Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Choice, A Parable of Thought [Exclusive]

Today my thoughts have led me to provide an example of my intentional message rather than using a direct hit. I am not sure how well a slight glance brings the message, but if you hit a deer with a slight glance he will at least get moving rather than wait for the fatal shot. It is a diversion from my usual yarn, but I hope you find it thought provoking. It may also lead you to think different thoughts about me. I don’t intend to mislead you but rather provoke thought. The story is as I state it. You are free to develop your own scenario for another day, but you are faced with mine for now. The end result will be your choice. So with that introduction let me present you with an interesting scenario.

You have not been feeling well lately. So, you make an appointment with your long trusted family physician. He agrees to see you right away. Based on your conversation, exam, and test results that follow he brings you back in for the news. It seems you have obtained an illness that to most would seem improbable. But, this situation is most likely fatal. Knowing you have family to support and you just really would like a little more time you immediately want to hear your options. Of course your doctor’s first advice is to get a second opinion before going down the path of treatment. You look for what you consider is a fairly decent physician, consult with your insurance, and get the news you knew was coming but hoped didn’t. According to the second opinion your personal physician was correct. You are in difficult position. So, you return to your personal doctor to discuss the options and see if there is any hope. In the discussion with your doctor you learn there are two specialists who claim to have any success at a cure. You get the names of the two doctors and proceed to do some research. After all, it is your life we are talking about.

Here is the results of your research:

Doctor #1: Graduated with honors from a top rated medical school. Spent a number of years in Bethesda at the Naval Hospital. They even treated the president once. They are board certified and have several papers published on your illness. So far they haven’t lost any patients to your illness. But, they seem to have a personal problem. They had an affair with an intern at Bethesda. Word got out, they tried to avoid it but in the end they voluntarily left Bethesda. Today the doctor is at Harvard and is highly successful. In personal life one might label him a little liberal because he has spoken out on controversial issues. Rumors still abound that he might be having an affair with his nurse at Harvard, but so far his wife stands beside him. He does attend his local church, but is not a leader.

Doctor #2: Graduated from a regional medical school with passing scores. Spent a number of years in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Lost a few patients at Walter Reed, but had an average record for most doctors. He left the army after a few years service but you are not sure why. Doctor #2 worked briefly with Doctor #1 and studied the illness you have obtained. They’ve had a couple successes with your illness, but are also involved in a couple of malpractice suits. In fact, the number of his patients lost to your illness exceeds the number of patients that survived. In his personal life the Doctor #2 is a member of a major metropolitan church where they participate in leading the youth group. He did have a small problem with alcohol once, but admitted it and, as far as anyone knows, is alcohol free. He could easily be labeled extremely conservative and during his last malpractice trial his pastor testified on his character. It just so happens that his best friend is the CEO of the hospital where Doctor #2 works.

Which doctor will you choose?

I personally don’t really want an answer. I am a believer that the choices you make are between you and those from who you seek guidance. I know I used the term church. Feel free to substitute any religious belief or moral platform you wish. Frankly I just wanted to provide you a moment of thought.

The story is a parable, but I bet you see where it is applicable. I bet a lot of you once made a choice that might not be your current choice. Life sure does pass down a curvy road.

Friends, let me relieve you of a sad ending. It doesn’t matter which choice was made, my person survived. He faced a few moments of fear and everything wasn’t perfect. But he sought additional advice, made the best choice he could, and somehow he is with us today. Because if he made the right choice all was well. If he made the wrong choice he learned his lesson and sought the opposite choice for help before death took its toll. In the end he learned importance of separating what was valuable and hoped he could influence the rest.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blowing the Snow and Stiring the Soup [Exclusive]

Today is one of those days where the weather will actually entice you into thinking “you know, the weather up here just doesn’t get that bad.” Boys, this isn’t Alabama. It’s going to get cold. Just take a quick trip down to any of the big box hardware stores and they have a full line-up of snow blowers with every option imaginable. Try finding that in Alabama. Being my third winter I guess I may have to give in and make my selection. The shovel is getting old. It just took a couple of years to convince this old Alabama boy that the snow is coming. Back home if we got an inch of snow it was time to shut everything down. Up here, an inch is snow is what you might get on a cool October day. So this year you may just find me with an electric start snow churning monster. I don’t think I’ll go for the headlight option.

