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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In Memoriam

For the RRR, sitting down now at 0530 to blog as a dramatic sunrise is beginning through the woods to the east of the cabin, looking back through Memorial Day weekend is like flipping through the pages of a book and turning back time. So...

In Memoriam: Sp 5 M.G., from Iowa, who on November 24th, 1970 went down in an L.O.H. Helicopter in Quang Ngai Provence in the (then) Republic of South Vietnam. A giant of a man with a heart to match who took a scared young RRR under his wing and taught him the lore of being a combat radio operator and became the first tragedy I used the radio to report.

Sp4 J.S., from Colorado, who on May 10th, 1971 carried the RRR's radio for him while he was on R and R in Australia and came home also in a box. A man, a friend, a fellow lover of the outdoors, and a volunteer.

One tiny child, unborn, name and gender unknown. Whose soul was gathered home to a Loving Father at the time of His choosing, and for His reasons, and for His purposes. Last Wednesday while Grandpa and Mrs. Ranger were visiting on their way back to northern Iowa from Texas, youngest daughter called, the pain and sorrow in her voice throat catching and obvious. Also on the way back up from Texas, but by plane to visit starting with her older sister in St. Paul, accompanied by her daughter Rangerette number 4, she began to have the signs that something was terribly wrong with the wee one in her womb. Her sister took her to the ER and it was confirmed.

What does a father say at a time like that? Express sorrow. Try to stumble through some explanation of God's will. And yearn to hold her and hug her and fight off all the pain that every man wishes to spare his child. She and Rangerette number 4 sleep in the room behind me now, for a couple of days back under daddy's roof and his protection and subject to his hugs. I called her husband down in Texas too, and we talked of the helpless feeling of being unable to intervene at such a time. And now, looking out at the gray overcast new day I remember too, that Mrs. RRR and I went through this twice so, a memoriam to those tiny ones also.

Grandpa and Mrs. Ranger left Thursday to go back up to the farm where I grew up. His radiation treatments for prostate cancer went much better than expected and who knows, he may yet be able to cuddle great, great grandchildren. They took me out for breakfast and we had a enjoyable reminiscence thinking back to my childhood when the farm was a “working” entity with dairy and beef cows, hogs, and chickens. So very, very long ago now. I went home to till the garden and they drove back to open up the old house and start another summer. When Mrs. RRR came home we planted the sweet corn (Kandy Kwick) and green beans (Jade) and beets (Johnny's all purpose).

Friday I cleaned the shop and arranged tools and got ready to do major transplant surgery on the Green Hornet. The engine started for the last time and the transmission worked in both directions and up on blocks it went, the wheels off, the battery out and I began tearing the unneeded stuff off the new engine. Mrs. RRR came home with six tomato plants Elder Raymond had left in her car at work. We planted those and I went back to the “new” motor. I want to take a moment to praise the “JDM” engines and transmissions available from www.CNCmotors.com . Japan has such strict inspection and emissions laws that most Japanese engines are junked out at 30,000 to 50,000 miles and shipped to America. The motor and transmission together cost me $715 delivered, less than the cost of rebuilding just the motor myself. I had to take off the bizarre looking Japanese carberation system and exhaust manifold.

Youngest son, his wife and little Rangerette number 3 arrived Friday evening just before Mrs. RRR and I came back from down having loaded up with Memorial Day supplies. Their delightful little girl was terribly tired, but stumbled about gamely and tried to entertain us and soon fell asleep. Saturday we tore into getting the motor out of the Green Hornet. Son and his wife did most of the work. By the middle of the afternoon it was out and leaking great gobs of Bardahl's No Smoke on the shop floor. Tragedy, the 1999 block seemed totally different from the JDM one and work stopped. I wrote an angry email to CNCmotors. Then Mrs. RRR went out to the shop with youngest son and I to look at the problem. Suddenly a light bulb lit over his head, the problem wasn't with the block, but a change in the oil pump. I went back to the instructions and sure enough, we were supposed to change oil pumps and oil pan also. I made another quick trip to the parts store, every major repair requires at least three, and by bed time the new engine was almost ready to put in. I forgot to say that at noon Mrs. RRR had met youngest daughter's in laws halfway in between their house and ours and had brought her and lovely daughter home.

Sunday morning she watched the two Rangerettes while her brother and his wife worked on the car and Mrs. RRR and I went to services at the assembly. Elder James has begun teaching his way through the book of John and did an excellent job with chapter 2. Back home we found the motor installed. After a great Sunday dinner we went out and did the final steps and started up the Hornet. It ran horribly, racing and fading and the brakes wouldn't work right. I was both sad and infuriated, but patient Youngest Son traced the brake problem and discovered a vacuum line unhooked and with the reattachment of that one tube, the Hornet ran like a new one. I praised it and patted it and treated it to two consecutive radiator flushes. Mrs. RRR drove it to work this morning. And no, I did NOT forget, I sat down and emailed an apology to CNCmotors.

Monday we slept in and Mrs. Youngest Son made us delightful whole wheat and oatmeal pancakes. Youngest Daughter and I lay the fire for the upcoming Memorial Day picnic. At 5, oldest Son, his wife and Rangerettes 1 and 2 arrived. I had prepared the fire to light easily and let 4 year old number 1 help me light it. The seductive magic of a fire coming to life, helped by a little cheating by Grandpa, of course. We cooked hot dogs and Some More's and had baked beans and Mrs. RRR's potato salad and took turns admiring the Youngest Ranger. For a couple hours after we came in the cabin rang with the happy chaos of 4 granddaughters and 1 grandson and general happiness.

Number 4 is crawling about the living room now, giving grandpa brilliant smiles and jabbering happily. Youngest Daughter is ready to be taken out for breakfast. I wish for all my readers to have a day as good as mine.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

World News Tonight

The RRR realizes that not all his readers have the same opportunity he does to stay abreast of current events from a global perspective, so as a public service he announces the following.

Euro-Vision 2005... the results are final on the Euro-Vision national song of the year. The Greeks edged out the Bosnians for first place. The Bosnians would have won had all the sub continent been able to watch on TV as the female singers were blond and bouncy, but the Greeks, who had the advantage of a large radio audience, overwhelmed them auditorily with pure cheesiness and fluff. In a significant move, the best Euro-Vision song of all time was announced by a panel of scientists to be Abba's "Waterloo". Hmmm.

Peace In Our Time... The King of Jordan has announced he is putting together a think tank of about twenty of the great minds of the new millennium who will get together in Jordan and come up with solutions (over the space of two days) for war, poverty, disease, and environmental destruction. Included in the twenty are two of America's greatest thinkers, Bill Clinton and Richard Gere. The group will also establish a website for spreading the word of the solutions. They may meet again at least twice in the next two years.

Conspiracy theorists take note: Imagine Bill as the Anti-Christ, Richard as his prophet, and Hillary as the Harlot of Babylon. Quick, start your blogs.

In Des Moines, Iowa Van Hardin, the program manager of WHO radio (clear channel 1040) reacted by having his own think tank. He borrowed an Army Tank from the National Guard and placed it in a parking lot in West Des Moines from 0500 to 0900 for one morning so his listeners could get in it and think. Lists of things to think about are provided for those who need assistance. There will always be an Iowa.

