Coming Soon…to a School Near You!

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Ah, yes. Do you remember that old song about “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…”? (Maybe I’m showing my age a bit much to even mention it!)

I remember as a kid how much I looked forward to summer vacation. As a young boy who was just knee high to a grasshopper on the farm in Iowa, summer was a very magical time! There was a garden to grow, baby animals to raise, bicycles to ride for a mile or two down the dirt roads to your friend’s house. There were fields of waving wheat to play in. There was a hay mow full of sweet smelling, freshly baled hay. The summer days were long and the nights were filled with fireflies and gentle breezes.

I was young enough that I didn’t have too many chores to do, so it was great. I remember that I could hardly wait for school to be over so I could revel in the summertime!

Little did I suspect that the teachers were probably longing for the summertime as much as I was!

Saw this sign yesterday in Dahlonega, Georgia and it made me think of my teacher friends. In particular, Kim and Ken, this one is for you! I know that’s not why you took up teaching – you truly love what you do and are masterful at it – but I bet that you can appreciate what this sign says, too!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1865, the captain and crew of the C.S.S. Shenandoah, still prowling the waters of the Pacific in search of Yankee whaling ships, was finally informed by a British vessel that the South has lost the war.

The Shenandoah was the last major Confederate cruiser to set sail. Launched as a British vessel in September 1863, it was purchased by the Confederates and commissioned in October 1864. The 230-foot-long craft was armed with eight large guns and a crew of 73 sailors. Commanded by Captain James I. Waddell, the Shenandoah steered toward the Pacific and targeted Yankee whaling ships. Waddell enjoyed great success, taking six ships in the South Pacific before slipping into Melbourne, Australia, for repairs in January 1865.

Within a month, the Shenandoah was back on the loose, wreaking havoc in the waters around Alaska. The Rebel ship captured 32 additional Union vessels, most of which were burned. The damage was estimated at $1.6 million, a staggering figure in such a short period of time. Although the crew heard rumors that the Confederate armies had surrendered, Waddell continued to fight. He finally accepted an English captain’s report on August 2, 1865. The Shenandoah pulled off another remarkable feat by sailing from the northern Pacific all the way to Liverpool, England, without stopping at any ports. Arriving on November 6, Waddell surrendered his ship to British officials.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Actor Anthony Quinn was the first Mexican to win an Academy Award for his role in the 1952 movie Viva Zapata.

Seeing Triple

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“Hey, doc!  I think something is wrong with my vision.  I’m seeing double!”  If that were true, you’d have a real problem on your hands and would need to be seen by a specialist to determine the cause.  I used to know a set of triplets.  The two girls were really hard to tell apart…their brother was easily distinguished from them, of course.  I’ve often thought it would be fun to be identical twins.  Just imagine all the trouble you could get in to and then you could blame it on your sister or brother! (Is it even possible for there to be identical triplets?!?!)

Well, I digress.  Today’s photo is of our dog and her mother and sister.  When the three of them are together, it is a bit hard to tell them apart – especially from a distance.  In this photo, our dog, Lucy, is the one at the top.  She’s somewhat easier to tell from the others because she is a bigger dog, and decidedly more FAT.  But I still think that the three of them make for interesting pictures.  And they sure have fun when they are all together!  Alas, we are now in Georgia and her mom and sis are in California, so it is unlikely that the three of them will ever be together to play again, and that saddens me.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: if there is one song that has been played more times by more bands in more garages than any ever written, it is probably “Louie Louie,” The Kingsmen’s classic 1966 hit. But if any other song warrants a place in the conversation, it would be “Wild Thing,” the three-chord masterpiece that became a #1 hit for The Troggs on this day in 1966 and instantly took its rightful place in the rock-and-roll canon.

“Wild Thing” was written in 1965 by a New York songwriter named Chip Taylor (born James Voight, brother of the actor Jon Voight and uncle of actress Angelina Jolie). After an unsuccessful version of the song was recorded and released by a group called The Wild Ones, Taylor’s demo made its way to England, where Reg Presley (born Reginald Ball), lead singer of The Troggs, fell in love with it. Like Taylor himself, who never took his biggest hit very seriously, Presley initially found “Wild Thing” to be a ridiculous trifle, but that didn’t stop him from having his then-hitless band take it into the studio. In a single take of “Wild Thing,” The Troggs captured a raw and thrilling sound that not only gave them a #1 hit, but also served as a formative influence on some of the key figures in the development of punk rock, including Iggy Pop, the Ramones and the Buzzcocks, all of whom credited The Troggs as forerunners.

