Based on what Jesus said in the Gospel of John—”I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”—I’m offering this advice as we face a new year: “Have a blast while you last!”

  I really think the love of life is something that most all of us have.  It is recognized that those people who want to end their lives are people with major problems.

  The love of life lies deep in the human soul.

  A ten-year-old boy was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  He quickly answered, “Alive!”

  If God sees fit to allow me to live another year I’m going to be thankful to be alive.  I’m also committed to having a blast while I last!

  Joan Baez said: “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when.  You only get to choose how you’re going to live now.”

  I’m going to choose to have a blast while I last.

  Here’s how I’m going to do it—

  ONE—I’m going to follow the advice given in Ecclesiastes 9:10.  It says: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”  One version translates it: “Whatever turns up, grab it and do it.” 

  I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2012.  I don’t know what will turn up.  I may make my plans but no matter how much I plan; the unexpected is going to happen.  When it does, I’m gong to grab it and do it.  I’m not going to limit myself to live in the never-never land of what I plan to do tomorrow.  Whatever turns up as I’m living my life, I’m going to grab it and do it.  I’m not going to complain and say, “I don’t feel like doing it.”  I’m going to jump in, grab hold, and do whatever turns up!

  I’m going to have a blast while I last!

  TWO—And, I’m going to do whatever needs to be done with all my might!  Life is too short, too fragile, and too precious to take it lightly!  A preacher of some years ago said: “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ’Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.’” 

  THREE—Another verse of Scripture says: “ the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

  I’m going to remember that life is short and that we’re all going to the land of the dead sooner or later.  I know that we all say we know the truth of the statement but all too often we live like we don’t believe it.  We only get one chance to do whatever we’re gong to do on planet earth—and we don’t really have much time to get it done. 

  Hey folks, there’s always room for somebody else in the cemetery!  So, it behooves all of us to “Git-R-Done!” 

  I’m going to have a blast while I last!

  FOUR—I’m going to try to look past all the major blessings in my life and be thankful for the “small things” in my life.  You see, I’ve already learned that the “small things” are just as important as the “big things.” 

  A few years ago I was faced with the possibility of having my right leg amputated to save my life.  Some good doctors found a way around that dire prognosis and placed an arterial graft in my leg.  Since then I’ve had circulation problems in that leg but, you know what?  Every morning when I get up I look down at my toes and if they are pink, I say, “Thank You, Lord, for my pink toes!”

  I’m glad I still have my leg but those pink toes are beautiful!  Sometimes we need to be reminded that God is to be seen not just in the big events of life but also in the tiny details.

  I’m going to have a blast while I last!

  When I die, they’re going to take my body and put it in a box.  So, we need to do whatever we’re going to do now!  We’ll have plenty of time to take it easy when we’re put in the box.

  I have a desire to die young at a very old age!  You can be old at 20 and young at 85.

  I want to go down serving and singing and loving and laughing and having a “blast while I last” till they put me in the box.

  I refuse to die until I’m dead.

  I want to have a blast while I last!

  Happy New Year from ye ol’ muser!




  Have you heard the new phrase that is being tossed around this Christmas?  If you listen to the news carefully you will hear about “The War Against Christmas.”

  A well-known preacher recently said: “I believe there is an overall war against the person of Jesus Christ...Whether it is by corporations or government entities that forbid saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ or schools that take out anything about Jesus due to ‘separation of church and state,’ it is very obvious that anything related to the person of Jesus Christ is under attack.”

  That would seem to be a true statement.

  It appears that those who attack “anything related to the person of Jesus Christ” have unashamedly organized themselves to do battle with those who exercise their freedom of religion in the practice of their Christian faith.

  But, do you know that “The War Against Christmas” is not a modern invention?

  Ever since that Baby was born in a stable in Bethlehem, there have been those who have stood in opposition to anything that has to do with God sending a Savior who is also the King of King and the Lord of Lords. 

  Did you know that there was a man who actually tried to kill Christmas?

  His name was Herod and he was the Roman appointed “king” who reigned in splendor in the city of Jerusalem some two thousand years ago.

  You probably don’t know much about Herod.  There’s really only one thing that stands out about him.  He was a killer!  Literally, a killer.

  When he thought anybody was threatening his power as king, he just had them killed.  Some of those he killed included his wife, his mother-in-law, his brother-in-law, and two sons.  That’s not counting all the other hundreds he killed to stay in power.

  Herod was king and he was going to remain king regardless of what he had to do—including killing anybody who got in his way.

  That’s why he was so shook up when the Wise Men came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews?”


  The question aroused Herod’s hatred and killing spirit.

  He was the king!  He was the only king!  And, he was going to remain the only king!

  So, when he heard about the birth of another king, he started a killing spree in Bethlehem where the new king had been born.

  He couldn’t find the actual baby so he authorized the killing of every little baby boy in Bethlehem and surrounding towns who were two years old and younger. 

  Here’s the way the killing spree is described by one writer: “Can you imagine the scene?  Soldiers on a death squad breaking into Bethlehem homes in the dead of night, taking the baby boys and covering their faces with a sheet.  One soldier grabs the legs while another takes the knife and slits the young boy’s throat.  To one side, the mother screams and wails.  Through the streets they go seeking every baby boy.  Killing all night long.  They had their orders.  Kill every baby boy.  Don’t miss one.  They did their job well.  By morning the slaughter is over, the soldiers gone, the babies dead.  Over the town of Bethlehem ring out loud cries and mourning, mothers who refuse to be comforted.  Their children are no more.”

  There you have King Herod—the man who tried to kill Christmas...almost did...but he didn’t!

  Herod later died a terrible death.  He died in agony—insane, tormented, and delirious.

  But, the spirit of King Herod lives on. 

  That spirit still exists in the lives of those who are offended by Jesus, even by the mere mention of His name.  They want to erase every trace of Christmas from public life.  They want to ban a nativity scene from the city halls across America.

  Herod would be proud of them.

  This Christmas Season you have a choice to make. 

  You can be like King Herod and respond to the good news of the birth of the Savior by opposing any expression of its reality.  You can be like the religious leaders who knew about the birth of a Messiah but didn’t have time to visit the newborn Baby.  Like them, you’ve got other things to do.  You’ve got to put up the tree, cook a meal, shop for presents, and attend a party.  You just don’t really care about the real meaning of the birth of Christ.

  Or, you can be like those Wise Men and seek out where Jesus is and fall on your knees and worship Him.

  The choice is up to you.

  I recognize that “The War Against Christmas” really is being waged.

  It started with King Herod.

  He tried to kill Christmas. 

  I hope you will join the ranks of the faithful and help restore the real meaning of the birth of our Messiah who is “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God!”

  Merry Christmas from ye ol’ muser!




  Babies!  You’ve got’a love them!

  Most everybody loves little babies.  I know I do.  One of my favorite things to do when I visit a hospital is to go to the maternity floor and look at all those little chubby, red, and wrinkled faces.  Of course, I learned a long time ago that I’m content at just looking!  I really don’t have any desire to take one of them home with me.  Been there; done that!

  The point is that babies are special.  We love the way they squeak, the way they laugh, and the way they make all those funny little faces.  We look forward to seeing them saying their first word and taking their first step.  We allow them to make us look silly as we talk our baby talk to them and do weird things to make them laugh at us.

  To put it in a word—We’re hooked on babies!

  Maybe that’s one of the reasons that Christmas affects some people the way it does.  What’s sweeter or as cute as a little chubby baby in a bed of straw laying in a manger with zoo animals all around?

  It seems to me that a lot of people just want Christmas to be about a baby.  They like the fuzzy, warm feelings when they look at the baby.

  Let me be quick to say that Christmas is more than a baby!

  It’s good to have those warm, fuzzy feelings but we need to grow up ourselves and allow that Baby to grow up and come out of that manger!

  We need to see beyond the manger and see why that Baby was sent to this earth and see who that Baby became!  At some point in time we have to let Jesus get out of the cradle.  We need to go from thinking of Him as a baby and understand that He is God who came to this earth wrapped in human flesh!  That Baby was to be called Emmanuel—God with us!  His birth is called the Incarnation—God in the flesh!

  Are you noticing the effort that the world is putting forth to separate any reference to Christ from our traditional observance of the birth of Jesus?  In another year or two it’s going to be unusual to hear anybody say “Merry Christmas.”  If things keep going like they’re going, we’ll soon have a Christmas completely free and void of any suggestion as to the real reason God allowed His Son to enter this world!

  Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer, will take the place of sheep in the field.  Frosty, the snowman, will replace the wise men.  The Grinch will be seated on the throne of King Herod.  Mary will take a backseat to Lady Gaga and Joseph will look like Santa Claus.

  The world will finally get what it’s been looking for—Xmas without any Biblical foundation!

  We will have succeeded in having a completely counterfeit Christmas!

  The problem the world has with Christmas is not a baby in a manger.  The problem is that the Baby is God in the flesh!  The problem is that the Baby is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!  The problem is that the Baby is the Savior of the world!  The problem is that the Baby died on a cross to forgive sin!  The problem is that the Baby grew up to become the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  The problem is that the Baby is the Christ, the Messiah!

  Today people, and sad to say a lot of church people, want the cuteness of Christmas without the Christ of Christmas.  They want the baby, but not the King.  They love the gifts of men, but turn their backs on the Gift of God.  The will accept the tinsel but not the truth.  They want decorations instead of dedication.

  What about you?

  Is Christmas just a time when you can party down and booze it up?  Is Christmas just an excuse to get a day or two off from work?  Is Christmas just a time to sell your wares and line your pockets with a few extra dollars?  Is Christmas just a time to enjoy another basketball or football game?  Is Christmas just a time to stuff your face with some more turkey and cranberry sauce?

  Folks, if that little Baby born in a stable and laid in a manger is who He claimed to be; then He deserves our praise, our worship, our obedience, our all!

  Let’s not allow the world to take that which is sacred to us and make it something that has no spiritual meaning.

  We somehow have to get beyond the trimming and traditions and get back to the truth and reality of what the birth of Jesus is all about.  Somehow we have to get beyond a counterfeit Christmas and get that Baby out of the stable and into our hearts.  We have to get Him out of the cradle and onto the throne.  We have to go from thinking of Him as a cute little baby to thinking of Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

  It’s time we get comfortable saying “Merry CHRISTmas!” and forgetting “Happy Holidays!”

  Merry CHRISTmas!




  I am torn between two things as I write these words—I would love to tell you about some of the great things that are planned to make this Christmas season so very enjoyable; and then, I’ve got a major announcement to make that I simply can’t put off.

  The past year or two has been so frustrating for the average American.  Think about the loss of jobs, the increase in groceries, the soaring costs of health care, the increase in gas prices, and the threats to cut Medicare and Social Security.  All of us have been affected in some way by these events.

  Our politicians tell us that they have been working to help make things better.  We’ve had the Stimulus Package, the debate in Congress about increasing taxes, the Jobs Bill, and Universal Health Care.

  I know that the general attitude has been that our politicians have not helped all that much.  Right now there are more Americans who believe a colony of baboons could do a better job at working out our problems than all our Congressmen and Senators.  To be honest, I’ve been one of those that believe in the baboons!

  Have I been wrong!

  The events of the past few days prove to me that the recession has ended, a depression has been averted, our national wealth has been fairly redistributed, the average American now has more money than he had four years ago, the future looks bright, the economic crisis has ended, and everything we have lost in the past has now been restored.

  How do I know these things?


  Didn’t you watch the news as reporters told us what happened the day after Thanksgiving Day?

  Two hundred and twenty-six million Americans flocked to stores and websites over the Black Friday holiday weekend, spending an estimated $52.4 billion!

  Can you believe it?

  That’s 226,000,000 Americans spent $524,000,000,000 in Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target stores!  That figure is UP over 6% from last year setting a record for the most money ever spent on a Black Friday!

  Folks, do you have any idea how much one billion dollars is?  Here you go—If you stacked a pile of $1,000 bills tightly together in a stack; that stack would be 63 miles high!  If you have a stack of  $1,000 bills amounting to $52.4 billion dollars you would have a stack over 3,300 miles high!

  That’s how much money was spent on Black Friday 2011—in America!

  But, not all Americans stood in lines to shop on Black Friday.  Some of them went to see a movie.  A lot of them went to see a movie called “Breaking Dawn.”  By the end of the weekend Americans spent over $72 million dollars to see a movie!

  What kind of movie?

  Here’s the way one website describes the basic plot: “The first part details Bella's marriage and honeymoon with Edward, which they spend on a private island, called Isle Esme, off the coast of Brazil.  Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella realizes that she is pregnant with a half-vampire, half-human child and that her condition is progressing at an unnaturally accelerated rate.  After contacting Carlisle, who confirms her pregnancy, she and Edward immediately return home to Forks, Washington.  Edward, concerned for Bella's life and convinced that the fetus is a monster as it continues to develop with unnatural rapidity, urges her to have an abortion.  However, Bella feels a connection with her unborn baby and refuses.”

  Wow!  That’s the kind of entertainment that should appeal to everybody!

  Now, who were these Americans who spent all this money?  Folks, they weren’t millionaires.  Millionaires don’t have to stand in line at Wal-Mart to buy a television!  Why were all these people standing in line?  Maybe they were waiting for free cheese or government commodities to feed their little hungry children!


  No free cheese or commodities were handed out at Wal-Mart!

  Many, but not all, of them were those “poor and needy Americans” who don’t have enough money to buy groceries, who can’t pay their medical bills, or afford to pay their rent or utilities.  Many, but not all of them were the people who believe that we ought to tax the rich so we can have more money to be redistributed among “the needy.”  Many, but not all of them were people who expect to be supported by a government from the cradle to the grave.

  Are there those who are “poor and needy?”  You bet!  But, the real “poor and needy” in our midst are not able to wait in line on Black Friday to get a new plasma television or buy an X-Box for their child!  And, what are we to do with the real “poor and needy” amongst us?  We are to help them!  And, we are able to help them!  There are plenty of government welfare programs, church benevolence programs, and generous individual Americans to provide all the help that the real “poor and needy” need!

  But, there is not enough, nor can there ever be enough, to support those lazy Americans who think they are entitled to have somebody else to take care of them!

  What are we to do with those lazy Americans who have their hand out and know how to play the welfare system?  What are we to do with those conniving Americans who increase their monthly check by having another baby?  What about this for a start—Quit enabling them to live a lifestyle that is killing America and plunging us into financial failure!

  After observing what happened last week during Black Friday—226,000,000 Americans spending $524,000,000,000 at retail stores and over $72,000,000 to see a movie—I can safely say that the recession has ended, a depression has been averted, our national wealth has been redistributed, the average American now has more money than he had four years ago, the future looks bright, the economic crisis has ended, and everything we have lost in the past has now been restored.




None of us have to be reminded that Christmas is on the way!  Just as soon as Thanksgiving Day is over we’re faced with the excitement and hopefully, joy of the Christmas Season.

  I know that all of us have our own traditions that we follow when it comes to our celebration of Christmas and I would not do anything to suggest that you give up on them.  However, I do have several suggestions that I’d like to see you consider in your Christmas activities. 

  I am in a position to make the first announcement that we’re going to be celebrating “Christmas at the Museum” beginning the first day of December!  And just what is “Christmas at the Museum?” 

  Several weeks ago the decision was made to decorate the third floor of the museum for Christmas   With the guidance of Mrs. Margie Williams and some very willing volunteers, that has been done.  And, I might add, wonderfully done!

  All of the rooms are beautifully decorated with trees, teddy bears, poinsettias, toys, and nativity scenes.  There is a huge inflatable with a Christmas train pulling a snow globe!  Of course, young people will probably be thrilled with the decorations, but you adults will enjoy it just as much.

  The museum staff invites all of you visit “Christmas at the Museum” and be sure to bring your cameras!  The decorations present a great photo opportunity.

  While at the museum we want you to be sure to visit and browse our new gift shop.  I can guarantee you that you’ll find unique gifts that are sure to please everyone on your gift list.  We have over sixty book that deal with the history of Wayne County.  There are other books that focus on the genealogy of many Wayne County families.  We have a tremendous display of light house items.  Who do you know that would like to have a beautiful Wayne County throw that has images of the Doughboy, Mill Springs, the Old Courthouse, the stagecoach and dozens of other images?  We have several prints that could be framed and given as a very special gift.  What about a Wayne County walking stick?  We’ve got those!  Looking for a birdhouse?  Got ‘em!  Keep in mind that your purchases from our gift shop help us keep the doors of the museum open for all to enjoy.

  And, just what would Christmas be without the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade?  The 41st parade will be Friday, December 2nd at 6:00 on Main Street in downtown Monticello.  You just have to come and see South Central Kentucky’s oldest night time Christmas Parade.  This year’s theme is “A Storybook Christmas.”  And, just in case you are not able to come to the parade, keep in mind that Pro Video/Audio Productions will televise the parade on channel 8 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

  As if these suggestions were not enough, we’ve got one more to tell you about.

  On Saturday afternoon, December 10th,  from 1:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. the Aspire Center will be transformed into a virtual Christmas wonderland.  The nationally known group, Fresh Paint Ministries will be joining hands with our own Monticello Kiwanis Club and the Aspire Center to bring a huge Christmas party to Wayne County.  The theme of the party is “Snow Blast.”  And, it will be a “blast!”  There will be games, refreshments, puppet shows, and free toys for all kids.  Please help us to make sure that every young person in Wayne County knows about this party!  The good news is that everything is free.  What about that for an early Christmas present?

  You will agree with me that there are a lot of activities that demand our time around Christmas.  All of us are in a position where we have to choose those that are meaningful.  I think these suggestions might help you to make those decisions.

  There’s just one other suggestion that I’d make—most of you are going to have visitors to join you in your celebration of Christmas.  You’ll eventually get tired of sitting in front of the television watching ball games.  You’ll have all your shopping done.  You’ve caught up on your cooking.  You need to get out of the house.  Here’s a suggestion—bring your Christmas company to the museum for a tour.  We promise to delight and dazzle them with the display we have. 

  We might not the Dollywood, Opryland Hotel, or the Smithsonian, but there are some great Christmas events to be enjoyed right here in Wayne County.  Why not take advantage of them?

  We’ll look forward to welcoming you to the museum.

  The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m.  Keep in mind that the museum will be closed December 20 through December 26 so that our volunteers can be with their families. 




  Here it is just a few days before Thanksgiving Day and I’m knee deep in thoughts about what would be a great meal for the occasion.

  Those of you who know me know that, not only do I eat a lot; I do a lot of thinking about eating.  Thanksgiving Day provides me an excellent opportunity to do some of that thinking.

  Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite holidays. 

  That’s right; I’m one of those people that still believe Thanksgiving Day should remain a part of our holiday schedule.  I know that there are some who jump from Halloween to Christmas.  Not me!  I’m going to take advantage of all the benefits offered by observing Thanksgiving Day.

  Of course, I’ll pause and try to recall so many of the blessings I might be taking for granted—like new house shoes, new windshield wipers for my car, a new shirt, hot water, and collard greens.  Those things added to my list of more important blessings—forgiveness of my sins, the friendship of my brothers and sisters in Christ, my hope of Heaven, and a Savior that sticks closer to me than a brother; cause me to be so thankful.

  But, Thanksgiving at the Ogle house is a great time of fun.

  Here’s what’s in my mind for Thanksgiving Day at the Ogles—a low country seafood boil!

  A what?

  Low country seafood boil.

  This is an idea straight from the extreme southern part of Louisiana (low country) where seafood abounds and just waits to be cooked (boiled).

  We’ve decided that we’re going to forgo the traditional turkey and dressing.  That way ol’ Thomas Turkey will have a new lease on life and there’ll be more cornbread available for crumbling into a super cold glass of buttermilk.

  The seafood boil is going to be tricky since Monticello is not known as a seafood center.  I don’t know any grocery store that sales crawfish around here. 

  That means that I’ve got to travel up “north” to get the ingredients for the boil. 

  I’ll need crab legs, large shrimp, and genuine andoullie sausage.

  The corn on the cob and the potatoes should be easy enough to get here in Monticello.

  I don’t know why people have such an aversion to eating crab legs and shrimp.  One comes from the frigid waters of Alaska and the other from the warm waters of the Atlantic.  Put those slippery fellows together and you’ve got a gourmet meal fit for kings.

  I’ve got to be honest and tell you that not everybody in the Ogle household is looking forward to this feast.  Gale, my wife, has developed some kind of allergy to shellfish and she’s afraid that if she eats shrimp or crabs that her esophagus will swell up and cause her to strangle to death while she’s busy scratching the hives that break out all over her body.

  We’re not going to leave her out of the meal because I’m planning to cook up a batch of sweet hot wings in the pressure cooker that will satisfy her special dietary requirements.  All that just means that there will be more crab legs and shrimp for me!

  Being a preacher and observing Thanksgiving Day like I do presents certain problems for me.  I know that the Bible warns against gluttony.  I really try to pace myself when I go to the table to eat but sometimes the temptation is just more than I can overcome.  When I see those pink shrimp, the red tint of those crab legs, the plumpness of those new red potatoes, the whiskers on the crawfish, and the deep yellow of those ears of corn; I jump right in until somebody takes my fork away from me and tries to shame me for eating too much.

  I hope that all of you are going to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal as much as I will enjoy mine but I doubt that you will.

  While your chowing down on your turkey leg, sopping up the giblet gravy, eating your pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream; just remember that ye ol’ muser will be cracking crab legs, peeling shrimp, and baptizing them both into clarified butter before allowing my taste buds to savor the delicious taste of the best of the oceans of the world.

  The only part about my meal that I don’t enjoy is when the grandkids have to carry me out in the driveway and hose me down to get all the tiny pieces of shell out of my hair and from underneath my fingernails.

  I don’t know what I’m going to tell the doctor when I have to have my cholesterol checked the day after Thanksgiving.



  You don’t have to look very long to see that the Devil is still very much alive practicing one of his greatest and most powerful crafts—lying!

  He lies about everything; including marriage.

  Fact is, some of his most destructive lies have to do with marriage. 

  He knows that if he can destroy or pervert the concept of marriage that he can destroy individuals and eventually, society.

  He’s convinced so many that “same sex marriage” and “open marriage” are the wave of the future when it comes to marriage.

  Some of you think that things are about as bad as they’re going to get.  Don’t fool yourself!  You ain’t seen nothing yet!

  The pitiful thing is that there are a lot of good people falling for the Devil’s lies when it comes to marriage.

  Have you ever heard his lie that says, “You can’t help who you fall in love with.”  That lie is usually believed by somebody who is some kind of sex fend who “falls in love” with a married man who has a wife and six little kids.  What part of “a wife and six little kids” don’t you understand?  He’s got a wife and six little  kids!  And, you can’t help from falling in love with him?  Who do you think you’re kidding?

  I don’t want somebody telling me that they can’t help from loving me.  I want them to make a personal and sincere decision that they want to love me!

  There’s another lie that the Devil tells us about marriage—are you ready for this one?

  The Devil lies to us when he tells us that marriage is going to make you happy!

  The truth is—it won’t!

  Marriage is a connection you make with another person and with God.  When you are so selfish that you demand that your spouse make you happy; you’re in for trouble.  What about their happiness?  What makes you happy might not make them happy. 

  Oh, I know for a fact that there is happiness associated with marriage, but a lot of unhappiness can be a part of marriage.

  You should have known that before you ever got married or you should have at least picked up on it when you stood before a preacher and exchanged your vows.

  Don’t you remember that he talked about how it takes hard work to make a marriage work?  Most of the time hard work makes us unhappy!  Didn’t that preacher mention for better and “worse?”  Didn’t he say something about richer and “poorer?”  He probably mentioned something about health and “sickness.”  “Worse”—”Poorer”—”Sickness” don’t sound like happy times to me.

  But, when you exchanged those vows, you were told that those unhappy times come.

  So, what do you do when you find yourself in a marriage when you’re in one of those unhappy times?  What do you do when you lose your job and learn what it is to be poor?  What do you do when your wife or husband is diagnosed with terminal cancer?

  I know what a lot of married people do—they run away.  They divorce.


  Because they were lied to when the Devil told them that marriage would make them happy!

  I hope your marriage is happy today.  God bless you.  You are fortunate.  But, tomorrow might bring your marriage poor times, worse times, sick times, unhappy times!  That doesn’t mean your marriage is a failure.  It means that you depend upon that third party in your marriage—God!

  It means that you draw upon His grace, His power, and His strength to get you through those times.

  The Devil tells married people that their spouse has to be just like them.  Hey, folks the Bible states pretty emphatically that God created us as males and females.  Males are not females and females are not males.  There’s a big difference and I for one say, “Long live those differences!”  To be honest with you, I wouldn’t like to be married to a person just like me.  I couldn’t stand them!  You don’t have to be a clone of your husband or wife.  Quit believing that lie that the Devil’s telling you about your spouse.