On a more prosaic note, I tilled the rest of the garden today. You will all be pleased to know the tomatoes started from seed are an inch or so tall already.

Juan and Pablo and The Medicine Bear

The RRR presents another adventure of Jaun and Pablo, the Gringo Brothers.

The year was 1967. The Gringo Brothers were camping on an island in Quetico Provencial Park in the Onatario Boundary Waters canoe area. They beached the wood and canvas canoe Pablo had made in shop class and sat up their camp on a pennisula that caught the wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Once the tent was up and the usual camp chores finished they paddled back out into the small bay formed by the pinnisula to try fishing. They looked back to the shore and saw a small black bear nosing about their camp. All the food and gear they owned was piled there so they rushed back to shore slapping their paddles on the water and shouting to frighten the bear away. But they were only partially successful. Instead of fleeing into the pines, he climbed up the tree at the edge of the camp.

This left them in a difficult situation. They couldn't move to a new island because they'ed promised Papa Gringo they wouldn't leave for any reason and he was stopping by the next day to check on them. Yet they weren't anxious to spend the night with a bear over their heads. They had both been reading too much Ben Hunt and named the interloper The Medicine Bear as his presence must be some kind of Indian "medicine". They decided to tempt him down out of the tree, then chase him off with burning torches from the fire. But when they lit the fire, he climbed further up, perhaps irritated by the smoke or frightened. They tried anyway, opening a can of sardines and placing it under the tree. The Medicine Bear obviously could smell it. He sniffed and snorted and licked his chops, but wouldn't come down. Then the boys noticed a dead loon, apparently "tagged" by a power boat, washed up on the shore. They knew bears loved birds, especially ripe ones and also honey, but they had no honey. However, they were fairly well supplied with brown sugar they'd brought to put on their pancakes. So they cut open the loon, which released the "ripeness" and causing them to leave their hunting knife down wind stuck in a tree for a few days, and poured their brown sugar into the dead bird. This they placed by the can of sardines.

The Medicine Bear sniffed and sniffed again and started backing down the tree. Juan and Pablo retreated to the canoe to watch. When he got to the ground the bear ignored the sardines, but grabbed the loon and retreated into the woods, never to be seen again. That night as they sat by the campfire drinking boiled coffee and eating Dinty Moore beef stew, Juan said......

here it comes......

wait for it......

wait for it.....

"You know, Pablo... just a loon full of sugar makes the Medicine Bear go down."

If it didn't happen, it should have.

Juan and Pablo's Deep Mystery

The RRR presents another adventure, the first in this venue, of the Gringo Brothers, Juan and Pablo.

The year was 1972, the Gringo Brothers were tramping the desert North West of Roma Texas hunting for coyotes and trouble to get into when they stumbled across what looked like a barn door lying partially covered with sand. They were clearing the sand off it when there was a cracking noise and a cold draft came up through the boards. They dragged it aside and discovered under it was an old mine shaft, too deep to see the bottom. Pablo picked up a rock the size of his fist and threw it in to test the depth. They listened and could hear nothing. So Juan found a larger rock, the size known along the border as a “gringo head”. It too fell in absolute silence.

“Look what I found” said Pablo, as he drug an old railroad tie out of a patch of prickly pear cactus. Together they pulled it to the edge of the shaft and tipped it in, then leaned forward to listen for a crash. But before it struck bottom a burro rushed out of the prickly pear and dived in after it! They stared unbelieving, but just then a small Mexican boy came up.

“Pardon me, senors”, he said, “have you seen a small brown and white burro?”

“Oh yes!” declared Juan. “One just ran up and dived into that mine shaft!”

“No, that could not have been mine. I left him tied to a railroad tie back in that patch of cactus.”

If it's not true.. it should be.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Billy Bob Speaks

"Folks, don't' listen to this jerk. He not only leaves me parked in the pasture till he needs me, then expects me to start without trouble, he doesn't deserve a REAL truck. He drives me to work at a hospital, that's right, a hospital. Not a factory, not the quarry, not the grain elevator, but a HOSPITAL. I could die of shame when a truck driven by a real man goes by. He's no more rednecked than Al Gore. Whenever he can he drives a wimpy little 3 cylinder rice burner. He hasn't drank a beer or touched a glass of Jack since I was born and he rode in tonight with a Bible in the seat beside him instead of a .44 magnum. I'll bet he doesn't even know the words to "My Baby Thinks My Tractor's Sexy".

River Rat Ranger my rear differential."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Billy Bob Rising

Today began with the drive home from work for the RRR. After the overcast skies of the last few days, the spring sun was like a kiss on the green hillsides and the rows of corn now clearly discernible in the fields. I practiced my sermon on the way home and then read it to Mrs. RRR as she "put on her face." This was, naturally, without all the "that reminds me of a story" that would come later. I've already shared that Breaking of Bread weekly and the method of doing it is one of the distinctives of brethren assemblies. The men speak or suggest songs or read scripture or pray as they feel led by the Spirit. Greg asked that we sing The Old Rugged Cross. The song gives me goose bumps and makes me smile also as it is one of the ones I used to sing out to the accompaniment of the M Farmall as I cultivated back in the '60's.

Sometimes the spirit of worship is almost overwhelming. I broke the loaf in remembrance and my hands trembled at the thought of what I was doing. To symbolize the breaking of Christ's body is no small thing. The idea that my body should be used for sin when his was broken for me; that my hands might shed innocent blood when his were pierced for me; that my feet should run after sin after his were nailed to a cross for me; all these things made me "look on him, who we had pierced." Studied ritual done to background music in a mega-church cannot compare to the experience of a simple feast at his invitation, at least not for me.

The sermon seemed to go well, at least everyone's attention was held and there was no nodding off. Little Thomas, Greg's son, who is so delightfully into the terrible two's, lit up like a Christmas Tree when I was finished and was the first out into the isle to shake my hand. Mrs. RRR seemed impressed too, and celebrated by making us her high protein, low carb pancakes with real butter and real maple syrup and pork sausage on the side. Then to sleep, blessed sleep, warmed by the heating pad and wonderfully snuggled by Mrs. RRR during her nap, the day passed into dreamland. I awakened in time to talk on the phone to Youngest Son and to his 16 month old daughter who squealed and giggled at my antics.

Another short nap and it was time to fire up Billy Bob and drive in to work. With the Green Hornet quietly awaiting major transplant surgery, the only choice was the 1987 Dodge 1/2 ton pickup. Named Billy Bob because he's huge, white, battered, ugly, missing front teeth (the grill), drinks like a fish, and works like a dog. Totaled in an accident years ago and given to Youngest Son who drug him out of the weeds, beat the body into usable shape, wired in a couple of headlights and installed a stereo of questionable ownership and massive speakers, he became ours through one of those complicated exchanges of property and money that occur between parents and their newly married children. Billy Bob will make 17 miles per gallon on his best day but will haul 3000 lbs. of gravel, triple his rated capacity, without sagging and at 65 miles per hour. Heaven help you if you have to go for the brakes with that load and at that speed.

So I drove him into the Big City tonight, dressed in black jeans, boots, and black tee shirt, full moon over my left shoulder, Lynrd Skynrd pounding out Sweet Home Alabama, sipping strong black coffee.