There were other hits for The Troggs, including “With A Girl Like You” (1966) and “Love Is All Around” (1967)—but nothing to match “Wild Thing” in terms of success or influence. In fact, the most influential recording they made after 1968 was not of a song at all, but of an intra-band argument during a troubled 1972 recording session that was bootlegged out of the studio and passed around as “The Troggs Tapes.”  On it, various Troggs can be heard bickering and cursing (137 times in 10+ minutes) in accents and language that served as the direct inspiration for This Is Spinal Tap, Rob Reiner’s 1984 seminal “mockumentary.”

“Wild Thing” was memorably performed by Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, complete with burning guitar, and it was covered with some success by the L.A. punk band X in 1989, but it’s the Troggs’ version that has become a staple of movie and television soundtracks. With royalties earned from his band’s signature hit, Trogg frontman Reg Presley has emerged as one of the world’s foremost experts on and largest sources of funding of research into the mysterious phenomenon of crop circles.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The average temperature on Mars is -81° F and can range from -205° F in the winter to 72° F in the summer.  Humm…at least for the summers, it sounds preferable to Georgia!

Fog on the Bog

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It was 2004 when I took this picture.  I was shooting with my Sony Alpha A-100 at the time.  We were on vacation in Maine and had been revisiting some of our old stomping grounds from when we used to live in that beautiful state.  We’d driven up past Moosehead lake on the eastern side and were looking to see some moose.  We stopped and asked where was a good place to watch for them as the sun went down and were directed to a bog that was outside of the nearest small village in the back woods.  We drove there while the sun was still up a ways, parked, and just enjoyed the beautiful serene scenery.

As the sun went down, the fog started to crawl over the face of the bog, getting ever closer and close.  It was eerie.  But it was so quiet and peaceful that you felt butterflies in your stomach…or at least I did in mine.  We never saw any moose on that particular evening, but it was worth it to just be out at this place and to soak in nature at its very best.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1967 when a fire on a United States Navy carrier stationed off the coast of Vietnam killed 134 service members. The deadly fire on the USS Forrestal began with the accidental launch of a rocket.

During the Vietnam War, the USS Forrestal was often stationed off the coast of North Vietnam, conducting combat operations. On the morning of July 29, the ship was preparing to attack when a rocket from one of its own F-4 Phantom jet fighters was accidentally launched. The rocket streaked across the deck and hit a parked A-4 Skyhawk jet. The Skyhawk, which was waiting to take off, was piloted by John McCain, the future senator from Arizona.

Fuel from the Skyhawk spilled out and caught fire. The fire then spread to nearby planes on the ship’s deck and detonated a 1,000-pound bomb, which killed many of the initial firefighters and further spread the fire. A chain reaction of explosions blew holes in the flight deck and had half the large ship on fire at one point. Many pilots were trapped in their planes as the fire spread. It took a full day before the fires could be fully contained.

Hundreds of sailors were seriously injured and 134 lost their lives in the devastating fire. Twenty planes were destroyed. It was the worst loss of a life on a U.S. Navy ship since World War II. Temporary repairs were made to the ship in the Philippines before the Forrestal headed back to Norfolk, Virginia. It was repaired and put back into service the following April, but never returned to Vietnam.

John McCain narrowly escaped the fire and, afterwards, volunteered for duty on the USS Oriskany. Just three months later, his plane was shot down over North Vietnam and he was taken prisoner. He was not released until five-and-a-half years later, in 1973.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The shape of ancient Egyptian pyramids is thought to have been inspired by the spreading rays of the sun.

When Things Go Boom!

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Double click for a larger version of the image…

Yes, little ones like pizza, birthday parties, ice cream, playing Hide-and-Seek (or in the case of my two youngest, “Pop-Pop is a Monster” (where I play like a giant dinosaur and act scary, but they can put me to sleep by singing, “Go to sleep!  Go to sleep!”)  I have to confess, I rather enjoy that game, too.

But, there are things that wee ones don’t like: nap time, bed time, doing chores, brushing their teeth, washing their hands before eating…all those things seem to be BIG problems for LITTLE people.  And let me explain one more thing that they don’t like (at least most of them don’t): loud noises.