  Folks, the Devil is a smart dude.  But, with God in your life, you’re smarter than he is. 

  Wise up and accept the truth about marriage.




  Are you aware that the United States government spends millions of dollars every year police the advertisements that appear on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on the radio?  It’s call “truth in advertising.”

  You know why so much money is spent watching these ads?

  It’s because there is so much lying going on!

  Are you aware that there is a Ethics Committee for our politicians to encourage them to behave while in office?  You know why?  Because so many of them have been charged and found guilty of lying to their constituents?

  People who lie are all around us.

  We’re bombarded with lies that the world and our culture tell us.

  These lies come in the form of advertising, philosophies, media, books, magazine articles, TV shows, movies, and music.

  And, we’re believing so many lies that the world tells us.

  For example:

  One of the biggest lies that the world tells us today is that our personal worth is determined by our performance, our production, and the contributions we make to society.

  We’re always being pressured to produce and perform.

  And, if we don’t; we’re worthless.

  Consider what we’re doing with our children and our old people.

  Children and old people are the targets of more violence and disregard than any other age groups.

  Children can die from being shaken to death by some  burly excuse for a man and that man go to jail six months.  A child can be locked up in a basement or in a closet and starved to death by a couple of people masquerading as a mama and daddy.  They go to court and are sentenced to four or five years for murder of a child.

  Ever heard of “elder abuse?”  Old men and women have become the target of home invasions.  They are beaten with a pistol and left to die on the floor.  The perpetrators are sentenced to three months in jail!

  People are saying that old people are just taking up space on the planet and should be encouraged to die so somebody else can take their place.

  Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is there so much disregard and lack of consideration for children and old people?”

  The answer is that they are unproductive.  They don’t produce.  They don’t make a contribution to society anymore.  And, when they are mistreated, hurt, or killed; it’s no big deal!

  The world tells you the lie that your worth is in what you do; not who you are!

  The truth is that you are a creation of God!  That makes you somebody!  You are worth so much to Him that He allowed His Son to die for you.  Tell that to the old Devil when he lies to you and tries to get you to believe that you’re worthless.

  The world is also telling you the lie that life has to be fair.

  Folks, life is not fair!

  Some people wind up with more than others.  Some seem to get all the breaks and have all the luck.  Some have better health than others.  Some seem to have all the talent, brains, and beauty.

  That’s the fact, Jack!

  Some of you religious people complain, whine, and cry because you were lied to and told that Christians have been given a guarantee that their life is going to be free of problems, trouble, distress, and disappointment.  God never made such a promise to any of us!

  Just the opposite!  Our Lord did say, “In this world you will have trouble.”  That’s the guarantee that God has given you.

  That’s the truth!

  Life is not fair.  Live with it!

  Folks, I’m telling you that the old Devil and the world are doing all they can to get you to believe some lie.  Don’t fall for it.  Know the truth!  It will set you free from the lies of the world!



  Do you lie?

  If you answered, “No!”—you do!

  Folks, lying is one of the easiest things in the world to do.

  We’re so good at it that we don’t even know when we’re doing it.

  Those who say they don’t lie are usually people who have come up with their own definition of lying and refuse to accept the real definition.  These are the people who have different categories for lies.  There are “big ones” and “little ones.”  “Deliberate ones” and “unintentional ones.”  “White ones” and “black ones.”  “Tactful ones” and “polite ones.”  “Bold faced ones” and “secret ones.”

  Folks, all of them are lies and studies show that the average person lies several times a day.

  Where does all this lying come from? 

  That’s an easy one.

  The Bible says that the Devil is the father of lies.  He’s the Daddy of all lies.  They all originate with him.  God is truth.  The Devil is a liar and has been from the beginning.  He’s a master at it.  He’s the expert when it comes to lying and he gets through to all of us sometime or the other.

  I think it’s amazing how the Devil gets us to believe lies about ourselves.

  For example the Devil tells us that we have to have the approval, love, and acceptance of all those people we associate with. 

  That’s a lie!

  If you believe that everybody around you has to like you, accept you, approve of you, and love you; you’re believing one of the Devil’s lies.

  Listen: the truth of the matter is that no matter what you do or who you try to be, there will always be someone who will not like you.  You’ll never be able to make everybody you know love or like you!

  If you continue to live your life trying to be a people pleaser; you’ll never know who you really are!

  The Bible says: “If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  That’s the truth!

  Another lie that the Devil has told us and we believe is that you can’t be happy unless thing go your way all the time.  After all we deserve to have things go our way don’t we?  No flat tires, no squalling kids, no fussing with the husband or wife, no staying up all night and waiting for the kids to come home, no unreasonable boss, and no financial problems!

  We deserve to be happy and the only way we can be happy is to turn into some kind of control freak where we try to control and manipulate everybody and everything around us.

  We have to have things our way. 

  Now, that may be acceptable for a two-year-old toddler but, a forty-year-old brat who still thinks the world ought to revolve around them is a pitiful sight!  And, the world seems to be full of forty-year-old brats who can’t take anything they don’t like!

  Get over it! 

  The Bible says that whenever we face trials, it makes us mature!

  One of the reasons we’ve got so many brats of all ages is that we get caught up in the lie that if we’re going to be happy; we’ve got to have our way.  We don’t want anything to do with “trials.”  We want Mama and Daddy to protect us from unpleasant things. 

  The truth is that we’ll never grow up emotionally or spiritually until we learn to face trials and learn to work through them.

  And, there’s one other lie the Devil has told us that keeps rattling around up in our head—My unhappiness is somebody else’s fault! 

  If Mama and Daddy would just have done this or not done that; I’d be happier.  If I wasn’t married to who I’m married to; I’d be happier.  If I had a different job; I’d be happier.  If I went to a different church; I’d be happier.

  Well, poor, pitiful you!

  Do you think we all ought to stop living our lives and come to your rescue?  How long are you going to stay at your pity party?

  Maybe it’s time you quit blaming somebody else for your unhappiness because they won’t lend you a helping hand!  Maybe it’s time you understand that the best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm!  Maybe it’s time that you admit that your unhappiness comes from your own “Stinking thinking.”

  Stop wasting your time blaming other people!  Even if there are people in your life that have contributed to your unhappiness; what good is it doing you to blame them?   Blame doesn’t accomplish anything.

  I don’t know how much you might lie but I do know that the Devil is a liar! 

  I’ve got a suspicion that he’s been working on some of you by telling you lies about yourself.  Don’t believe him.   He’s a liar! 

  Make up your mind that you’re going to get rid of the “stinking thinking” that’s rattling around in your head. 

  Make up your mind that you’re going to replace those lies with the truth!





  Last week our community lost one of our best citizens.

  Dr. Joseph Back, long time optometrist and public servant completed his earthly journey and was joined to the multitudes who have entered into their eternal rest.

  The remarks below are those I shared with his family and friends during his memorial service


  Have you ever wanted so desperately to hear certain words   spoken to you?

  I’ve talked to people who say they never heard their parents  or anybody say, “I love you.”—“You did a great job.”—  “I’m proud of you.”

  Their tone of voice and the empty look in their eyes   said so loudly they desperately wanted to hear those words.

  We all want to hear those kind of words.

  We all need to hear those kind of words.

  They can make a difference in our lives.

  There is a passage of Scripture that I’d like to share with you that contain some words Jesus spoke.

  In Matthew 25, Jesus told a story about “a man going off on an extended trip.  He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities.  To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities.  Then he left.  Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's money.  After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them.  The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment.  His master commended him: “Good work!  You did your job well.”

  How would you like to hear those words from the Lord?

  I love for other people to tell me that I’ve done a good job.

  It makes you feel good and it’s encouraging.

  But, to hear the Lord say those words!


  Just exactly what do those words: “Good work!  You did your job well.” mean?

  I think it’s the Lord’s way telling a person that they have been successful.  And, we all want to be successful.

  The dictionary defines the word “success” in this way “The favorable termination of endeavors.”

  Last week Dr. Back reached the “termination of [his] endeavors.”

  All of us will eventually reach that same place in our lives.

  We’re busy now but we will reach the “termination of [our] endeavors.”

  We’re working hard right now but we will reach the “termination of [our] endeavors.”

  We’ve got places to go, people to see, and things to do right now but we will reach the “termination of [our] endeavors.”

  You know what?

  I desperately want to hear the Lord say to me:  “Good work!  You did your job well.”

  I desperately want to reach a “favorable termination of [my] endeavors.”

  I started thinking about this passage of Scripture almost as soon as I knew Dr. Back passed away.

  You see, I believe he knows the reality of the Lord speaking these words to him.

  When he departed this life and entered into the presence of God, I think he heard the words:  “Good work!  You did your job well.”

  I think that after living ninety-one years, Dr. Back came to a “favorable termination of [his] endeavors.”  BECAUSE:  If success is to be measured by good relationships with family and friends, having loving people in your life, having people who enjoy your company, having people who stick by you through thick and thin, then, Dr. Back heard the words:  “Good work!  You did your job well.”

  I think that after living ninety-one years, Dr. Back came to a “favorable termination of [his] endeavors.”  BECAUSE:  If success is to be measured by living a life of service and usefulness to others, contributing to the welfare of others even if it meant accepting a country ham in exchange for a pair of glasses, working for over four decades helping to provide adequate housing for scores of people, living through the horrific experience of storming Omaha Beach to purchase the freedom you and I have today, then, Dr. Back heard the words: “Good work!  You did your job well.”

  I think that after living ninety-one years, Dr. Back came to a “favorable termination of [his] endeavors.”  BECAUSE:  If success is to be measured by living a balanced life that included a love of sports, developing and maintaining a loving home, attaining an excellent education, reaching his career goals, earning the total love and respect of his children and grandchildren, contributing to the humanitarian goals of the Lion’s Club, leaving his children with precious memories that include him singing to them, “I Love You A Bushel And A   Peck” then, Dr. Back heard the words:  “Good work!  You did your job well.”  

  I think that after living ninety-one years, Dr. Back came to a “favorable termination of [his] endeavors.” BECAUSE:  If success is to be measured by being obedient to the Gospel and deciding to become a Christian, providing an example of the compassion and love of Jesus Christ for others to see, making sure that his children were raised in the church, loving their mother with all his heart and expressing that love in precious letters sent to her, being a faithful member of the Lord’s church for over fifty years   then, Dr. Back heard the words:  “Good work!  You did your job well.”

  Please don’t misunderstand me to say that I believe Dr. Back or any of us will ever hear these words from our Lord   based only on what we do in life.

  Dr. Back would be the first to admit that he was not a perfect man.

  He did good work and he did his job well.

  And, what was lacking in his life was provided by the Lord being in his life.

  You see, none of us can do enough to deserve the Lord’s approval.

  That’s not why we serve the Lord.

  We serve Him because of His amazing grace that reaches down to us and provides all those things that we need that we can’t provide for ourselves.



  I remember President Lyndon Johnson as one of our presidents who was able to tell a good story and one of his best stories is about an old hound dog.

  It seems that there was this hound dog that laid on the front porch and just barked and howled all day and night in such a pitiful way that it would almost make you want to cry.

  One day a visitor to the home asked the dog’s owner what was wrong with the poor dog.

  The owner answered immediately saying, “He’s laying on a cocklebur!” 

  Of course if you know what a cocklebur is, you know how uncomfortable that must have been for the hound dog.

  The visitor then said, “Why don’t he get up?”

  The owner said, “’Cause he’d druther howl.”

  Folks, I’m believing that there are a lot of people who have some hound in them!

  Have you ever seen or heard about so much “howling” by people.  Just turn the television on and you’ll see people all around the world marching in the streets, waving signs, fighting policemen, and making a general nuisance out of themselves.

  They don’t like this.  They don’t like that.  Their signs tell you how they’re being mistreated and how they are being deprived of all the things they think they are entitled to get from the government or from millionaires.

  Talk about “howling!”  These people are sure grumbling.

  Are you a grumbler?

  Here’s a way to tell if you are:  Grumblers are never satisfied with what they have.  No matter how much money they have; they don’t have enough.  No matter what kind of house they live in; they want to live in a better and bigger one.  No matter what kind of car they drive; they want a new one.

  Grumblers are also professional excuse makers.  They blame everybody and everything else for the way their life has turned out.  They believe the game of life is rigged against them and that the cards are stacked against them.  They accept no personal responsibility for their life.  They’re professional victims!

  Grumblers also believe that things are not going to get any better for them.  They feel that they are doomed to failure.

  If you fit into these categories; you’re probably a grumbler!

  Grumblers don’t just grumble about other people.

  They grumble about how God has treated them.

  In their mind, God is blessing someone else more than He has blessed them.  They look around and see that there are people who live in better houses, drive better cars, have better health care insurance, and have higher paying jobs.

  I’ve got a question for you if you’re thinking like this.

  Can’t God do what He wants to do with what He has? 

  So what, if He wants to bless somebody else more than He blesses me? 

  So what, if somebody is healthier than I am? 

  So what, if I’m not a millionaire?

  Folks, it’s God’s business what He does!

  He doesn’t need your permission to decide how He’s going to bless people.

  That’s His business!

  Get over your grumbling!

  If you’re like an old hound dog spending a lot of time “howling” and grumbling because you think you have life so rough, I’d like to suggest that you get up off the cocklebur and do something about it.

  What can you do?

  Try this experiment—before you start one of your “howling” sessions, take just a short thirty seconds and thank God for what you have!

  Watch how the “howling” stops!

  Another thing you can do when you’re working up to one of your “howling” sessions is to quit comparing yourself with the way God has given somebody more than He’s given you!  God owns the world and all that is in it.  He can do what He wants to do with what He has!  It’s His business!

  Don’t even try to tell me that you just want from God what you deserve!  You’d be burning in Hell right now along with me if we got what we deserved from God!

  Like you, I’ve received more from God than I can ever deserve!  My God is a God of grace!  I can never earn or deserve what He has given me!

  Quit you’re “howling” and get up off the cocklebur and start thanking God for what you have!





  There is no need for some of you to continue reading past this point.

  If you are one of the self-proclaimed “super saints” who float around on a spiritual cloud claiming to have reached a point in your Christian life where you no longer sin because you now “live above sin”—there is nothing to follow that would interest you.

  If you have progressed to the point in your Christian life where you believe that when you die and go to Heaven that your presence there will improve the neighborhood—there is no need for you to waste your time reading the rest of this particular column.

  If you are so sanctified that you are a walking, talking example of spiritual perfection to the point that everyone should accept you as the model of Christ-likeness—go read another chapter in your Bible instead of reading what I’m about to write.

  BUT—if you struggle daily with living the kind of life God wants you to live—read on!

  Let me ask you a question—Do you ever have religious doubts and questions?

  I do!

  Now, I know that some believe that to doubt or to question God is the pinnacle of blasphemy.  Some think it is unforgivable for a Christian to have doubts about what they believe.  Like some of you, I’ve been told, “You should never question God and what He does.”

  I have.  I do.  I’ll probably continue to do so.

  And, you know what?  That puts me in some good company.

  John the Baptist did!

  When he was arrested and locked in a dark, damp, dungeon; he sent some of his disciples to Jesus with this question: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  This is the fellow who proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God that would take away the sins of the world.  Now he’s locked up waiting for his head to be cut off and he’s wondering if Jesus is the One!  For a moment, he had a doubt and he asked the question.

  Ever heard of Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus?

  He doubted!

  He would not believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead until he put his finger in the mangled hands of Jesus and put his hand in the wound on His side.

  He doubted and voiced those doubts and questions.

  Folks, let me tell you something—God is big enough to handle your doubts and your questions.  He’s tough.  He’s got broad shoulders.  He understands when we ask, “Why?” 

  Every faithful Christian has been strengthened in his or her faith when they have admitted, faced, and conquered their doubts!  A strong faith comes when we struggle with our questions and doubts.

  I think it’s high time that we realize that there are some things we’re not going to understand this side of Heaven.  Right now, we know “in part!”  In the words of the old hymn: “We’ll understand it better by and by!”  Not now!

  Like you, I have faith.  Like you, I have doubts and questions about religious matters.

  But, you know something?

  I’m learning to act on my faith—not on my doubts!

  I’d encourage you to do the same.

  Noah had doubts when he was building the ark.  Abraham had doubts and questions when he started to sacrifice Isaac.  Moses had doubts and questions when he was told to cross the Red Sea.  But, they also had faith and they refused to allow their doubts to keep them from being obedient to the Lord.

  There is a song that I’m beginning to appreciate more and more as I get older.  You’ve sung it in church many times.  It goes something like this: “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!”

  It’s that trust that I have in Him that helps me face my doubts and questions.  It’s that trust in Him that helps me through my struggles.  My faith has never failed to grow stronger when I’ve admitted, faced, and conquered my doubts and questions. 

  Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!




  During the past few weeks I’ve had occasion to talk with many of you about the progress being made at the Wayne County Museum.  We have all been exited with the opening of the second and third floors of the museum.  The rooms have been turned into displays that house many precious Wayne County historical artifacts.

  From the beginning, we have sought to make the museum a “living museum.”  We don’t want it to ever become a warehouse of old and dusty things.  We want it to be alive with the telling of the stories of the great people and places of Wayne County.

  I know that so many of you are interested in the same things that we try to do at the museum.

  I know that because of all the school reunions, church anniversaries, and family gatherings that are held each year.  In the summer months the park seems to be teeming with families gathering for reunions.  The Aspire Center seems to be booked almost every week with some kind of event.  I love it when churches announce that they are going to have a homecoming with dinner on the ground.  It’s great when married couples celebrate their golden anniversaries!

  I’m glad to announce to you that we are providing a great service to the community that will help promote your efforts to have these reunions and anniversaries.

  On the second floor of the museum we have located what we are calling our COMMUNITY ROOM.  The space is furnished with some display cases, easels, and walls where you can hang photographs or posters.    We want you to use this room.

  Here’s how it will work:  We will provide the space for you without any cost!  You can bring materials that tell the story of your family, your school class, your church history, the celebration of years of wedded bliss, or any other event you deem worthy.

  We will agree on the length of time you can have your display in the room.  I would suggest that it be at least one month and no more that two months.

  It will be your responsibility to gather and place the material in the room.  It can include things like old or new photographs, family heirlooms, family Bibles, and other objects that will help tell your story.

  Here’s the good part: Once your display is done you can begin announcing to your family and friends that there is a display at the museum and they can come and view the display.

  School groups and classes are encouraged to use the COMMUNITY ROOM to display winning science projects, art projects, and other academic achievements.  Sports events and programs could be the focus of some of the displays.

  We want you to know that the COMMUNITY ROOM is available to you for your use.

  You can schedule the use of the room by calling the museum and we will arrange the details.

  For those of you who have followed the progress of the museum, you know that we have always emphasized that the Wayne County Museum is YOUR museum.  We will continue to provide those services that will result in excellent opportunities to make our community a better place to live.

  Since the opening of the additional space on the second and third floors of the museum we have had hundreds of visitors.  The sixth graders of the Monticello School were our special guests last week and we enjoyed seeing the excitement on their faces as they toured the museum.

  If you haven’t visited the museum in the past two or three months, you are missing a great opportunity to see one of the best local museum in the state.

  The cost of admission continues to be free and we are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m.

  The museum is a great place to bring your out-of-town visitors.  You can’t say there’s nothing to do in Monticello.  You can always visit the museum.

  I’m sure you will like our new gift shop with all the books of local history and gift items.

  Keep in mind that the Christmas season is fast approaching and you will be looking for that perfect gift for your family and friends.  It is almost a guarantee that you can find that gift in the museum gift shop.

  Hope to see you in the near future and remember that the new COMMUNITY ROOM is available for your next family reunion, school reunion, church anniversary, or other events.




  In my seventy years I’ve noticed that life seems always to be changing.

  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  Change can help to keep life from becoming boring.

  Lately I’ve been thinking of how our religious surroundings have changed and continue to change.

  When I was growing up I don’t think I knew any religious person who was not a Christian.  Oh, I knew that there were some Jewish people in my little town but I didn’t know them.

  Everybody I knew was a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and I occasionally met a person who was a member of the Catholic Church.

  Boy, have things changed!

  In facing some health issues over the past few years I’ve had doctors who have been Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and probably a few atheists or unbelievers.

  I’ve become friends with people from several different religions.

  The same is probably true of you.

  You’ve met people who don’t share the same religious beliefs you have.

  How are you doing with that?

  Have you ever tried to have a religious conversation with any of them?

  Do you feel comfortable around them?

  Some people have tried to accommodate their association with people of other religions by making the argument that “all religions are the same.”


  I doubt that you will make much progress in developing a friendship with those of different religious beliefs by trying to get them to believe that “all religions are the same.”

  Those who believe such foolishness just don’t know what they’re talking about and certainly have not spent any time at all studying the religions of the world.

  All religions are not the same.

  Don’t insult a Muslim by telling him that there is no difference in Islam and Christianity!  There are tremendous differences!  Don’t waste your time trying to tell a Buddhist that there is no difference in his religion and the religion of Islam and Christianity.  It’s just not true!

  You don’t have to “dumb down” to such a foolish argument.

  If you are a Christian, you don’t have to make excuses for the beliefs you have even if they are different from someone else.

  Especially if those beliefs are taught by and supported by the Bible.

  When you are convinced that God has spoken about any subject and when you are convinced that you understand what He has said; stand your ground!

  I don’t mean that you have to be hateful, argumentative, and disagreeable to the extent that nobody can stand being around you.

  Just stand your ground!

  I honestly believe that the more a Christian tries to understand other religions, the more he or she becomes stronger in their own convictions.

  As a Christian, you don’t have to be threatened by the religious diversity that is a part of our world today.  Remember that the church of Jesus Christ came into existence in the presence of other religions.  Some of them were completely pagan.  But, the church grew.  The church had great influence. 

  That can be true of the Christian church today.  Even in an environment of the exercise of different religions, the church of Jesus Christ can continue to exist and grow!

  The secret is that you have strong convictions based on God’s Word and exercise and practice those convictions.

  Christian, you have no reason to be embarrassed when you meet someone who believes something that  is different from what you believe.  You don’t have to make excuses and apologize for your beliefs.

  Stand your ground by living by the principles of the Christ who is your Savior.

  Stand your ground!





  The past nine months or so have been a roller coaster ride for me.  It’s been fast and furious.  It’s also been a time when there have been ups and downs.

  I’m glad to say that there have been a lot more ups than there have been downs.

  A couple of weeks ago we completed a renovation project at the Wayne County Museum that resulted in the beautiful creation of additional museum space on the second and third floors of the museum.

  You cannot believe how many people worked together to make this project a reality.

  I want to mention just one of those groups of people who worked above and beyond the call of duty to help make the Wayne County Museum a facility that everybody can be justly proud.

  It’s a group of people that seldom receive any positive recognition.  Fact is, there are those who seem to believe that this particular group of people should be banished from our midst.  It is a group of people that are pigeon holed and categorized as being unfit and a burden to polite society.  They are often delegated to the garbage pile of humanity.

  They are those men and women who are serving time in our jails.

  Now, don’t get me wrong—jails exist for a purpose.  That purpose, in part, is to house those who have been found guilty of committing crimes.  I, for one, am glad that we have jails.  We need them.  Criminals should be punished for their crimes.  I subscribe to the philosophy: “If you do the crime; you do the time.”

  And, yes, I think that in many cases we have become “soft” in our handling of criminals.

  But, in my understanding of the justice system in America, there is also the element of rehabilitation and reform when it comes to those who are serving time in our jails.

  I know that our system has not made a lot of progress in rehabilitating and reforming those who go to jail or prison.  Too many of those who are released from our jails and prisons soon return because of additional crimes.

  Here in Wayne County we have a detention center that, I believe, is deserving of some credit and appreciation for the work they do in their Work Release Program.  This is the program where detention centers allow certain inmates the opportunity to go out into the community and perform community service.

  Be assured that not all inmates in our jails qualify to be a part of a Work Release Program.  Only those who have proven to the authorities that they are rehabilitated and reformed to the point they can be trusted to do so, can leave the confines of the jail to participate in such a program. 

  But, those who have proven themselves are allowed to use their abilities and skills to improve communities.

  The Work Release Program at the Wayne County Detention Center under the direction of Ray Upchurch, Darrell Foster, Marcia Phillips, and J.C. McGinnis has certainly contributed to the improvement of our community!

  I know the inmates are helping our community.  I see them sweeping our city streets, picking trash up along the highways, working at the Wayne County Park, helping with our recycling program, helping our animal control officer, and lending a hand at the Hope Center.  I’m sure they do much more.

  The one thing that I do know about some of the inmates from the Work Release Program in our Wayne County Detention Center is that the renovation work done at the Wayne County Museum would have never, never, never taken place without their help!

  We had sheet rock finishers, painters, cabinet makers, finish carpenters, electricians, and able general construction workers on site to do what needed to be done.  The men we worked with conducted themselves with the utmost respect for those at the museum.  Their commitment to a job well done was something to behold! 

