Cyber Strings

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All of us familiar with email, get 'junk'. Some of it is funny, but most useless and seemingly a waste of time to read. But occasionally, there comes along, a string of words; some from unknown authors, others have names. They touch our hearts, make us inhale slightly deeper than normal, and even bring tears to our eyes. Following are some of my favorite 'cyber-strings', as I like to call them. I hope some of these touch your heart and perhaps others will just make you giggle out loud. Enjoy!
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P.S. Thanks to Bob Borron for all of his wonderful e-mail. He has one of the most remarkable cyber-string finder networks I know of. Also, thank you Eric Nicholson for all of yours. God Bless you both, KB
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I probably should have put these 'writings' on separate pages...but I didn't, so
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The following words are to a song that I heard shortly after I got clean and sober. It literally brought me to my knees ..... forcing me to realize the intensity and depth of a Higher Power that I think I knew existed, I just didn't know to what intensity or that I had the right to claim it for myself. Many miracles have happened for me since I had that wonderful 'moment of clarity'; things that I will probably take to my grave, as telling them would only deem me certifiable. But for those of you out there who have had miracles happen, things that simply cannot be explained with Man's Science, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Something as simple as a song on the radio can fall upon my ears and somehow, I know, it comes directly from God himself; a message, a declaration, a thread of hope, or merely a cause for a smile. My life since May 20, 1988 has changed DRAMATICALLY, ONE DAY AT A TIME ..... all by the "TOUCH OF THE ...


It was battered and scarred
and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while ...
to waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid,
good people," he cried,
" who starts the bidding for me?
One dollar?
One dollar!
Do I hear two?
Two dollars!
Who makes it three?
Three dollars once ...
three dollars twice ...
going for three" ...
but no ...
from the room ...
far back, ...
a gray-bearded man
came forward and picked up the bow.
Then wiping the dust from the old violin ...
and tightening up the strings ...
he played a melody
pure and sweet ...
as sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased,
and the auctioneer ...
with a voice that was quiet and low ...
said, "What now am I bid
for this old violin?" ...
as he held it aloft with it's bow.
"One thousand?
One thousand!
Do I hear two?
Two thousand!
Who makes it three?
Three thousand once,
three thousand twice,
going and gone!" said he.
The audience cheered ...
but some of them cried ...
"We just don't understand!
What changed it's worth?"
Swift came the reply ....
"The touch of the masters hand!"
And many a man,
with life out of tune,
all battered with bourbon and gin,
is auctioned cheap,
to a thoughtless crowd ...
much like that old violin.
A mess of pottage ...
a glass of wine ...
a game .....
and he travels on!
He is going once ...
he is going twice ...
and soon, he is almost gone!
But the Master comes,
and the foolish crowd
never can quiet understand ...
the worth of a soul ...
the change that is wrought ...
by the Touch of the Masters Hand!

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Red roses were her favorites, her name was also Rose.
And every year her husband sent them, tied with pretty bows

The year he died, the roses were delivered to her door.
The card said, "Be my Valentine", like all the years before.

Each year he sent her roses, and the note would always say,
"I love you even more this year, than last year on this day.

My love for you will always grow, with every passing year."
She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear.

She thought, he ordered roses in advance before this day.
Her loving husband did not know, that he would pass away.

He always liked to do things early, way before the time.
Then, if he got too busy, everything would work out fine.

She trimmed the stems, and placed them in a very special vase.
Then, sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face.

She would sit for hours, in her husband's favorite chair.
While staring at his picture, and the roses sitting there.

A year went by, and it was hard to live without her mate.
With loneliness and solitude, that had become her fate.

Then, the very hour, as on Valentines before,
The doorbell rang, and there were roses, sitting by her door.

She brought the roses in, and then just looked at them in shock.
Then, went to get the telephone, to call the florist shop.

The owner answered, and she asked him, if he would explain,
Why would someone do this to her, causing her such pain?