On the Fourth of July, we were at our son’s house in the evening and our son was setting off some fireworks in the driveway.  They weren’t cherry bombs or anything like that…just small “shower” type of fireworks that spew up a shower of sparks with may a small amount of noise.  But that was all it took.  Afraid there would be loud noises, our littlest grand daughter decided she needed to protect herself by covering her ears!  It was cute.  The indignation on her face is priceless…but she still couldn’t take her eyes off the flying sparks!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1978, National Lampoon’s Animal House, a movie spoof about 1960s college fraternities starring John Belushi, opened in U.S. theaters. Produced with an estimated budget of $3 million, Animal House became a huge, multi-million-dollar box-office hit, spawned a slew of cinematic imitations and became part of pop-culture history with such memorable lines as “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

Set at the fictional Faber College (the University of Oregon served as a stand-in during filming), Animal House centered around the disreputable Delta House fraternity, whose members enjoyed beer-soaked toga parties and crude pranks such as putting a horse in the dean’s office. Animal House was the first big hit for director John Landis, who went on to helm The Blues Brothers (1980), Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988). The film’s cast included a then-unknown Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Mystic River), Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Tom Hulce (Amadeus), all of whom were then just beginning their movie careers.

Animal House was co-written by Doug Kenney, Harold Ramis and Chris Miller, whose days at Dartmouth College in the early 1960s served as an inspiration for the film. Animal House marked the first film produced in affiliation with National Lampoon, a college magazine that was first published in 1970 and known for its dark humor. Other National Lampoon movies included Vacation (1983), which was written by John Hughes, directed by Ramis and starred SNL alum Chevy Chase.

At the time Animal House was released, John Belushi, who played party animal Bluto Blutarsky, was starring on the TV sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live(SNL). Belushi, who was born January 24, 1949, appeared on SNL from 1975 to 1979 and co-starred in the hit movie Blues Brothers with his SNL castmate Dan Akroyd. Belushi died of a drug overdose at age 33 on March 5, 1982, at the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood, California.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Tests conducted by St. Lawrence University in New York found that there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Famous left-handed intellectuals include Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin.

DayBreaks for 7/28/15 – Journey to Nowhere

DayBreaks for 7/28/15: Journey to Nowhere

 (About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” – Luke 9:14 (NIV)

You may know the famous story of Jean Henri Fabre, the French naturalist, and his processional caterpillars. He encountered some of these interesting creatures one day while walking in the woods. They were marching in a long unbroken line front to back, front to back. What fun it would be, Fabre thought, to make a complete ring with these worms and let them march in a circle.

So, Fabre captured enough caterpillars to encircle the rim of a flowerpot. He linked them nose to posterior and started them walking in the closed circle. For days they turned like a perpetual merry-go-round.

Although food was near at hand and accessible, the caterpillars starved to death on an endless march to nowhere.

That seems to be the story of many people today. They are on a march that leads to nowhere. We need to stop for a moment, and sit down in the presence of Jesus.

Have you been on a journey to nowhere? Running around in circles but never getting anywhere except worn out and disillusioned?

Then stop and receive what Christ has to offer you, just as the multitude received the loaves and fish.

PRAYER: Let us sit at your feet today, Jesus, and receive what you have for us this day!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.

To email Galen, click here: E-mail Galen.

Gettin’ Down and Dirty

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When we lived on the farm, I remember coming back to the house as a kid and my mom always getting on my case to “wash up”. Sure, kids (especially boys) get dirty on farms, but I had a logical explanation: since the Good Book says Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, I figured that the more dirt I got on me, the bigger I’d grow!  My mom, by the way, never bought that explanation. I had to wash up anyway.

There were other times that I loved getting dirty. When I spent the summer before my freshman year working on my uncle’s farm (again in Iowa), I loved being on the hay rack behind the baler in the fields.  We’d get thickly covered in dirt and tiny bits of hay, it would itch and we’d be sweating profusely in the hot Iowa sun, but it felt good.

And then, during my high school years, my friends and I would go out on cold winter days when it was wet and muddy and we’d play tackle football on the high school sports fields.  We would get absolutely covered from head to foot in mud. But what fun!

My youngest grand daughter reminds me that there is another thing that is worth getting covered with: pizza sauce!  When little girls gather for a birthday party, pizza is often on the menu…but it disappears like it was playing a starring role in a magic show!  But, it’s worth it…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1943, Joseph Stalin, premier and dictator of the Soviet Union, issued Order No. 227, that came to be known as the “Not one step backward” order, in light of German advances into Russian territory. The order declared, “Panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot. Not one step backward without orders from higher headquarters! Commanders…who abandon a position without an order from higher headquarters are traitors to the Fatherland.”