  We are not able to mention these men by name but we know who they were and will always be thankful for the good experience we’ve had with them.

  It is our hope that the program will continue and that those of us who work with them will be a clog in the wheel that helps provide rehabilitation and reformation for their lives. 

  Please understand that these remarks are not meant to excuse or justify those who are serving time in jail for the crimes they have committed.  We do, however, believe that their humanity should be respected.  We do believe that they deserve our honor and respect when they have earned it.  We do believe that they are capable of good deeds.  We do believe that who they are should not be solely defined because they are jail inmates.  We do believe that our Lord taught us to be compassionate toward all people.  Including jail or prison inmates.  After all, He did encourage us to visit those who were in prison, did He not?

  I hope you can join me in giving a big “thank you” to all those men and women from the Wayne County Detention Center Work Release Program who are, to some degree, seeking “to pay for their crime” in performing good deeds for our community. 




  Do you know a man who lives in a round house here in Wayne County after roaming the world and living in at least forty-one different places?

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Do you know anybody here in Wayne County who served as a pilot in Viet Nam and carried POWs from Hanoi back to the United States?

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Do you know a Wayne Countian who actually flew the United States flag out of Saigon when the Viet Nam was winding to a end?

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Do you know anybody who has spent over 20,000 hours up in the air?  (That’s twenty thousand—the equivalent of three full years!).

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Do you know anybody in Wayne County with a father who fought in World War II as a Army Counter Intelligence agent and spent five years spying on the Russians?

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Do you know a Wayne Countian who served as the Director of Operations for the Air Force Presidential Airlift wing at Andrews Air Force Base and ran a collection of 44 airplanes and 1,500 people who kept the president and American leaders flying with a near perfect record of safety and reliability during the Reagan/Bush years?

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Do you know anyone who has written books about his adventures and the adventures of his father’s military career?

  I do.

  His name is Jim Miller.

  Jim was born in Wayne County and lived with his mother, the former Wilma Blevins, in the Sunnybrook community.

  After years of service to his country, Jim has “come back home” to Wayne County. 

  How would you like to meet my friend, Jim Miller?

  You can!

  On Saturday, September 24th, Jim Miller is going to be at The Wayne County Museum from 3:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m.  Jim will be in the meeting room of the museum to share in an informal time of conversatin with you and maybe to renew some old acquaintances.  It may just be possible that he will reestablish contacts with some “long lost cousins!”  It will be an opportunity to meet another of our great Wayne County authors.

  Jim will also use some of the time to tell you about two books he has written, HEAVY JETS and COUNTER INTELLIGENCE.  These historical military novels contain much information about military history and the beginnings of Army Special Operations.

  One of the great joys that come to me while living is Wayne County is that I get to meet some great people.  Every once in a while I get to meet a real American hero.  Jim Miller is one of those heroes. 

  I would encourage you to come to the museum on Saturday, September 24th, and meet my friend, Jim Miller.  I would certainly encourage all veterans who love to talk about their military career to come and meet one of your brothers in arms.

  If you need more information, please call me at the museum.  The number is 606-340-2300.

  Hope to see you there!







  In 1936 the citizens of Monticello joined Mr. Robert G. Breeding and several investors to celebrate the grand opening of the new Hotel Breeding.

  The new hotel was built on the same site of the Ramsey Hotel that burned in a 1929 fire that destroyed much of downtown Monticello.  When that fire occurred, Monticello lost a cultural center and an important part of the business community.  The Ramsey Hotel had opened its doors to multitudes of oil and lumber tycoons.  It was one of the main stations for passengers to catch the Monticello to Burnside stagecoach. 

  With the opening of the new Hotel Breeding new life was finally coming back to Monticello’s economy.

  Civic clubs used the hotel as a meeting place.  Celebrities including movie stars and famous musicians stayed overnight in the hotel.  The coffee shop became a favorite place to enjoy a delicious Sunday meal topped off with the hotel’s famous Black Bottom Pie.  Newlyweds held their wedding receptions in the basement.  Bands played as dancers guided across the dance floor.  Managers of the hotel helped provide the hometown hospitality that visitors enjoyed when they visited Monticello.  After World War II was over many a young soldier stayed overnight at the hotel waiting for family members to come and pick them up take them on their last leg of a long journey home from war.

  Downtown Monticello was “popping” again!

  The passing of time was not good for the Hotel Breeding.  By the mid-1980s the hotel had lost all its glory.  The hotel was abandoned and, for a while, it look like it would meet the fate of a lot of old historic buildings.  Destruction and removal seemed to be the only solution to rid the town of an old building that had seen its best days.

  Not so quick!

  The Wayne County Historical Society had been nursing a dream!  A small group of men and women dedicated to the cause of preserving and promoting the rich heritage of Wayne County joined their hearts and hands together to have a local history museum.  They wanted a place that they could proudly display objects and artifacts that would keep our past alive!  They had a dream!

  That dream became a reality when the Society obtained the old Hotel Breeding property.  An even smaller group of men and women rolled their sleeves up and started cleaning the building and raising the funds that were needed to make their dream a reality.

  The William Crenshaw Kennedy, Jr. Memorial Museum or as we lovingly call it; the Wayne County Museum was born!  Like any new baby, it grew slowly.  The citizens of Monticello and Wayne County recognized their responsibility to keep our past alive.  They began bringing precious family possessions to be put on display in the museum.  Volunteers offered their time and talents to the task of manning the museum.  In just a few years the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Historical Federation named and recognized the Wayne County Museum as “Kentucky’s Outstanding Museum.”

  Today the museum is one of the busiest places in Monticello.  Thousands of Wayne Countians visit the museum every year.  School children tour the displays and learn new reasons to be proud of their hometown.  Foreign visitors come to the museum to experience the culture of another country.  Historians and genealogists come to research the history of our area.

  The old hotel is alive again!

  A Museum Committee made up of ten individuals has the responsibility of operating the museum.  Their desire is that the museum be a living museum.  That means that changes are always taking place.

  One of the major changes has taken place in the last few months as the second and third floors of the museum have been renovated to house even more displays of Wayne County history.

  A Wayne County Musicians Room has been created to feature some of the most talented men and women who have used their talents to entertain thousands of people.  You can visit the room on the second floor and learn about Richard “Dick” Burnett who wrote “Man of Constant Sorrows” made famous in the movie, “O Brother Where Art Thou.”

  A beautiful Victorian Parlor allows visitors the opportunity to “set and visit a spell” while listening to vintage music played on an old reed organ.

  An Art Room displays the artistic beauty of people like W.R. Denney, Gene Gray, Evan Decker, Glen Parmley, and Leonard Dishman.

  The progress of medicine in Monticello is documented in the Medical and Dental Room. 

  Quilts, fancy dresses, baptismal garments, doilies, sewing machines, and looms fill the walls and floor of the Fabric Room.

  The Mill Room is lined with big and beautiful posters of many of the old mills that once stood on the banks of Wayne County waterways.

  The time has come when you will have the opportunity to see all the improvements that have been made in your Wayne County Museum.

  On Saturday afternoon, September 10th, the doors will open and you will be able to tour the newly renovated second and third floors.  At 2:00 p.m. a brief grand opening and dedication service will be held in the meeting room of the museum.  You are invited to attend this historic occasion and celebrate this achievement.

  If you need more information, call Harlan Ogle, the director of the museum.  The phone number is 606-340-2300 or you can contact him by email at





SEPTEMBER 3rd AND 4th, 2011




  When was the last time your celebrated anything?

  I mean really celebrated!

  Celebrate means “to praise widely with ceremonies and festivities.”

  Sometimes we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries or other special occasions.

  I’d like to tell you about an opportunity that will present itself this weekend that ought to cause every person in Wayne County to celebrate.

  The Wayne County Historical Society and the Mill Springs Battlefield Association have partnered together to have a Wayne County Heritage Festival this Saturday and Sunday, September 3rd and 4th.  The event will be held in the Mill Springs area near the Mill Springs Mill, the old Dunagan’s Store, and the Brown/Lanier House. 

  The area is probably one of the best places to have a celebration of the heritage of Wayne County.  After all the whole place is crawling with history!

  There is every reason to “praise widely” the heritage of Wayne County.  Some of the nation’s greatest heroes and servants have come from Wayne County.  There are college presidents, war heroes, religious leaders, governors, builders, inventors, state and national politicians, authors, painters, and musicians who trace their roots back to Wayne County.

  We have every right to take pride in the contributions and achievements of our Wayne County friends, citizens, and neighbors!

  To really celebrate our heritage, there needs to be “ceremonies and festivities.”

  That’s exactly what the Wayne County Heritage Festival is all about.

  There will be “ceremonies and festivities” this Saturday and Sunday!

  They will begin Saturday morning with the Lions Club serving their famous pancake breakfast.  Talk about a feast!  Bring an early morning appetite and eat breakfast with your friends.

  Around 10:00 a.m. the Wayne County JROTC will officially open the “ceremonies and festivities” with a patriotic presentation of our nation’s colors.

  Everywhere you walk there will be demonstrations of pioneer skills and arts. 

  You want your children to see sheep being sheared?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival.    Want to see horses being shoed?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival. 

  Want to see how your ancestors made baskets and pottery?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival. 

  Want to see how Civil War soldiers had to live?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival. 

  Want to see and experience a Civil War era worship service?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival. 

  Want to eat some of the best barbecue this side of Memphis or Kansas City?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival. 

  Want to hear some of the best musicians in Kentucky sing?—Come to the Wayne County Heritage Festival.

  Folks, I’m trying to tell you that there will be something for everybody at the Wayne County Heritage Festival!

  The Historical Society and the Battlefield Association are to be commended for all the hard work they have put into providing this great opportunity for us to celebrate our heritage.  This could very well become a great annual event for Wayne County.  It could be something that will draw hundreds of visitors to our community.  All of us can benefit from such an event.

  I know there are a lot of activities planned for Labor Day weekend.  None could be better than attending the festival.

  All of you parents should make a special effort to allow your children the opportunity to attend the festival.  It will serve as a great living history lesson for them.  They will have a great time.  I guarantee it!

  There’s no need for you to fret about spending a hundred dollars to participate in the festival.  Admission is free!  Parking is free!  There’s not a better value for your dollar to be found!

  I hope to see you at the festival. 

  Being as how I’m going to lead the worship service on Sunday morning, I’d especially like to invite you to come and worship with us.  We’ve built an old fashioned brush arbor for the event.  There will be some good singing of the old hymns of the church and there will be the observance of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) for those who would like to participate.

  There is much more information about the festival in this week’s OUTLOOK.  Check it out and join us Saturday and Sunday at Mill Springs for the Wayne County Heritage Festival.




  Get ready Wayne County!

  The volunteer staff at the Wayne County Museum has been frantically working to bring to reality a dream they have had for several years.  That means things have been popping in downtown Monticello!  If you have driven by the museum, you have, no doubt,  seen some major improvements made to the exterior.  New windows, a new entrance, new awnings, and a new paint job has dressed up the old building and made it a very appealing part of downtown.

  Some of you might have noticed increased traffic in and out of the museum.  There are several reasons for that.  We have had some of the best craftsmen and craftswomen in Wayne County to work on improvements both inside and outside the museum.  We have also realized a tremendous increase in attendance because of the two billboards we’ve placed on the bypass.  Those who come into the county from the north or south cannot help but notice the billboards announcing the presence of a museum in our fair city.  We’ve had visitors from all over the country and from several foreign countries who have marveled at such a cultural center in Monticello.

  Things are popping at the museum.

  The improvements you see on the outside only serve as a gentle hint as to what is happening on the inside.

  Thanks to the unselfish dedication of men from the Wayne County Detention Center and some of the best builders in Wayne County, we have been able to transform the second and third floors of the museum into a wonderful place that will be used to continue to celebrate the heritage of Wayne County. 

  In November of 2010, we climbed the stairs to view nothing more than rubble and ruin on the upper floors.  Graffiti covered the walls, dirt and grime from decades of neglect covered the floor, and the force of nature’s elements had caused rot and decay.

  It was questionable if anything could ever be done to reclaim the building and bring it back to its former glory.

  Those questions and doubts fell before the optimism of Paul Dunnington who joined our museum staff to make our dream a reality.  With his help, his commitment, and the unselfish contribution of much of his time and energy, he led in the renovation project.  The members of the museum committee and the museum staff joined hands with him to engage a score of men and women to transform the building into a showplace!

  Of course none of the work could have been done without the faithful and generous financial support of hundreds of people who love Wayne County heritage enough to open their pocketbooks and provide the thousands of dollars needed to purchase materials and pay the bills.

  At the museum, all efforts are focused on Saturday, September 10th.  That’s the day we’ve selected as the official opening and dedication of the second and third floors of the museum.

  We are working night and day to have our displays in place.  Already we’ve used some of the second floor for various activities.  Our Wayne County Musicians Room is being used for jam sessions for local musicians.  The Victorian Parlor has already been used by a movie director to film several scenes for an upcoming movie! 

  The Dental and Medical Room, the Wayne County Artist Room, the History of Education In Wayne County, and the Mill Room are almost ready to greet visitors.  On September 10th, visitors will have the opportunity to visit our Cave Museum in the basement of the museum.  You will be able to visit a restored hotel room and hear about our future plans to develop a children’s museum on the third floor.

  Please be advised that we are not ready to conduct full tours of the improvements just yet.  There is still much work that needs to be done including the creation of a new and modern gift shop.

  Get ready Wayne County!

  Make your plans to join us on Saturday, September 10th, from 2:00 till 4:00 p.m. for our official opening and dedication of one of the best local history museums in Kentucky (maybe the nation)!

  Please watch future editions of the OUTLOOK as we share more and more details of the work being done on YOUR museum!

  If you need more information, please call the Wayne County Museum at 606-340-2300.

  Get ready Wayne County!



I don’t remember the first time I saw her.  She could have been wearing a green dress, a beige pants suit, or a pair of flip flops.

  I don’t remember what she was doing.  She could have been working with a group of school kids, attending a meeting, or looking in an old record trying to find some long-lost great uncle.

  I do remember that she had a glowing smile on her face, a gentleness in her voice, and a sincere concern for things that were a part of my life.

  I do remember that she was so attentive to her husband who, in time, developed some health problems that gave her an opportunity to let the world know that she took the promise she made to him to be faithful to him in “sickness and health.”

  I do remember that she would go out of her way to extend a helping hand to anyone she felt she could make the difficulties of life a little easier to handle.

  I do remember that she possessed a great degree of wisdom as she met together with others make plans to improve the lives of people in her hometown.

  I do remember that she seemed to love her brothers and sisters with a love that is seldom seen among siblings.

  I do remember that she honored the memory of her ol’ preacher Daddy and that she deeply appreciated the Christian upbringing she had received in her childhood home.

  I do remember that her sweet disposition was evident even when she didn’t necessarily agree with everything others were saying in her presence.

  I do remember that her friends greatly valued her friendship.

  I do remember how she refused to allow the news of her failing health destroy her optimistic outlook on life and her faith in God.

  I do remember how she put her hand in the hands of her God and determined that, with His help and presence in her life, they could face anything.

  I do remember how she seemed to touch the lives of almost everybody who witnessed her trust in a God Who she knew would never forsake her.

  I remember Lorene Davis!

  My hope is that none of us who knew Lorene will be tempted to remember her only because she had cancer.  Cancer was only a small part of her life.  Her life was too abundant for something like cancer to overshadow the kind and gentle lady she was.

  I would never say that Lorene Davis lost her long battle against cancer.  I would not even say that Lorene Davis was a victim of cancer.

  When Lorene died last week, she didn’t lose a battle!  She won a victory! 

  Today Lorene is free from the pain and heartache that is associated with cancer.  That’s a victory! 

  Today she has a taste of what eternal life is all about!  That’s a victory! 

  Today she has finished her course, run the race, and kept the faith!  That’s a victory!

  Some talk about what she lost.  I think about and talk about what she won!

  I believe Lorene Davis was a Godly woman and Godly women write “their history not on the pages of their own book, but in the lives of those around them whom they love and serve.  They spend their lives unknown by the world in the narrow circle of their home within which they labor increasingly for God and others, but they will not lose their reward!  God's eye is upon them as they live out their lives in the orbit of His will amid all the cares, sorrows and trials of the home.  One day, when the books are opened, their devotion will be commended by Him who sees and knows all.”

  Lorene was so blessed by having good friends to stick by her side through thick and thin!  She was able to live in such a way that those who knew and loved her wanted to help make her life as complete and fulfilling as possible.  I noticed the love and devotion that others exercised in helping to care for her in the last few months of her life.  You can be assured that, if I noticed, God certainly took note of your loving kindness and will reward you for your efforts.

  Last week I “visited” with Lorene for the last time at the funeral home.  Oh, I realized that she was already gone from that body that had housed her soul and spirit for over seventy years.  But, I “told” her goodbye and that I would see her later. 

  I have memories of Lorene Davis—precious memories!




  I have been known to watch the popular television program, “Everybody Loves Raymond.”  I realize that doing so is a waste of my valuable time.  But, I do it anyway.

  Raymond’s wife is a feisty little lady and stands up to her, less than brilliant husband, as he does and says things that any intelligent husband would not do or say.

  Sometimes Raymond does things that really disturb Deborah and she is shown saying under her breath, “Idiot!”

  Idiot is a word we don’t use very often and I am very cautious if I ever use it in reference to people.  There are some who believe the word should never be used.

  Well, let’s think about that for a minute.

  I did a little research and found out that the word “idiot” does not always refer to the mental capacity of a person.  Sometimes it can mean “someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.” 

  “Counterproductive” means doing something or saying something that hinders more than it helps.

  We’ve all done or said things that we thought might help a situation only to find out that it didn’t!  We thought it would get us out of trouble but, instead, it got us into more trouble.  We thought it would help.  It hindered.

  Now, using the word “idiot” in that way seems to me to be perfectly admissible. 

  Last Sunday morning I used the word.

  I said that there are “religious idiots.” 

  Oh, I can just hear the groundswell of criticism.  “Preacher, you ought to be ashamed of yourself calling any religious person an “idiot.”  “Who are you to judge another person by labeling them as a “religious idiot?”

  Folks, I’m not trying to judge anybody and I defend my right to use the word in the proper context.

  The particular “religious idiots” I was referring to were those religious leaders who come along at various times and announce that the world is going to end and Jesus is going to come again on some particular and definite date.

  You’ve seen them, haven’t you?

  The last example was when Harold Camping announced that Jesus would return to Earth on May 21, 2011.  This was to be the day that the righteous would fly up in the air and go home to Heaven.  Camping also announce that after May 21 there would be five months of fire, brimstone, and plagues on Earth with millions of people dying every day.  On October 21, 2011 the end of the world would take place.

  This was nothing new for Mr. Camping because he had previously announced the Judgment Day would be on May 21, 1988, and September 7, 1994.

  The man qualifies to be placed on the top of the “Idiot List.” 

  Why would I say something like that?

  His announcements have made things worse, not better!  The announcements do more harm than they do good.  His announcements are counterproductive and self-defeating.  The correct use of the English language allows me to refer to him as a “religious idiot!”

  Folks, I believe with all my heart that Jesus is going to come again.  I believe that the skies are going to split right wide open one of these days and we will see Him descend from the sky.  He’ll be surrounded by His angels and there will be a shout like we’ve never heard before.

  I believe that graves are going to burst wide open and the bodies that have been laid in them are going to rise. 

  I believe that there’s going to be a great “getting up morning” and God’s people will rise up and announce their last “fare ye well, fare ye well.”

  I also believe that Jesus meant what He said when He said: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

  Anybody who tries to tell you the day or hour when Jesus will come back again is a “religious idiot.”  They are not a part of Christianity.  They a part of a cult.

  Personally, I’m tired of our refusal to confront those who make such outlandish announcements in the name of God and Christianity.  It’s time we see them for who and what they are—”religious idiots.”




  It’s Sunday evening as I sit here at my keyboard looking into my computer screen as these words jump from my fingers to the white space before me.

  I should have got around to doing my column before now but I’ve been spending some time watching CNN and FOX News.  I’ve been doing that to see what I could find out about the mess that’s going on in Washington concerning raising the debt ceiling.

  Now, I could tell you what I know about the debt ceiling in about a dozen words.  I don’t understand economics all that well.  I know when I need to pay my bills to keep my debtors away from my front door.  I know that if I spend more than I make I’m going to be in trouble.

  I don’t know all about the debt ceiling they’re talking about in Washington.

  I do know that this country is in a mess.  There is talk about default, trouble paying our men and women in the military, and the ability of our government to send me my money that I’ve paid in Social Security taxes for the past fifty years. 

  That’s right—it’s my money.  Social Security is not an  entitlement.  It’s not a handout that I receive from the government.  It’s not welfare.  It’s money that I was forced to send to the government so I could have a little something to live on in my old age.  When a slick politician in Washington tells me that I might not get my Social Security check, he’s telling me that somebody is going to steal my money.  I don’t like that.  It’s my money! 

  I don’t get Social Security because my children are going to go hungry if I don’t get it.  I don’t get it because I’m disabled.  I don’t get it because I am destitute. 

  I get it because it’s my money!

  A nation paying its just and legitimate bills in not an entitlement.  It’s money that belongs to the people who have sold our government good and services.  When a slick politician in Washington tells one of these people that they might not get their check, he’s telling them that somebody is going to steal money from them.

  Our nation has accepted volunteer soldiers to serve in the military services.  These men and women work hard, experience separation from their families, allow themselves to be put in harm’s way, and suffer the physical and emotional scars because of their service.  When a slick politician in Washington tells these brave men and women that they’re not going to get their checks, he’s telling them that somebody is going to steal money from them.

  I’m fed up with the mess that’s been created by the foolish, inept, and stupid decisions of politicians in Washington.  That’s right—they’ve created the mess.  We elect people to represent us in Washington and to make decisions that will be in our best interest.  They’ve done everything but that!  They created the mess.

  Let me tell you a story.

  Out here on Bambi Circle I have a chicken house in my back yard.  I’ve got some of the prettiest Leghorns, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Islands, and Domineckers, you’ve ever seen.

  Just recently though, some fellows have been breaking into my chicken house and stealing my chickens.  I’ve bought some expensive locks to keep them out but they keep on breaking into my chicken house and stealing my chickens.

  They’ve really created a problem for me and my chicken house on Bambi Circle is in a mess.

  But, I’ve got a plan to stop them.

  The next time I see them stealing my chickens I’m going to ask them to replace my locks to keep them from stealing my chickens.  They seem to be a pretty nice bunch of fellows.  They dress in black suits, wear color coordinated ties, drive to my chicken house in a limousine, and appear on television every once in a while.

  They’ve been stealing my chickens.  They’ve caused major problems for me.  They’ve made a mess out of things.  So, I’m going to let them solve my problems and clean up the mess they’ve made.

  Folks, do you see where I’m going with this?

  The Washington politicians have been stealing our chickens from the chicken house and we’re expecting them to solve the problem!

  Are we really that blind?

  I say let’s hold these politicians accountable for what they’ve done to us.  The mess in Washington has not been caused by the average American citizen.  It’s not our fault that we’re about to go down the tube.  Our representatives have allowed the problems to happen.  They’ve caused the mess.  They’re stealing our chickens.  They’re the chicken thieves!

  I really don’t think they can fix it.  I have my doubts that they can clean up the mess.

  We need some real people in Washington that know about how life is for us common people.  We can’t afford to live in a fantasy world.  They talk about taxing the owners of cooperate jets and the millionaires so they can have more money to spend on stealing chickens from us.

  They’re the “fat cats” with their tailor made suits, imported shoes, jets, and limos.  Can they really represent us?  What we probably need in Washington is a group of politicians who are farmers, school teachers, factory workers, insurance salesman, and fishermen instead of a bunch of career politicians.

  Now just to be factual I’ve got to tell you that I really don’t have a chicken house out here on Bambi Circle but I do feel like a bunch of chicken thieves don’t have what it takes to fix the mess or solve the problems that are created by a bunch of chicken thieves.




  I like to read.

  I like to read the Bible.

  I like to read the Bible because it’s easy to understand.  That’s not to say everything in the Bible is easy to understand.  However, much of it is.

  For example the Bible says: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…”

  What’s so hard about understanding that?

  A lot of people have no clue as to what it means to “lead a quiet life.”

  We live in a world where everybody is in a hurry.  Most people are not really going anywhere.  And we’re in a hurry to get there! 

  That attitude and practice flies into the face of God who created us to experience walking beside still waters.  God wants us to be still and know that He is God. 

  We’re busy running up and down the road on our way to shopping centers to buy stuff we don’t need, can’t afford, and will never use.  We’ve forgot what it is to sit down at a table and eat a meal.  We have lost our sense of stillness and rest.

