The Cab Ride I'll Never Forget
Written by: Kent Nerburn
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.
Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.
"Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice.
I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.
The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
"It's nothing," I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."
"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."
I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."
We drove in silence to the address she had given me.
It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.
"Nothing," I said.
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers."
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
A doctor told his patient, “Ma’am, the dog that bit you had rabies, and I’m afraid you’ve waited too long for rabies shots to be of any help. It’s time for you to make out a will.”
May I borrow a pen and some paper?” asked the woman calmly. She began writing—and didn’t stop for over an hour.
That’s the longest will I’ve ever seen,” the doctor said.
“It’s not a will,” the woman replied. “It’s a list of all the people I’m going to bite when I get out of here.”
Some people make others happy when they arrive. Others make them happy when they leave. Which are you?
Can Prayer Save America?
Submitted by: Alice Harrelson
During the Civil War, a friend of Abraham Lincoln was a visitor at the White House. "One night I was restless and could not sleep.... From the private room where the President slept, I heard low tones. Instinctively I wandered in, and there I saw a sight that I have never forgotten. It was the President, kneeling before an open Bible. His back was toward me. I shall never forget his prayer: 'Oh, Thou God that heard Solomon in the night when he prayed and cried for wisdom, hear me.... I cannot guide the affairs of this nation without Thy help. Hear me and save this nation.'"
When the leaders of our country assembled to write the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin proposed that each session be opened with prayer. Franklin said, "I have lived a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth--that God governs the affairs of men."
Our nation is great because it was founded upon God's Word and prayer. But today prayer has been replaced by political intrigue, materialism, and a mistaken notion that our private and national affairs can be run without God. But here and there throughout America, voices are heard as individuals and groups begin to call on God in prayer. But this whole nation must be moved to prayer. So great are the dangers, so grave the perils, so tremendous the problems that it is imperative that we lay hold upon the Lord God in prayer for His will.
Prayer can save America. There is only one way out, and that is up! If we do not turn to God, we will be overcome by the godless. It is either revival or ruin! It is now or never! The answer will not be found by the UN or NATO. The answer will be found only when we call upon the Lord God. Spiritual values must be restored. We must return to the faith of our fathers and to family prayer and the Bible.
But we cannot really lay hold upon a holy God until we come to know Him as our Father. The Bible says that we have all sinned and are separated from God (Romans 3:23). By His death on the cross, God's Son Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Christ's death and resurrection make it possible for you to have victory over sin and a vital relationship with God. Only then can He hear and answer your prayers... both for America and your own personal needs. Receive Him today. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).
Then you can claim God's promise: "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
A Simple Prayer
It’s me. We’re getting older and things are getting bad here. Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs are too high. I know some have taken you out of our schools, government and even Christmas, but Lord I'm asking you to come back and re-bless America. We really need you! There are more of us who want you than those who don't!
Thank you Lord,
I love You.
The Bumpy Ride Home
Written by: Pat Lewallen
I can still remember Thursday, January 5th, 2012. It was an extremely long and very tiring day. Momma was not feeling well that day. She had two doctors’ appointments that day. One appointment was at 11:30 am and the other was at 3:30 pm. We waited thirty minutes in the waiting room to see the first doctor and another forty-five minutes later that day to see the second doctor. If you’ve ever been kept waiting at a doctor’s office, you know just how tired and weary this can make you. I felt sorry for Momma. I knew she was sick and would have liked nothing better than to be resting at home.
The first doctor finally sees Momma, diagnoses her problem, and sends an electronic prescription request to the drug store. Momma is very tired and not feeling any better so I decide to take her straight home. As I’m driving along on the Old Farmer Road, Momma suddenly said, “This road is so bumpy and rough, can’t you find another road to drive on?” I replied, “Momma, I’m sorry, but this is the road that takes us home.”
The second doctor is in Archdale. We drive to Archdale and after waiting forty-five minutes; we finally get to see him. We talk to the doctor and he prescribes Momma another medication. This prescription is hand written so we have to drive back to the drug store in Asheboro and drop it off. Momma was extremely tired so I decided to take her on home and come back later and pick up her medicine. As I’m driving toward home, I looked over and jokingly asked, “Momma, are you ready for another bumpy ride?” She was very tired. Momma said, “I’m ready to go home.”