Early German successes against Russia had emboldened Hitler in his goal of taking Leningrad and Stalingrad. But the German attack on Stalingrad, thought foolhardy by Hitler’s generals, because of Russia’s superior manpower and the enormous drain on German resources and troop strength, was repulsed by a fierce Soviet fighting force, which had been reinforced with greater numbers of men and materials. The Germans then turned their sights on Leningrad. Stalin needed to “motivate” both officers and civilians alike in their defense of Leningrad—hence, Order No. 227. But it was hardly necessary. On the same day the order was given, Russian peasants and partisans in the Leningrad region killed a German official, Adolf Beck, whose job was to send agricultural products from occupied Russia to Germany or German troops. The Russian patriots also set fire to the granaries and barns in which the stash of agricultural products was stored before transport. A partisan pamphlet issued an order of its own: “Russians! Destroy the German landowners. Drive the Germans from the land of the Soviets!”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: At a recent auction in Edinburgh, a pair of Queen Victoria’s underwear sold for £9,375 ($14,500 American). The knickers were made from yards of white cream fabric and had her initials VR (Victoria Regina) embroidered in them.

One Step at a Time

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If you don’t already know it, I work with an organization called Medical Ambassadors. It is not a relief organization and it’s not especially a medical organization. Medical Ambassadors is a development organization. What is the difference between relief and development? Primarily it is this: development seeks to help people recognize their own resources and abilities, dignity and possibilities, and helps people figure out ways to improve their lives using the things they have instead of focusing on the things they don’t have. Does that mean that relief is wrong? No, there are times when it is absolutely essential – such as in the aftermath of a tsunami, earthquake or famine. In such cases, it is a life and death situation where food and water, medical care and shelter must come from outside because the infrastructure in a country or area of a country has been destroyed and people are dying without the necessities of life.

Medical Ambassadors will, from time to time, get involved in relief in appropriate ways, but that isn’t our primary concern. We could hand out “fish” to people all day, but tomorrow they will need another fish handed to them. So, we teach people to fish..and then take it one more step: we teach them how to maintain the “lake” for generations to come, so that no only are their lives for the immediate future changed, but their villages and grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren can also have better lives.

When I was in Africa a couple of years back, I took this photo. I have to say that my heart is very compassionate and when I see great need, my first instinct is to jump right in and give something to the person. But that isn’t always the right solution for many, many reasons. As North Americans, we tend to define poverty as the lack of material things (such as shoes in the case of today’s picture I took in Africa of the foot of a young mother), when the greatest poverty is a poverty of the soul that has come to believe it has nothing to offer and is helpless and can only survive by hand-outs.

It’s not easy. Development work takes time. But we believe that rather than continuing to foster dependency on outside organizations (which inevitably will go away), it is far better to work to break the poverty of the heart so people begin to believe in their own abilities and their own selves for solutions that will last. It’s a long, arduous journey, taken one step at a time, but it is a journey worth taking.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1984, Ed Gein, a serial killer infamous for skinning human corpses, died of complications from cancer in a Wisconsin prison at age 77. Gein served as the inspiration for writer Robert Bloch’s character Norman Bates in the 1959 novel “Psycho,” which in 1960 was turned into a film starring Anthony Perkins and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Edward Theodore Gein was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, on July 27, 1906, to an alcoholic father and domineering mother, who taught her son that women were evil. Gein was raised, with an older brother, on an farm in Plainfield, WI. After Gein’s father died in 1940, the future killer’s brother died under mysterious circumstances during a fire in 1944 and his beloved mother passed away from health problems in 1945. Gein remained on the farm by himself.

In November 1957, police found the headless, gutted body of a missing store clerk, Bernice Worden, at Gein’s farmhouse. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered a collection of human skulls along with furniture and clothing, including a suit, made from human body parts and skin. Gein told police he had dug up the graves of recently buried women who reminded him of his mother. Investigators found the remains of 10 women in Gein’s home, but he was ultimately linked to just two murders: Bernice Worden and another local woman, Mary Hogan.

Gein was declared mentally unfit to stand trial and was sent to a state hospital in Wisconsin. His farm attracted crowds of curiosity seekers before it burned down in 1958, most likely in a blaze set by an arsonist. In 1968, Gein was deemed sane enough to stand trial, but a judge ultimately found him guilty by reason of insanity and he spent the rest of his days in a state facility.

