Archive for December, 2009

An Act Of Kindness




by Lee Ryan Miller

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road.  Work, in this small mid-western community, was almost as slow as his beat-up Pontiac.  But he never quit looking.  Ever since the Levis Factory closed, he’d been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home.  It was a lonely road.  Not very many people had a reason to be on it, unless they were leaving.  Most of his friends had already left.  They had families to feed and dreams to fulfill.  But he stayed on.  After all, this was where he buried his mother and father.  He was born here and knew the country.

He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy.  It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down.  He’d better get a move on.  You know, he almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road.  But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help.  So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out.  His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried.  No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so.  Was he going to hurt her?  He didn’t look safe, he looked poor and hungry.  He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt.  It was that chill that only fear can put in you.  He said,  “I’m here to help you, Ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm.  By the way, my name is Joe.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough.  Joe crawled under the car, looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two.  Soon he was able to change the tire.  But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.  As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him.  She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through.  She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her trunk.

She asked him how much she owed him.  Any amount would have been alright with her.  She had already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.  Joe never thought twice about the money.  This was not a job to him.  This was helping someone in need, and God knows, there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past.  He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.  He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance that they needed, and Joe added,  “…and think of me.”

He waited until she started her car and drove off.  It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.  A few miles down the road, the lady saw a small cafe.  She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home.  It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps.  The whole scene was unfamiliar to her.  The cash register was like the telephone of an out-of-work actor–it didn’t ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair.  She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase.  The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude.  The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger.  Then she remembered Joe.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred-dollar-bill, the lady slipped right out the door.  She was gone by the time the waitress came back.  She wondered where the lady could be.  Then she noticed something written on a napkin.  There were tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady had written.  It said, “You don’t owe me a thing, I’ve been there, too.  Someone once helped me out, the way I’m helping you.  If you really want to pay me back, here’s what you do.  Don’t let the chain of love end with you.”

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day.  That night, when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written.  How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.  She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low,  “Everything’s gonna be alright.  I love you, Joe.”

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Fighting DICK Cheney’s War…..

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.  The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.’  —  President Dwight D. Eisenhower,  January 17, 1961

So, we’re sending another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan…

After much agonizing, President Obama picked what he perceives as the best of several bad options dealing with Afghanistan–one of many botched endeavors left for him to clean up–courtesy of the previous administration.

Is it the right decision to add more troops now, so we can pull out sooner?  We will find out in the next two years…  As the war in Afghanistan–in its eighth year–has shifted more and more to the border region between that country and Pakistan, and inside Pakistan itself, this troop increase sends a clear message to Pakistan, to crack down more seriously on the extremists who have found a new home there.

Unfortunately, poll after poll shows, that the Afghan people view us as occupiers, fighting against them.  Therefore, it is imperative, that with this troop increase, other measures are employed to change hearts and minds.  Something, the Obama administration is committed to do.

As for DICK Cheney…  He came out of his bunker on the eve of President Obama’s speech to attack him–in his very special way–basically accusing him, among other things, of treason…

Maybe it’s necessary to revisit recent history–about twenty years of it…

After supporting and supplying the Taliban and foreign fighters (Al-Qaeda), including Osama Bin Laden, with weapons in their decade-long fight against the Soviets, we made the decision to leave them to flourish in Afghanistan in 1991, under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.  During the nineties, those same fighters turned their energy against the very people who supported them–us–leading to various attacks, culminating of course in 9/11.

After that attack, it was the right thing to do to go into Afghanistan, fighting the people who planned and executed it, and the people harboring them.  It was the wrong thing to do, to let Bin Laden escape when he was cornered in Tora Bora–intentionally–as a recently released report shows, in order to help justify the Iraq War.  It was also wrong to attack Iraq, a country that was not involved in 9/11.  So, we’re talking about three major decisions that were made for other than publicly stated reasons… and were fundamentally  WRONG.

The common denominator in all those decisions…  DICK Cheney

My suggestion is this…  Before opening your mouth again, and accusing a president, who is left with the daunting task of cleaning up your mess, with treason–why not revisiting the last twenty years that have led to this point?

You don’t have to look far… it’s right there… at your doorstep!!

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