Red Neck satori.

Sunday Sermon, First Draft

GENESIS 8:20-…
May 22, 2005
Good Morning! Today we are returning to our study of Genesis, the book of beginnings. To remind you, we are studying this book from a fundamentalist, literalist perspective. We are taking on faith that it is inspired or “God breathed” and literally a true record for the events as they occurred. Last time we left Noah and his family obeying God’s command to leave the ark.
Genesis 8:15-19. Read.
So they have just set foot on a new earth, one scoured of sin and sinful man by the judgement of God. Just as we stand at a crossroads once we have received God’s free gift of salvation through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, humanity stood ready to choose how they would live from then on. Noah made the right decision to begin with…
Genesis 8:20. Read.
Now we know several things. First what our response to salvation should be. I quote MacDonald:
"Noah responded to God’s saving grace by building an altar. Those of us who have been saved from the wrath to come should likewise bring to God our heartfelt worship. It is as acceptable and pleasing today as it was in Noah’s day."
Is God pleased?
Genesis 8:21. Read.
Yes, the sacrifice for which he had provided extra animals, remember there were more than two of all the clean animals, pleased the Father. We read here what he said in his heart. We dare not assume anything but that this passage and indeed the whole of scripture is inspired by God, as it claims to know his very thoughts. If this is not literally true, than it must be a lie and our faith is without foundation.
He once more states as he did back in Chapter 6, verse 5 that man’s heart is intensely evil. But I want us to notice the differences between the two passages. In Chapter 6 there was no sacrifice and the only possible outcome was judgement. Here we see God’s mercy instead because there is a sacrifice.
Now, not only does God show mercy, he breaks into song! Or, at least, poetry, and the poetry is God’s promise:
Genesis 8:22. Read.
We now begin with the next of God’s Covenants with his Creation. This study is not a focus on the Covenants, nor is it an apology for the doctrine of Dispensations, nor is it within our scope to go into the controversy between Covenant and Dispensational theology. As you may be aware, there is a movement afoot within fundamental and evangelical circles to compromise between the two. Even such formerly staunch Dispensational seminaries such as Dallas Theological are now speaking of a modified form of Dispensationalism. A study of these issues would take weeks and draw us far afield from an expository study of Genesis. In the future we may do that, starting perhaps with Col. Scofield’s book, Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth, but for now, let us take the Covenants as we find them.
Let’s begin in Chapter 9…
Genesis 9:1-7. Read.
We see several things happening here. One is the establishment of human government. Why does God find this necessary? Dr. Boise says that like the Law given somewhat later, it was to restrain human passions. He quotes Martin Luther who stated, “God establishes government and gives it the sword to hold wantonness in check, lest violence and other sins proceed without limit.” Another is the creational change that was to take place in the animal kingdom.
Genesis 9:2,3. Read.
MacDonald and others argue that this marks the first time that it was acceptable for humans to devour flesh. And verse 3 does seen to suggest that. But the idea of the dread and fear of man is new also. This may be because man will now begin to hunt them for food. After all, with the horrible change that came about with the Fall, they were certainly preying on mankind. And certainly we are seeing today that as the misguided animal rights advocates have stopped hunting, predators such as mountain lions and bears are attacking humans with more regularity. Yet there seems to be more to God’s statement than this. He seems to have placed this dread of man on most animals. Some have become easily domesticated, but most fear humans and flee from them. Elk, for instance, if left in the wild, will always try to keep three hilltops or ridges between themselves and people. Elk hunters call this the “three ridge rule” and it explains why you had better be in good physical condition to hunt them in the mountains.
There is also a survival need here. With their newfound fear of man, the wild creatures fled away from the ark before they could be driven to extinction by the death of only one creature. They obeyed God better than man did and spread to the furthest edges of the giant continent that had raised above the waters.
We also see that God takes the blood of any creature very seriously. We already know from the story of Cain and Abel that it “cries out” to him from the ground when it is spilled. We look forward to his commandments where he will state, “The life of the flesh is in the blood and I have poured it out upon the altar for you for your sins.” The shedding of blood is no small matter. God expressly forbids the consumption of the blood of animals. They are to be bled when slaughtered. I think part of the reason for this is to keep the awareness constantly with us of the price that has to be paid for our sins. MacDonald says of this passage, “Eating of blood was forbidden, however, because the blood is the life of the flesh, and the life belongs to God.”
I would point out also that this passage precludes any claim that any group may have that God intending for us to be vegetarians. Choose only to accept part of God’s provision for us if you will, but do not delude yourself into thinking that rejecting his gift of meat makes you somehow more in his will. If you give a relative a present out of love for him and he tosses it aside, do YOU feel closer to that person, or do you feel that you are being rejected somehow along with the gift?
Lastly, we see in these verses the establishment, as Martin Luther explained, of human government. The provision of capital punishment assumes that authority. Having this power in the hands of the government prevents chaos. We live in a day where sinful man thinks he knows better than God and that is he capable of more mercy than God is. What an abomination! And what hypocrisy! Those who would refuse to execute murderers and child molesters at the same time encourage the slaughter of pre-born innocents and even fight for the right to starve debilitated invalids to death for the simple crime of existence. They somehow believe they are proving the value of life, when actually they are cheapening it. The politician and author William F. Buckley, Jr., certainly no claimant to Christian holiness, states: “The value we as a society place on human life is best indicated by the severeness of the sanctions we visit upon those who take it. As, there is no more severe sanction than the death of the offender, no sanction better defines life’s sanctity.”
God’s assumption for the need for capital punishment continues in Romans 3:14 where Paul says of the government, “…he does not bear the sword in vain.”
Genesis 9:8-17. Read.
We have a creator who did not just make matter, he made signs for the creatures he loved. Later, with Moses and Pharaoh we will see miraculous signs, but this one will be something special. Jesus, our Lord, was a carpenter. It is interesting that the word translated “carpenter” in the New Testament carries with it a much broader meaning. It might also apply to a stone mason or stone dresser. He was a builder and craftsman. As the One who did the work of the original creation, he created here on earth as well. And back in this time he made one very special sign, the rainbow. Did the rainbow exist before the flood? Possibly not. The composition of the great vapor canopy, the “firmament above the firmament” may have prevented it. We do not know.
Who was this covenant with, by the way?
Genesis 9:8. Read.
So we know whom God spoke to. Noah was God’s man, his prophet. Noah was the one who offered the sacrifice, but God spoke specifically to his sons also. Why did he do that?
Genesis 9:9. Read.
This covenant is not just established with Noah, nor just his sons, but with his SEED. Who is Noah’s seed? The Jewish people? No, not just them, that division would not come until Abraham. WE are Noah’s seed, each one of us here all of humanity. No person walking the crust of God’s footstool is exempt from the promises of this covenant. Or it’s requirements. Which again, is why it is wrong to forbid capital punishment, this agreement belongs to us, too. And as Dr. Boise points out, it is UNILATERAL, we didn’t negotiate it with God, he stated it and it is so.
But the covenant wasn’t just with Noah and his seed.
Genesis 9:10. Read.
That’s correct, God established his covenant with animals! This is for his creation. ALL his creation. Do you wonder that Jesus told the Jewish elders that if his people didn’t sing his praises the very stones would cry out? The animal kingdom had been devastated by the flood as well as the human, and God here tenderly cups his creation in his hand. I remember watching as a boy on the farm, my father’s delight at finding a young calf asleep in the pasture. He would kneel down and stroke it and talk softly to it as it awakened and then laugh for joy when it exploded to its feet and bounded away looking for it’s mother. My father’s love for that creature was a faint shadow of the Creator’s love for all of his.
Genesis 9:11,12. Read.
My points earlier are proven. Scripture is its own best commentary. God’s promise is shown not to be just to Noah and his son’s and not just to the creatures who shared the ark with him but to all seed both human and animal, down to this very day.
Genesis 9:13-17. Read.
I want us to contemplate for a moment what terror the first rain that fell after the flood must have been to Noah and his family. There had never been rain up to that time. Their first experience of it concluded with the destruction of their world. Every friend and acquaintance perished with the beginning of that new experience, rain. What proof did they have that the horror would not be repeated? When the rain passed, there was God’s promise, bright in the sky, with a soft loveliness that stood in contrast to the ugly destruction of the first great rain. But there are deeper meanings too. Scofield says:
Typically, the bow seen upon the storm clouds of judgement has been thought to speak of the cross where judgement, never to re repeated, has been visited upon the believer’s sins.
In the last generation we have seen too, though our experiences with space flight even more. From space we have, as it were, a God’s eye view of the rainbow, where he remembers his covenant. The spectrum of light we see as a bow, he may see as a circle, a frame of beauty around the creation below. Our limited view of God’s promises and love are enough for mortal man now, but as promised, while now we see “as through a glass, darkly” some day it shall be face to face.
It seems that no great story is without some tragedy and this one is no exception.
Genesis 9:18-23. Read.
It took so little time. In the short span of years after the flood that it took for Noah to establish the cultivation of grapes, he also was able to make wine. Make no mistake, it was not a sin for him to grow the grapes. It was not a sin for him to squeeze them into juice and ferment it into wine. Indeed, in an era without refrigeration it was the only way to preserve grape juice. It was not a sin for him to drink of the wine. Scripture will later describe it as “the gift of God that gladdens the heart of man.” The sin came as Noah drank to the point of drunkenness and passed out naked in his tent. For those unfamiliar with drunkenness, let me assure you that there are several things that frequently happens. The drunkard becomes nauseated and often loses bladder control and then his clothing is fouled and he crawls out of it and shoves it away and lays there in his filth.
But the sins of the father carry on and here they are compounded first by the father, then by the grandson. Ham’s sin was disrespect. He apparently thought his father’s condition was humorous and rather than cover his father’s shame he went to tell his brothers and his son about it so they could see too. His sin was bad enough, but his example was followed by his son as we shall see. Shem and Japheth reacted properly. Rather than ridicule their father, they draped a robe over their shoulders and walked backwards into the tent and covered him. But it was too late, the father’s sin had already been compounded.
Genesis 9:24-27. Read.
Verse 24 tells a dark story. First of all, the Hebrew wording here likely means “grandson” as well as son. So from the first Noah is speaking to Canaan. Next, the verse says that Noah knew what had been done to him when he awakened. It appears that Canaan had committed a vulgar act against his grandfather. It might have been a crude practical joke, or something much worse. But it was obvious and the judgement was swift. It resulted in Ham being left almost completely out of the picture in his own family and his son becoming a slave. Such are the wages of sin. Such is the nature of God’s judgement “even unto the third and forth generation” of them that hate him.
We parents have such a deep and vital need to be good examples to our children. A lie casually told, words said in haste and anger can cut a child like a knife and result in worse treatment by them of their children and so on. We understand why we must bring every word into submission of God’s will and never speak in rage or ridicule. May God forgive me for the times I’ve indulged in those behaviors.
Genesis 9:28,29. Read.
And thus ends the saga of Noah. It does not end with Noah as the holy prophet, the great man of faith, it ends with a night of drunken debauchery and shame and the pronouncement of a curse. When people look back at my life when I come to its end, how will they remember my last days? The behaviors I choose now will decide.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Green Hornet Speaks (2)