In addition to “Psycho,” films including “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Silence of the Lambs” were said to be loosely based on Gein’s crimes.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: All or part of Shakespeare’s 300 original First Folios still survive.

Sometimes a Girl Just Gets Tired

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Click for a larger version of the image..,

My last two weeks have been bonkers.  It seems that every day I have things I plan to get done for work, but then eleven zillion other things come up and I never or seldom get around to what I’d planned to work on.  I think that in order to get some of those things done, I may just have to shut down email and instant messaging so I can focus!

I know I’m not alone.  I know others at my work are experiencing the same thing.  It happens.  The old saw about “When it rains it pours!” never seems more true than when talking about work.  Or problems.

It happens to little ones, too.  This is my youngest grand daughter and she loves to play, play, play!  (Who can blame her, right?!?!  I love to play, too!)  And play she does.  Then, all of a sudden, it’s like she hits an invisible energy wall and she will sit down and conk out!  This picture was taken a few months ago when she’d been very excited and had played hard and was all amp’d up for quite some period of time, and then…BOOM!  But it made for a nice picture!  And even better, it makes a great excuse for grandpa to pick her up and carry her around while she falls asleep on his shoulder!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1918, Della Sorenson killed the first of her seven victims in rural Nebraska by poisoning her sister-in-law’s infant daughter, Viola Cooper. Over the next seven years, friends, relatives, and acquaintances of Sorenson repeatedly died under mysterious circumstances before anyone finally realized that it had to be more than a coincidence.

Two years after little Viola met her demise, Wilhelmina Weldam, Sorenson’s mother-in-law, was poisoned. Sorenson then went after her own family, killing her daughter, Minnie, and husband, Joe, over a two-week period in September.

Waiting only four months before marrying again, Sorenson then settled in Dannebrog, Neb. In August 1922, her former sister-in-law came to visit with another infant, four-month-old Clifford. Just as she had done with Viola, Sorenson poisoned the poor child with a piece of candy. The unfortunate Mrs. Cooper, still oblivious to what was happening, came back again in October to visit with yet another child. This time, Sorenson’s poison didn’t work.

Early in 1923, Sorenson killed her own daughter, Delia, on her first birthday. When Sorenson’s friend brought her infant daughter for a visit only a week later, the tiny infant was also poisoned. After an attempt on Sorenson’s second husband’s life left him sick–but not dead–authorities began to think that there might be a connection between these series of deaths.

Finally, in 1925, Sorenson was arrested when she made an unsuccessful attempt at killing two children in the neighborhood with poisoned cookies. She confessed to the crimes, saying, “I like to attend funerals. I’m happy when someone is dying.” Sentiments like this convinced doctors that Sorenson was schizophrenic, and she was committed to the state mental asylum.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In Egypt, redheads were buried alive as sacrifices to the god Osiris.

The Wild Rooster

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When you grow up on a farm, you have a greater “admiration” for roosters. Well, perhaps admiration is the wrong word for it. You HATE ’em! Why? Pretty simple, really: it means that it’s time to crawl out of your bed, pull on your jeans and shirt and head out to do the morning chores – all before the sun is really up. After the chores, you go back to the farm house and kitchen to eat breakfast…and then it’s back outdoors to start the rest of the day’s work.

There are advantages to living on a farm – lots of them.  I wouldn’t change the early years I spent on the farm for anything.  Nor would I trade a summer I spent on the farm with my cousins in Iowa (we’d moved away from Iowa and were living in California at that time) just before my freshman year in high school.  But we worked HARD that summer…very hard, and it is hot and humid in Iowa during the summer!  By the end of the day, you were exhausted and fell into bed.

But, before you knew it, there was that danged rooster again, waking you up and heralding the new day.  I wanted to kill him!  Yet, somehow they remain fairly frequent objects d’art, like the metal one in today’s photo from the Flea Market.  Fortunately, he was quiet, or I would have wrung his neck!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1916, in San Francisco, a bomb at a Preparedness Day parade on Market Street killed 10 people and wounded 40. The bomb was hidden in a suitcase. The parade was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce in support of America’s possible entrance into World War I. San Francisco was suffering through severe labor strife at the time, and many suspected that anti-war labor radicals were responsible for the terrorist attack.

