Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon).

* Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

* France pleads for global help after being over taken by Jamaica.

* Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

* George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

* Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

* 85-year, $75.8 billion study: Diet and Exercise is the key to weight loss.

* Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

* Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

* Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

* Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

* Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.

* New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2036.

* Congress authorizes direct deposit of formerly illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.

* IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent. 

And last but certainly not the least... (I love it)..

* Florida Democrats still don't know how to use a voting machine.

January 15, 2005

You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him/her.

The Big Wheel In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.  Their father was gone.  The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two.  Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.  Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. 

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either.  If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our Small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I Tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything.  

I had to have a job.  Still no luck.  The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop It was called the Big Wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.
She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night. I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.  She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.  When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money--fully half of what I averaged
every night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.  One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered. I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires. 

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.  Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then hid them in the basement so there would be
something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.  Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair. On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the
truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state Trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up. 

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas Morning I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down by the dump.) It was still dark and I couldn't see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car-or was that just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, crumbled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.  Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.  There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll. 

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning. ....Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December.
And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop....THE POWER OF PRAYER.  God still sits on the throne, the devil is a liar.  You maybe going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that only He can. Keep the faith. My instructions were to
pick four people that I wanted God to bless, and I picked you. This prayer is powerful, and prayer is one of the best gifts we receive.  There is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let's continue to pray for one another. Here is the prayer:... Father, I ask You to bless my friends,
relatives and email buddies reading this message.

January 8, 2005

          THE YEAR 1904    [100 years ago]

 
Maybe this will boggle your mind, I know it did mine!
 
The year is 1904... one hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes! 

Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1904:
 
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
 
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
 
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
 
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
 
There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
 
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
 
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
 
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
 
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
 
The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
 
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
 
More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
 
Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education.

Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

 
Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
 
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
 
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
 
Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
 
The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
 
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
 
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!!!
 
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
 
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
 
Two of 10 U.S adults couldn't read or write. 

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.

 
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." (Shocking!)
 
Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
 
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
 
And I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years ...
 
It staggers the mind!!!

December 31, 2004

The True Meaning of Christmas

This is how it happened...I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.

He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out. "What are you doing?" I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat, and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know.

He then answered me with a simple statement.

"TEACH THE CHILDREN!"

I was puzzled; what did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree.  As I stood bewildered, Santa said,  "Teach the children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten."

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle.  "Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven."

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR.  "Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise."

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE.  "Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness."

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. "Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection."

He then pulled from his bag an ornament of himself.  "Teach the children that I, Santa Clause symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December."

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF.  "Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly
represents the blood shed by Him."

Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said,  "Teach the children that God so loved the world that HE gave HIS begotten SON..."   Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

"Teach the children that the wise men bowed before the Holy BABE and presented HIM with gold, frankincense and myrrh. We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men."

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL.  "Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang 'Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men."

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL .  "Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return."

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said,  "Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but an humble servant of the One that
is, and I bow down to worship HIM, our LORD, our GOD."

December 19, 2004

A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert.

 During some point of the journey they had an argument,  and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

 The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:

 TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.

 They kept on walking  until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.

 The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

 After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

 TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.

 The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?"  The other friend replied

 When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away.

 But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone  where no wind  can ever erase it."

 LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO  CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.

They say it takes a  minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. 

 Do not value the THINGS  you have in your life.

 But value WHO you have in your life!

December 12, 2004

In light of the recent appeals court ruling in California, with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance, the following recollection from Senator John McCain is very appropriate:.
" The Pledge of Allegiance" - Senator John McCain

As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.

This was,as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian. Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old.

At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967. Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed.

As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing.

Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.

That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could..

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.

As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to Pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.

You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

December 5, 2004

This was sent to me and I think you might appreciate it.  I was quite touched by it as a similar thing happened when my severely handicapped great nephew graduated from high school. He received the loudest cheers and applause when his name was announced.   Ron

What would you do?

You make the choice.  Don't look for a punch line. There isn't one. Read it anyway.

 My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

 After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a  question.

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a  park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.  Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play.

The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.  In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield.

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

 Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.  However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.  As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

 Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"

Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.  Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"  As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay,  run home!"

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."

Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Regards,

Ron Ehrlich
UEMSI

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