This earthly life has its share of bumpy and rough roads. Just look around and see all the turmoil and strife that fills the world today. It seems like no one wants to get along with anyone else anymore. I can’t believe how much things have changed in just my lifetime. I still love my country. It hurts me to see so many horrible things taking place in America and all over the world today. I’m so glad I have Jesus to depend on every day in my life’s journey. Jesus is always with me as I travel this bumpy road of life. One day I know Jesus will call for me. I just don’t know how long my wait will be. But I know for sure that whenever He calls for me, I’m going to answer, “I’m ready to go home.”
Copied & submitted by:
Lela Farlow Trotter
Is there anything else that is better worth
As along life’s way we plod
Than to find some wand’ring soul of earth
And bring him home to God?
I would rather find a soul that is lost
And bring it home again
Than to own what all earth’s acres cost
Or all the wealth of men!
Wouldn’t I be glad when the day is done
In breathing my last breath
To know some word of mine had won
And saved a soul from death?
The Treasure of Sunset Beach, NJ
Copied from article
Written by: Susan Tischler
It is about 7:20 when I pull over and park along the shoulder of Sunset Boulevard. Sunset is at 7:45 so I figure I have plenty of time but I have underestimated the number of people who attend the Evening Flag Ceremony at Sunset Beach every night from May through September. My parking space is across from the water tower. I grab my camera bag and start walking, briskly I might add, so I don’t miss a thing because this is going to be one spectacular sunset.
The lowering of the American flag is a 40 year tradition and Marvin Hume has been at the mast for 32 of those years. The 83-year-old Hume owns the property at Sunset Beach which includes a couple of gift shops, a clothing boutique, Sunset Beach Grill and is the site of any number of other attractions including the concrete ship Atlantus. A setting sun has no patience for digression.
The sky, as I step onto the rough sand, is filled with pastel hues of peach and yellow with just a trace of blue. As the sun begins to set in earnest, the peaches turn to orange, the yellows deepen to gold and blue disappears completely, replaced by a fiery red. It has been very hot the past few weeks and the sunsets have been hidden amid a thick, steamy, summer haze. This clear, variegated sky although beautiful is another reminder of fall and cooler temperatures.
This is the first time I’ve actually stayed for the flag lowering. There are loads of people lining the beach for the sunset. As I busy myself taking pictures of the scene I hear a voice over the p.a. system bringing my attention away from the sky and toward the flag and sky which is still blue.
Marvin is explaining the ceremony and introducing the family who will help lower the flag tonight. All the flags flown at the mast are veterans’ casket flags donated by the families of the deceased. Tonight, the flag will be lowered with the help of Julianna and Alex Herff whose grandfather Olimpio Herff, a veteran of the Korean War died recently. Julianna and Alex are about 4 and 6 I venture to say. Marvin asks that we all stand while a recording of Kate Smith singing God Bless America, followed by the national anthem play. Marvin then walks over to the mast, greets the Herff family and shows Julianna and Alex how to stand with their hand over their heart while the music plays. Their mother Victoria Monacelli-Herff stands nearby watching.
I snap away with the camera until the Star Spangled Banner plays and then I too, place my hand over my heart and look to the flag. There are maybe a couple hundred people assembled. They spread out from the Sunset Grill up and down the beach for quite a ways. Many are gathered near the mast. They are young – children, teens and young adults. They are old, many of them veterans of various wars from WWII to Vietnam. They stand in silence, some singing, some near tears, some with their heads bowed as though in prayer.
And then it is over. At the end of the anthem, Marvin and Julianna begin lowering the flag. Marvin asks Alex and Victoria to stand opposite them so they may catch the flag as it comes down. Marvin cautions against allowing the flag to touch the ground.
I ask Marvin if I can contact him if I have any questions. “I’m here every night just come on over.”
As I walk back to my car, forgetting just how far back that is, I think what a unique place Sunset Beach is. A small gesture like the flag ceremony brings strangers together in a shared moment to enjoy the sunset, the flag lowering, the site of the concrete ship, a view of the ferry going across the Delaware Bay – more importantly it is a moment of a shared history and a sense of our commonality.