July 20, 1969 is burned into my memory because of two things.
First, our ship, WILLIAM H. STANDLEY (DLG-32) returned to it’s home port in Mayport, Florida that day from our first Vietnam tour. Betty was back in Brentwood, Tennessee with her father and step-mother and she was expecting our first child in about a month. Since I didn’t have anyone to go home to, I volunteered to stay on board as Officer of the Deck for a couple of days so the married guys could re-unite with their families.
A couple of us sat before our black and white TV in the ship’s wardroom to watch the event which is the second important thing that day that I will never forget.
Late that evening, dead tired, we watched Neil Armstrong make that first step onto the moon’s surface. With that step our world changed and we are celebrating that step today, 50 years later…
Summer has always meant watermelons to me and I love a good watermelon (which is harder to find these days).
And, my Aunt Kat shared the same birthday with me, August 16, so she and my Uncle Van would come down from their farm in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and bring one of their watermelons. We put birthday candles on the watermelon and that was my ‘birthday cake.’
However, I don’t believe we ever had a ‘boneless’ watermelon…
When we’re in the dark, light can be a comfort and a guide to see where to go and what to avoid. In our modern world, we grab a flashlight that can dispel the darkness and shine a bright light around us and in front. There’s not much we can’t see.
In Old Testament and Jesus’ times, people only had small oil lamps that provided a small glow around the holder of the lamp. There was no directional light to see ahead when walking in the dark. You had to trust what little you could see.
So when the psalmist wrote: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” (Psalm 119:105) he was putting his trust not in the meager light of his oil lamp, but in God and in his word to us.
In these latter years of my life, I know that the darkness of death is not that far off. But, I trust not in what little light the world or even I can bring to that oncoming darkness. I trust in God’s word that because of what Jesus did for me on the cross death will not be a time of darkness, but of light and new life.
It’s the hottest time of the year in New Mexico so my walks with Jessie are in the early morning, around 7 AM. The temperature is usually in the upper 60s and there’s often a gentle breeze. Besides the pleasant weather and my time with Jessie, it’s a good time to listen to music, think and pray about whatever is on my mind.
In the video below you’ll see Jessie sit when a car comes by. I trained her to do that when she was a puppy and wanted to lunge at cars. Over time and a lot of walks, she learned that cars approaching means to sit.