"I know your husband passed away, more than a year ago,"
The owner said, "I knew you'd call, and you would want to know.

The flowers you received today, were paid for in advance.
Your husband always planned ahead, leaving nothing up to chance.

There is a standing order, that I have on file down here,
And he has paid, well in advance, you'll get them every year.

There also is another thing, I think that you should know,
He wrote a special little card...he did this years ago.

Then, should ever I find out that he's no longer here,
That's the card...that should be sent, to you the following year."

She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard.
Her fingers shaking, as she slowly reached to get the card.

Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note.
Then, as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote...

"Hello my love, I know it's been a year since I've been gone,
I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome.

I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real.
For if it was the other way, I know how I would feel.

The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life.
I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife.

You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need.
I know it's only been a year, but please try not to grieve.

I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears.
That is why the roses will be sent to you for years.

When you get these roses, think of all the happiness,
That we had together, and how both of us were blessed.

I have always loved you and I know I always will.
But, my love, you must go on, you have some living still.

Please...try to find happiness, while living out your days.
I know it is not easy, but I hope you find some ways.

The roses will come every year, and they will only stop,
When your door's not answered, when the florist stops to knock.

He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out.
But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt,

To take the roses to the place, where I've instructed him,
And place the roses where we are, together once again."

Sometimes in life, you find a special friend; Someone who changes your life just by being part of it.
Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop; Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. This is Forever Friendship.

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You Are My Sunshine!

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his little sister in Mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her. The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?

Finally, after a struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatric specialist regretfully had to tell the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. "I want to sing to her," he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in the Intensive Care. Karen made up her mind, though. She would take Michael whether they liked it or not! If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed "Get that kid out of here now! NO children are allowed!" The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!" Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live.

After a moment, he began to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old Michael sang: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray." Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. Her pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. "Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. "You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away." As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr. "Keep on singing, sweetheart!!" "The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my hands..." Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.

"Keep on singing, Michael." Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't take my sunshine away...."

The next, day...the very next day...the little girl was well enough to go home!
"Women's Day Magazine" called it "The Miracle of a Brother's Song. "The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love! Never give up on the people you love. Love is so incredibly powerful. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

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What Goes Around...

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

"I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."

"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.

At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel. "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked."Yes," the farmer replied proudly. "I'll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to a man you can be proud of."

And that he did. In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St.Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

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A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

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- by Erma Bombeck -

I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television...and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said,"Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's"..more "I'm sorry's"..
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who Do love us.
Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually. Life is too short to let it pass you by. We only have one shot at this and then it's gone.

In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer.

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The Important Things Life Teaches You......
Number One:

The Most Important Question

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and breezed through the questions, unitl I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired, and in her 50's, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello." I've never forgotten that lession. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Number Two:

Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30pm, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance, and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him, and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain had drenched not only my clothes, but my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others. Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole."

Number Three:

Always Remember Those Who Serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatley beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - her tip.

Number Four:

The Obstacle in Our Path

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

Number Five:

Giving Blood

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miracuously survived the same disease, and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood. Attitude, after all, is everything.

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The Ultimate Test

John Blanchard stood up from the bench straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.

The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel." So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.

I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell You what happened:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"

It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."

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EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE... old love she can imagine going back to...and one who reminds her how far she has come...
...enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own... even if she never wants to or needs to... ...something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...
...a youth she's content to leave behind...
...a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age...
..the realization that she is actually going to have an old age and some money set aside to fund it...
...a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra... friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...
...a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...
...eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored...
...a resume that is not even slightest bit padded...
...a feeling of control over her destiny...
... a skin care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don't get better after 30...
... a solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better after 30...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... to fall in love without losing herself... she feels about having kids... to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...
...when to try harder... and when to walk away... to have a good time at a party she'd never choose to attend... to ask for what she wants in a way that makes it most likely she'll get it...
...that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...
...that her childhood may not have been perfect ... but its over...
...what she would and wouldn't do for love or more... to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...
...whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...
...where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table... or a charming inn in the woods...when her soul needs soothing...
...what she can and can't accomplish in a day...a month... and a year...