  Our kids have picked up on our hurried lifestyle.  They’ve become hyperactive and have to be given drugs to calm them down.  People love energy drinks filled with caffeine and sugar.  Our motto is: “Get on the bus or get out of the way.”

  It’s no wonder that people are edgy, tense, and nervous.

  The Bible says: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…”

  The Bible also says: “...mind your own business.” 

  It seems that we’re surrounded by people who feel called to mind their business and our business too.

  I had a complete stranger to call me the other night and ask if I had ever been diagnosed with diabetes.  My personal aches, pains, and general health was none of her business.  I almost asked her when was the last time she had a breast examination!

  The Bible says that we need to be concerned with the welfare of other people but we are to keep our noses out of their business.

  Busybodies and meddlers spend so much time worrying about others they wind up neglecting their own business.

  What part of “mind your own business” don’t you understand?

  The third thing the Bible says in this particular passage is: “ with your hands.”

  Everybody from the man on the street down to the federal government needs to hear this bit of Bible advice.

  People are talking a lot about jobs today.

  That’s a good thing.

  All we need to do now is to realize that the best answer to the welfare problems we have in America is that people go to work!  Jobs are out there.  Just ask the illegal aliens who don’t mind working in the orange groves, the chicken processing plants, and the tobacco fields.  They’ve got jobs. 

  The Wall Street investment firm of Bear Stearns published a report asserting that there are between 12 and 15 million jobs in the U.S. currently held by illegal aliens, or about 8 percent of the work force.

  Here’s some advice for our government—send these people back home because they are in this country illegally and do something to require our unemployed to go to work!  This way there’ll be jobs for everybody who wants one!

  In Bible times so many people didn’t like to do manual labor.  That’s why they owned so many slaves.  But Christianity came along and brought in a new ethic based on personal responsibility and hard work.

  They saw work as a blessing instead of a curse.  They realized that Christians were not parasites, freeloaders, or moochers! 

  That’s the way it ought to be today.  Going to church means little if you are a lazy person on the job.  What you do on Monday on the job is just as sacred in the eyes of God as what you do in church on Sunday.

  The Bible says if you don’t work, you don’t eat!

  What’s the advantage of leading a quiet life, tending to your own business, and working with your hands?

  The Bible answers that question: “ that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

  If you’re having trouble with what I’ve been saying and think I’ve lost my mind, I invite you to take your Bible and read I Thessalonians 4:11 and 12 which says: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

  Dear folks, that’s Bible!




  I’m going to be selective in the remarks I want to share with you in this particular column.  Most of the time I try to write things that will have some interest to most people.

  These remarks are addressed especially to those of you who are church members/Christians.

  Have you ever stopped to think that the people who are not church members/Christians have certain expectations of those of us who are?  Sure, some of those expectations are unreasonable.  But, I’m talking about those expectations that the world has a right to expect of us.

  If you are a Democrat—those who are not expect certain things of you.  If you are a Republican—those who are not expect certain things of you.  If you are a member of the Lion’s Club—those who are not expect certain things of you.  If you are a school teacher—those who are not expect certain things of you.

  If you are a church member/Christian—those who are not expect certain things of you.

  I just want to mention one of those things that non-church members/non-Christians expect of those of us who are church members/Christians.

  They have a right to expect us to love each other!

  You don’t have to agree with that statement.  You may not like it.  That doesn’t matter.  It’s still true that they expect us to love each other.  And, rightfully so!

  According to the Bible, we “have been taught by God to love each other.”  God must think it’s important that we love each other because He has taken the time Himself to teach us to love each other.  Oh, we didn’t go to His school and sit in a classroom to learn to love each other.  He put us in fellowship with each other and that’s where we learn to love each other.

  And, why shouldn’t we love each other.

  I’ve got three brothers (one is deceased).  We live in different places, have different personalities, have different habits, have different likes and dislikes—but we love each other.   You see, we all have one thing in common—we came from the same womb!

  Those of us who are brothers and sisters in Christ have been born again.  We have experienced a new birth.  All of us Christians are from the womb of God!

  We’re brothers and sisters in Christ and we are taught by God to love each other.

  I’m talking about loving ALL our brothers and sisters.  Tell me, if you can, what brother or sister in Christ are we NOT to love?  Some of us love some of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Some of us love them sometime but not all the time.  We are expected to love all of them all of the time!  God expects it and so do those who are not church members/Christians.

  Research shows that the one thing that un-churched people say they are looking for in a church is a church made up of caring and loving people.  They’re not looking for a church with good singing, good preaching, a good young people’s program, or a beautiful building.  They want people who care about them.  They don’t care how much you know.  They want to know how much you care!

  The church came into existence before radio or television.  There was no internet, no modern transportation, no beautiful church buildings, or worship teams.  And yet the church conquered the paganism of the mighty Roman Empire!


  The Bible gives the clear answer.  Those who were not church members/Christians saw those who were church members/Christians and they said: “Behold, how they love one another!”

  Dear folks, that’s what the world wants to see in us.  They want to see us loving and caring for each other.  Nothing else will work!

  At one time maybe us church members/Christians could get by saying: “I don’t care what other people think about us.”  Not any more!

  The world wants to see us loving each other.  They’ve got a right to expect that of us.  They are turned off when they hear us gossiping and mean-mouthing each other.  They believe we ought to love each other.  And, so they should!

  If you feel like you love your brothers and sisters in Christ, let me give you some advice from the apostle, Paul: “ do love all the brothers…  Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.




  This past Monday patriotic Americans celebrated the birth of, what I consider to be, the greatest nation in the world!  That statement is not made to criticize or demean another nation.  I don’t know all about other nations.  I know about America.  I have had the opportunity to travel to several foreign countries and can say, without hesitation, that I would rather live in America than any nation I’ve ever visited. 

  One of my greatest blessings is to be an American and live in this country.  Apparently most every other American feels the same way I feel.  Americans do not build little boats and set out on dangerous seas to escape inhumane dictators like many Cubans have done.  Mexico has not built a single fence to keep Americans out of their country.  Ship cargo containers have never been found filled with Americans trying to enter any Asian country.   

  Other Americans seem to agree with me when I say America is the greatest nation in the world and we would rather live in America than any other place in the world.

  I love America.

  But...folks, America is in trouble—deep trouble!

  When all is said and done.—When all the arguments have been made.—When everybody is finished with their finger-pointing—the truth is that our political leaders have failed us!

    They have been more concerned with ego, prestige, gaining personal power and control than making good and wise decisions.

  And, it’s no use to put all the blame on the politicians.  We deserve some of the blame.

  We have put them in office and held our hands out to get anything and everything we could get from them.  We have become a nation of people who think we are entitled to governmental “free money.”  We have helped to create a welfare state of people who expect government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave.  We have a significant number of undeserving people who want free food, free health care, free transportation, and free housing. 

  The goal of too many Americans is to be declared disabled so they can be on the dole.

  I know that some of you are saying: “Don’t you think there are people who really need government help?”  I sure do!  But anybody in their right mind will have to admit that there are thousands, maybe millions, who are “playing” the system as an excuse for their laziness and general lack of motivation and responsibility.

  Let me be the first to say that I receive tremendous benefit from government programs.  I receive a Social Security check every month.  I have Medicare Health Insurance.  I go to national parks and enjoy the facilities that are funded by government money.  I ride up and down the Interstate Highway system.  I enjoy the protection of federal law enforcement officers. 

  All these things and more are a part of my life because I live in America.

  But, folks, America is broke!

  These “free” programs can’t be paid for anymore.

  All of us are going to have to give up some of the things we’ve enjoyed for so many years.

  The time has come when we’re going to have to consider a reduction in our Social Security checks.  We’re going to have to give up some of our Medicare coverage.  Some national parks are going to have to close or reduce their services.  Food stamps are going to need to be reduced.  Housing “perks” are going to be reduced. 

  We’re broke!

  What part of that don’t you understand?

  We’ve had our hands out so much to get “free” government money and services.  The politicians know that they have to put something in our hands or they won’t get our vote.   Now we’ve come to a point where there’s nothing else to give unless we keep borrowing money from China!  We’d better pray to God that they don’t come after us and want to collect!

  I think about how it was during WW II when Americans sacrificed having sugar, coffee, tires for their cars, and shoes for their kids.  We grew our own food in Victory Gardens.  We gathered scrap iron.  We ate beans and potatoes for supper.  We wore clothes till they wore out and darned our socks.  We conserved electricity and water.  We didn’t go to the doctor every time we had some kind of ache or pain.  We toughed it out!

  Are there any of us Americans left that are willing to tighten our belts and go without? 

  Don’t give me this stuff that we’re already doing without!

  Look at the problems we’re faced with today—Obesity.  How big of a storage unit do we have to rent to keep our stuff?  Are we going to have a yard sale this weekend to sell some of the stuff we have so we can have room for more stuff?  Is it time to trade in last year’s car so we can get a new one for this year?  Let’s build an addition on the house for a den so we can entertain our friends.  Let’s go to Wal-Mart and shop.  We might find something we want.  Let’s make sure the kids are enrolled in baseball, basketball, and soccer and hope we have gas money to run them all over the country.  They need piano lessons, gymnastics lessons, hundred dollar sneakers, faded jeans, cell phones, play stations, plasma televisions, and computers.

  Folks, we are all a bunch of “fat cats.”

  We’ve become so used to the good life that we don’t want to give up anything.

  How many people in your neighborhood starved to death last week?  How many homeless people did you see sleeping on the streets in downtown Monticello last week?  When was the last time you took a change of clothes to somebody who really needed them?

  We’re a bunch of “fat cats.”

  And America is in trouble because we want to preserve our “fat cat” status.

  Our political leaders have failed us.  We have failed in our responsibility to hold them accountable.  We have elected them to represent us.  Are you pleased with they way they’re representing you?  They have spent us into oblivion!  Let’s hold them accountable.  Let’s let them know that the day of “free” government money is over!  We’ve abused the system and now it’s time to pay the piper!

  We can do it!  We are Americans!  We know what it is to live in prosperity.  We also know what it is to get back to reality.  We can sacrifice when we need to sacrifice.  America is too precious to lose!

  Like the Prodigal Son, we need to “come to ourselves.”  We need to restore the principles upon which  this great nation was built.

  I love America!  I believe you love America!

  The question is “How much do we love America?”

  I hope enough to do what needs to be done to preserve America!



  I can truthfully say that I’m married to a great lady.

  She has never done anything to embarrass me—until the other day!

  I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t with her when the alleged incident occurred so I have to depend on what she and others tell me about what happened.

  Gale is usually a laid back kind of person.  Like all women, she has been known to get excited and she does have some very strong convictions and opinions that put her into a heightened state of activity. 

  I’ve noticed she gets out of her “laid back” zone when she’s in a hurry.

  When she gets in a hurry it seems that something goes wrong in her brain.  Because I’ve lived with her for over fifty years, I’ve leaned that when she gets in a hurry the best thing to do is get out of her way.

  Here is what I’ve been told happened the other day.

  It seems that she stopped by the bank where our daughter works and they decided that they needed to go to Wal-Mart.  Our daughter was on her lunch break so they didn’t have much time and would have to go in a hurry. 

  Our daughter should have known that hurry and her mom do not go together!

  Here they go to Wal-Mart—in a hurry. 

  Something’s going to go wrong!

  After they find a parking place, they head toward the front door.  Well, you know that when you go inside the door you’re going to be greeted by some mighty nice folks.  They welcome you to the store, tell you to have a good day, and do everything else to get you in a mood to spend money.

  When I go to Wal-Mart, I go mostly to look around and check out the newest gadgets.  I don’t really want to buy anything.

  Not so with Gale!

  When she goes to Wal-Mart you can be sure of one thing—she’s going to spend some money and come out the door with more stuff!

  Of course to get more stuff, she needs one of those really nice looking shiny shopping carts that the nice Wal-Mart greeters almost always push in your direction just as soon as you get in the door.

  Did I mention that Gale was in a hurry?

  She goes into the store and, sure enough, there’s a fellow with a shopping cart standing right in front of her.  Gale does the natural thing—she grabs the cart out of the man’s hands and proceeds into the major shopping area of the store.

  Only thing is—the fellow with the shopping cart wasn’t one of the greeters!  He was just a fellow sent to the store by his wife to get a dozen eggs, a quart of buttermilk, a watermelon, and some bananas!  It was his cart!

  I can only imagine the look on the fellow’s face when this woman comes up and forcibly takes the cart out of his hands that were firmly gripping the handle.

  Now, I’ve got to be honest and tell you that I never suspected that my own wife would turn out to be a shopping cart thief!  Nor did I ever think she’d snatch one out of a fellow shopper’s hands!

  When I was told of the incident, I asked what the fellow did when the cart was snatched from him.  I was assured that he didn’t put up a fight.  The way I understand it is that he was so shocked at some short, grey-haired, preacher’s wife taking the cart away from him.

  Nobody got the man’s name.  I hope he might be reading these words.  If you are, I’d just like to say that I’m so sorry for my wife’s actions.  I want to assure that generally she’s not like that.  It was just that she was in a hurry.  I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive her.

  I plan to go to Wal-Mart and talk to the manager and ask that the greeters at the store be dressed in some kind of flame orange uniforms that will be easily recognizable to women like my wife who come into the store in a hurry.  That might keep anybody else from being hassled by my wife.

  I think it is also my duty to warn you that if you’re ever at Wal-Mart and you see a little short, grey-haired, preacher’s wife walking through the parking lot; get out of her way!  She may look like an innocent grandmother type but when she’s in a hurry to go shopping, she turns into a feminine version of the Hulk!  And, if she grabs your shopping cart, just turn loose.  Don’t put up a fight! 



  I hope all of you fathers had a great day last Sunday as you celebrated Father’s Day with your family.

  It was my privilege to share some thoughts about fathers in a couple of sermons I preached at Burnside and Mount Union Christian Church.  In that sermon I suggested that a good father was a man of patience, godliness, and love.

  If you’ve had any experience at all in raising children, you know that patience is a necessity!  Fact is, patience is necessary in anything we do in life.

  Fathers can sometimes be very impatient.  I know!  Nobody has ever accused me of being the most patient person in the world!  I’m still learning to be patient.

  I heard a good story about another father who learned a good lesson in patience.  Seems like he was upset about how long it was taking his little six-year-old boy to get home from school every day.  The father decided he would make the trip to discover for himself how long it should take a small boy to cover the distance.  After the trip, he decided it should take no longer that twenty minutes.

  To show his son, he decided to walk the distance with his son.

  He met the little fellow at school one day and they started walking home.

  After the trip the father said, “The twenty minutes I though reasonable was right, but I failed to consider such import things as a side trip to track down a t rail of ants...or an educational stop to watch a man fix a flat...or the time it took to swing around a half dozen telephone poles...or how much time it took for a boy just to get acquainted with two stray dogs and a brown cat.”

  He concluded by saying, “I had forgotten what it is really like to be six years old.”

  Patience-all fathers need a lot of it!

  I also pointed out that fathers need to set Godly examples for their children. 

  Have you ever noticed that kids hardly hear a word we say but they see everything we do?

  They follow our example.

  A preacher who had baptized a lot of people would always say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” as he immersed the candidate.

  Did I mention that his little four-year-old girl witnessed him doing that several dozen times?

  One day she was outside playing “church” with some of her little friends.

  She was conducting a baptismal service.

  She held a cat over a barrel of water.  Trying to do exactly the same thing she had seen her father do, she repeated the phrase she had heard many times: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and in the hole you go.”

  Example is powerful when it comes to being a father!

  And, then I suggested that fathers possess a lot of love and show a lot of love when they raise their kids.

  I don’t think we understand loving our children like we ought.

  If you’ll notice, you will see that many parents believe that loving their kids is giving them things!  Giving them stuff!  Making sure they have the latest gadget or most fashionable clothes to wear.

  Many parents are doing nothing more than trying to buy the love of their children!

  Dr. James Dobson hit the nail on the head when he said: “Love isn’t something you buy.  Your kids spell it T-I-M-E and it costs more than M-O-N-E-Y.”

  A little boy met his father at the door and said, “Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

  The question surprised the father and answered, “I make twenty dollars an hour.”  With that, the little fellow asked another question: “Daddy, would you loan me ten dollars?”

  That upset the father because he thought his son only wanted to know how much money he made so he could get ten dollars out of him.  He sent the little boy up to his room without supper.

  Later on the Dad got to feeling guilty and went up to the room where his boy was lying on his bed.  He reached in his pocket and gave him the ten dollars he had asked for.

  The soon said: “Thanks, Daddy!” and reached under his pillow and got a handful of coins he’d been saving for a long time.  “Now I have enough!  Now I have twenty dollars!”  He then looked at his Daddy and said, “Daddy could you sell me one hour of your time?”

  Our children need our T-I-M-E as much or more than they need our M-O-N-E-Y!

  The also need us to set a good example and they need us to be patient with them.

  Hope you had a good Father’s Day.




  Last Friday started our like a normal day for me.

  I got up, went to the museum, and started doing museum things.

  About mid-morning I got a phone call from one of my friends out on Bambi Circle.  He and his wife wanted Gale and me to join them for supper.

  Plans were made to go to a local restaurant here in Monticello and enjoy an evening of dining on Mexican food.

  I ordered a plate of nachos.  It was a nacho supreme.  Needless to say it was a plate full of chips, chicken, that green stuff, a dollop or two of sour cream, all nestled in a cloud of bright green lettuce and red tomatoes.

  The others ordered entrees from shrimp to mango chicken.

  It was a feast and I enjoyed every bite.

  After an hour of eating and conversation we left the restaurant.

  Because of the amount of food consumed by each of us, there was considerable grunting and groaning as we boarded the sparkling and elegant Lincoln SUV that would transport us back to Bambi Circle.

  While driving down the road my good friend said he needed to stop by the Cumberland BP station out on Highway 90 to transact some sort of business.

  As we neared the station my eyes immediately focused on the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream sign!

  What’s with ice cream at a gas station?

  As my friend turned to go into the parking lot of the station I made the announcement that I was going to treat everybody to ice cream.

  I figured that, even though we were stuffed, the ice cream would melt and fill in the nooks and crannies that still remained unfilled in our stomachs.  I also figured that Mexican food would go well with ice cream.

  I was the first to order my ice cream.

  It wasn’t an easy task to decide which one of the thirty-three flavors I wanted.  I wanted them all!

  I finally decided on a double dip of Nutty Coconut and Walnut.

  The other three only ordered one dip each.

  There was a young fellow behind the ice cream counter who picked up the dipper and plunged it into the containers of ice cream arranged to look like a rainbow!

  I noticed him scooping and scooping and scooping.  He was a professional!  He rounded those two dips like an expert dipper.  I was noticing that it was taking him some time to get the dips ready for the cone.  I soon learned why it was taking him so long.

  Folks, he just kept scooping and rounding those two dips I ordered.  They kept getting bigger and bigger!

  I’d never seen such big dips of ice cream on a cone!

  I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven!

  When he handed that humongous, two perfectly rounded dips of ice cream to me I started licking that sweet delight with all my might.

  It was a losing game!

  I had gone outside into the hot evening air and that ice cream started melting faster than I could lick it off the cone.  In no time at all I had a fountain of Nutty Coconut and Walnut ice cream dripping on my hands, on my clothes, and down to my knees!

  The faster I licked, the more it melted.

  I couldn’t control it.

  In all my seventy years, I had never met an ice cream cone I couldn’t control!

  I told Gale to go back inside and get me a cup.  I’d just transfer those huge dips to a cup and eat it with a spoon.

  She came back with a little cup that wouldn’t begin to hold the mountain of ice cream that was winning the battle I was waging against those rounded scoops of melting deliciousness.

  I hate to admit it but when I found my shirt covered with melted ice cream and little hills of walnuts, I asked my friend to rescue me by taking what was left and allow me to find some handi wipes and try to clean myself up.

  I’m going to go back to the BP station and offer some suggestions.  I certainly will not suggest that they make those servings any less!

  I’m going to suggest a name for their humongous, perfectly rounded, double dips of ice cream.  I believe that they can make a million dollars if they will market their ice cream with an appropriate name.

  I first thought that they could call it “The Twin Peaks Of Mount Everest” cone.  But I’ve decided that the best name they could give to that humongous, perfectly rounded, double dips of ice cream would be “The Dolly Parton Special.”

  I recommend that you get out to Cumberland BP as soon as you can.  If the young fellow is behind the counter, tell him Harlan sent you, and ask for “The Dolly Parton Special.”  He’ll know what you’re talking about.





  Those of you who know me know that I am very seldom in a position where I am at a loss for words.

  I am today!

  Tomorrow (June 2) is, without doubt, one of the most significant milestones that I will ever reach in my life.

  I will be celebrating my Golden Wedding Anniversary!

  Fifty years! 

  Fifty years of being married to a woman I was lucky enough to get acquainted with when we were only teenagers!

  Fifty years of having a person in my life that knows every “wart” that I have—both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

  Fifty years of experiencing the real presence of someone by my side to be my “rock” when my world seemed to be falling apart.

  Fifty years of having “helpmeet” to support me in serving the Lord in the ministry of the Gospel!

  Fifty years of living with a person who has gifted me with three children that I love dearly.

  Fifty years of clean clothes, good meals, and a clean house.

  Fifty years of putting up with more neglect than any wife ought to endure.

  Fifty years of being a lover, a friend, the mother of my children, and provider of the stability that has made the Harlan Ogle family a huge success!

  Fifty years of allowing me to make dumb decisions and acting like it really didn’t matter that much.

  Fifty years of praying for me and telling me that I could do what I set my mind to do.

  Fifty years of one of the greatest examples of a Christian woman the world will ever see.

  Fifty years of making me feel that I really am somebody.

  Fifty years of taking my burdens and making them her burdens.

  Fifty years of loving my strange family members.

  How do you put into words what somebody like that means to you?

  I can’t.

  I can tell you that I thank the Lord for arranging things in my life and her life that brought us together. 

  We’ve been a good match! 

  She could have done better but I’m glad she didn’t!

  To be honest, I didn’t think I’d ever make it to fifty years.  Things got pretty uncertain a few years ago when I faced some life-threatening health issues.

  God is good!

  He worked things out so I could reach this day.

  I thank Him for that and I believe that it took Him and Gale to get me here!

  Gale and I went to Rock City for our honeymoon fifty years ago.

  Last week we returned.

  My first observation was that things had really changed!

  My second observation was that we have really changed!

  I don’t have as much hair as I used to have.  There’s about seventy-five pounds that have been added to my near perfect body.  I don’t hear everything in a conversation.  The eyes are beginning to dim.  Reflexes are not as quick.  Memory is taking a blow.  I’m huffing and puffing more than ever.  I’ve got grunting down to an art form and my energy level doesn’t reach the peaks it used to reach.

  But, there’s one thing that has not changed after fifty years of marriage—Gale and I are still committed to each other in our efforts to make our marriage work.  Even after fifty years, we don’t know all about marriage.  We’re still learning.  We’ve made a good start and we don’t think it’s all over!

  I hope that we’ll have more years together.  My personal goal is for another fifty!

  Whatever length of time we have left to be together will be precious years.  We’re not going to count that time in years.  We’re counting minutes!  We’re just thankful for every minute God gives us to continue to write the history of a love affair that has been going on for fifty years. 

  While we may be approaching old codger status, there are times when we still feel like those two young teenagers when we did some heavy courting!





  Next Monday (May 30th) will be celebrated as Memorial Day in America.  I’m proud to say that here in Wayne County, there will be several opportunities for you to attend Memorial Day services.  I hope you will do so.

  You may find your way to a family cemetery and place a flower on the grave of a family member who touched your life and that touch made you a better person.  You may visit the grave of a sainted Mom or Dad and say a silent prayer of thanks for the sacrifices they made in raising you.  Some of you might have to sit at home because you can no longer physically go to a cemetery but I hope you will still think of some special person who has meant the world to you.

  I certainly hope that all of you will find the time to remember some man or woman who served in the Armed Services of our country.  Especially, those who died while serving.

  All of our veterans, living and deceased, deserve to be remembered.

  Who are these men and women?

  I like this description of veterans:

  “He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.

  “She (or he) is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

  “He is the POW who went away one person and came back another—or didn’t come back AT ALL.

  “He is the Parris Island drill instructor who has never seen combat—but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

  “He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

  “He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

  “He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

  “He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket—palsied now and aggravatingly slow— who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

  “He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being—a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

  “He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.”

  While these words do a good job in describing a veteran, I know a better way to describe a veteran.

  A veteran is my good friend, Guy Decker, who lives on Michigan Avenue.

  I met Guy years ago when I climbed up on a roof he was repairing.  I introduced myself to him and thus began a friendship that has lasted for over two decades.

  I learned early on that Guy was a retired soldier.  You could tell that in the way he “carried” himself.  He was tall, straight, and still had a commanding physical appearance.  I’d never tell him to his face but he was a right good looking old dude!