"Tha... tha... that's all folks!"

(Tonight after six years of loyal service and over 200,000 miles, the RRR's green Metro hiccoughed dramatically, bucked, jerked and barely made it back home. No tears were shed. An almost new engine and transmission from Japan sit strapped down to a pallet in the shop awaiting Youngest Son and spouse's arrival Memorial Day to install them.)

Ranger Beans

Tonight the RRR woke up to the wonderful smell of Mrs. RRR's homemade bean soup that had been simmering since noon. Into the crockpot she placed Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Black Beans, onion, garlic, bacon strips, fresh ground sea salt and black pepper. Filled the pot with water and let cook all day. Eaten with whole wheat bread and sharp cheddar cheese slices and a lettuce salad, it was, as Youngest Daughter's husband would say, "good enough for company". And oh yes, for dessert, Mrs. RRR's walnut brownies.


Admissions or Not?

Friday night/ Saturday morning found the RRR once more trekking into the Big City to begin his 5 night stretch on the Adolescent Psych unit. But first we must turn the clock back to Friday morning when Mrs. RRR left for work at "Oh Dark Hundred". I added the moisture cover to the heating pad and placed it over the affected liver and napped in the recliner. At 0545 the County Psych Ward called and asked me to work day shift there, but facing an 11-7 later declined the honor. This was the day two things HAD to happen. Mrs. RRR's little red Metro had to become completely roadworthy and the brush mower had to be mounted on Helen Wheels, the ancient H Farmall. But first...

I made myself a low carb breakfast, fried eggs and cheese with a slice of homemade bread to soak up the excess grease, then 3 raw carrots dipped in Blue Cheese dressing and a large glass of milk. (The 1956 Merck manual suggests a quart of milk a day for cirrhosis patients.) Then put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher and wash the ones just used, and then out to work.

The Metro wasn't too bad, adjustment of the wipers so they cleaned the windshield and not the cowling. Hazard of installing a "new" wiper motor. Then down to take the snow blade off Helen. My procrastination harmed me. Stinging Nettles had grown up through and around my home fashioned 3 point hitch. So I dug out the Ryobi string trimmer and started cutting nettles and hit the frame of the blade with the power head and with the nettles only half gone had the trimmer lying on the ground in pieces. "If you must pull a nettle, Grasp it like a man of mettle." Yeah, right. I tramped them flat and lay boards over them. Smashed my hand only once when the wrench slipped. But at last had the snow blade unhooked and drove up to the shop in triumph. Then it was time for spring cleaning... er, maintenance. Winter oil out, summer oil in. Other fluid levels topped off. The battered old air compressor wheezed to life and eventually managed to pump up all the tractor tires. Then hook up mower, grease and maintain IT and at long last cut the knee high weeds along the lane just as Mrs. RRR came home. Then cut the "hay" on the South 4. When I was a farmer boy, everybody had a South 40. We have a South 4.

Then in for Mrs. RRR's superlative lunch including the world's finest homemade sauerkraut. We had devotions, Oswald Chambers' reading for May 20th being awe inspiring and at last to drive in. Here the multiple admissions faded away as rare common sense prevailed here (the patient belonged in jail, not the hospital) and parental control exerted itself at an outlying hospital. I find myself now at 0230 actually ready to start the work I should have begun at 2330.