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"Always remember that you are unique--just like everybody else."
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"The greatest gift that you can give another person is your attention."
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"No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent."
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"Ignore other people's ignorance so that you may discover your own wisdom."

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Approximately 1/3 of all U.S. Citizens are considered to be 'deaf', yet only, within the past two years, have the colleges and universities begun to offer American Sign Language as a credited course, and, keep this in mind, it is listed under "Foreign Languages." Hmmm...foreign,...American...what's wrong with that picture?

We teach Spanish on Sesame Street, so our children can communicate with those who come from a different country, and who have the ability to learn our language as well. Yet, deaf children born right here in the Good Ole U.S. of A. who do not have the luxury of 'speaking', continue to be culturally segregated, and not by their choice. Their disadvantage is, the 'half way' meeting mark, which is greatly extended in our direction. So, if you have children, and they want to learn a new language, perhaps you could learn American Sign Language first, and then teach it to them. I am sure there is a deaf child or adult around you that would dearly love to 'hear' your hands. (If you'd like to learn 'finger spelling', click Here for an excellent resource on doing just that! Click Here to down load TTF ASL Fonts for your Mac or PC)...kb

But You Were Happy

Dear Mom and Dad,
I saw my old teacher today. You know the one; she was my preschool teacher, the one that was Deaf like me. I wanted to go to her. To tell her how much she had given to me when I was in her class. But I was ashamed. I didn't want her to see the scar on my head. I didn't want her to see the equipment attached to my body. I didn't want her to see that I had forgotten so much of the beautiful language she had shared with me that one wonderful year. I saw her in a crowd of Deaf people. I watched her as she conversed with her friends. She was so much a part of everything that was going on. They seemed to understand each other perfectly and there was no fear or tension in their conversation; everything seemed so easy for them. It was beautiful to me and I could have watched all day, even though I understood very little. But my mind began to wander.

I thought back on my life and how different it must have been to these people I saw before me. I remember preschool vaguely as a happy time full of worlds opening up to me. There was color and beauty and fun and understanding. I remember I worshipped my teacher; she was the first Deaf person I'd ever seen besides myself. I wasn't different to her; I didn't have to pretend to be someone else to gain her acceptance. I loved her. I remember this. I was happy.

I remember having to leave her, too. After only one year. I remember it as the beginning of my loneliness; the beginning of isolation and fear. I remember the surgery and how painful it was. I still, to this day, can't look at the pictures of my head all bandaged up without wanting to cry out in pain and frustration. I heard my first sound a month later when they hooked me up to all the equipment I would have to endure for the rest of my life. The sound frightened me, but my cry of fear seemed to make you happy, so I endured it for your sakes; because I loved you and wanted you to be proud of me.

But I was not sent back to the teacher I loved because you didn't want her to become a role model for me. She was Deaf and you wanted me to be hearing, so I was kept away from her and all other Deaf people. Then I was put in a classroom with hearing children and given an interpreter. But his signs were strange to me and I struggled to make sense of them. They weren't like the beautiful signs my Deaf teacher used. But you were happy.

Next came years and years of intense speech therapy. I learned fast and each improvement in my speech seemed to make you more proud of me. Everyone was so excited about my progress that they decided to take away my interpreter and let me struggle along in the hearing world without him. I realized then how much I needed him, even though he was difficult to understand. I was left completely alone. But you were happy.

My speech was excellent but I understood nothing. I remember a blur of lips and a lot of noise that was hopelessly out of reach of my understanding. But you were happy.

But I was a good actress. I learned to cope and even learned to understand a few words if they were spoken clearly. I knew by looking at people's expressions when they were asking me a question and I learned quickly that the right answer was mostly "yes". So everyone thought I understood very well. My entire life was like being in a play, trying to play a part without a script. And I was good at it. I guessed well and pleased everyone. And Mom and Dad, you were so proud of me. You were happy.