But don’t get me totally wrong. We had some interesting days back home. I grew up in the corner of Alabama near the Tennessee and Mississippi state lines. I can remember the days where you could get a quick twenty dollars by helping a truck get up what will called state line hill down at the Mississippi line. Now the states have upgraded the main highway and smoothed out the “ups and down” so I assume that activity fled with all the other memories.

Now we did have some interesting boys in the high school where I grew up who did some things that were always entertaining. Such as the time one of the boys decided to see what happens when you floor the accelerator and then drop the automatic transmission quickly from park to drive. Hint: don’t try this at home. One night my friend and I were out wandering around in the 1966 CJ5 that Dad let me drive. We were only about 10 miles from the nearest point of civilization when we decided to turn around and go back home. I was driving and my friend was watching because we were near a field and it was hard to see how to turn around at night. He says whoa which I interpreted as go. There we sat straddle of a ditch with only a prayer to get us out. Luckily we both worked on a farm and we were able to finally lift the Jeep across the ditch without major injuries.

Now you may be asking why I just shared that Jeep story knowing my Dad will see it. Don’t worry, I can tell some that included him even if his events were unintentional. I will say nothing more than if I tell you the brakes don’t work then they probably don’t work. Thank God that pine tree was big enough to hold back the Jeep. (My daughter just got her driver’s permit and I ‘m sharing these stories. What am I thinking?)

With that story I just have one last thing to share. I got a couple of e-mails from some old friends down in another state where I used to live. It seems somebody is confused and it is interesting what is happening down there. Did you ever notice how there is always somebody trying to stir the pot? I guess there are still a lot of people who have what we called the banty rooster syndrome when I was back home in Alabama. No you won’t find “banty” rooster in the dictionary. But the fine folks at help explain that banty was actually short for bantam. According to my other resource,, “Bantam is the name given to any small fowl but most commonly small types of chickens.” So, if we labeled you a banty rooster it usually meant you liked to bully people to make up for your small stature or weakness. Well, recently I got some e-mails pointing to one of these types who used an open forum to raise their stature by lowering the stature of others. Since I like to keep things upbeat I am not going to point this situation out directly, but if you look around you will see what I mean. My advice, you can either lift yourself up by bettering yourself or, better yet, lift up enough people around you and it will lift you as well. Chopping the trees around you to make your tree taller might just kill enough of the forest to take your tree and you along with it. Be a good neighbor this week and try to lift someone up. That is the better way to stir the pot. The splash you get will be “soup for the soul” rather than that other stuff.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Touch Of Home [Exclusive]

One of the joys of living in northern Ohio is that these boys up here live and breath football almost as much as any true Alabamian or any Southern boy as far as I'm concerned (we have to leave out a lot of metro Florida when we call somebody Southern). And my favorite football to watch is high school football. These boys are just honing their skills so they make mistakes and then the coach has to work his way around for each move. Well, that was evident here for our boys Friday night. They tried hard, but we went down with the ship.

Speaking of football and Alabama, I have noticed that just because I am originally from Alabama the first question out of about half the population is "So you went to Alabama." Now if you ever truly lived in Alabama you would know that making a statement like that puts you in about a 50/50 chance of having one upset fellow to deal with. In my case you would be on the losing end. And Auburn did put the whoop on the Bama boys my senior year at Auburn. If you explain it to them in terms of Michigan and Ohio State they start to see the light. In fact, if you got the facts on the person you are about the meet before the introduction you can really make them understand. For example, when they impolitely assume you are attended Alabama you politely, and try to look innocent, ask them did their Michigan team whoop up on Ohio State for their senior year (knowing they actually went to Ohio State). Yes, I'm proud of these boys up here. They understand the true reason God created the weekend. Purely for man to find stress relief in the form of pig remains flying through the air.

So with that statement folks, its time to bid you a good night and a big War Eagle! And if you don't know what the Iron Bowl is I best suggest you get your facts straight before you must account for your deeds in this world.

Welcome [Exclusive - move to new site]

Well I decided to move my blog from my friend’s site to one of my sites. So here we are. I hope to be moving my little Southern insight on my friends here in the North. And maybe just a touch of insight on the events back home.