To Illustrate. . .
Mark Tidd of Webster, New York, describes an experience from his college days:
"An old man showed up at the back door of the house we were renting. Opening the door a few cautious inches, we saw his eyes were glassy and his furrowed face glistened with silver stubble. He clutched a wicker basket holding a few unappealing vegetables. He bid us good morning and offered his produce for sale. We were uneasy enough that we made a quick purchase to alleviate both our pity and our fear.
"To our chagrin, he returned the next week, introducing himself as Mr. Roth, the man who lived in the shack down the road. As our fears subsided, we got close enough to realize it wasn't alcohol but cataracts that marbleized his eyes. On subsequent visits, he would shuffle in, wearing two mismatched right shoes, and pull out a harmonica. With glazed eyes set on a future glory, he'd puff out old gospel tunes between conversations about vegetables and religion.
"On one visit, he exclaimed, 'The Lord is so good! I came out of my shack this morning and found a bag full of shoes and clothing on my porch.'
" 'That's wonderful, Mr. Roth!' we said. 'We're happy for you.'
" 'You know what's even more wonderful?' he asked. 'Just yesterday I met some people that could use them.' "
Dean Niferatos was riding the Number 22 CTA bus in Chicago. The bus brimmed with dozing office workers, restless punkers, and affluent shoppers. At the Clark and Webster stop, two men and a woman climbed in. The driver, a seasoned veteran, immediately bellowed, "Everybody watch your valuables. There are pickpockets on board."
Women clutched their purses tightly. Men put their hands on their wallets. All eyes fixed on the trio, who, looking insulted and harassed, didn't break stride as they promptly exited through the middle doors.
The Bible warns us to be vigilant, because evil is less likely to overtake us when we're watching.
- Craig Brian Larson
Arlington Heights, Illinois
In Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island, he tells of five men who escape a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot-air balloon. As they rise into the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean. Watching their homeland disappear on the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft.
As the hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer, the men decide they must cast over-board some of the weight, for they had no way to heat the air in the balloon. Shoes, overcoats, and weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the uncomfortable aviators feel their balloon rise. But only temporarily. Soon they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again, so they toss their food. Better to be high and hungry than drown on a full belly!
Unfortunately, this, too, is only a temporary solution, and the craft again threatens to lower the men into the sea. One man has an idea: they can tie the ropes that hold the passenger car and sit on those ropes. Then they can cut away the basket ...