But the play got harder and harder and I guessed wrong more and more. I became quiet and learned to blend into the background, hoping no one would see me and try to talk to me. I had no friends and didn't try to make any because it would mean trying to communicate and I just wasn't very good at that. I was terribly lonely. I just didn't seem to fit in anywhere. But you were happy.

I was paraded out for all to see because my implant was so successful. Everyone was amazed at my speech. But I was embarrassed standing up in front of all those people, because I didn't think I was such a success. My speech was perfect but I understood nothing of my world. But you were happy.

Now I see my old teacher again and I remember that one year. The year of my happiness. The entire rest of my life were the years of YOUR happiness, not mine.

She sees me now and recognizes me. She runs up to me and hugs me and asks me how I've been and I say, "Fine." Then I begin to cry. I cry for all the years of my life that have been wasted for your happiness. I cry for all the loneliness and isolation I've felt since I left this wonderful Deaf woman. I realized that my life began and ended with this one woman in that one beautiful year.
She held me then. She noticed the scar and the equipment and held me tighter. "Show me your world!" I begged in my mind. "Show me your language and your life! Save me from my darkness! Set me free!"

I knew she understood when she gently removed the wires and from my head. It was so quiet then. It was so restful. I felt peace again and I smiled at her through my tears. She had set me free.
Mom and Dad, I'm glad you had your happiness, but now it's MY turn. My Life began again on this day. And I'm happy!

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We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand-me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.

My cherished grandson, I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. I hope you have a job by then. It will be good if at least one time you can see a baby calf born and your old dog put to sleep.
I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a Disney movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride I hope your driver doesn't have to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as un-cool as your mom.
If you want a slingshot, I hope your dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use those newfangled computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get razzed by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn you hand on stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I hope you get sick when someone blows cigar smoke in your face. I don't care if you try beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandpa and go fishing with your uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and the joy of holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through a neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster of Paris mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.
- Paul Harvey -

* * * * *
We should never attempt to bear more than one kind of trouble at a time.
Some people try to bear three kinds ---
all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.
- Edward Everett Hale -

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The Conversation
By Tams

Why have you done this to us?

Done what?

Created us to be temporary. Made us enjoy being alive, only to make us lose that joy. Made life such a mockery of death. We can't ever stop feeling death creep up on us. Our happiness and our love always ends in unbearable pain.

Yet you bear it.

We have no other choice! What should we do? Die? Face that void, that horrifying unknown? All of us are uncertain about Death.

What would you have me do? Make you cease to exist?


Do you really want that? Would you really like to be gone completely? Or would you rather forget that you ever existed? Forget your lover's kiss or your mother's smile?

No. I don't know.

We envy you. We envy your pain and your tears and your joys. We never get to feel them. There is no warmth or love here, only peace. And peace is a blanketing thing. To live, to touch the soul of another being as afraid and frightened and lonely as your own, and then to become better for it. That is my wish.


Because joy is never brighter than after despair. Love is never sweeter than after hate. To experience these things is a rare gift. Enjoy it while you can.

* * * * *
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get."
* * * * *
"If there were ever two of us exactly of us would not be needed."

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The Boy Who Met God

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer, and he started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps; he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later; his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
She replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." But before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime..Embrace all equally!
- Author Unknown -
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Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles.
Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.
They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home.

They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long-awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk. Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. "Did you ever wonder why was carrying so many things home that day?" asked Bill.
"You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mothers sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.

Every little hello, every little smile, every helping hand saves a hurting heart. Pass it on. With this email also comes the token that says that YOU are special. There's a miracle called Friendship that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens Or when it gets started but, you know the special lift it always brings and you realize that Friendship Is God's most precious gift!
- unknown -

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"Our mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open."
* * * * *
"You can be on the right track,
but if you don't keep moving,
you will still get run over."

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The Christmas Story With A Twist

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.
Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously.

For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately--until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said. . .

