HEY… STOP! THAT’S MINE!

32861035_2109220632690321_9168652190703681536_n© 2018 Bill Murphy

We have varying opinions as to ‘entitlement.’ We all believe that certain things are ours by right… what ever our perception of ‘right’ might be.

However, the final authority on the matter of entitlement is the final authority on all matters concerning things human… God’s Word.

It says:

It is in the plan that all men die once. After that, they will stand before God and be judged.

Hebrews 9:26-28 – New Life Version (NLV)

That scripture tells me that we are all entitled to death… and judgement.

Just days ago, a central portion of my little life came crashing down, or should I say more correctly… began drying up!

For days on end, half a dozen counties in our immediate area were without WATER! The reason for this was that the single fresh water SUPPLY line ruptured at the area’s water treatment facility! This forced the treatment plant to be shut down until this large pipe could be repaired/replaced. Several counties were left with only the water remaining in their local storage tanks… which rapidly began dwindling. Because firefighters NEED water to fight fires, local water departments were forced to CUT OFF water supply to homes and businesses… in order to hold an emergency supply on hand.

Needless to say, there was a sudden run on bottled water!

Water is such a common thing. We take it for granted. Turn the faucet… and there it is… flowing fresh and clear. Yet oh so many in this world do not have the ‘luxury’ of a water faucet in their home… nor even a single one in their community! Many must walk miles each day, filling containers with water which is NOT fresh and clear, just to supply their needs. I had to drive all the way (maybe 5 miles) into Carbondale for water.

I gained a whole new appreciation for fresh water that week… and for faucets which freely dispense that sweet nectar of life.

I also realized that deep inside I was beginning to feel somewhat ‘wronged,’ and put-out… because I was being denied that which I was ‘entitled to’ as a tax paying citizen.

Thankfully, God helped me sort out my feelings… to separate the facts from the folly. My belief is that just because I was born in America to American parents… and not in some third-world country to impoverished parents… does not in any way give me a ‘right’ to expectations I have created for myself… not even the simple, everyday things like fresh water.

Yes, I worked. I saved. I prepared for the future. Those things I earned in payment for my labors. Basically, what I’m saying is, “I bought water!”

But where do ‘earnings’ end and ‘entitlement’ begin? And… is there not a difference between the two?

I believer there is.

I remember when just a child in grade school, not long after learning to read… I saw a one-picture political-style cartoon in a newspaper that, for the life of me, I could not understand at the time. I made no sense to me. It showed to two obviously well-to-do gentlemen on a city street, looking down on a poor beggar in the gutter. One rich man was saying to the other, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

That week of no water, that cartoon came back to my memory, the meaning crystal clear.

 

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THE PASS OUT KID

Passed Out© 2018 Bill Murphy

If you can’t remember my name, just call me ‘The Pass Out Kid.’ I’ll answer to that.

The first time I passed out, it was not technically a ‘pass-out.‘ It was a knock out. I was about 5 at the time, and was downtown with Mamaw Fairchild.  We were waiting for the light to change to cross the street… at the southeast corner by the Post Office.  Impatient, I pulled away from her, and stepped into the path of a turning car.  Boink!  I was knocked cold.  My poor grandmother faired worse, she almost had a heart attack.

Fast forward 14 years.  I was getting married, and the state of MS required a blood test.  I was home for the weekend, from MS State, and for what ever reason, my blood test was being administered by our family doctor.  His office was closed on weekends, but he met me there that hot afternoon.  The A/C was off, so it must have been the heat that tripped my switch.  No sooner than the needle went in – that I went out – and onto the floor.

About 10 years ago, the ‘Fearless Foursome‘ as we called ourselves, were on vacation.  It was another long motor trip – my mother-in-law and sister-in-law,  the wife and yours truly. We were in Wyoming.  We just happened to be in the most sparsely populated county in the most sparsely populated state in the nation.  While climbing over (and down into) a very rough and rocky area that folks our age should never attempt,  Carol slipped and banged her leg.  We iced it down, and filled her with aspirin, but to no avail.

A few miles down the road we found a very nice but TINY little county hospital.  Her leg was X-rayed.  I think I remember them saying, “Broken in two places,” before I hit the floor.  I calling that one a ‘sympathetic’ pass out.

(So far) the last pass-out came about 2 years ago.  We were in Minneapolis visiting our eldest daughter and her husband.  It was the end of summer, yet still rather hot. They’d gotten tickets for us to see the Vikings play a pre-season NFL game.

It was crowded… very crowded.  In the stands, it was hot in the sun… very hot.  It seemed that the gigantic speakers were right beside me… and they were very loud… very, very, very loud.

All they played was rap.

I began to wish that I was somewhere else.  I wasn’t choosey – most any other place would do.  When I regained consciousness, I  HAD been somewhere else!  I’d been to la-la land.

While I was still in the sweet land where rappers don’t rap, the EMTs had been called. Despite my objections that I’d just ‘stepped out‘ for a moment, they nevertheless packed me up and transported me to the hospital.  They suspected that I’d had a heart attack.  No, it was those frazzling SPEAKERS that were attacking ME!  A few hours later, I was discharged with the diagnosis of SENSORY OVERLOAD.

They don’t let me go to football games any more.

 

 

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LEAKING COFFEE

Mug© 2018 Bill Murphy

At my age, there are times when I have difficult getting all my ducks in a row.  Today was one of those days.

I was preparing to leave for a work-meeting of my writer’s group.  We were to assemble a display of group projects. While keeping one eye on the clock so as not to be late, I was busy gathering the supplies I’d need: two large aluminum display easels, notebook, pen and pencil, razor knife… and a grande-size coffee in a plastic travel mug – without a lid.  I’ve lost the lid.

As I walked out the door, I decided I might need a light jacket.  “You left the jacket in the car,” my wife remarked.

Reaching the car, I sat the coffee on the hood, put everything inside, and located the jacket – carelessly tossed on the back seat.  Then I jumped inside, and was on my way.

But… one of my ducks had gotten out of his row.

I backed into the street, then headed the 100 yards or so to the intersection, and turn left. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a red flash… or something.  Coffee mug!

I’d left the travel mug on the hood, and somehow, it remained there until I made that hard left at the end of our street.  I jumped out to behold a truly amazing sight!  The now empty travel mug lay in the street almost exactly where I began my turn.

From where it lay, a long light brown wet 90 degree arc was painted on the street.  It was a ‘perfect’ arc, smooth and uniform.  It could not have been rendered better by a street artist using a compass.

I still drink my coffee the way my grandmother taught me 75 years ago – cream and sugar – heavy on both.  Knowing that surely there was coffee on the car (which is white) and knowing this would dry to a sticky mess, and knowing that we had bottled water in the car, I had the means to wash down the offending portions of the vehicle.

About this time an elderly couple (obviously older than me) pulled along side.  “Are you leaking water?” he asking.

“No, coffee,” I replied.

 

 

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