Labor leader Tom Mooney, his wife Rena, his assistant Warren K. Billings, and two others were soon charged by District Attorney Charles Fickert with the bombing. The case attracted international interest because all evidence, with the exception of a handful of questionable witness accounts, seemed to point unquestionably to their innocence. Even after confessions of perjured testimony were made in the courtroom, the trial continued, and in 1917 Mooney and Billings were convicted of first-degree murder, with Billings sentenced to life imprisonment and Mooney sentenced to hang. The other three defendants were acquitted. Responding to international outrage at the conviction, President Woodrow Wilson set up a “mediation commission” to investigate the case, and no clear evidence of their guilt was found. In 1918, Mooney’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

During the next two decades, many groups and individuals petitioned California to grant the two men a new trial. By 1939, when evidence of perjury and false testimony at the trial had become overwhelming, newly elected Governor Culbert Olson pardoned Mooney and commuted Billing’s sentence to time served. Billings was not officially pardoned until 1961.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is the first person to become a billionaire (U.S. dollars) by writing books.

It’s a Long and Winding Road

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It was Sir Paul McCartney who wrote the haunting lyrics to “Long and Winding Road.”  The song is both wistful, hopeful, and yet also about one who is broken by what has happened in the past.  While there are many theories about what was in Paul’s mind when he wrote it, perhaps the real meaning will die with him.  Perhaps there is a clue in the fact that it was the 20th and last number one song released by the Beatles…and the last one released by the super-band.  Was it in essence a love song to their fans and their past…hoping to come home for one more time, even if for just a momentary glimpse of home?

We don’t make it through life without scars. To think otherwise is merely a pipe-dream.  Some may make it through without scars on the outside, but even they bear scars on the inside.  We all are wounded.  We all experience pain.  And as we approach the end of the long and winding road, we gain a richer perspective on the meaning of life as we come to realize that the scars themselves, are also beautiful.  They are part of our stories, our intricate weaving of lives with others as we travel the road.  Every person, every story, is beautiful in some way.  Some are tragic, but there is also beauty in tragedy.

What matters is not that we are scarred, but how we react to the woundings and whether or not we will let them shape us, teach us and grow us, or whether we become so filled with bitterness and anger that we become nothing more than a shadow of a human merely biding time until we take the last step on the road.

Today’s photo was shot at the flea market.  I don’t know how old these battered dolls are, but they reminded me of life and the Long and Winding Road.  May you journey it well!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1865, in what may be the first true western showdown, Wild Bill Hickok shot Dave Tutt dead in the market square of Springfield, Missouri.

Hollywood movies notwithstanding, the classic western showdown happened only rarely in the American West. Rather than coolly confronting each other on a dusty street in a deadly game of quick draw, most men began shooting at each other in drunken brawls or spontaneous arguments. Ambushes and cowardly attacks were far more common than noble showdowns.

Nonetheless, southern emigrants brought to the West a crude form of the “code duello,” a formalized means of solving disputes between gentlemen with swords or guns that had its origins in European chivalry. By the second half of the 19th century, few Americans fought duels to solve their problems. Yet, the concept of the duel influenced the informal western code of what constituted a legitimate-and legal-gun battle. Above all, the western code required that a man resort to his six-gun only in defense of his honor or life, and only if his opponent was also armed. A western jury was unlikely to convict a man in a shooting provided witnesses testified that his opponent had been the aggressor.

The best-known example of a true western duel occurred on this day in 1865. Wild Bill Hickok, a skilled gunman with a formidable reputation, was eking out a living as a professional gambler in Springfield, Missouri. He quarreled with Dave Tutt, a former Union soldier, but it is unclear what caused the dispute. Some people say it was over a card game while others say they fought over a woman. Whatever the cause, the two men agreed to a duel.

The showdown took place the following day with crowd of onlookers watching as Hickok and Tutt confronted each other from opposite sides of the town square. When Tutt was about 75 yards away, Hickok shouted, “Don’t come any closer, Dave.” Tutt nervously drew his revolver and fired a shot that went wild. Hickok, by contrast, remained cool. He steadied his own revolver in his left hand and shot Tutt dead with a bullet through the chest.

Having adhered to the code of the West, Hickok was acquitted of manslaughter charges. Eleven years later, however, Hickok died in a fashion far more typical of the violence of the day: a young gunslinger shot him in the back of the head while he played cards. Legend says that the hand Hickok was holding at the time of his death was two pair–black aces and black eights. The hand would forever be known as the “dead man’s hand.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: When a child loses a tooth in Spain, a small mouse called “Ratoncito Pérez” leaves a surprise under the pillow.

Pictures and Thoughts from a Day in Galen Dalrymple's Life

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