And to all a good night.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Quick, Happy Note

Today the RRR brings good news. Several weeks ago I asked my readers to pray for “Jim” and his wife. He was going through a crisis of faith and suffering from some severe emotional distress. Last night Mrs. RRR and I had supper with him and his spouse and I am happy to report that things are going much better for them. Please keep them added to your prayer lists, Ranger Readers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Normal Life

So Tuesday brought welcome mail from some of the Readers and a chance for Mr. And Mrs. RRR to go visit some friends, plus the RRR got to try a 12 step meeting he hadn't been to. We took Mrs. RRR's little red Metro which operated flawlessly till the windshield wipers stopped working on the way home. Another project for today. But a great visit for both of us and an especially good meeting. As usual, I became sleepy driving home and we pulled over and I napped for 20”. We are very good at sleeping in that tiny car. A couple years ago we did the West Coast tour and slept in the car every night. They are much roomier than you would think, or at least the space available is used efficiently. Mrs. RRR fell asleep then too, and slept the rest of the way home.
It is a cozy, homey feeling having the woman you love sleeping beside you as the miles roll under the car. Dog asleep curled up on the back deck and the motor humming away. Of course Bay woke up in time to start his Labrador “talking” and demanding to run the 3rd of a mile lane back to the cabin. He lives for those runs. He scampers along between 15 and 20 mph to the bridge across the Creek, then yelps joyously and sprints dead out to the top of the hill, sometimes hitting 25, his Beagle half yowling in shear delight.
I fell asleep next to Mrs. RRR with the moist heat pad lying over my liver to increase portal circulation vowing, “I will live, I WILL.”
Mrs. RRR is off to work now. I've made the day's French Roast and filled the thermoses. I've drunk the egg nog she made for me. I've filled out my application to shoot in the matches at the Iowa Games in July. I've practiced for the matches, twenty shots one handed at long distance for the Games, twenty shots two handed police style for the tournament in September. I will live, I WILL.
If God wills also. A storm is moving across the Big Lake towards the cabin, thunder rumbling, first drops on the roof. Life is good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Freeway Blues

After the pointless whining of his last blog, the RRR must make amends. Friday the 13th was Mrs. RRR's birthday. We celebrated with a shopping trip to the Big City after she got off work. There were tasks to complete. I paid the ransom on my beloved Red Wing boots which were back from being rebuilt (well, at least the heels) at the factory. We went to a Golden Corral which has just been reopened under new management and had an all-you-can-eat steak dinner. Their new policy is to cook them extremely rare, then put them out on the steam table and the customer picks out the one(s) he wants and takes them to the chef who cooks them to order.
We then went to an office supply store and picked out Mrs. RRR and my Mother's Day and Father's Day gift to each other, a new manager chair for the computer in which I now sit. It has a back high enough to lean back and nap in and is covered with brown micro-suede. It looks great in the main room of the cabin with the fireplace, cherry bookshelves, and oak desks. And also the walnut end tables Great grandpa Ranger made for us in 1970 and 71 whilst I was in Vietnam. He and I found the tree and bought it and cut it down. A worthy blog all by itself.
Saturday we'd planned a road trip to meet with some friends in eastern Iowa and on I80, far from home, I turned on the radio and got nothing. The horn wouldn't honk. The turn signals wouldn't flash. Obviously the battery was dying in Mrs. RRR's little Metro. We pulled into a rest area. I went to the caretakers for assistance. They were both totally deaf and communicated only with notes and sign language of which I have very little. It was obvious they did not have jumper cables. Neither did the one person who would help us. I have never been so studiously ignored in my life. The friendly helper gave us a push and the little car fired right up so we headed home. The motor died again in ten minutes. We ended up stranded by the side of the freeway. When I was a child, anyone by the road with the hood up, especially during day light, was helped immediately. Cars passed us by the thousands and none stopped. None used their cell phone to call the Highway Patrol. Anyone with jumper cables willing to sit 15 minutes and charge our battery off their motor could have saved the day. I considered kneeling by the road as in prayer, but didn't. Eventually we walked to the next exit to use the phone.
Another lesson learned: people don't' offer rides to a man and woman walking with a dog, yet if we'd left him alone in the car, any of a hundred animal lovers would have stopped to break the glass and keep him from dying of heat exhaustion. I had forgotten my walking shoes and was wearing only moccasins. My heel pain returned. At last we were able to call the Patrol. They sent out a wrecker. We were advised the driver would not want our dog to ride so we had to walk back to the car. He didn't have jumper cables, or wouldn't use them. I had specified to the Highway Patrol we needed a jump. He winched the tiny red car onto the back of the huge flatbed and with Bay-To-Ven sitting proudly in the front seat drove to the nearest Sprawl Mart for $75 cash tucked into the trucker's pocket. No foolishness about receipts, insurance claims, etc.
At Sprawl Mart we bought a new battery, a cheap set of tools to install it and a set of jumper cables to keep in Mrs. RRR's Metro. And drove home without incident. Though the battery was way down, of course. This was all just in time to take a short nap, change into uniform and go be a cop at the sprint car races. We could have used a dozen officers and 4 showed up. Virgil, the ex-highway patrolman ran the pits by himself. Jeff patrolled one end of the grandstand and I the other and Lee, our boss, floated back and forth. Two serious accidents marred the evening, both requiring escorts of the ambulances off the grounds. Jeff had to leave at 10 and it was just Lee, I and a crowd of several thousand. And it was COLD. I could see my breath by 2130. By 0030 the races were over and the real police work began. We escorted the commission receipts to the office and stood by till they were inventoried and added to the gate receipts and took them to the bank. I won't give the details for reasons of security, but let me tell you, transporting large amounts of cash is taken MUCH more seriously than stopping teenagers from climbing the fence into the racetrack.
I was home and snuggled up to Mrs. RRR by 0130. Church Sunday morning with an excellent sermon by elder James and Sunday afternoon I girded up my loins and went to work on the Metro. I could see nothing wrong till I reached my arm deep into the bowels of the engine compartment and brushed a loose wire which caused a crackling “zap!”. I yanked my hand out much quicker than it had gone in. The post had broken off the alternator that the hot outlet wire to the battery fastens to. Mrs. RRR and I struggled for a couple hours trying to make it work and finally gave up in time to take it to O'Reilly's who looked up the past purchase on the computer, discovered it was life time guaranteed and handed us a new one.
We celebrated with a trip to the drive-in and got two huge pork fritter sandwiches and an ice cream cone for Mrs. RRR. No it didn't fit my low-carb diet. Yes, it was delicious.
And thus you're up to date till the “care conference” at the VA.

