Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
The gift that keeps on giving
I have heard this phrase my whole life. I think I understand it better today than I ever have in the past.
We recently tore down the mobile home we have had for about 35 years. It was time. Since we are living in Knoxville, I had double of some items like sheets and pillow cases. I had a pillow case in Knoxville that didn’t have a mate. I hated it because I really like the pillow case. I just assumed the guys had left it somewhere in all their travels. When I packed up our tailer stuff, I found the mate! I brought it home and told Tommy I was glad I had found it and why.
Many years ago I taught music in a school that still had all 8 grades. Since I taught every student in the school, I really “racked up” at Christmas. I always went home with a haul. Most teachers only got gifts from their one class. I got them from 3 classes per grade…8 grades! It took me several trips to my car when I went home for Christmas break.
Every now and then, I would get a present that the student, or the student’s parent, had put some time and effort into. The pillow cases are one example. They were hand made and carefully and beautifully stitched. I have carried those pillow cases through moves too numerous to mention. They have withstood who knows how many washings. I wonder just how many heads have laid down upon them. I like to think they lulled some to sleep smelling of the out of doors where I always used to dry my pillow cases and sheets.
Tommy asked me if I remembered the student, but sadly, after 53 years, I do not. I wish though, that somewhere out there, a Mother might read this, and remember sitting up at night carefully cross-stitching a set of pillow cases for Miss Combs. I would like to think she remembered that I loved her child and tried to teach him or her to love music as much as I did, and do.
I expect these pillow cases will be here long after I am gone. I hope that the next person who puts them on a bed will look at them and appreciate the effort that went into making them. It makes me want to put more thought into gifts I give.
Something wicked this way comes...
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES…
is the title of an old Disney movie. It’s also a book by Ray Bradbury who got the quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I don’t remember the movie at all, but have remembered the title for years.
This is how I feel most days now. I told someone the other day that we should prepare ourselves and be ready for whatever is headed our way. I don’t mean stockpile food, but have a backpack, packed and ready by the door. I think they call them "go bags" in the military.
Now, I think I am changing my tune. I read something in Psalm 11 today that made me think I should not, and need not run.
Psalm 11:1 (The Message Bible)
I’ve already run for dear life
straight to the arms of God,
So why should I run away now
when you say,
'Bows are bent, the wicked arrows
aimed to shoot under cover of darkness
at every heart open to God.
The bottom’s dropped out of the country,
Good people don’t have a chance?”
But God hasn’t moved to the mountains;
His holy address hasn’t changed.
He’s in charge, as always, His eyes taking everything in, his eyelids
Unblinking, examining Adam’s unruly brood
inside and out, not missing a thing.
He tests the good and the bad alike;
If anyone cheats, God’s outraged.
Fail the test and you’re out,
out in a hail of firestones,
Drinking from a canteen
filled with hot desert wind.
God’s business is putting things right;
He loves getting the lines straight,
Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall,
we can look Him straight in the eye.
White horse...red headed woman
This story has absolutely no point…no ending for you to take away with you and make you think for the next days and weeks ahead….no moral whatsoever.. Just a fun story.
When I was a little girl, we would go to Virginia to visit my grand parents. They lived about a hundred miles from us. Invariably while we were driving up the road, and we came upon a white horse, my Daddy would say “see a white horse..see a red headed woman.” Then he would glance in the back seat at my little red headed sister and say “well, there she is!” Of course my sister loved that and none of us ever got tired of his little joke.
We passed a white horse the other day and I told Tommy and John boy that story. They asked if it was an old tale and did I know where it came from, so I looked it up. It is actually an old superstition and the New York Times wrote about it in the 19th and early 20th century. The only difference is that Daddy had it backwards. If you see a red headed woman, then you will see a white horse.
The funny part of the story is that the day after I told them that story, we were watching Charles Dickens David Copperfield. It’s a mini series we got from the library. At one point David is sent to live with a man who has a servant with red hair. The servant is a man. David arrives in a horse drawn carriage and the horse is white. After David goes into the house, the red haired servant goes out to pet the horse.
As I said…no big revelations here, just an interesting story. Sometimes quirky things like that happen and it makes me wonder why…Why did I tell that story to the guys? Why did we see the red haired man and the white horse the very next day in a movie?. Who knows?
Read about this myth by clicking this link:
On most Wednesday nights, you will find me under the bridge of the 640 overpass in Knoxville. By the end of December, it is usually bitter cold. Not last night! It felt like spring! It had gotten up to 60 degrees yesterday and it didn’t feel much cooler than that last night.
For the past month our cook at Lost Sheep Ministry has been sick, so we have been passing out sack lunches on Wednesday, along with blankets, toiletries and last night, warm hats, scarves and gloves.
I was passing out the sack lunches last night, with a new volunteer, Kim. The crowd wasn’t as large, so some people got 2 and even 3 lunches. For some reason, we got more thank you's than usual. As one older lady walked through, she took her lunch from Kim, walked past her, looked straight at me and gave me the best compliment I believe I have ever had in my life.
She said, “thank you Miss Maxine.” If it had been 16 degrees (and it has been before) instead of 60 I would have immediately warmed up.
In that moment, I thought two things. First of all…Maxine has not been forgotten. Second….if someone had said, “thank you Mother Teresa” I could not have felt more complimented.
I hope that Maxine heard that interchange “down under the bridge” as she always used to say, and that she somehow knows that people still love and remember the woman who started this ministry almost 30 years ago. I am proud to have been mistaken for her!