Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Last Night With Jim

When the plane arrived at the airport, the passengers were asked to remain in their seats.  Many looked outside and watched the family and friends gather below as a detachment of Marines climbed into the cargo hold, then offloaded a flag- draped casket.

Later that night Kathy said she did not want to  leave.  She asked the Marine commander if she could sleep next to her husband.

Within seconds several Marines appeared and made a bed for Kathy.  They tucked in her bed sheets just below the edge of the flag.  As she laid on her makeshift bed, Kathy opened her laptop and began to quietly play some songs she had downloaded as she looked at pictures she had saved on her computer.

As she looked at the photos and listened to the music, a Marine walked over and asked if she still wanted them to continue their watch.  Kathy took a deep breath, touched the casket and said, "I think that would be nice.  I think that's what Jim would have wanted."

The Marines stayed that night, all of them.  They took their turns standing watch as Kathy got her wish to spend one last night with Jim.

Semper Fi

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who Is Your Daddy?

A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, when they stopped at a small country diner for breakfast.   While waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with each diner.  The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I hope that guy doesn't come over here."  But sure enough, the white-haired man did come over to their table.

"Where are you folks from?" he asked in a friendly voice.
"Oklahoma," they answered. 
"Great to have you here in Tennessee," the stranger said ... "What do you do for a living?" 
"I teach at a seminary," he replied. 
"Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you?  Well, in that case, I've got a really great story for you."  And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with the couple from Oklahoma. 
The professor groaned and thought to himself, "Great!  Just what I need - another preacher story!"
The man started, "See that mountain over there? (pointing out the restaurant window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother.   He had a hard time growing up in these parts, because every place he went, people always asked him the same question, 'Hey boy, who's your daddy?'  Whether at school, the grocery store or the drug store, people would ask 'Who's your daddy?'"

"The boy often avoided going places just to avoid hearing the question, 'Who's your daddy?'   A new preacher arrived in town and one Sunday as the young boy was going out of church with the crowd, the new preacher, not knowing anything about the young boy, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 'Son, who's your daddy?'"

"The whole church got deathly quiet and the preacher could feel that every eye in the church was watching as if now they  would finally know the answer to the question, 'Who's your daddy?'  Sensing this awkward situation around him and how uncomfortable the little boy looked, the preacher said 'Wait a minute!  I know who you are!  I can clearly see the family resemblance now.  You are a child of God.'   With that the preacher patted the little boy on his shoulder and said, 'Boy, you've got a great inheritance.  Go out in the world and claim it.'"

"The little boy, for the first time in a long time, smiled big and walked out of church that Sunday a changed person.  He was never the same again.  From that day forward whenever anybody asked him, 'Who's your Daddy?' he'd just tell them, 'I'm a Child of God.''' 

The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said, "Isn't that a great story?"  The professor and his wife were obviously moved and both responded that it really was a great story!   As the southern gentleman walked toward the door to leave, he turned to look back at the couple from Oklahoma and said, "You know, if that new preacher hadn't told me that I was one of God's children, I probably never would have amounted to anything!"  And with that he walked out of the diner.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned by those final words.  When the waitress came to their table with their bill, the professor asked, "Do you know who that man was -- the one who just left our table?" 
The waitress grinned and said, "Of course.  Everybody down here knows him.  That's Ben Hooper.  He's the former Governor of the State of Tennessee!"

Ben Hooper (1870-1957) - Governor of Tennessee from 1911-1915

This great story is attributed to Dr. Fred Craddock, Pastor of Cherry Log Christian Church, Cherry Log, Georgia.