The Great Pumpkin

Monday afternoon found Mr. and Mrs. RRR trekking to the Big City to have a care conference at the VA. Once again the specialist had canceled, but this time she had forgotten to call and tell us. We sat quietly in the waiting room, waiting, waiting, waiting. People donate books to the VA for the vets to read while waiting or to take home and in the middle of the rack I found a treasure. “Fremont, Pathmarker of the West”, by Allan Nevins. Thick biography of the explorer, published in 1955, it has 695 pages and is written with charming detail and skill. A curl up by the fire book.
On the wall of the waiting room was a poster showing cross sections of the liver in the four stages of liver disease, beginning with the healthy pink, only slightly scarred stage one and ending with stage four, the gray, swollen and disgusting looking end stage. I paid particular attention to one and two, certain that's where my status stands and convincing myself that the pictures didn't look THAT bad. At last, Marsha, the clinic nurse accepted the fact that Jennifer, the nurse practitioner who stands in for the specialist was not going to be found, not hiding in the building, not at home, not on her cell phone. Marsha took us in an exam room and brought up my records on her computer. I had eyes only for the biopsy results, already knowing all the labs.
Stage three, I'm at stage three. Not one, not two, but three. And I've been there since at least 2003. Stage three progressing. Progressing to stage four, full blown cirrhosis. The Great Pumpkin Disease. I realized a new wind was blowing through the RRR's landscape. Yes, we'll keep trying to treat the hepatitis. There will be tests coming up and more tests. I'll likely do another year on another brand of Interferon, or at least move to maintainance dosing. (The mild flu for the rest of my life as opposed to severe flu for 48 weeks at a time) But the focus is off the virus. “We've done about all we can.” Now we are looking at the Great Pumpkin Disease.
It starts with swelling of the ankles and lower legs. (“Do you have that now sir?” “Well, yes, but that's just the blood pressure medicine, right?” “Does it go away over night?” Well, MOSTLY, I mean sometimes, uh... it used to completely.. but now..”) Then the abdomen. (Is it fat or is it ascites, only his Gastroenterologist knows for sure). Red palms, spider veins on the face and abdomen. Loss of sexual functioning. Loss of hair. (This is just male pattern baldness, right?} Anorexia, every problem has some positive side. Clubbing of the fingers. Then the dreaded internal bleeding, maybe with vomiting and tarry stools. The breath gets foul and bat like from digesting blood. By now the body retains great amounts of fluid. Jaundice, pronounced swelling, the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Then encephalopathy... brain dysfunction. Finally death, usually from something like pneumonia, drowning in all the fluid the body can't expel.
35 years ago shot up heroin 4th man on a dirty needle. Had to try it, see what it was like, Just one won't hurt. Nice high, great feeling of comradery with the three soul brothers who went first. One's dead, maybe he lasted through the Apache's retreat from Saigon and died in the last stand in Laos or Cambodia. The other two? Who knows? The other time was a speed ball, mixture of heroin and cocaine. Did it with a medic. Not long before he stepped on a mine. A big one. Went to pieces, you might say. Just those two times. I tend to believe it was the former, not the latter. The scar, maybe ¼ inch across is still on my right forearm. It gets red when my face flushes in anger or embarrassment.
So where from here? Take the tests. Pray for a miracle. Watch the diet. High protein, low carb, fairly low fat, it says even in my 1956 Merck Manual. My 1899 Merck suggests hot cloths laid over the liver and “Diet”. Laugh as you will, we bought a heating pad yesterday and I'm sleeping with it draped over my right side.
A lovely gray bird just landed on the steps outside my window. All gray with a black head. Junco maybe?
The county hospital just called and wanted me to work day shift. (It's 0630) I declined, as I'm already scheduled at noon at the private hospital.
I'm tired, Ranger Readers, I'm going to huddle up to my heating pad and go back to bed for a while.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

17 Years... and counting

On May 1oth 1988, the RRR used narcotics for the last time. For 17 years that has been my new birthday, the day my life clean and sober really started. This morning on a whim, I went to The Wall website, the one where each soldier who fell in Vietnam has a brief page telling his name and demographics and whether or not he died of hostile action. I looked up a good friend. There were few comments added. So I told what I knew about how he died and how I felt about it. Then I sat staring open mouthed at the page. He died on May 10th, 1971. 34 years ago today. 17 years later to the day, I got sober. 17 years later is today. He was from rural Colorado. He was one year and three days younger than I. He never got married, had children, or grandchildren. Why? I went on R & R twice. Both times the guy who did my job for that week got blown up. This one died. The other was maimed for life. I was a radio operator for 50 weeks, they each did the same thing for a few days. Why?

I was still staring at the screen when the Psychiatrist looked over my shoulder at the screen.

Shrink: "Who was that?"

RRR: "A friend."

Shrink: "Well, that was a long time ago."

RRR: "No, Doc, it was just yesterday."

My Uncle Elmer was a marine who island hopped across the Pacific from Guadacanal to Saipan in WWII. I'll be it was just yesterday for him too. Maybe I'll call him up soon and ask.


This ends my five night stretch at the Private Hospital. Most of my time has been spent on one patient. Caring for people newly psychotic is extremely difficult. It has not sunk in to them yet that none of what is happening between their ears is real. You want so bad to help them, but there is no insight to build upon. Old joke: Q? How many psych nurses does it take to change a light bulb. A. Just one but the bulb has to want to change. So I present here:

The RRR's list of little known facts.

1. Hallucinogens cause a temporary state of schizophrenia. This includes hallucinations and delusions.

2. A certain number of people are born with a genetic pre-disposition to schizophrenia.

3. When a person born with a gentetic pre-disposition to schizophrenia uses a hallucinogen, the schizophrenia they've induced artificially simply does not go away. This includes those whose pre-disposition was so mild they might never have "bloomed" into the illness.

4. The new varieties of specially raised marijuana are so powerful they can be full blown hallucinogens.

5. In order to make more money, drug dealers spray "ditch weed" with PCP, a hallucinogen, and sell it as the more powerful stuff.

6. The sloppy, amateurish production of methamphetamine make it not just poisonous, but also hallucinogenic.

7. If you're a drug user asking for something specific, ie: meth, coke, heroin, etc., the dealer will sell you whatever he has and TELL you it is what you asked for.

8. There is no way currently to tell if you have a genetic pre-disposition to schizophrenia.

9. Once you "bloom" into schizophrenia, your brain never comes home.


Rain is forecast for the place in the woods. So today I changed the oil on Luigi, the Italian roto-tiller, put in fresh fuel, wound the starting rope around the pulley and he chugged into life on the first pull. Luigi is large, blue, loud and cantankerous. And if you push down hard enough on the handles I'm betting you could till an asphalt parking lot. We started tilling a space just wide enough east and west, running north and south to put in the tomato cages. 17 (there's that number again) just fit on 6 foot centers down the length of the garden. I was about 3/4 done tilling when Luigi simply died. And would not fire at all. I opened the drain on the bottom of the carburetor and rusty goo dripped out. A job for the swiss army knife. I took off the home made fuel bowl. (A piece of heater hose, a sawn off bolt and two spiral hose clamps). Of course it tore apart in my hands. But yes, it was full of nasty sediment. So back to the shop, find the odd chunk of heater hose, trim it to length and re-fabricate. All with the swiss army knife, of course. Re-install, wrap the rope, yank... Zoom! I finished the strip of garden while Mrs. RRR washed and sprayed the plastic mulch caps with bleach to kill blight, wilt, and viruses. Then we marked the spots with little twigs and planted 5 seeds by each one.