. . ."And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him for always."

As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed.

The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him-FOR ALWAYS. I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.

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Dream of Reality

by Eric Nicholson

I veered off the path
as I meandered along
on a damp sunny summer's afternoon
When I came to the field
the tall green grass waved to me in the wind
enticing me to lie down
The sweet aroma of the wildflowers
enchanting me into a dream
A dream that reminded me of when I knew...
You flew over me on the breeze
I heard your whispers, ever so softly, in my ear
of once upon a time of when I knew...
Your tears of joy splashed my feet
as we walked along the shore hand in hand
The sound of the ocean ringing in my head,
like your whispers,
reminding me of the time upon whence I knew...
As the roses sat wilting
so did my heart
For once, the roses were in full bloom
So was my life
Now the petals are dry
as my eyes have no more tears
The roses have no desire to drink
Their life exhausted
as I am reminded of a time, first when I knew...
Through the valley's echo, my love rang out
But seemed to fall upon deaf ears
or a heart grown cold
a sad thing indeed
But as the stars shone brightly in the midnight sky
I recalled a time, once, of when I knew...
A clap of thunder and a bright flash of light
shattered my dream like a mirror
But the memory lingers on
churning in my mind and rekindling my spirit
as I remember a time when I knew...
Your voice, so clear, behind me I turn
There you stand after your long search
I am here for you and how I remember the time when I knew...
Your puzzled look said you don't comprehend
So I explained in simple words of when I knew...
Once upon a time
was then and is now
My dream just reminding me
That I am still in love with you
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Words To Listen By

Always have a dream
Forget about the days
when its been cloudy,
but don't forget your hours in the sun
Forget about the times
you've been defeated
but don't forget the victories you've won
Forget about mistakes
that you can't change now
but don't forget the lessons
that you've learned
Forget about misfortunes
you encounter
but don't forget the times
your luck has turned
Forget about the days
when you've been lonely
but don't forget
the friendly smiles you've seen
Forget about the plans
that didn't seem
to work out right
but don't forget
to always have a
author unknown

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I May Never See Tomorrow

I may never see tomorrow, there is no guarantee,
And things that happened yesterday belong to history.
I can't predict the future, I can not change the past,
I have just the present memories to treat as my last.
I must use this moment wisely, for soon it will pass away,
And be lost forever as a part of yesterday.
I must exercise compassion, help the fallen to their feet,
Be a friend unto the friendless, make their life complete.
The unkind things I do today, may never be undone,
And friendships that I fail to win, may never more be won.
I may not have another chance on bended knees to pray,
And I thank God with a humble heart for giving me this day!
author unknown

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* * * * *
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now, put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau
* * * * *
on a lighter note...

Smartest Man In The World

A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a priest were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot the plane started to go down. Finally the pilot grabbed a parachute, yelled to the passengers that they had better jump, and bailed out. Unfortunately there were only three parachutes remaining. The doctor grabbed one and said "I'm a doctor, I save lives, so I must live," and jumped out. The lawyer then said, "I'm the smartest man in the world, I deserve to live!" He grabbed a parachute and jumped. The priest looked at the little boy and said, "My son, I've lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace". The little boy handed the parachute back to the priest and said "Not to worry, Father. The smartest man in the world just took off with my back pack."

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Dating My Daughter

When I was in high school, I used to be terrified of my girlfriend's father, who I believe, suspected me of wanting to place my hands on his daughter's chest. He would open the door and immediately affect a good-naturedly murderous expression, holding out a handshake that, when gripped, felt like it could squeeze carbon into diamonds. Now, years later, it is my turn to be the dad.
Remembering how unfairly persecuted I felt when I would pick up my dates, I do my best to make my daughter's suitors feel even worse. My motto: wilt them in the living room and they'll stay wilted all night.

"So," I'll call out jovially. "I see you have your nose pierced. Is that because you're stupid, or did you merely want to APPEAR stupid?"