  Through the years Guy and I have come to be good enough friends that I can call him an “old buzzard” and he won’t slap me up ‘side the head.  I do have to tell you, however, that he’s got a few choice names for me!

  Guy devoted most of his life to serving our country.  He traveled to and through several foreign countries and still had time to raise a family.  All his kids are “military brats.”  (I say that with a lot of respect!)

  And, just for your information, Guy just recently celebrated his 90th birthday.  He’s touched a lot of people in those years.  In touching those lives, he’s provided a great example of what a man can achieve in spite of hard times.  I know he’s been an inspiration to me and a good friend.

  I admire him for his service to our country and for his example.

  Thank you, Guy, for your service.

  And, thank you, you “ol buzzard” for being my friend.

  You may know that there is a large group of religious people who believe the 
best way to live life is to live a simple life. 
  I can relate to that! 
  I’ve never liked complicated things.  I like simple things. 
  Sometimes we make life more difficult that it ought to be.  Maybe there’s a 
need for us to strip away a lot of the things that are really unnecessary and 
get back to basics. 
  With that in mind, I’d like to share with you this simple belief system I 
found recently.  I don’t know the source but there’s a lot of wisdom in it. 
  I BELIEVE--that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends 
  I BELIEVE—no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once 
in a while and, you must forgive them for that. 
  I BELIEVE—that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest 
distance.  Same goes for true love. 
  I BELIEVE—that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache 
for life. 
  I BELIEVE—that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. 
  I BELIEVE—that you should always leave loved ones with loving words.  It may 
be the last time you see them. 
   I BELIEVE—that you can keep going long after you can't. 
  I BELIEVE—That we are responsible for what  we do, no matter how we feel. 
  I BELIEVE—that either you control your attitude or it controls you. 
  I BELIEVE—that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, 
the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place. 
  I BELIEVE—that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs 
to be done, regardless of the consequences. 
  I BELIEVE—that money is a lousy way of keeping score. 
  I BELIEVE—that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the 
best time! 
  I BELIEVE—that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, 
will be the ones to help you get back up. 
  I BELIEVE—that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that 
doesn't give me the right to be cruel. 
  I BELIEVE—that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to 
doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have. 
  I BELIEVE—that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've 
had and what you've 
learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated. 
  I BELIEVE—that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.  Sometimes you 
have to learn to forgive yourself. 
  I BELIEVE—that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop 
for your grief. 
  I BELIEVE—that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we 
are, but we are responsible for who we become. 
  I BELIEVE—that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love 
each other.  And just 
because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do. 
  I BELIEVE—that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.  It could 
change your life forever. 
  I BELIEVE—that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something 
totally different. 
  I BELIEVE—that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who 
don't even know you. 
  I BELIEVE—that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend 
cries out to you—you will find the strength to help. 
  I BELIEVE—that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being. 
  I BELIEVE—that the people you care about most in life are the essence of life.  
Tell them today how much you love them and what they mean to you.



  Folks, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I need a vacation!

  Here are some reasons why I believe I need a vacation:

  1. The last time I took a vacation Frog Bottom was on TOP of Morris Hill and the Burton stagecoach was still making regular trips to Burnside.

  2. I wake up in the morning hoping the pain in my stomach is appendicitis so I can spend a few days in the hospital to get some rest.

  3. I’ve found myself answering my home phone by saying, “Museum.”

  4. I don’t have to steer my car while driving to the museum because it knows the way all by itself.

  5. Gale has put my picture on milk cartons because she thinks I’m missing.

  6. I’ve attempted to log in to the microwave oven at least three times in the past week.

  7. Last Sunday I told the congregation that if they didn’t start putting a little more in the collection plate that I was going to report them to the Better Business Bureau.

  8. More than one person has asked me if I’ve ever considered taking some kind of pill to help me “chill out.”

  9. I tried to find “Judge Judy” on television last night by pushing every button on my remote.  Gale finally asked me why I was punching all the buttons on the telephone.

  10. One of the members at the church where I preach gave me a tee shirt that reads: “Help, I’m preaching and I can’t shut up.”

  One of the biggest decisions I will need to make about taking a vacation is where I’ll be staying.  Here is a list of “Motel No Nos”—

  ...Don’t stay in a motel if the mint on the pillow starts moving when you get ready for bed.

  ...Don’t stay in a motel that places nice art work on the walls to cover up bullet holes.

  ...Don’t stay in a motel if you have to wait till the guy next door is done with the towel so you can use it.

  ...Don’t stay in a motel if there’s a chalk outline in the bed when you pull back the covers.

  I’ve already stated packing for my vacation.

  Gale won’t allow me to take my tight-fitting speedos.  For those of you who don’t know what speedos are, they’re those itsy bitsy tennie wennie swim trunks that all macho men are wearing at the beach.  She’s afraid that women will start following me down the beach as they admire my near perfect frame!  I’m having to settle for a pair of cut-off overalls.  I’ll be sure to make a fashion statement with that beach wear!

  I’m looking forward to eating out while I’m on vacation.  I’m sure we'll be eating in some of the most expensive places.  There’s one restaurant that I’m really looking forward to.  It’s a place run by Gus and Lucy Poindexter whose specialty is a bologna sandwich served with a side of fried pork skins that you can dip in red-eye gravy.  Another restaurant we’ll be visiting is the “Gourmet Chitterling Castle.”  They offer a selection of the best chitterlings available east of the Mississippi River.

  You may not know it but this vacation is a part of our celebration of our fiftieth anniversary.  I think it’s going to be somewhat romantic.

  With these hard economic times I’ve got to look for ways to save money.  I’d love to have a room with one of those Jacuzzi hot tubs but I can’t afford it.  I’m going to take Gale’s electric mixer and look for a motel with an extra large bathtub.  All I’ll have to do is plug that mixer up, turn it up to the highest speed, lower it in the bathtub and we’ll be able to soak our cares away.

  I thought that by now Gale would be excited about our vacation but she said last night that maybe we’d better skip a vacation this year and just stay home.  You good folks know me well enough that I’m not going to break her heart and skip this vacation of a lifetime. 

  Well, I’ve got to get to bed because tomorrow morning we’ll be leaving on our much-needed vacation.  I fully expect that when I get back home; I’ll be ready to go back to doing all those things that made it necessary for me to take a vacation in the first place.

  Gotta go now because I hear Gale in the bedroom and it sounds like she’s crying.  I don’t know why in the world she’s saying, “Why me?  Why me?”



  I’m sure you are aware that next Sunday (May 8th) is Mother’s Day.  That being so, I’ve been thinking about this thing of being a mother.

  I don’t understand mothers!  That’s probably because it takes a mother to understand a mother and I ain’t one!

  For example, have you noticed how crazy mothers are about their newborn babies?  I don’t think I’ve ever met a new mother who didn’t think their new baby was the grandest thing that ever existed!


  For months and months this baby has caused them so much inconvenience and sometimes pure pain!

  Almost from the very moment a mother learns a baby is on the way her body starts doing strange things!  She will break out in skin rashes and as time goes on she begins to waddle like a duck.  Sometimes she gets down in a chair and needs a crane to get her back to her feet.

  An expectant mother’s appetite goes haywire.  She wants fresh squeezed orange juice with her dill pickles for breakfast and lunch is a double-decker sandwich of cucumbers and stewed prunes with a little blue cheese salad dressing.  You don’t even want to know what she wants for supper!

  As time goes on she begins to notice movement in her stomach area.  She asks herself, “Will this kid ever stop kicking me in the middle of the night?”

  She knows, that while all this discomfort is going on, the baby is living the life of Riley!  The kid just floats around being fed all day with nutritious meals he or she doesn’t have to prepare.  They’re kept warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.  They live in a perfect environment while Mama is turning green every morning because she is so nauseous she can’t even keep wheat toast down.  Hot flashes happen regularly because being pregnant has destroyed her body’s thermostat.

  The blessed day finally comes that the little bundle of joy makes it appearance for the first time.  This is only after Mama has acted like a screaming Comanche Indian on the warpath.  She grips the sheet, grits her teeth, pushes with the force of a bulldozer, and prays for some relief.

  The doctor finally announces the safe arrival of the baby.  In spite of her aching back, pounding head, and a sweat-drenched body; she takes that little baby in her arms.  

  The little fellow is wrinkled, red-faced, with little white bumps on its nose.  But, it is the most beautiful sight she has ever seen!

  The new baby either comes into the world crying or starts crying when the doctor slaps its rear end!  Everybody immediately knows that this kid has a healthy set of lungs!

  Everybody tries to help with the situation.  The nurses cuddle the baby.  Daddy makes silly faces trying to get the baby to smile!  Grandpa has his new digital camera stuck in the baby’s face and succeeds in making the crying all that louder as a flash that’s brighter than the sun goes off in the sensitive eyes of the newborn.

  All the efforts to help take care of the baby are to no avail.  The nurses can’t help.  Daddy is zoned out and doesn’t really know what’s happening.  Grandpa can’t wipe the smile off his face and has been going up and down the hospital hallway telling everybody that “he’s had a new baby.” He doesn’t have a clue that he didn’t have diddly-squat to do with any of the process.

  The new kid wants only one person—Mama!

  Doesn’t matter that she’s been working harder in the last nine months than she’s worked in her life.  Doesn’t matter that she’s just gone through eleven hours of hard labor.  Nobody can take her place.  Baby wants Mama!

  For four or five months the new baby will keep Mom up late at night, wake her up in the wee hours of the morning, and be completely dependent on her for all its needs.

  And, Mama will do all of that with determination, purpose, and, most of all, love!


  I don’t know.  She probably doesn’t know all the reasons.  She just does!

  She’s a Mother and that’s what Mothers do.

  It’s no wonder that children love their Mothers.  It’s no wonder that those same children live to be eighty or ninety years old and still they love their Mothers.

  This Mother’s Day I hope you will have good memories of your Mom.  I hope you will be able to bow your head and thank God for what she has meant to you.

  Happy Mother’s Day, Granny!  I miss you!




  Have you ever thought about going treasure hunting? 

  The question conjures up thoughts of gold and silver coins, priceless pieces of art, and fortunes to be found buried deep down in the earth or hidden away in some dark cave.

  That’s not the kind of treasure I’m talking about.

  My association with the people of Wayne County has resulted in my finding priceless treasure!

  There is a question asked in the book of Proverbs that goes something like this: “Who can find a worthy, noble, virtuous woman?”  The question is followed by this observation: “She is worth far more than rubies!”


  Rubies!  Treasure!

  A worthy, noble, virtuous woman is a treasure!

  She is so precious, priceless, and rare!

  If you find one, you’ve found a treasure!

  Who can find such a treasure!

  I can!

  I found one about twenty-five years ago.

  Her name is Mildred Dalton.

  Many of you who read this column knew Mildred Dalton.

  Even though she passed away recently, her influence lives on in the lives of the people who were fortunate enough to find the treasure she was!

  Mildred was married to another “treasure”—Wendell Dalton.

  Mildred and Wendell shared their dreams together, worked side by side together, raised their family together, served their neighbors and friends together, and worshiped and served their God together.

  Mildred was very visible in this community.  She was a successful businesswoman.  She worked in the family-owned Firestone Store, helped operate a grocery store, and worked in so many other business positions.

  In addition to providing for her family, she found the time to help create and nurture a public library and serve as an unselfish volunteer in the local hospital.

  Mildred was in the front ranks of a group of ladies who were determined to bring culture and sophistication to Monticello.  The thousands of young people who have been challenged and supported by the Monticello Woman’s Club; the scores of charities who have benefited from the Club’s efforts; the many community improvements; and other public service projects; were accomplished because women like Mildred rolled up their sleeves and worked to improve life in these “Little Mountains.”

  Like the worthy, noble, and virtuous woman in the Bible, “She opens her arms to those who are poor.  She reaches out her hands to those who are needy.”

  Those of us who knew Mildred will always remember her smile.  I can’t conjure up a vision of Mildred in my mind or memory without seeing her with a smile on her face!

  How do you smile while making your husband happy, raising kids, working in a business, working long hours improving your community, and providing a sterling example of womanhood?

  I don’t know.

  But, Mildred did!

  I’ve always thought Mildred had some supernatural strength at her disposal.

  You see, underneath all the things Mildred did; there was her faith in God and her belief that to be like her Lord, she had to have a servant’s heart that resulted in a life of service.

  Mildred Dalton will always be one of the greatest examples of service to others that I’ve ever known.

  How many Sunday School teachers do you know who taught hundreds of boys and girls for seventy-two years!

  Mildred Dalton—this worthy, noble, and virtuous woman was a precious jewel.

  She taught us all that precious jewels come from rough stones with imperfections and that if we allow the Lord to work in our lives to chisel and chip away those flaws, we can all find ourselves precious in His sight.

  Twenty-five years ago I found a treasure.

  She is Mildred Dalton—a lady, a mother, a wife, a friend, a fellow Christian; who was not content living her life like a piece of cheap costume jewelry but attained the status of a precious ruby in God’s treasure chest.





  I spent a few hours driving to and from Tennessee today (Sunday). 

  Driving is one of my favorite pastimes because it allows me to sit quietly in the car and do a lot of thinking if that’s what I want to do.  It also allows me time to listen to some great music.  I usually take several CDs with me and just let the music “calm my troubled soul.”

  That’s what I did today.

  I zapped a CD into the ol’ sound system and enjoyed the tunes as I drove a couple hundred miles.

  Now, this wasn’t just any ol’ CD.

  It was Clyde and Marie Denney’s latest CD.

  As the kids today say, “It rocks.”

  No, I didn’t say it was rock and roll.  I said, “It rocks.”

  That means there’s some good stuff on it if you like country or bluegrass music.

  I’ve heard Clyde and Marie on other CDs and I’ve heard them several times in person.  But, this CD “rocks!”

  Clyde and Marie still sing songs with words you can understand.  They don’t scream out the words or talk street gibberish.  I doubt that they’ve ever even tried to “rap.”

  They just sing good ol’ songs about almost every subject that are a part of real life.

  I guess Clyde and Marie can do that because they’ve lived real life.  Even though they have been involved in the entertainment business for years; they still have that “down home” attitude.

  They sing songs about people living, people loving, people crying, people laughing, people living through hard times, people seeking God, people suffering from disappointment, and people dying.

  That’s what real life is all about.

  That’s what their music is all about.

  I really think Clyde and Marie Denney are one of Wayne County’s undiscovered treasures.  I know that professional musicians all over the country know and sing their songs.  At a lot of bluegrass festivals, you can hear somebody singing their songs.  Clyde and Marie have sung to crowds of people. 

  Just recently I’ve been asking people here in Wayne County if they know Clyde and Marie.  While many say they do; a lot say they don’t.

  An undiscovered treasure!

  This Saturday evening (April 23rd), Clyde and Marie are going to be featured in a “Tribute Concert.”  This concert is being presented to honor these Wayne County musicians for all they have accomplished through the years.

  The concert will also be a time when you can get acquainted with Clyde and Marie and their unique brand of bluegrass.  I think you can truthfully say that Clyde and Marie have traveled thousands of miles performing the kind of Kentucky bluegrass music that originates in the hills of Wayne County, Kentucky.  I know Clyde and Marie love Kentucky and I know they especially love Wayne County.  Their music is testimony to their pride in their hometown.

  The concert will be held at the historic Wayne Theater in downtown Monticello.  It will begin at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time).  Tickets are only $5.00 and can be purchased at the Wayne County Museum or at the Monticello Banking Company.  We expect a good crowd and if all tickets are not sold before the concert, they will be available at the door.

  I hope the people of Wayne County will come out and help us pay tribute to Clyde and Marie.  We will welcome a very special guest, Dr. Linwood Montell, who will share with us the place in Kentucky music history filled by Clyde and Marie Denney.  Dr. Montell is well-qualified to share this perspective with us since he is very knowledgeable of the rich musical heritage of South Central Kentucky.  His efforts to promote Kentucky music was recognized when he was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

  I encourage you to get your tickets as soon as possible and make your way to the historic Wayne Theater Saturday evening for this special musical presentation.

  If you need additional information, you can call me at the Wayne County Museum at 606-340-2300.

  We’ll see you Saturday.  Bring your toe-tapping shoes and expect a great presentation of some of America’s best loved music—Kentucky Bluegrass!






  It’s pretty lonely at my house tonight.  It’s almost midnight and I just got through locating copies of all my old bills that I paid last year.  I’ve tried to find those things called W-2s, 1099s, and form 1040s.  By the way, do you know why they call it a 1040?  It’s because for every $50.00 you earn, you get $10.00 and the government gets $40.00.

  You’ve guessed it.

  I’m working on my income taxes.

  That’s why I’m lonely.

  Gale, my neighbors, and distant relatives know to leave me alone when I’m working on my taxes!

  They also know that I always wait till the last minute to get them done.  It’s not because I’m lazy.  It’s because I don’t want to send Uncle Sam any money until I have to.

  Have you ever thought about the fact that our income taxes have to be paid the month that begins with April Fool's Day and ends with cries of "May Day!"?

  I don’t understand all I know about income taxes.  I’m glad to say I’m not alone in that.  I recently read these words:  "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the Income Tax."  You know who said that?  Albert Einstein!

  If he couldn’t understand it; it’s for certain that I’m going to have some trouble!

  I don’t think the tax forms have to as complicated as they are.  Here’s my suggestion for simplifying the tax forms—there’s only three parts to it:  1.How much did you make last year?  2.How much do you have left?  3.Send amount listed in part 2.

  President Jimmy Carter must have had some choice thoughts about income taxes.  One time he said:  "[The federal income tax system is] a disgrace to the human race." 

  Right on, Jimmy!

  Jimmy, Albert, and myself aren’t the only ones who have problems with paying taxes.  I found out a long time ago that people who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.

  In talking about paying income taxes, I’ve been give some good advice.  One time a fellow told me that I ought to pay my taxes with a smile.  I tried that and the fellow at the tax office told me in no uncertain terms that the IRS required cash or a check and I could take my smile and take a hike.

  Years ago I would fill out my income tax form and was always glad to get to the part where I claimed my children as dependents.  I can’t do that any more since they’ve grown up and moved out but I am considering claiming the federal government as a dependent this year.  They sure are getting a hunk of change from me to keep them going.

  I’m not saying that the IRS gets all our money but somebody said the Eiffel Tower is the Statue of Liberty after taxes.

  I pride myself on being able to save money.  Fact is I have the first dollar I ever made.  Uncle Sam has all the others!

  I think Herbert Hoover should be blamed for the way we have to pay taxes.  Hoover was the first President to give his salary back to the government.  Now the government would like everyone to do it.

  Did you ever notice: When you put the two words “The” and “IRS” together it spells “THEIRS?”

  Well, I’ve taken up too much time talking with you about paying taxes.  I’ve got to get these forms filled out before the deadline.  I hope Martha will volunteer to work overtime at the post office this week so I can get them mailed in time.

  Gale just brought me in another pot of black coffee to help me stay alert and think of every deduction I can claim.  Money is tight this year and I need to keep all I can to help pay the bills.

  I’ve given up on any hopes of receiving any tax refund this year.  Uncle Sam is having his own money problems.  While I’m concerned about an increase of a dime in a can of potted meat; he’s trying to figure out how he can pay our bills that amount to billions and trillions.

  I’ll sure try to send him my fair share but I doubt that I will go so far as to send him a tip this year.

  If you haven’t got your taxes done yet, don’t fear.  I understand that our ol’ Uncle is giving us an extra day or two this year.

  With that in mind, I think I’ll leave this stack of complicated forms and watch Judge Judy for a while!







  Years ago Gale and I looked forward to Friday and Saturday nights because we were able to go on dates doing several different things.  Sometimes we went to a ball game.  Sometimes we went to see a movie.    As I look back at those dates, I realize that ball games and movies were a real treat.  At the time I was working in a popcorn stand that stood on the sidewalk in the middle of the little town where we lived.  Every once in a while I mowed a yard for somebody or raked leaves.  All that earned me pitifully little money.  So pitifully little that it was hard for me to afford the fifty cents to get into the theater or pay the admission price to a ball game.  But we always seemed to find something to do on our weekend dates.

  Gale and I finally married and I noticed something weird—when Friday and Saturday night rolled around we were still looking for something to do for a date.  It just seemed like we ought to do something on Friday and Saturday night even though we were married.  Now that we’re old married people (fifty years this year) we still have that feeling on Friday and Saturday night that we ought to go out and do something special.

  I know now that a lot of people have the same feeling when the weekend rolls around.

  It just seems that we all want to do something different on the weekend.

  I hear a lot of people (old and young alike) say that there’s nothing to do here in Monticello.  There’s nowhere to go.  We need some kind of entertainment in Monticello.

  Now, I can’t always be a part of offering you something to do on a date but I’ve got something to tell you that might fit the bill.

  There are a lot of interesting people around Wayne County.  I’ve met some of them.  Some can carry on interesting conversations.  Some of them can do magic tricks.  Some can play basketball.  Some can cook delicious meals.

  Some of the most interesting people I’ve met in Wayne County are musicians!

  Wayne County has produced some great musicians—”Blind” Dick Burnett, Kevin Denney, Howard Perdue, Clyde Davenport, Bled Coffey, Waylon Rogers, and Virgil Anderson.

  There are two Wayne County musicians that I’ve been thinking about lately that certainly have made a name for themselves in the field of bluegrass and country music—Clyde and Marie Denney.  Clyde and Marie have been writing songs and performing on stage for decades. 

  They’re still at it!

  Even though they live out in Tuggle Hollow they still travel thousands of miles a year to sing their unique style of music.  They’ve appeared with some of the most famous bluegrass musicians including Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe.  Every year they are asked to perform at numerous festivals as they celebrate the rich musical heritage of Kentucky.

  Here is what Clyde and Marie have to do with having something to do—On Saturday evening, April 23rd, they are going to be honored in a “Tribute Concert” to be held at the historic Wayne Theater in downtown Monticello.  The Wayne County Museum is planning this concert to allow the Wayne County community to honor two of their own!

  Clyde and Marie will be there to sing songs from their latest CD.  They will appear with the Cumberland Mountain Band in this concert that will be provide some “mighty fine” entertainment.

  In addition to Clyde and Marie, Dr. Lynwood Montell will be our special guest.  Dr. Montell is certainly known by most of you as he has written many books that feature the history of Wayne County.

  The “Tribute Concert” will begin at 7:00 p.m. (ESDT).

  Clyde and Marie are allowing all proceeds from the ticket sales to go toward the renovation project at the Wayne County Museum.

  Tickets are on sale now at the Monticello Banking Company and the Wayne County Museum.  They sell for $5.00 each.

  Please be advised that seating at the theater is limited.  I suggest that you get your tickets as soon as possible.

  OK, Wayne County, this is your chance to make a date with your lady (or gentleman) and rekindle that ol’ flame. 

  We hope to see you on Saturday night, April 23rd, for the “Tribute Concert” featuring the bluegrass style of Clyde and Marie Denney.




  I saw a great example of courage today that I want to share with you.

  You will certainly agree with me that most of us are being impacted by the tough economic times we are facing today.

  You’ve heard the horror stories of people losing their homes, their medical insurance, their jobs, and their life’s savings!

  Everybody who goes to the gas station or grocery store realizes that the cost of living is beginning to sky-rocket! 

  Businesses are closing at an alarming rate and empty buildings are appearing in every small town America.

  It’s hard to survive in these difficult economic times.

  People are tightening their belts and trying to protect all their financial resources.

  Money is tight!

  So, how much courage does it take for a fellow to start a new business when “old” established businesses are barely making ends meet?

  But, if you’ve driven down South Main Street in Monticello in the past few days you might have noticed that a new business has opened on the same spot where the old Cumberland Dairy used to set.

  I wasn’t living in Monticello when the most popular thing to do on a Friday or Saturday was to “cruise around the Dairy.”  It was the place to hang out and get a burger or a shake.  You went there to see and to be seen!

  Those days are gone and probably will never return but there is new life down on that side of town. 

  I went down there today to check out what was going on.

  As soon as I walked through the door, I was greeted with a smile.  A young waitress came to present me with a menu.  I just laid it aside and asked her what she would recommend to a first time diner.  She was helpful and after a while I decided to get ribs, mashed potatoes with gravy, green peas, and a roll.  It was a hard decision to make because I noticed that I had the choice of lasagna, a Reuben sandwich, or hamburger steak.  I also noticed that I could get a pizza with toppings of my choice.

  I settled for just some good ol’ grub.

  I saw a fellow walking around the place and he looked like he was in charge.  After speaking to him, I invited him to sit at the table with me for a spell.

  Great fellow!

  I soon found out that he was the owner.  He was also one of the cooks.