Yes, we start them from seeds instead of plants. A cupboard full of tomato juice says it works just fine. Two varieties, both open pollinated Siberian sauce types from Johnny's Select Seeds. We buy two sample packs of 40 seeds each and have plenty. Then caps over the seeds. Cages made from 5' sections of concrete reinforcing wire over the caps. Steel fence posts driven into the ground and wired to the cages. We were done by 6:30. A bowl of Mrs. RRR's oatmeal simmered with raisins, sweetened with maple syrup and real cream stirred in, a quick shower and 2 hours sleep before coming in to the hospital. As I write this portion at 0400 on Wed. May 11th, rain pours down in central Iowa.

Like the song says, "Life's been good to me so far."

Good night Ranger Readers.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day Sermon, 1st Draft

MAY 8TH, 2005

Good Morning! As it’s Mother’s Day we’ll step aside from our study of Genesis and talk about the person to whom this day is dedicated and focus on Christian mothers. Let’s begin by examining one of the Apostle Paul’s statements about a godly mother and grandmother.
II Timothy 1:1-5 Read
Here we see Paul thanking God not only for Timothy’s faith but also the faith of his mother and grandmother. We are speaking of Timothy’s maternal grandmother, his mother’s mother. Timothy’s father was a Greek, but his grandmother and her daughter, his mother were Jews. You may remember that in Judaism, the "racial" status of being a Jew comes through the mother. Like Paul, these Jews were messianic, they had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and believed in him and were saved.
We don’t want to fall into the trap that some of our friends in reform theology do and assume that the faith Timothy had in Christ was passed on or conveyed from his grandmother, to his mother, and then to him. I quote Dr. R.L. Hymers, Jr.:
Faith in Christ does not come that way. The only thing that is passed on by blood is sin.
John 1:11-13 Read
So what we see in Paul’s passage is that Timothy had been born again by the same faith in Christ that his mother and grandmother had. Again quoting Dr. Hymers:
The influence that Timothy’s grandmother and mother had on him was not by physical inheritance, but by their spiritual influence. There is no greater influence on a child than the influence of its mother. The Bible makes it clear that the main authority in a Christian home belongs to the father. So, a Christian father sets the rules by which a house is run. But the love, and patience, and example of a Christian mother can be the greatest influence in a child’s spiritual life.
Now let’s look at some of the godly mothers of scripture who had a great influence on their children.
Exodus 2:1-10 Read
This woman, Jochebed, was Moses’ mother. We read here how she saved him from being killed and raised him to know God. Pharaoh had decreed that all male offspring of the Jewish slaves should be thrown in the river. They had become like "flies in the land". But verse 2 shows us that Jochebed loved her beautiful little son and hid him for three months. I do not believe that she just picked a spot at random and pushed his little ark out into the stream and waited to see how long it would take the crocodiles to notice him. I’m certain the place where Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe was well known and Jochebed knew that only someone as powerful as this princess would dare to keep her son alive. She must have been deeply in prayer for the safety of her son and also used her wits. She did not stand in plain sight where she could easily have been identified as the mother, but had his sister Miriam who would appear too young to be the child’s mother watch and identify herself to Pharaoh's daughter.
We don’t know much positive about Miriam, but we do know she was brave enough to take her life in her hands and approach this lady and brave the wrath of her guards. So Moses’ own mother got to raise him. Verse 11 implies that she took care of him until he was grown. The princess named him Moses or in Hebrew "Mosheh" because "mashah" means "to draw out".
Acts 7:21,22 Read
So Moses was raised in the court of Pharaoh. He learned all about the heathen religion of the Egyptian idolaters. Everyone thought that he was an Egyptian. But in his heart Moses knew that he was a Hebrew. In his heart Moses knew about God, because his real mother, Jochebed, told him about God when she was his nursemaid as a child.
We can see that Jochebed’s influence on her son was greater than that of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Her influence on his heart carried more weight than "all the wisdom of the Egyptians," which they had taught him. Moses went on to become one of the greatest men of God in history. Even in the midst of the pagan sensuality and the incredible power that was available to tempt him, he could not forget what he learned at his mother’s knee. Moses was so influenced by her that all of the wealth, power, and learning of Egypt could not stop him from following God.
In these wicked times of the 21st century, in a nation that can no longer call itself Christian, a mother's influence on the heart of her child could well be greater than any device or man-made "wisdom" that he hears from unbelievers. Jochebed should be an example to mothers today.
One of the greatest men of God in the Old Testament was the prophet Samuel. The first two chapters of I Samuel tell the story of how his mother Hannah prayed for a son and how God answered her prayer with the birth of her little boy. I want you to remember that she only had Samuel for three years. After that she only saw him once a year. But she prayed for him faithfully. So great was her influence that although he lived in the midst of the great wickedness of Eli’s sons, he was not drawn away and harmed by their influence because that of his godly mother was greater. He went on to become a great man of God.
Hannah’s love of God and faithfulness to him in the middle of harsh and unpleasant circumstances, influenced her son. Her prayers were answered, and her son became the greatest judge of Israel.
Throughout the history of our nation godly mothers have had great influence on their children. I work in a profession known for it’s dedication to feminism and have watched in it and in the society in general the thousand subtle pressures that are placed on women to consider themselves first and to see children, not as blessings, but as burdens. I would like to quote President Theodore Roosevelt’s wise observation on motherhood.
The good mother, the wise mother, is more important to the community than even the ablest person; her career is more worthy of honor and is more useful to the community than the career of any other person, no matter how successful.
I think of our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln. His mother sat him on her knee and read the Bible to him. She taught him to memorize the Ten Commandments. He learned to read and write copying from the Bible in front of a fire in their lean-to cabin. Of him, Nancy Lincoln once said, "I would rather have Abe be able to read the Bible than to own a farm, if he can only have one or the other." When Abe was only nine years old she died. These are her last words:
Abe, I’m going to leave you now, and I shall not return. I want you to be kind to your father and live as I have taught you. Love your heavenly Father and keep His commandments.
Later, as President, he was leading the nation through the horrors of the War of Rebellion. He said, "All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." Another time he said, "I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
The great fundamentalist preacher Dr. John R. Rice told how, when he was only five years old he was called to his mother’s deathbed and she told him goodbye and made him promise to meet her in Heaven. When he was twenty-four his aunt showed him a letter she had received from his mother two decades before that showed she had dedicated him to the Lord as Hannah had Samuel. He went on to become one of the great defenders of Biblical Christianity of the last century.
Lastly I’d like to talk about Nelle Reagan, the mother of late President Ronald Reagan. The President’s father, Jack, was a nominal Catholic and a hard drinker, but Nelle was a protestant who took her faith very seriously. The future President became a Christian and was baptized when he was eleven years old, not long after a major trauma in his life. He came home from school to find his father passed out drunk in the snow on the porch of their house. The young boy dragged his father into the house and into his bedroom. The shock of finding his father like that and the realization that he couldn’t count on his earthly father, turned him to his Heavenly Father and the Christian influence of his mother.
He became a believer and was among the first to be baptized in the new church that had started during the great revival of 1922 and met in the basement of the local YMCA. Nelle was active in that congregation and took her boys to services anytime the building was open. She passed her enthusiasm and love for the Lord on to young Ron, or Dutch, as he was then nicknamed. He became the Sunday School teacher for a group of young boys. He went on to attend a Christian college. In 1981 when he was sworn in as President, he did so with his hand placed on his mother’s Bible.
How our nation needs more mothers like these! Like Jochebed, the mother of Moses; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of our greatest President; Sallie Elizabeth Rice, the mother of Dr. John R. Rice; Nelle Reagan, the mother of President Reagan. We need mothers who will be like them, who will read the Bible to them every day. Who will pray for them each night before they go to sleep. Who will make sure they are in church with them every Sunday. May God help our Christian mothers to do these important things.
To quote again from President Theodore Roosevelt:
The woman’s task is never easy – no task worth doing is easy – but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest call and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the very foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.
There are several lessons to be learned from what we’ve look at today. First of these is that the impressions made on a small child are extremely important. Samuel’s mother only had three years with her son. President Lincoln’s mother was only with him until he was nine. Moses’ mother could only be with him until at most into his teens. Yet their influence for God carried on in their sons throughout their lives. I shudder when I see young mothers rush to dump their children into day care and get back to their "real" lives, leaving those sensitive souls to be imprinted by whoever happens to be in charge of them. The same is true of the influences of television and other entertainment. Last night on the way in to work I drove past mini-vans where the children sat in the back staring at a video screen instead of communicating with their parents. It’s bad enough now that the law forces us to strap our babies and toddlers into cushioned buckets in the back seat instead of cuddling them, but constantly I see the mother driving who could at least be communicating verbally with her children, ignoring them to chatter on her cell phone.
I beg of not just mothers, but fathers and grandparents, to grab every precious moment with those impressionable minds that you can. And that is my second point. Then time most of the mothers we’ve studied had with their children was often shorter than expected. It ‘s a sobering thought. The time we have to set godly examples for our children is limited at best. We need to seize every opportunity to discipline, pray, read the Bible with them and love them.
Lastly, the short time we have them with us, also points out the importance of the example we set. Our lives lived out before our children are the most vital example of what Christianity is. A hundred scripture quotes may never have the influence of one muttered curse, or blow struck, not in responsible discipline, but in anger. We often talk here of the importance of our walk as believers in the sight of the world, but nothing can be more imperative than the consistency of godly living mothers and fathers display to the little souls entrusted to them.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Goodbye Col. Hack