As a dad, I have some basic rules, which I have carved into two stone tablets that I have on display in my living room.

Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure as heck not picking anything up.

Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to assure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric staple gun and fasten your trousers securely in place around your waist.

Rule Four: I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL kill you.

Rule Five: In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is "early."

Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make YOU cry.

Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process which can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chainsaws are okay. Hockey games are okay.

My daughter claims it embarrasses her to come downstairs and find me attempting to get her date to recite these eight simple rules from memory. I'd be embarrassed too--there are only eight of them, for crying out loud! And, for the record, I did NOT suggest to one of these cretins that I'd have these rules tattooed on his arm if he couldn't remember them. (I checked into it and the cost is prohibitive.) I merely told him that I thought writing the rules on his arm with a ball point might be inadequate--ink washes off--and that my wood burning set was probably a better alternative.

One time, when my wife caught me having one of my daughter's would-be suitors practice pulling into the driveway, get out of the car, and go up to knock on the front door (he had violated rule number one, so I figured he needed to run through the drill a few dozen times) she asked me why I was being so hard on the boy. "Don't you remember being that age?" she challenged.
Of course I remember. Why do you think I came up with the eight simple rules?

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Letter From Camp

Dear Mom,
Our scoutmaster told us all to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are OK. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yes, please call Chad's mother and tell her he is OK. He can't write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn't been for the lightning. Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn't hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn't burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back. We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn't his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that's probably why he can't get insurance on it. We think it's a neat car. He doesn't care if we get it dirty, and if it's hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us. Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy. Don't worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn't any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks. This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Webb wouldn't let me because I can't swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Scoutmaster Webb isn't crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn't even get mad about the life jackets. He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble. Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also Wade and I threw up. Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken, he said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I'm so glad he got out and become our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time. I have to go now. We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don't worry about anything. We are fine
Love, Cole P.S. How long has it been since I had tetanus shot?

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(waa-haa! )
by PJ Demmitt

One bright, beautiful Sunday morning, everyone in the tiny town of Johnstown got up early and went to the local church.

Before the services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking about their lives, their families, etc.

Suddenly, the Devil himself appeared at the front of the congregation. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate.

Soon everyone was evacuated from the Church, except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew, not moving, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence. Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to the man and said, "Don't you know who I am?"

The man replied, "Yep, sure do."

Satan asked, "Aren't you afraid of me?"

"Nope, sure ain't," said the man.

Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried, "Why aren't you afraid of me?"

The man calmly replied, "Been married to your sister for over 48 years."

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Doc, I’ve Got Shingles

More and more doctors are running their practices like an assembly lines. One fella walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

So she took down his name, address, medical insurance Number and told him to have a seat.
Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aid came out and asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

So she took down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told him to wait in the examining room. A half-hour later a nurse came in and asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

So she gave him a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, told him to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor. An hour later the doctor came in and asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."
The doctor said, "Where?"

He said, "Outside in the truck. Where do you want them?"

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A Ride With The Pope

The Pope just finishes a tour of the East Coast and is taking a limousine to the airport. Having never driven a limo, he asks the chauffeur if he could drive for a while. Well, the chauffeur doesn't have much of a choice, so he climbs in the back of the limo and the Pope takes the wheel. The Pope proceeds onto Hwy. 95, and starts accelerating to see what the limo can do. He gets to about 90 mph, and suddenly he sees the blue light of the State Patrol in his mirror. He pulls over and the trooper comes to his window.

The trooper, seeing who it is, says, "Just a moment please, I'll be right back." The trooper radios in and asks for the chief. He tells the chief that he's got a REALLY important person pulled over, and asks how to handle it.

"Is it the Governor?" replies the chief.

"No! This guy is even more important!" replies the trooper.

"Is it the PRESIDENT?" replies the chief.

"No! Even more important!" replies the trooper.

"Well, WHO THE HECK is it?" screams the chief.

"I don't know who he is, Sir. " replies the trooper,
"But he's got the Pope for a driver!"

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