  He told me a lot of things but the best thing he told me was that he liked to cook and had some experience in cooking he had received while serving in the military.  He also told me that he had worked in construction work.  Now, in my opinion that’s the best to two worlds—a fellow who likes to cook and a construction worker!

  I say that because I love to cook and I have always considered cooking to be nothing more than taking a few basic materials and “building” something good out of them.

  I questioned the gentleman about how risky it was to go into the restaurant business in hard times.  That’s when I saw a gleam in his eyes!  You could tell I was talking to a “fighter.”  Most ol’ military veterans are “fighters.”  They have some grit in their craw!  They don’t mind taking a few hard blows.  If they’re knocked down, they get up and get on with the program!

  I also thought how hard it must be to open a restaurant and try to please all the different tastes that people have when it comes to food.  Some like hot soup; some like cold soup.  Some like their hamburgers well-done; some like them still on the hoof!  Some like their toast buttered; some like it plain.  Some like coffee; some like tea.  Some like mashed potatoes; some like French fries.

  How can you ever expect to please everybody?

  But, that’s the life and predicament of a restaurant owner.

  The good man at Cumberland Dairy is willing to take on the task.  I hope he is successful.  Monticello can accommodate another good restaurant.  All of us should be willing to forgo our fried bologna sandwich and try something different even if it has an Italian name.

  So, I say “Welcome, my good man!”  Thank you for your service to our country and thank you for the courage you have in starting a new business during these hard times. 

  I’d encourage you to go down to the Cumberland Dairy on South Main, sit a spell, enjoy the hospitality, chow down on one of their entrees, and support this new business.




  Spring is definitely in the air!

  The old “dead” trees of last month are beginning to show that beautiful soft green color.  The Bradford pear trees are covered with millions of brilliant white blooms.  The green onions are beginning to grow and the buttercups are splashing their yellow all over the place.

  I like spring.

  Springtime strengthens my faith by giving me thousands of reasons to believe in life after death.  The cold winter winds have subsided.  The short dark and dreary days have given way to bright sunshine and warm nights.  The earth that was barren of growing plants for months is now the scene of abundant new life that seems to be sprouting everywhere.

  There are times when my ol’ body seems like it’s entered into the “winter” of my life.  I hurt in places that I didn’t even know I had places!  My eyes won’t focus without glasses.  My hearing seems to be fading.  I’m beginning to bulge in all the wrong places.  My teeth have decreased in number to the point that hardly any two of them meet together anymore!  I take pills to speed my heartbeat, pills to get rid of fluid, pills to decrease my blood pressure, and pills to clean the lard out of my arteries.

  My hair is so thin that I’m thinking of getting a hair transplant.  My skin is drying out and cracking.  My arm muscles that used to be on top of my arm have settled on the bottom part of my arm.  My toenails are getting so thick that I need a chainsaw to keep them trimmed.  My stomach does flip flops every time I eat a can of potted meat.  I tell my legs to take me up a flight of steps and they yell back that they’re not going anywhere!  Other sensitive parts of my once perfect body have been on vacation for years.  My medicine cabinet is filled with over the counter medications that only old people have to purchase.

  Yep, it seem like “winter” is creeping in on me.

  But, it’s spring and I know that “winter” doesn’t last forever! 

  It’s the same way with the “winter” of my life.

  All these aches and pains, moans and groans, creeks and squeaks, won’t last forever.

  I know that, because of a couple of things that the Bible says.  For example it says: “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”  (II Corinthians 4:16)

  You don’t have to prove to me that the first part of that statement is true!  All I’ve got to do is look in the mirror and I’m a believer!  Our bodies are dying every day.  That’s just the way it is.  That’s the way it’s going to be even after I’ve exercised twice a day, devoured healthy meals, and received the best medical care in the world.  All these things might slow the process down for a little while but the truth is—I’m wasting away!

  But, thanks be to God, I also know that not everything that’s going on with me is to be seen in a mirror!  Inwardly, my sprit is being renewed day by day.  There’s a part of me that’s getting younger and stronger every day!

  The Bible also says: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not made by human hands!”  (II Corinthians 5:1)

  What about that?

  Right now I know that Harlan Ogle is living in a tent.  Tents are flimsy.  They wear out and start to leak and get torn.  Yep, that’s what’s going on with me.  My ol’ tent is showing signs of wear and tear.

  I’m going to have to give it up one day.  But, look what I’ll get in return—”a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not made by hands!”  Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

  Some people see this aging process as being all bad, depressing, and to be avoided at all costs.  All they see to life is that “there is a time to be born and a time to die.”  If that’s all there is to life, I can see why you can be depressed!

  To many people, death is the end.

  Not to me!

  Death is simply a “trade-in.”

  One of these days the child of God will trade in his old tent for a building.  Not a building built by some shyster builder!  No, no!  This building that I’m going to get one of these days is a building that God has built.  It’s not like a temporary tent!  It’s an eternal house in Heaven!

  Thank you, spring, for reminding me of my “trade-in.” 






  Last week was kind of strange for me.  It seems like nothing though ever happens to me that’s normal or usual.

  Last week I seemed to be in the presence of a lot of policemen.

  None of them tried to arrest me or take me jail.

  It just seemed like they were in the same places I was.

  I saw some of them working a wreck out close to where I live.  I talked to one of them while he patrolled the downtown streets and protecting our businesses.  I followed policemen as they helped a funeral procession get to a cemetery.  It seemed like they were everywhere!

  That got me to thinking about policemen (When I say “policemen, I also mean “policewomen.”) 

  I grew up afraid of them. 

  That ought to tell you something about my childhood!

  Being around some pretty “seedy” characters while I was growing up meant that I heard those things that “seedy” people say about policemen.  They wanted you to think that every policeman was dishonest and “on the take.”

  I don’t believe that all policemen are dishonest but I do believe that some of the best of them are “on the take.”

  Here’s what I mean by being “on the take”—

  After taking an oath to defend his fellowman…

  ...He takes it in stride when people call him pig.

  ...He takes time to stop and talk with children.

  ...He takes your verbal abuse while giving you a ticket you really deserved.

  ...He takes on creeps you would be afraid to look at.

  ...He takes time away from his family to keep you safe.

  ...He takes your injured children to the hospital.

  ...He takes the graveyard shift without complaint because it's his turn.

  ...He takes his life into his hands daily.

  ...He takes you home when your car breaks down.

  ...He takes time to explain why both headlights have to work.

  ...He takes the job no one else wantstelling you a loved one has died.

  ...He takes criminals to jail.

  ...He takes in sights that would make you cry.

  ...Sometimes he cries too, but takes it anyway because he has to.

  ...If he is lucky he takes retirement.

  ...He takes memories to bed each night that you couldn't bare for a day.

  ...Sometimes he takes a bullet.

  ...And, yes he may take a free cup of coffee.

  ...Then one day he pays for all he has taken

  ...And, God takes him.  (Adapted From Wayne Lenney)

  In light of what policemen have to take, I would suppose that they are always having to prayers like this:

Oh Lord, while I'm on my beat

May I know that you're with me,

And protect me as I go to guard

Other's lives and property.

Help me ignore those who scorn

And show me no respect,

But be mindful of all citizens

I've sworn to protect.

Be with my fellow officers

And guard their safety too.

May I always put duty first

In the work that I must do.

May I not disgrace the uniform

But bring pride to the badge I wear.

That I'd be a good policeman, Lord

Would be my only prayer.


  While we’re talking about policemen praying, I’d like to suggest that you join me and pray the following prayer for them:

  Almighty God, whose great power and wisdom embraces the universe, watch over all policeman everywhere.  Protect them from harm in the performance of their duty to stop crime, robbery and violence.  We pray, that you help them keep our streets and home safe, day and night. We commend them to your loving care

because their duty is dangerous.  Give them strength and courage.  Protect these brave men.  Grant them your almighty protection.  Unite them safely with their families after duty has ended.  Amen!





  Folks, I’ve got to tell you that my “excitement level” is reaching new heights!

  I wish everyone of you could have spent the week with me at the Wayne County Museum last week.  Talk about an exciting week!

  First of all, the renovation of the second and third floor of the museum is going better than anybody could ever have imagined!  We’ve got some of the most dedicated fellows working to make our Wayne County Museum one of the best local history museums in the nation!  That’s right!  You read correctly!  One of the best in the nation!

  Picture this—

  1. Soon we’ll have a large display area in the basement of the museum that will highlight the immense cave system that exists in Wayne County.

  2. Our floor space is going to increase almost 200% allowing us much more room to display all the historical artifacts that tell the story of Wayne County.  We will be able to add new displays.  One of those displays will be a “Mill Room” that will tell the story of the mills that once were situated on the banks of many of the streams in the county.  The Army Corps of Engineers recently donated the turbine that powered the old Hurt/Adkins mill in the Pisgah area of the county.  Soon we’ll have a home for that great piece of Wayne County history.

  3. The Wayne County Red Hatters, the Ruby Reds, are working to create a Victorian Tea Room that will replicate some of the fine old parlors of Wayne County mansions.  Way to go, ladies!

  4. There are those of us who are dreaming of making the third floor of the museum into a “Children’s Museum” where we will have the opportunity to have displays of regional history that will appeal especially to young people.  What a great resource for all the school in south-central Kentucky!

  5. Some of the larger spaces on the second floor will allow us the opportunity to host meetings for civic clubs, school groups, and other community minded organizations.

  This renovation of the museum is certainly increasing my “excitement level.”

  And, as that were not enough—a powerful interest has been created about one of Monticello best-known characters.  I’m talking about Belfy Brown.

  Last week I said something about a photograph of Belfy that appears in our newest museum publication, IMAGES OF AMERICA—WAYNE COUNTY.  You just can’t believe how people have been coming out of the woodwork to share stories, memories, and additional photographs of Belfy!  Calls have been received from as far away as Indiana from people inquiring about Belfy.  A gentleman came into the museum the other day and showed me a picture of Belfy and his old horse going down Main Street pulling a wagon that was topped high with garbage that Belfy had gathered.  People came into the museum and told me stories about how Belfy was killed.  This week I will make a “pilgrimage” to the Alexander Cemetery to visit his burial place. I can tell you right now that I see a major story coming about ol’ Belfy Brown!

  Who would have ever thought that Belfy would contribute to my “excitement level” after all these years?

  The excitement is going to continue this week because I’ll be making preparations to welcome you to the museum on Saturday afternoon (March 12th) from 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. as we celebrate the publishing of IMAGES OF AMERICA—WAYNE COUNTY.  We’ll be meeting in the meeting room of the museum.  Gale is going to have some refreshments.  You’ll be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or some cool punch and a piece of cake. 

  We’ll have two hours to look at the book and tell stories to one another.  You’ll also be able to pick up your own copy of this great book.

  Some years ago I heard a little fellow say that he was so “sucited” about something.  I knew what he was talking about and right now I can tell you that I, too, am so “sucited” and my “excitement level” is about to reach epic proportions!

  If you haven’t visited the museum, now is a good time to do so.  There is so much going on and I know that you will want to be a part of the excitement.

  Get yourself together this week and make your way to the museum and I’ll guarantee you that you’ll have a good time.




  One of the great joys of my life is all about my association with the Wayne County Museum.  I really hope that everyone of you at least know about the existence of the museum.  I also hope that everyone of you will make it your business to visit the museum and see the great displays that feature the rich heritage of Monticello and Wayne County.

  Joy comes in knowing that a concentrated effort is being made to collect and preserve the valuable historical artifacts that help tell the story of the men and women who have worked so diligently to make Wayne County a great place to live.  So many of you have donated items to the museum so that thousands of others can enjoy them as we place them on display in the museum.  It is much better they be in the museum than closed up in a closet and forgotten.

  Joy also comes in working with the great volunteers who work at the museum to greet visitors, give tours, and help to organize the hundreds and hundreds of objects we have at the museum.

  Some months ago the volunteer staff of the museum dared to dream of putting together a high quality pictorial history of Wayne County.  We wanted the book to be the best it could be.  It was decided that the book would have to represent every area of the history of the county.  The photographs would have to be photographs that, for the most part, had never been published in any other publication.  The text of the book would have to be expertly written, interesting, and factual.

  We partnered with the nationally known publisher, Arcadia Publishing.  Arcadia has published over 7,000 local history books.  They print and bind the books in state of the art facilities.  They also have a sales force in place that makes the books available in the United States and several foreign countries.  People all over the country can go into the most popular book stores and find the book for sale.  We knew that this would provide a national and international market for the book.  We certainly were in favor of telling the world what a great place Wayne County is.

  After more effort than you can ever imagine, the book was finally completed and sent to the publisher.  We submitted hundreds of photographs of the people and places of Wayne County.  Most of the photographs deal with the past but we included a chapter we called “Our Recent Past” because we wanted to focus on some of the more recent accomplishments in our county.

  It seemed like an eternity before we received word that the book was finally ready but once we received copies we understood that it takes time to produce a quality book like IMAGES OF AMERICA WAYNE COUNTY!

  We have been able to circulate copies of the book and the response has always been the same—”This is the best book we’ve ever seen on the history of Wayne County!”  That’s just exactly what we wanted to hear.

  IMAGES OF AMERICA WAYNE COUNTY is a book that every person in Wayne County will love, appreciate and enjoy.  Several people have told us that they didn’t put it down till they had read every word.  Some have even told us they’ve read it more than once.

  I can safely say that when you see the book you will be thrilled with it.  I ask that you get your copy as soon as possible and help us get the word out that the book is available.  There are many people who have left their home in Wayne County and would love to have a copy of the book.  Why don’t you think about someone you know that would like to have a copy and send them one as a gift?  You’ll make their day!  If a birthday or anniversary is coming up and you need a gift; you can’t beat this one!

  We are so joyful about the publication of the book that we’re going to celebrate!  On Saturday, March 12th we’re going to have a “publication party” at the museum.  The party will begin at 2:00 and will last till 4:00.  It will be held in the meeting room at the museum and all of you are invited to attend.  There might be some good entertainment along with a cup of coffee and a glass of punch.  We’ll even throw in a cookie and a piece of cake!

  There’ll be plenty of time for you sit around and tell stories about the great life we enjoy in Wayne County.  Be there and get your personal copy of the book.

  Yep, there’s a lot of joy in my life.  Much of it comes from being a part of the operation of the Wayne County Museum.  It’s a joy to meet so many of you and share in your love for our home.  It’s a joy in learning and telling the stories of Wayne County ancestors.  It’s a joy doing what we can do together in our mission to “give our past a future.”




  I guess that the most of you have probably noticed that when you go to the grocery store that you’re paying more for groceries.  Gale informed me the other day that the price of a little package of tomatoes increased 100% last week.  I filled the car up with gas today and paid a dime per gallon more than the last time I filled it.  It won’t be any time till potted meat will cost as much as I paid for a rib eye steak last February. 

  All of us are beginning to tighten up our belt a little and spend a little less. 

  Politicians try to tell us that we’re on the way to financial recovery.  The dummies can’t understand that financial recovery is impossible as long as they spend money like it was growing on trees!

  It’s always been true that when us Americans face economic hard times that we look for ways to meet the challenge.  Our grandparents became masters at doing that during the Great Depression and they lived through those hard times.

  I believe it’s time we begin looking for ways to cut our spending.

  I’ve found one way that can be done and I’ve got to tell you about it.

  Last Saturday I arranged to pick Reed Bertram up at his house and go on a historical tour.  We didn’t go by ourselves because Reed suggested that we drop by and pick up a fellow by the name of James Burton.  The tour group was made complete with my inviting a good friend, Jan Rothacaker, from Cincinnati to go with us on our tour.

  Some time ago I developed a desire to learn more about the Fall Creek area of the county.  I had heard stories about the old Rankin Mill at Fall Creek and had also heard some great stories about the old Rankin school that once served as a gathering place and learning institution for the community. 

  Reed and James were my ticket to increasing my knowledge about the area.  Reed has lived most of his life in and around Fall Creek and James once lived just across the river before Lake Cumberland was created.  When his family was forced to leave their farm, they moved to Fall Creek.  These fellows knew Fall Creek and I was determined to ask them every question I could about the place.

  We got seated in the trusty Tahoe and began our tour.

  First stop was the old Lloyd Rankin home place.  Lloyd was one of the first Rankins that ever came to Wayne County.  With other family members, he was involved in building several mills in the area. 

  With the kind permission of Frank and Jill Frogge, we were able to walk around the old house that was well over 100 years old.  I even got to go inside and take some photographs.  The old house is about ready to fall down now but if you used your “sanctified imaginator” you could visualize all the activity that must have taken place in the old house.

  From there we drove up in a tobacco field and saw what looked like thousands of feet of ancient rock fences that are so old we don’t really know who built them.  From our vantage point we could look over miles and miles of Wayne County farmland.  Looking in the opposite direction we saw the steep cliffs that once towered over the Cumberland River.  James told us stories of how his family farmed a hundred acres of the most fertile land to be found in America.  He told us how he used to operate a ferry and take people and wagons across the river.  Driving through the fields we were surrounded by some of the fattest and healthiest cattle I’ve ever seen.  One of the Frogge’s shepherd dogs kept the cattle our of our way as we drove along the way.

  From the Frogge’s we made our way down to where Fall Creek road goes to the lake.  Just before we got there we stopped where the old Rankin school once stood on a high knoll.  Reed and I got out of our vehicle and walked over to the site.  Though the building is gone  it seemed we were able to hear the voices of children laughing and running barefooted around the bases of a ball field.

  Driving on down the road we reached the place where the road ran into Fall Creek.  With the water level of the lake being down, Reed and James pointed out where the Rankin Mill once stood.  James related stories about how he would take a “turn” of corn to have it milled into cornmeal.  These fellows knew the area like the back of their hand and they were passing on their knowledge to me!

  What a privilege!

  The day came too quickly to an end and we had to go our separate ways.

  It had been long enough to plant memories in my mind that will last as long as I’m able to think and reason.  I look forward to passing that information on to others.

  So, what does any of this have to do with economic hard times?

  That tour of Fall Creek didn’t cost me a dime.  It was entertaining, educational, and a very special time spent with a few fellows that love Wayne County and its history.

  Folks, get in touch with some of the old timers you know.  Invite them to go on a tour with you through the countryside and listen to the stories they can tell you. 

  It won’t cost you a dime and you’ll treasure the time until the day you die.





  If you read the OUTLOOK closely this week you will see that an event is being planned for next Thursday morning (February 24).  It is an event that will probably be attended by very few people of Wayne County.  That does not mean that it’s an unimportant event by any means.  Fact is, every person in Wayne County has benefited from the efforts of the people this event will honor.

  Yes, the event will take place because there are those who believe the good that people do ought to be honored, celebrated, respected, and recognized.  Even the Bible testifies to the truth that the good that people “follows them” even after they are dead.

  Over two hundred years ago the people who sacrificed to settle America saw their basic human rights being threatened by a despotic government that sought to limit the exercise of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom to bear arms, and a multitude of other freedoms.  Even though they were very much in favor of government with law and order; they were opposed to being governed by a privileged aristocracy who cared nothing for the freedom of its subjects.  All the people asked for was for their voice to be heard when laws were made that would govern their lives.

  It was decided by those in power that the voices of the freedom lovers must be silenced.  Soldiers marched against those who exercised their freedom of assembly.  Soon, the dead bodies of many of those brave men were strewn beside the roads in the cities of the east—unmercifully killed to stifle freedom.

  The easy thing to do was to give in to the strength, power, and intimidation of the most powerful nation in the world.  What could an unorganized army of rag-tag men armed with pitchforks and a few guns ever hope to accomplish against such power? 

  It would have been easy for our ancestors to submit to an authoritarian government and give up any hope that their descendants would ever live in freedom. 

  They didn’t give up or give in!

  Farmers, merchants, servants, and slaves armed themselves against the British rule of America and its freedom-loving people.  Thousands of them died in the Revolutionary War.  Hunger, exposure to the elements, disease, and bloody battles took their lives.  In reality, their lives were not taken from them—they willingly gave their lives for freedom.

  After the carnage of war was over and a new nation was born; these brave freedom fighters were compensated, in part, for their bravery and service.  The new nation could not pay them with money because there was no money for that purpose.

  But, there was an abundance of land in the new United States!  Land that could be given to these men for their services.

  Some of that land was located in what would eventually become Kentucky.  Reports of abundant wildlife, fertile land, green forests, and flowing rivers and creeks drew these men and their families to these far-away western lands.  Hundreds of them trudged across Indian trails and high mountains to find a new home in a free land.

  One of these men was Joshua Dean.  Joshua had distinguished himself in the Revolutionary War by his dedication to the cause of freedom.  He actually served with General George Washington at Valley Forge.  Leaving the safety of his home in Virginia after the war; he brought his family to what is now the Parnell section of Wayne County, Kentucky and lived the remainder of his life helping to make the wilderness a place where free men and women could live and prosper.

  When Joshua Dean died his body was laid to rest in a sacred family burial plot. 

  Joshua Dean was a great influence in the lives of all those who knew him.  A son, James Dane (James preferred the different spelling of the family name.)  grew into manhood and when the call came to defend the new nation against the British government in the War of 1812, he followed in the footsteps of his father and willingly went into battle against those who sought to deprive freedom to the people of the United States.  James was buried near his father’s grave site.

  Next Thursday morning, there will be a ceremony near the final resting place of Joshua Dean and James Dane.  That ceremony will consist of erecting two beautiful stones that will stand for years to come in honor of these two great Americans.

  So should it be!




  NOTE: Some of you will read the letter below and think that I have finally lost my mind.  I have not.  I see it as an indication that I am one American who has seen the handwriting on the wall and am determined that I must speak out.

  The letter is addressed to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and is the head of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, concerned with health matters.

  Along with millions of other Americans who are on Medicare, I received a letter from her with a check for $250.00.  The check was sent to me and others because “a new law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama on March 30, 2010, provides a one-time rebate to help with your drug costs.”  She also said: “Medicare records show that you have reached the coverage gap.  To make your prescription drugs more affordable, your $250 rebate check is included with this letter.”

  My letter to her—

Dear Mrs. Sebelius:

  I received your letter and the check for $250 today and must say that it was an unexpected event!  Most of the experiences that I have had in the past when money is exchanged between me and the government involves my sending the check!  I don’t say that because I’m opposed to paying taxes.  On the contrary.  Every time I visit a national park, drive down the interstate highways, or read about men and women in our military services fighting to defend my freedom; I’m more than happy to pay my taxes.

  I must ask you about this $250.00 check I received.

  Is our national government in such great economic condition that it can really afford to send me the check?  You see, I understand that the national debt stands at over $14,113,688,874,373.83.  I believe that is over 14 trillion dollars.  I must admit that I have no idea how much money that is other than the fact that if I paid my part of that debt I’d have to send you a check for over $45,000.  Not only is that the part of the national debt that I would have to pay; my wife, children and grandchildren would have to send a check for the same amount.

  Secretary Sebelius, you nor any other branch of the American government has enough money to be sending me a check for $250.00!  You’re broke!  The debt that our government has accumulated will probably never be paid!  It grieves me to think what that really means!  You’re spending money that my great grandchildren won’t ever be able to pay!

  I did hit the “doughnut hole” last year and had to pay dearly for my medications that were not covered by my insurance.  I knew it was going to happen and I made provisions to help meet the need.  It meant that I had to cut down on some spending.  But, I didn’t go hungry.  I did find myself skipping a dose or two or my medicines.  I was taught that when money gets scarce, you cut your spending or work a little harder to earn more money to pay your expenses.  I also learned that sometimes you have to go without in order to keep your head above the financial waters that will drown and destroy you if you fail to exercise wisdom in your spending.

  I understand that there are some people that received a $250.00 check and it might have made some small difference in their financial situation.  Is it possible that the most of the people who received a check really didn’t need it.  I would suggest that more effort be put behind helping those who really need it and slack up on sending checks to people like myself who find other ways to meet their financial obligations.

  I love America and I want the best for her.  Government leaders spending more than they have is not the best for America!  Debt destroys personally and nationally! 

  I am in favor of our political leaders taking steps to cut spending even if it means that my Social Security check is cut and my Medicare benefits are reduced.  I don’t look to government to care for me from the cradle to the grave.  I know how to do without and it would be good for America if our government learned that lesson.

  I don’t feel entitled to anything.  I believe in the principle: “If you don’t work; you don’t eat.”  Sure, those who are unable to work or provide for themselves in other ways need our help.  But, our government can’t keep giving entitlements to everybody who has their hand out waiting for a handout.  I’ve learned that one of the best places to find a helping hand is at the end of my own arm!

  In talking with some of my friends; I have been asked if I’m going to return the check I received.  My answer to them is: “You’ve got to be kidding.  That bunch in Washington has already shown me that they don’t know diddly squat about using money.  They’ve driven us into a debt that we’ll never pay.  Why should I send them any money that I don’t have to send them.  They can’t be trusted and they’ve proven that over and over!”