Col. David Hackworth, one of the very best of the rangers, died of cancer possibly related to Agent Orange exposure this week. A hero among heroes. The most decorated soldier in Vietnam. 8 REAL purple hearts. Nominated 3 times for the Medal of Honor. His book, Vietnam Primer, remains THE textbook on counter-terrorism operations. The RRR has a signed copy personally inscribed to him. All of his non-fiction is superlative. Unlike the rather trashy novels he attempted. But Hack was a man. Compared to say... John Kerry... a giant. I pray he found the Lord before his death.

The issue of Agent Orange exposure led me to the VA website and the startling discover that more illnesses have been added as being related to the defoliant. Among them, Type II Diabetes, Prostate trouble, and Spina Bifida in the vet's offspring. Interestingly enough I have Type II, the only one on both sides of the family to ever have it. And I've had prostitis since I was 25, and my youngest son, fellow river rat, was born with Occult Spina Bifida. Amazing that in almost 10 years of getting health care at the VA, where the health "professionals" have all missed that connection. Bitter, bitter, bitter. Perhaps having the appointment Mrs. RRR and I were to have to discuss my options on Hep C treatment cancelled and put off for two more weeks contributes. Or the fact two years ago I had a liver biopsy there and was refused a pre-op or pain medication and it was done by a Vietnamese doctor with a strong accent. Not that I hold a grudge.

Anyway, my emotions have been up and down the ladder since finding I still have Hep C. And I suppose they will continue to till something definite is decided.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Two Steps Forward, One and 9/10ths Back

The RRR got up early and went to the Big City on Tuesday to work day shift on county psych. On impulse I called the VA to see if the results from the Hep C test were in. They were but the nurse wouldn't tell me. I knew immediately. She had the specialist (nurse practitioner) call me back. "Well... it's not... good news...". Hardly. After the year on chemo, 4th or 5th time around, the virus count is back up from zero to 1.2 million per c.c. That's 12 million per teaspoonful of my blood. Maybe I should see if Osama Ben Laden needs a transfusion. The supervisor thought I'd gone into shock from the look on my face. I tried to pull myself together and finish my work, but spilled things all over and generally was not being an asset to the job. The other nurses graciously offered to each take one of my patients and I went home.

Did NOT resort to any of the old coping mechanisms, maintained my sobriety. When Mrs. RRR came home from work we hugged and hugged. And hugged a lot the rest of the day. Drove to town and bought a set of blades for the riding mower. $80 for 3 blades! Wandered about Sprawl Mart and came home. Devotions helped. Daily readings helped.

Friday Mrs. RRR and I go to the VA clinic to discuss what the options are. Please pray for us, Ranger Readers.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Green Hornet Speaks

1500 miles I carry these people on $75 worth of gas and what do I get? Right, another pint of Bardahl's No Smoke. "Glug, glug". But hey, turned over 200,000 today. Beat that Beemers.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sam Speaks (The Outside Dog)

I don't have time for this human communication stuff. Learn to use your noses and we'll talk. Meantime the bipeds have abandoned me. Again. Maybe two days worth of food in the bowl. So I tipped over the garbage can with the dog food in it and helped myself. Then I took the scoop they use to measure my food and set it in the empty bowl. Get the picture dummies? If dogs had opposable thumbs you humans wouldn't last a week.

(Note from RRR: Sam actually did knock over the barrel and put the scoop in his empty bowl)

My Input: Bay Toe Ven (Inside Dog)

I have had about enough of this. The RRR writes all this stuff about the fun he and Mrs. RRR are having in Kentucky meeting the new baby. Does anyone consider the poor dog? NO! 1st they run around packing things. They KNOW this upsets me. I don't LIKE change. I want everything to stay the same, but they do it anyway. Then they take my perfectly good house and spray it with insecticide. Yuck! They put it in the back of the Green Hornet and there I get to ride for 8 hours. People passing us stare at me. And EVERYTHING passes the Green Hornet. 3 cylinders, 1.0 liter of raging power. Motorcycles have bigger engines.

So we get to the south. And I have to be quiet. And I can't bite the little girls. What else are they good for? I can't even growl when they tease me! But at least the RRR takes me for long walks. I want to walk along sidewalks and sniff where other dogs have been, but NO, we have to find the only woods available and tramp through them. Does this guy ever get sick of this back to nature stuff? Eventually they show up with the new pup. Cute if you like hairless bipeds. Why can't they have a litter like normal creatures and get it over with?

At last we're going home. If they let me run down the lane barking I may not punish them by throwing up on the welcome mat.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Misc. Quotes From Rangerette #2, age 2

"Grandpa is funny"

"Grandpa calls me 'Sweetheart'"

"Grandpa is funny"

(When waiting for Mommy and Daddy to bring new little brother home from the hospital, #2 and older sister and I kneeled on the couch looking out the living room window. I identified slow moving cars going by as dinosaurs, fast ones as charging elephants and rhinoceros, squirrels as monkeys and bears. #2 got into it immediately and we were soon frustrating older sister by monkey and bear spottings that didn't even relate to squirrels.)