  I’ll tell you what I am going to do with the check.  Since government has “stolen” that money from my grandchildren, I’m going to put it in the bank and give it to them one of these days to help them get a good education or job training that will help them to earn a living without depending on a government handout!

  I suppose that there are some people who think I ought to express my gratitude to the politicians in Washington for sending me the check.  No way!  It was not a good thing to do.  That money could have been used in a much wiser way to help get us out of the mouth of the Debt Monster that is destroying us like an out-of-control cancer!

  It’s time that we tighten our belt and bring this crazy spending spree to an end.  I marvel at the sacrifices that our ancestors made during World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II.  It might be that we’ve reached the point where we need to learn such discipline.

  I hope you will use your influence to achieve this end.


Harlan Ogle 





  I don’t think I’ve ever used this column to announce the discovery of a miracle drug.

  Today I am.

  I’m about to inform you dear folks of a miracle drug that I’ve come across. 

  As most of you know I’ve faced and continue to face some serious health issues.  In the past few years I’ve spent more time in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and operating rooms than I ever thought I’d spend.  I’ve learned a whole new vocabulary that includes leiomyosarcoma, nuclear radiation, gor-tex, chemotherapy, wound evacuation, and morpheme pump.  I’ve been treated with sequential compression devices, compression garments, and linguinal hernia control items.

  I’ve taken a bushel basket full of pills, a fifty-five gallon oil drum full of oral contrast fluids, and more than a handful of glycerin suppositories.

  In all these experiences I’ve discovered a miracle drug that I’ve got to tell you about.

  The official name that appears on all the drug formularies provided by the health care professionals is “torsemide.”

  Now, I’m believing that most of you know about this drug.  You just don’t call it by that name.  Most of you know it as a “water pill.”  It is described as a diuretic and is used to help your body “get rid of excess water.”  Now if you need any more explanation than that—you are pretty dense!  Duh!

  The makers of this particular little pill has no clue as to the tremendous effect of this drug.  It’s a miracle drug.

  Let me tell you what it can do for you and our world.

  For hundreds of years church members have tried to find a way to get their preacher to “cut it short.”  That simply means that they want the preacher to preach shorter sermons.  I’ve found a way.  It has to do with this miracle drug.  When I first started taking it for myself, I took it about 8:00 o’clock in the morning.  Every morning.  Including Sunday mornings.  By the time I got to the pulpit to preach at 11:00 o’clock, I found myself feeling a strong urge to vacate the pulpit and find that little room located in the basement of the church building!  (Do I have to draw you a picture?)  Believe me when I tell you that I preached some mighty short sermons until I learned to delay taking the little pill.  If you want your preacher to preach shorter sermons I’d recommend that you slip him one of those little pills during Sunday School.  By the time preaching time rolls around he’ll see how important it is to keep his sermons short!  Problem solved!

  Now that little pill also helps every little boy and girl who is confined to the back seat of the car while they are on a long trip to a vacation destination or on a  trip to go and see grandma and grandpa. 

  You know just as soon as they get in the car and ride two miles they’re going to ask you to stop at the next gas station so they can go to the restroom.  Most men don’t like to do that.  They get behind the wheel and seem to be able to curtail simple body functions for the next eight hundred miles! 

  Listen, little kids, before Dad gets in the car for that long trip slip one of those little pills in his orange juice or coffee and I can guarantee you that he'll be happy to stop and let you go to the restroom.  Of course you’ll have to make sure you get out of his way when he bolts out of the car and starts running toward the gas station restroom.

  Wives can also benefit from this miracle drug.

  I don’t go shopping with my wife very often but I’ve done it enough to know that she doesn’t like me standing over her while she’s in the mall trying on a new dress.  I’m not very smart but I know that she would rather I be some other place while she shops.  She doesn’t like for me to constantly telling her to “Hurry up so I can get home and watch Judge Judy.”

  Let me tell you wives that this little pill might be just what you need to have some peace while shopping.  If hubby goes to the mall with you on one of your shopping trips all you have to do is to make sure you  get him to take one of these pills.  You might want to wait till you get to the parking lot before he takes it.  Tell him you’re going to be at the mall for four hours and I guarantee you that he’ll grab his bottle of water and ask you if you have anything for a headache!  He’ll think the pill is a Tylenol and gulp that thing down in a heartbeat.  Give him thirty minutes and he’ll be taking a hike to the mall facilities!  Then you’ll be free to try on that new sleek party dress.

  Well, that’s all I’m going to say about this new miracle drug I’ve discovered.  Got to get off this computer fast!  I took my pill about thirty minutes ago.  ‘Nough said!





  It’s official—we have lost our minds!

  That humble observation is based on two news stories that appeared on numerous news programs and in several national newspapers.



  Her ankles and wrists are shackled.  She's wearing used sweats in the bright colors of the jailhouse, orange, blue and yellow. She shuffles to the courtroom to face the judge, her mother, and an uncertain future.

  Selena is a 13-year-old who was sold for sex.

   Selena was arrested by undercover police on the Vegas strip on prostitution charges.  She told us she was seeing four or five men a day, at the standard rate of $300 for an hour, $150 for a half.


  I know that the most of you are going to read the story above and say something like: “Well, that’s an unusual event.  It’s certainly not what is happening in normal situations that involve prostitution in America.”  Listen, you blinded soul:  That IS the normal thing that’s happening in America.  According to law enforcement authorities 12 to 14 is the average age of entry into prostitution for girls under 17 years old in the United States.  Did you get that?—12 to 14!

  And just why do you think children are turning to prostitution?

  One reason is the twisted, satanic, and depraved mind of adult men and women who forcefully lead children down the path of death and destruction.

  But, that’s not the only reason.  Consider: “Children also engage in prostitution, however, when they exchange sex outside these environments and in return not only for basic needs such as shelter, food, clothing, or safety, but also for extra pocket money for desired consumer goods otherwise out of their reach.  There is a subculture of ‘pocket money prostitution’ in many consumer societies, including the United States, whereby girls and boys under 18 rent out their sexual services for cash or expensive gifts, or to save up for cars, motorcycles, even college tuition.”



  In the wake of a mounting scandal over a possible child pornography investigation of MTV as a result of the racy new show “Skins,” Taco Bell has opted to pull all of its advertising from the program.

  Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch tells FOX411, “We advertise on a variety of MTV programs that reach our core demographic of 18 to 34 year olds, which included the premiere episode of ‘Skins.’

  "Upon further review, we’ve decided that the show is not a fit for our brand and have moved our advertising to other MTV programming," he added.

  On Thursday, media watchdog group The Parents Television Council called on lawmakers and law enforcement officials to open an investigation regarding possible child pornography on the cable network’s newest series.

  The show features several teenage actors engaging in “foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a letter sent to the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice.


  In America we have now reached the distinction of having a major problem with our young people as early as 12 and 14 year old entering into the world of prostitution.  Some are forced to do so.  Some do so to get a few extra bucks to buy a new video game or designer jeans.

  Television now openly portrays child pornography for the enjoyment of any pervert who wants to tune in.

  Folks, we have officially lost our minds in America.

  Where are those in America’s churches who will show enough spiritual backbone to offer at least some objection?  Has the perverted opinion of a minority jerks in America intimidated us to the point that we’re afraid to speak up against any force that destroys our greatest treasure—our young people?

  Has common sense and decency died in America?  Is it no longer possible for us to protect our young people?

  God, help us!







  This weekend a horrendous event occurred.

  The event had catastrophic effect on the individuals involved.

  Life was taken.

  Life was lost.

  The citizens of the country it occurred in are affected.

  A child’s life was snuffed out.

  An adult wasn’t able to return home to the spouse.

  Spectators were forever changed because of what they witnessed.

  It was a grim event.

  It left questions.

  It produced tears.

  It disheartened the hopeful.

  The world…was haywire.

  In the past couple of days I have felt gears in my brain grinding together.  I have read and listened to the thoughts of others over the event.  I have voiced and written my thoughts over the event.  I have listened as people have asked why?, how?  I have asked why? and how?  Silently I sat and listened, hoping that he answer would come to me…

  I live in the same world you do.  The event that comes to my mind is the massacre that occurred at a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona.  However, there were other people in the world that were affected by the same thing that we were.  It just happened in their neighborhood, their corner of the world.  Ours was the shot fired from a handgun at a public political engagement.  For others it may have been a roadside bomb, an ambush by terrorists of many sorts, machine gun fire from hostile forces.  All of them were different events and occurrences, all stem from the same reason.

  It may seem like I’m being distant.  As if I’m keeping my space from mentioning names, and ages of the victims that were slain in the event that occurred out our backdoor here in America.  I assure you, I am not.  I am addressing the deep personal pain and brokenness that we have all witnessed and experienced.  Addressing the cause without being distracted by the grim and painful symptoms.

  I have found the answer as to why this happened.  It is an old answer, but no less true.  It is unsettling.  Many will dispute the answer, but the truth of the answer remains.  Unfortunately, just because someone doesn’t believe truth doesn’t mean it’s not true.

  The answer to this big three letter question, is a big three letter word…SIN

  Sin is not the same thing as evil.  Sin is only defined in the realm of religion.  Evil can be defined outside of religion, external of theological thought.  Sin on the other hand is only a term than can be defined in theological realms.  Sin introduces the necessary idea, the truthful existence of God.

  Sin is when we miss the mark of what God intended us to be.

  Paul refers to the first time that this mark was missed.  It was thousands of years ago.  The curse of sin entered the world through one man’s actions (or lack of action).  Man stepped away from the relationship he was created to have with the Creator, Father, God.  The world fell under a curse that has led to every type of evil that we have ever experienced, all of which was just a domino in a line of evil events that will keep spinning until the King returns to fully ransom the prisoners of his Kingdom.

  I hear many people who criticize belief in God.  I understand that, because I’m pretty critical of many people’s idea of who God is also.  I thoroughly believe in the God of the Bible.  I also realize that there are many people who claim to believe in the God of the Bible who do not know Him.  That means I often talk with other people about God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible.  I talk with them about what I’ve learned, what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced.  What they have learned, what they have read and what they have experienced.  Other times I hear people that are dogmatically defining a God that they have read about but never walked with.  Our presumptions aren’t always correct, but we continue to walk with Him and the more we walk with Him the more mature we become.  The more we trust Him.  This requires…the walk.

  Many of you will read this and say “Right on.”  Others will read this and wonder what kind of nut I am.  Still others will read this and make the judgment that people like me are what is wrong with this world.

  If it were possible to stamp every Bible believing Christian from the face of the earth, sin would still remain.  The problems would still remain.  The violence would never be gone.  The hatred would never be healed.   The problem would remain because the old order would still remain.  At this time, we have been freed from the chains of sin.  In another time that is coming we will be freed from the circumstances of sin.  When the new order begins.

  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

  Many consider this false hope.  A fairy-tale.

  To many of them, I say it is no less hopeful than the fairy-tale thought that man can in some way fix himself with rules, laws, dictators, parties, governments, protests, and committees.

  We were made for a purpose, to hit a mark.  When we fail to do that, and ALL of us do, it is called sin.

  If “peace” is the answer, then I invite those of you who believe that to come and seek the Prince of Peace.  He doesn’t impose peace; he cultivates it.  Many have been cultivated and have hearts that were at one time full of sin.  Many claim to have undergone what C.S. Lewis termed “the treatment” but failed to follow through with the “full treatment.”

  Otherwise, there will continue to be fights over “what” peace looks like, what it is.  In order for it to truly be in existence, it must be what the Creator, God and Father defined it to be.

  The offenders that created the types of horrendous acts that made the news and changed the world this weekend felt the world was haywire.  It is.  They attempted to do what they felt would set things right.  What makes their definition of haywire, peace or order any better than your idea?

  If the definition isn’t to the standard of the created order that was intended it’s no better.  It misses “the mark.”  If your idea or my idea of peace is missing even one element of the correct type of peace it misses “the mark.”

  If we leave peace to humanity, it will always miss the intended mark.

  Read the headlines of the last 5 thousand years.  We continue to try and make a better “system,” we continue to miss the mark.  The world remains haywire.

(This week’s columnist is Tim Ogle.)





  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my association and work with The Wayne County Museum is that history’s “big picture” is painted with small brushstrokes.  An understanding of history is gained from digging out the little references that appear in things like personal letters, newspaper articles, and obituaries.

  I’ve learned that if you find enough small pieces of the puzzle; the “big picture” begins to appear.  In last week’s edition of the Wayne County OUTLOOK there was a report of sealed indictments returned by the Wayne County Grand Jury that involved illegal drug activity in Wayne County.

  I realize that these are only indictments and every person mentioned in those indictments is innocent until proven guilty.  In what I’m about to share with you, I make no judgment as to their guilt or innocence.  I simply use those “small pieces of the puzzle” that were reported to arrive at a possible “big picture” of what is going on in Wayne County, Kentucky as it relates to the drug problem that is demoralizing, destroying, and defiling the place all of us love.

  First of all, the report was about Wayne County!  Nothing is mentioned about what is going on in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City.  We’re talking about Wayne County—the place where we live, send our kids to school, attend church, operate our businesses, and form our friendships.  Wayne County, Kentucky!  The report has to do with OUR PROBLEMS—not those problems in some far away place!  Wayne County, Kentucky!

  The age of those reported as drug dealers, meth makers, and child predators range from age 21 to age 61.  Average age of these reported offenders is 41 years of age.  What does this say?  It says loudly and clearly that it’s not enough to talk about the drug problem that is caused by our “young people.”  For goodness sake, folks, these are not kids!  They are adults who are in the middle of illegal drug activities in our community!  Some of them are parents, maybe even grandparents!

  I noticed, too, that it seems that drug offenders live in town as well as out in the county!  Some of them are men.  Some are women.  Some were indicted for first offences.  Some are “persistent felony offenders.”

  And, what are they accused of doing?

  Well, let’s see—there are some who are accused of “unlawful transactions with a minor.”  These people are so deranged that they have no problem at all in trying to corrupt the minds and hearts of our children!  Nobody is off-limits!  Everybody, young and old, are targets of their actions that lead to the destruction of life.

  Some of these people have such a low disregard for human life that they manufacture methamphetamines in make-shift labs in their homes where children are present!  The toxic fumes given off in this process are ingested by these children and cause irreparable damage to their precious young lives.  We’ve seen in Wayne County that some of these children die!

  They hawk their sales of marijuana, cocaine, meth, and prescription drugs!  If there is a dollar to be made, they’ll sell anything to anybody!  They’ve got contacts that allow them to buy drugs from other states.  They are so organized that they obtain and sell drugs imported from Mexico.  Here in Wayne County we have international drug dealers!

  You may want to keep your heads in the sand and act like there is no drug problem in Wayne County.   You may dismiss the seriousness of our own problem by telling me that the drug problem exists everywhere and there’s no need to get excited.  Let me tell you—it’s time that we get excited!  We may not be able to provide an answer to the world-wide drug problem but, can we do more than we’re doing here in Wayne County to curb  this curse?  Before you say, “No!” let me remind you that there are rural towns in Kentucky where people have rolled up their sleeves and made some tremendous progress in dealing with the problem!  If they can do it, why can’t we?

  I’m not suggesting that doing more than we’re doing is an easy thing.  It’s not!  These people are serious.  Some of those indicted were charged with possession of firearms!  They mean business!   They’re dangerous!

  I don’t know if the information in last week’s Wayne County OUTLOOK is the complete “big picture” of the drug problems we face in Wayne County.  It is enough, though, for everyone of us to open our eyes and see what’s happening in our midst.  It is enough for us to band together to support every effort being made to combat this scourge that is demoralizing, destroying, and defiling the place we love and the place where we live.  It is enough to commit ourselves to protecting our children from those who would corrupt them.

  If you want to see the “big picture” you’ve got to look at the little pieces of the puzzle.





  Here we are in the early dawn of a New Year!  Some of us are excited.  Some of us are surprised!  Some of us are fearful.  Some of us are hopeful.  Some of us don’t feel anything special about the New Year.

  I guess I’m thinking: “What’s going to happen in 2011?”

  Evidently a lot of people want to know the future.  They want to know what’s going to happen in the New Year.

  I recently read these words of a person who suggested a way we can know what’s going to happen: “New Year brings with it lot of expectations and anticipations about the future.  All of us are quite enthusiastic about what life has in store for us in the upcoming year, aren’t we?  Though we cannot have full control over our future, but by perusing the predictions and horoscopes, we can get a hang on what to expect and what not to expect.”

  He then went on to ramble for ten or twelve pages about what the movement of the stars and the planets can tell us about future events.

  As you probably know, I’m not too keen on horoscopes, fortune telling, or predictions about the future.  That’s not to say that I don’t think of the future.  There are times when I think I’d like to know what’s going to happen before it happens.  Then, there are times when I’m glad I don’t know what the future holds.

  But, here it is—2011! 

  A New Year, at least, gives us promise of the future!

  Personally, I think the best attitude to have about the future is to look beyond the details!

  I really don’t need to know if I’ll eat a hotdog or a hamburger on July 4, 2011.  I have no pressing need to know if I’ll win the lottery or if my Medicare check will increase by 20%.  It concerns me very little if my toenail fungus is cured by the end of October 2011.

  I don’t need to know the details of the future.

  What I really want to know about the future has to do with, what one of my friends calls, the “big picture.” 

  The details of the future take care of themselves when you can see the “big picture.”

  As I look into the future, I do so with a desire that I’ll have enough to eat, that I’ll have enough to pay for my basic needs, and that I’ll have relatively good health. 

  That’s the “big picture.”

  Of course, I believe that the future, for the most part, is in the hands of God.

  He’s good at the details.  However, He’s the best when it comes to the “big picture.”

  I believe God allows us some control over the details of the future.  But, He’s in charge of the “big picture.”

  I know that God wants me to live a life that brings honor to Him and honors the life He has given to me.  That’s the “big picture.”

  How and what I do to bring honor to Him and faithfully uses the life He has given to me is up to me.

  There are other parts of the “big picture” you might want to consider on this dawn of a New Year:

  ...l God wants us to be servants (big picture).  It is totally unlike God to be always on the receiving end of life.  God loves and He gives!  He expects nothing less of us.  In 2011, let’s all look for ways (details) that we can serve others.

  ...2 God wants us to live righteous lives (big picture).  Our participation in wickedness does nothing to honor Him or benefit us.  There are a multitude of right things that we can do in 2011.  We would do well to concern ourselves with doing those things (details) instead of those things that harm us.

  ...3 God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him (big picture).  We select our friends and those we want to associate with.  God wants to be our friend and fellowship with Him.  There are all kinds of ways we can do this—pray, read the Bible, go to church, etc. (details).  Let’s commit ourselves in 2011 to developing our friendship with God.

  I don’t know the future.  I don’t think the movement of stars and planets have any information for us on the subject.  I do think God has a “big picture” that is a part of our future.  I hope you are able to see that “big picture” and allow God to help you fill in the details.

  Happy New Year!





  Through the years I’ve always felt sorry for all those people who are facing a New Year with the intention of making New Year’s Resolutions.

  You know what I’m talking about.

  I’m talking about those people who, for some odd reason, believe the beginning of a New Year is a time to examine their lives and see how miserably they’ve failed to live the “perfect life.”

  First of all, there is no such thing as living a “perfect life.”  Only One Person ever accomplished that, and you ain’t Him!

  As we face the New Year of 2011, I’m going to offer some suggestions to those of you who are driven to make New Year’s Resolutions.

  First of all, keep them simple and make sure it’s possible for you to keep them.  Don’t resolve to do anything that’s going to cost you a million dollars since you’ve just barely been getting by in this economic crisis.  Don’t resolve to write a novel if you spent three of the best years of your life in the fifth grade.  You might want to forget becoming a nationally known politician if you are committed to telling the truth and being honest. 

  Whatever you want to do in the New Year; just make sure it’s within your reach.

  Here are some examples of New Year’s Resolutions you might want to seriously consider:

  1. Gain weight—at least thirty pounds!  Most of us can do this within the first six months of the New Year.  All you have to do is commit to eating two full orders of biscuits and gravy for breakfast, three double cheeseburgers and two large orders of fries for lunch, and two fully loaded baked potatoes and a can of fried Spam for your dinner meal.  With a diet like this for a year, you’ll have a new wardrobe at the end of the year and a new house because YOU CAN’T GET THROUGH THE DOOR!

  2. Stop exercising—such a waste of time!  Keeping this resolution will help you to meet resolution number one and think of the time you’ll save by not having to go to walk around the neighborhood allowing your neighbors to see you flip-flopping all over the street.  If you conserve your strength by not exercising, you’ll be able to experience the “out-of-body” episodes while YOUR HEART IS TRYING TO FORCE ALL THE CHOLESTROL THROUGH YOUR ARTERIES!

  3. Watch more television—you’re missing some good programs!  Television is such a great source of information and knowledge.  Almost every evening you’ll be able to see hours of programming describing the highly scientific search for three-toed green pigmies who once lived in the jungles of Atlantis.  If that’s not your cup of tea, you can watch two hours of “Family Life” as Peter and his wonderful all-American family portrays the proper response to the serious problems of life.  Three hours a night watching this kind of television will TURN YOUR MIND INTO A HEAP OF MUSH THAT WILL PROPEL YOU INTO THE EARLY STAGES OF SENALITY!

  4. Get a tattoo—or a body piercing!  Now here’s something you can do to show the world how macho you really are!  If you will get a nail pushed through your lower lip; the world will know you’re a real man!  If you are a good looking lady; get a navel ring.  A lot of people might not see it but you’ll know it’s there and you can be proud that you’re the kind of person that brings a smile to your Mom’s face as she tells her friends how socially successful you have become.  Tattoos and body piercing should definitely be considered by all of you who want to TAKE A CHANCE  OF GETTING SOME KIND OF EXOTIC DISEASE THAT DEFY CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT!

  5. Go further in debt—your kids deserve to have what they want!  Your kids come home from school crying their little eyes out because their friends have the latest phones, pods, and PSPs.  Your goal in life has been to make sure that “they don’t go without” like you did when you lived at home with parents who expected you to carry out the trash, clean your room, and do your homework!  You don’t want to deprive your kids of those things they deserve and “need.”  It doesn’t care what it costs—put it on the credit card!  Give your kids what they want and TRY LIVING WITH THEM WHEN THEY BECOME FORTY-YEAR-OLD BRATS WHO THINK THE WORLD OWES THEM A LIVING!

  The Old Year is about over.  A new one is on the way.  It’s time to make some attainable New Year’s Resolutions!

  Whatever your resolutions might be—THINK, BEFORE YOU MAKE THEM!







  I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth of Jesus.

  I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do at Christmas.

  Others seem to be doing a lot of thinking about the birth of Jesus.

  My son, Tim recently wrote that he’d been “pondering the mysteries of Christmas.”  I guess he’s been doing the same thing Mary did when she learned that she would give birth of her son.

  Here’s what Tim’s ponderings were:

  “Have you really thought about it?   I mean it’s pretty unbelievable in many ways.

  “A baby born to a virgin?  Really?   A baby born to a virgin is a pretty hard pill to swallow.  By no means am I suggesting it’s not true.  I’m just pointing out that it’s not ‘easy’ to believe.

  “ seems to be what we are in desperate search of.

  “The truth is, there is nothing easy about the Christian faith.  If you are looking for easy, you are in the wrong place.

  “Jesus had a bunch of kids around him one day (Mark 10:13-17).  He was giving them noogies and playing “pee-pie” with them.  Laying on the ground playing ‘airplane.’  Making goo goo eyes with the babies, all the same stuff we do.  He made a pretty intense statement: ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’  (Mark 10:15).  I have pondered that for a while and have pondered to the conclusion, that things aren’t easy for kids.

  “Kids want to know all kinds of things.  Many of the questions they ask start with…Why?  What? or How?  Most of the time answers aren’t easy. 

  “However they do have to be simple.  The answers to questions, over time must become more complex, but to a child they must be simple.  The simple is where we must begin to get to the more complex.

  “My faith, isn’t easy.  Jesus isn’t easy.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Jesus statement about his ‘burden being light’ is the same thing as Him saying the burden is easy. 

  “It’s not.  

  “Mary’s role as mother to the Son of God wasn’t easy.  Joseph’s role as step-Dad to the Son of God couldn’t have been easy.  No parenting is easy.  The wise men following the star wasn’t easy.

  “Easy just doesn’t describe the situation. 

  “However....simplicity does.

  “The story of Jesus is simple.  It’s not easy to swallow.

  “Faith, isn’t easy.

  “It’s simple.

  “Christmas isn’t easy, it’s simple.

  “Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

  “That’s not easy.

  “It’s simple.

  “The baby Jesus, born in a stable, resting in a manger, on the run to Egypt.

  “None of that is easy.

  “The baby born in a stable with bugs, disease, fleas...none of it is easy.

  “No one ever said it was easy.

  “But it is simple!”

  I don’t know how your Christmas celebration is going but I do hope you’ll not let it get so complicated and difficult that you fail to see the simplicity of what God was doing when He allowed His Son to come to this earth.

  I’d like to challenge you to look at all the things that cause Christmas complications and difficulties in your life.  I’d be willing to wager that most all of those causes have to do with things that have nothing whatsoever to do with your meaningful celebration of the birth of Jesus!

  Get rid of all those practices, thoughts, actions, and attitudes that make Christmas complicated and stressful.

  Like Tim says, “’s simple!”

  Merry Christmas from ye ol’ muser!





  I do a lot of reading.

  I like to read history books, comic books, cook books, the Bible, and song books.

  I especially like reading short stories.  I think that’s why I like READERS DIGEST so much.  You can pick it up, spend ten minutes reading one of the stories, and be on your way.

  A “once upon a time” story came my way recently that I want to relate to you.

  Seems like “once upon a time” a father punished his little five-year-old daughter because she used a whole roll of expensive wrapping paper to wrap a box.  This wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill wrapping paper  It was really fancy gold colored wrapping paper.  It was to be used for a very special gift not to wrap some dinky box.

  The little girl took her punishment but was allowed to keep the shoebox she had wrapped with the expensive paper.

  Sure enough, on Christmas morning, the box was laying beside all the other gifts under the tree.

  As gifts were being exchanged, the little five-year-old reached under the tree and took the box in her little hands and with great excitement and a smile on her face, handed the box to her dad and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

  Everybody was watching as he opened the box.  You can bet that all of them were remembering how he had punished her for using the special paper.

  The Dad opened the box and was regretting how he had punished his little girl.

  The regret didn’t last long because when he opened the box and found it to be empty; he angrily look at her and said, “Don’t you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

  The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered:  “Daddy, it’s not empty.  I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

  The father was crushed.  He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl.  He begged her to forgive him for his anger.

  It is told that an automobile accident took the life of the child only a short time later. 

  It is also told that the father kept this little gold-wrapped box by his bed for all the years of his life.   Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

  I hope the story is true because it has a tremendous lesson to teach all of us as we find ourselves so busy with shopping for gifts to exchange at Christmas.

  We all need to stop and realize that the very best gifts that we can ever receive have nothing to do with a new cell phone, car, electronic gadget, new clothes, or expensive jewelry.  The most precious gifts have to do with the simple expressions of love from our family and friends.

  We’re told almost every day that times are hard because of all the grim economic problems we are facing.  That’s true to a great extent.  I hope that these hard times will serve to show us that we’ve focused too much on those things that are material and overlooked the things that really matter.

  It might be a good thing to consider giving gifts this year that don’t cost much and give something that is full of meaning and a real expression of our love and concern for those we know and love.

  Wouldn’t it be a great Christmas if we could all learn that each of us have been given an invisible golden-wrapped box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God.

  There is no more precious possession anyone could be given.



  I’ve the privilege today of turning over the responsibility of this column to my son, Tim Ogle.  Hope you enjoy what he’s written as much as I have.


  “The past few years have presented many challenges.  In my own life I know that money has been tight, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found some wiggle room.  I’ve managed to find change in the couch cushions that has resulted in more than one trip with the family to Sonic for ice cream.  Times are tough, but they aren’t impossible.  Most of us find a way to make it.

  “A few months ago I really felt like the Holy Spirit was challenging me.  There was a poor man who showed up at our church.  He was asking for money to pay for his rent at a local motel that does not have a good reputation.  The guy seemed to be a ‘player.’  In fact, it was pretty clear that he was.  He had manipulated his story as he told it to a few of us over the course of 12 hours.  It was clear that this guy wasn’t being upfront with his situation.  He felt he was in need of money.  Money wasn’t going to fix his life (it won’t fix your life either).  He was one of those guys you tend to look at and say ‘He’s just going to spend it on beer and cigarettes!’  I have to say I was thinking the same thing.  I had some money in my pocket.  I kept telling myself ‘He’ll just use it for beer and cigarettes!’  But there was another ‘voice’ I was hearing as well.  It was seemed to be saying, ‘Tim, you can always find a reason not to give.  What if he does use it on beer and cigarettes?  He is clearly in need.  Are you going to spend that money on something more worthy than beer and cigarettes? Maybe you’ll have another $12 lunch at Famous Dave’s this week.  Is that really better spent?’  I kept fighting that voice.  Still the voice kept poking my heart, ‘You aren’t responsible for what he does with it.  Remember where it says, ‘When I was hungry you fed me.’ 

  “I have to say, I was really convicted.  It wasn’t about whether the guy was needing the money or not, it was about was I willing to give it.  I really feel like it was the Holy Spirit teaching me how blessed I am, and what extent I will go to to rationalize NOT GIVING!

  “Don’t miss the point of this story.  I’m not saying you or me should go around handing out $100 bills to panhandlers on the street.  I believe there are ministries that exist that do a good job in providing real care and help for the homeless.  Ministries that hold the recipients accountable.  The moment I was in wasn’t about where best that money is placed, it was about my resistance to give when I had been so blessed.  There were a few of my buddies that ridiculed me for ponying up a pretty good amount of money to this guy.  That’s okay. It wasn’t their lesson to learn, it was a lesson for me.

  “This season I challenge you to give like you’ve never given before.  It may be in the form of dollars, it may be in the form of time, or service, food.  Perhaps you’ll take a gift of some sort to a neighbor.  I challenge you to give.

  “I ask that you begin praying for God to lead you and soften your heart in the area of giving this season. 

  “I have been guilty of making the statement, ‘If you need anything, let me know.’ Another one I’ve been guilty of is asking someone at church or work, ‘Do you know a needy family that could use any help this Christimas?’   The bigger question is ‘Why don’t I know a family that needs some help this Christmas?’ (or any other day for that matter!).  The answer is I do, and so do you.

  “I ask that you pray for God to soften your heart on giving.  I also ask you to begin looking around during the days you pray that prayer.  You will begin to recognize people around you that are in need.

  “There are people that you work with, go to church with or live next door to that are having difficult times.  There are people you set next to in church that have had or are in the process of having their electric cut off, water turned off or even a difficult time rationing their food between paydays.  Some of these folks you know having this trouble may indeed be poor managers of their money, many are not.  The truth is it doesn’t matter, gifts shouldn’t be given with strings attached.  The best gifts are also given because of generosity, not approval.

  “The challenge is giving without trying to reap the credit.  The challenge is allowing the glory and honor to Jesus through His church. (Matthew gives us a good reason for that).  It doesn’t matter if it’s $10 or $1000.  Give!

  “The challenge is to do it and let Jesus’ church, His body, take credit for it!

  “I urge you to take notice of just one individual or family.  Pray for that family over a couple of days and then make a decision to bless that family is some way.  It may be big, it may be small, but do it...just do it.  This can be a season that allows your church to be recognized as the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.

  “This may be done through toy drives your church is helping with or various other ways.

  “One way I recommend considering is by designating an amount of money for a family that has come to your attention.  Place this in an envelope and put in the offering plate with a note that says ‘I’m donating this money to (name that person) but if there is a family with greater need that the leadership of the church is aware of, please use this for that need.  Please keep me anonymous as the giver.’

  “Will you accept the challenge?”






  I want you dear folks to know that I had a great Thanksgiving!  The food was delicious, the family was enjoyable, the giving of thanks was inspirational, the parade was fabulous, and the chance to sleep late was restful.

  There was nothing about Thanksgiving 2010 that I didn’t like.

  I would suppose that the most of you could say the same thing.  You enjoyed almost everything about it.

  Then, why in the name of common sense are you so willing to forget the good times and plunge into something called “Black Friday” and start putting up the Christmas decorations just as soon as you place the left over turkey in the refrigerator? 

  I don’t understand why people refuse to stop for more than a few hours on Thanksgiving Day and enjoy the good times! 

  Fact is, I think the few days AFTER Thanksgiving Day can be the best part of our observance.

  For example—turkey hash!

  Oh, I know what some of you are saying.  “Hash!  The man’s gone crazy.  I ain’t gonna have anything to do with eating something they call ‘hash’ if I can help it!”  

  Let’s talk about hash for a minute.

  First of all, it does not have to be “turkey” hash.  There are other meats you can use when you make hash but none of them are any better than left over turkey from the big meal on Thanksgiving Day.

  We don’t have just plain ol’ turkey at our house.  Most of the time I smoke the turkey in my state-of-the-art smoker I keep out on my front porch.  (Gale would rather I move it somewhere else but I’m just that proud of it.)

  I don’t waste my time and effort on a turkey breast or one of those namby-pamby turkeys that weigh a pound or two.  When I smoke a turkey; I want one that’s about the size of a fatting pig.  I’m talking about a twenty to twenty-five pounder!

  After I rub the bird down with a special rub, I put it in the smoker and smoke it with some good apple wood given to me by my good buddy, Bob Williams.  Turn the smoker on low heat and wait about eight hours!  Low and slow is the key!

  After you take it out of the smoker you can carve the thing into serving size pieces and put it on a platter and watch your Thanksgiving guests pig out.

  But, the best is yet to come.

  On the day after Thanksgiving when so many of you are fighting the lines at the mall to save two dollars on some item you don’t really need; I’m pulling the turkey off the bone to start making turkey hash!

  Peel you some potatoes.  Chop up some celery and carrots.  Get yourself a big pot (I’m talking big!)  Mix the veggies with your turkey pieces and put in enough turkey stock to cause them to enjoy the swim.  Get as many spices as you have in the pantry and season that pot with a good helping of sage, a stick or two of butter, salt, and pepper.  Cook for about two hours and get ready for turkey hash!

  You’re not going to eat all that hash in one day.  Oh, no!  That big pot of hash will feed your neighbors, your grandkids, and a few strangers for about a week!

  I think we ought to have a Thanksgiving observance that lasts for at least from one-and-a-half weeks to two weeks!  Turkey hash can make it possible!

  I just want all of you to know that, while you’re up to your ears in Christmas shopping, putting up decorations, and planning your Christmas menu; I’m sitting out on Bambi Circle relaxing in my recliner, watching Judge Judy, eating a big bowl of turkey hash that’s been spooned over one of Gale’s big ol’ hoecakes.  I think that there are times when I look at my reflection in the living room window and see myself sitting on the streets of gold, under the tree of life, beside a crystal river while I enjoy my extended celebration of Thanksgiving Day!

  You’ve still got time to stop your mad dash into the crazy rush of what you call the Christmas Season and hang onto the good times of Thanksgiving.  The secret is in the turkey hash.  You’re going to have take my word for the happiness that is to be found in turkey hash.  Neither Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, nor Chef Ramsey are going to lead you into the joy of turkey hash.  You’re going to have to learn of its potential for extended happiness by reading the wisdom shared with you by ye ol’ muser!





  I’m sure that all of you have received your share of advice from other people.  I’m also pretty sure that you’ve given your share of advice to other people!

  The one thing that is NOT in short supply during these hard economic times is advice! 

  You don’t even have to ask for it.  People readily give it whether you want it or not.

  By now all of us have learned that there’s good advice and there’s bad advice.

  Personally I like good advice.  I don’t mind anybody telling me something that might help me improve my life and make me a better person.

  Just recently I was reading some very wise comments that might be consider good advice for those of us who are married and for those who are thinking about getting married.

  I’ll share those wise comments with you and give you my “take” on what they mean.

  Consider this comment: “Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg depends on the kind of chick he marries.”

  Wow!  That comment is not only a great observation.  It also can be considered good advice.

  It appears that some people think it doesn’t matter who you marry.  Wrong!

  I don’t like all this talk about “falling in love.”  Ain’t no such thing (in my opinion.)  A fall is an accident.  Nobody falls on purpose!  It’s something that’s gonna put a hurting on you.  You better be careful about “falling in love.” 

  My advice is to spend all the time you need to check out that “chick” (or “rooster”) before you get married.  You can date for a long time but marriage is supposed to last a lifetime.  Your future is going to be determined in large part by that “chick” (or “rooster”) you marry.  Don’t let that choice be an accident.  Pay attention and choose wisely.

  Not only should you be careful in who you marry but you’d better take care of your marriage.  It can be truthfully said: “Trouble in marriage often starts when a man gets so busy earning his salt that he forgets his sugar.”

  Good marriages don’t just happen.  They are happen as a result of a lot of hard work!  You’d better not take your sugar for granted. 

  Work hard, but don’t forget your sugar!  Watch all the Wildcat games on television, but don’t forget your sugar!  Polish the car, but don’t forget your sugar!  Go dear hunting and bass fishing, but don’t forget your sugar!  Shop till you drop, but don’t forget your sugar!  Keep the house as clean as a pen, but don’t forget your sugar!

  I’ve seen a lot of different kinds of marriage in my time and the one phrase that seems to describe a lot of them is “tug of war.”

  Marriage is hardly ever a consistent affair.  There are ups and downs.  Sort of like a roller coaster.

  That “tug of war” certainly takes place when a two people start trying to become one like the preacher told us a marriage ought to be. 

  With that in mind; you married men will understand this comment: “When a man marries a woman, they become one; but the trouble starts when they try to decide which one.”

  “If a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like a thoroughbred, she will never turn into an old nag.”

  Think about how completely insane a man must be to say to his wife: “Honey, you stick to the washing, ironing, cooking, and scrubbing.  No wife of mine is going to work.”

  Men, I hope that just as soon as you return from the hospital where you’ve been treated for multiple concussions and contusions to your body that you’ll have learned your lesson and promise yourself that you’ll never make such a stupid statement like that again.

  Remember: she’s not unemployed!   She’s got a job!

  And finally—Have you ever noticed how many women just love a man in a uniform?  It seems that a lot of women like sailors and soldiers.  I’ve figured out why.  The other day I heard somebody say: “Many girls like to marry a military man—he can cook, sew, and make beds, and is in good health—and he’s already used to taking orders.”

  I like being married.  My wife and I are coming up on fifty years of it and I still need all the good advice I can get about making it work.





  I got a letter the other day and I want you to read it.  I only hope it will mean as much to you as it did to me.  The real name of the writer was not signed.  It was simply signed, “Born Again.”

Dear Harlan: 

  I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly.  This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. This is my annual "Guilt Trip."

  I got tickets to fly there on "WISH-I-HAD" airlines.  It was an extremely short flight.  I got my "baggage," which I could not check.  I chose to carry it myself all the way.  It was loaded down with a thousand memories of "what might have been."

  No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport.  I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.  As I checked into the "Last Resort" Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event—the annual "Pity Party."

  I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion.  Many of the towns leading citizens would be there. First, there would be the "Done" family; you know, "Should Have," "Would Have" and "Could Have."  Then came the "I Had" family.  You probably know old "Wish" and his clan.  Of course, the "Opportunities" family; "Missed and Lost," would be present.  The biggest family there would be the "Yesterday's."

  There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.  Of course, "Shattered Dreams" would surely make and appearance.  "It's Their Fault" family would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life.  Each story would be loudly applauded by the "Don't Blame Me" and "I Couldn't Help It" committee.

  To make a long story short, I went to this depressing party, knowing full well there would be no real benefit in doing so.  And, as usual, I became very depressed.  But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that this trip and subsequent "pity parties" COULD be canceled by ME!

  I started to realize that I did not have to be there.  And I didn't have to be depressed.  One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY.  I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as being encouraging.

  Knowing this, I left Regret City immediately, and didn't leave a forwarding address.  Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past?  YES!  But there is no way to undo them.  So, if you're planning a trip back to Regret City, please cancel all those reservations now.  Instead, take a trip to a nice place called: "Starting Again."

  I like it so much that I made it my permanent residence.  My neighbors, the "Been Forgiven" and the "We're Saved" are so very helpful.  By the way, you don't have to carry around the heavy baggage anymore either.  That load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival.  Just thank God for salvation.

  If you need directions, just look into your heart, and enter by "Grace Way."  No taxes or other cost. God's Son paid the price, in full, for all sins and transgressions, a long time ago.  Look me up if you're ready for a total change in your life. I now live on "His Will Way."


"Born Again"

  By now you’ve figured out that I didn’t really get this letter in the mail.  Doesn’t matter; it still has a powerful message.

  Folks, too many of live in the past with regret for the things we’ve done that we wish we had not done.  Get over it!  That’s something that all human beings do!  It’s part of life!  That’s the way we learn how to live—by trial and error.

  Be thankful for the trials.  Forget about the errors.

  Learn from the trials.  Forget the errors.

  Be strengthened by the trials.  Forget the errors.

  You don’t have to live in the “Regret City!”  It’s much better to live in “Starting Again.”  There’s plenty of room for you there.  There are people there who understand what you’ve been through.  Their arms are open to receive and accept you.  It’s time for you to take a trip to that great place of “Starting Again.”





  Every once in a while I’m asked if I’m a veteran.

  I consider it a compliment to be asked, however I answer that I am not.

  Just what exactly is a veteran?

  That question has been answered in many ways but probably not any better than the following words written by an anonymous writer:

  “What is a Vet?

  “He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day and making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.  He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

  “She-or he-is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.  He is the POW who went away one person and came back another-or didn't come back AT ALL.  He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat-but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

  “He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.  He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

  “He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.  He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket-palsied now and aggravatingly slow-who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

  “He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being-a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

  “He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

  “So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say ‘Thank You.’  That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.”

  There are many other things that could be said about our veterans that might help us understand just who these men and women are to us:

  ...they are modern-day freedom fighters and minutemen.

  ...they are men and women who have gone off to serve our country and returned to continue their service to country by building businesses, building cars, digging ditches, teaching school, protecting our communities, and preaching from our pulpits or serving in any other way they can.

  ...they are living examples that human beings can rise above the scars of emotional and physical disabilities to be some of our most productive citizens.

  ...they are much-needed mentors for our young people who are looking for inspiration and hope.

  ...they are men and women who deserve the respect and honor from those of us who cherish our freedom and our American way of life.

  ...they are our best friends, our closest neighbor, and our trusted confidants.

  ...they are veterans and we know deep in our hearts that we are who we are today because of what they did in the years they served their country.

  On this Veterans Day 2010, I hope you will seek out one of our Wayne County veterans and speak a kind word to them.  I hope you will communicate to them the gratitude that you have for their sacrifices.  I hope you will go to a cemetery and place a flag on the grave of a veteran who has been forgotten.  I hope you will commit yourself to support them as they seek medical care they so rightfully deserve.  I hope you will pray for them as they return home to their families.  I hope you will love them.

  Veterans, you are our heroes.  We salute you on this Veterans Day.  We thank God for you.  We thank you.








  When some of you read these words, you might think that I’ve waited a week too late to say what I want to say.

  Not so.

  I deliberately planned that these words come to your attention AFTER the November 2nd election.

  It’s an understatement to say that this election cycle has been interesting.  It went beyond interesting a few months ago and, when the time for voting finally came, it had moved from interesting to strange!  Even weird!

  Looking back over the campaigning of national politicians, I noticed that Americans were given the opportunity to vote for witches, whores, liars, thieves, traitors, racists, bigots, and a few terrorists!  I’ve never known so much “mud” being slung by many of those who ran for office.  I received calls that certain politicians were going to raise my taxes 23%, take my Medicare away from me, and cause the bank to foreclose on my mortgage.  I was informed about alleged marital affairs, college shenanigans, and criminal records of certain politicians running for office.

  News commentators, comedians, movie stars, rock stars, and others seeking to persuade voters to vote their way held rallies, television specials, and ran thousands of political commercials for their favored politicians.

  Those things were just for state and national offices.

  Even our local political races got in to the heated political climate of the 2010 elections.  For a while, Monticello and Wayne County became a microcosm of what was going on in the nation.

  Like many of you, I got sick of the mess!

  However, like you, I found myself powerless to do anything about it.

  I heard so many people say that they would be glad when the election was over.  I heard them express their disgust and disappointment in our political leaders. 

  I guess the thing that I heard that disturbed me the most was a significant number of people say, “I don’t think I’ll vote in the election.”

  Folks, that bothered me. 

  Oh, I understood how they felt.  It’s easy to look at the political turmoil with all its hatred  and divisiveness and be tempted to remove yourself from it. 

  Please understand that failure to vote is not the answer to your political unrest!

  I hope you voted this week.  You didn’t have to agree with every position held by a candidate.  You might have thought the candidate was not that qualified for office.  But, I hope you voted.

  The beauty of voting is that it gives you an opportunity to express yourself.  When you go into that voting booth, you don’t have to pull a leaver for every office.   You can pick and choose!  I hope it never gets to the point where I’ll not want to vote for any name on the ballot but, if that time ever comes, I’ll probably showing up at the polls, go into the booth, and refuse to vote for anybody! 

  But, I’ll go!

  That may sound foolish to you but, I’ll go!

  The way I see it is that there have been too many men and women who have died to give me the privilege to go to the polls to express myself.  I’m not going to dishonor their sacrifice by staying home!  I’ll show up.  Even if it comes to the point where I can’t, in good conscience, vote for a single candidate.  That still will be an expression of my freedom to be involved in the selection of political leaders.

  I voted this week.

  I didn’t pull every leaver I could have pulled.  I did pull some of them!  I refused to pull others.

  The privilege to vote is something that is dear to me.  I want to thank every man and woman who, today, is fighting for America and the American way of life.  I may not like everything that is going on in my country but I would still rather live in the United States than any other place in this world!  “I’m proud to be an American.”  I’m proud that I live in a land that still produces freedom fighters. 

  I hope you voted this week.  It’s more of a privilege than it is a right.  We don’t have to necessarily do anything that is a right.  Millions of brave men and women have done so much to give me the privilege.

  God, bless America.






  I’m confused.


  As many of you know, I’ve been in a life’s work that has demanded that I communicate with other people.  I admit that I will never reach the goal of Ronald Reagan known as “the great communicator.”  But I’d like to be able to have a reasonable conversation with the people in my life.

  Have you got any clue as to how the art and the act of conversation has suffered in the past few years?

  Think of the things we are not supposed to talk about anymore.  We’re not supposed to talk about politics, religion, race, sexual preferences, or any other subject that is controversial. 

  I say, “How can we keep from talking about these issues?”  These are the very things that make up so much of our life!  These things are important!  We need to talk about them in conversation.

  I’m so tired of this “surface conversation” that most of us are involved in most of the time.

  Folks, what difference does it make if we prefer black socks or white socks?  Is the world going to come to an end because we can’t agree if our favorite automobile color is black, white, grey, or red?  Will the world stop turning if we like to wear pajamas to bed or sleep in our boxer shorts?  Will the stock market crash if we decide to eat sausage instead of bacon for breakfast?  And, why should we spend hours discussing the merits of fried eggs instead of scrambled ones? 

  And, yet these are the things we seem to be able to discuss in conversation for hours and hours!

  This past week, a well-known commentator said something about the Muslim religion.  He didn’t advocate it’s downfall nor government suppression of its free exercise.  His comments were not bigoted, racist, or derogatory.  Basically, he made a comment that the majority of Americans would make in regular conversation.  Yet, he was fired from his position on national radio.

  Islam is a major world religion.  There are an estimated two billion Muslims in the world.  That’s nearly one-fourth of the total population of the world!  The number of Muslims in North America is in dispute: estimates range from under 3 million to over 6 million.  Who are these people?  What do they believe?  How are we supposed to react and what are we supposed to think when we read the news that appeared last week saying: “Iranian authorities have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in front of other prisoners, in a possible step towards restoring the punishment to common use and carrying it out in public, state radio reported today.  Cutting off the hands of thieves—allowed under the Iranian judiciary's strict reading of sharia law—has been rare in Iran in recent years, but the amputation was the second this month.  A week ago, a judge ordered the same punishment for a man who stole from a sweet shop, though he can still appeal against that ruling…”  Can we talk about it?

  Did you read the news that stated: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that messages from U.S. religious pulpits are connected to the rising rates of suicide among gay youths, according to a new poll.”  What  is being said from “U.S. religious pulpits” that causes “rising rates of suicide among gay youths..?”  Can we talk about it?

  Can we talk about it?

  We have to talk about it!

  Every person who is concerned with the future of this world and the future of man’s existence in this world is going to have to find ways to talk about these issues in our conversations with others!  If we continue to be so concerned with being “politically correct” to the point that we allow it to destroy freedom of speech; we are in the toilet and run the risk of our other freedoms being flushed in the sewer!

  I’ve seen peace made between nations when true politicians have been able to sit down at the table and talk!  I’ve seen marriages without any hope mended and made whole because a man and woman have learned communication skills so they can talk to each other. 

  We simply cannot give up talking to each other.  Talking that goes beyond the weather, sports, and our clothing preferences! 

  We’ve got to learn to talk to each other about the serious and complicated issues that threaten to destroy us.  We can no longer hide behind political correctness or personal ignorance of these major issues.  We must learn to communicate in a way that others will listen and in a way that others can express their thoughts to us.

  We have to  talk!