Thursday, February 28, 2013


        Life is a gift, a precious gift, that should never be taken for granted. Every birth is a precious celebration and every death a solemn reminder of that truth, but it shouldn’t take these fraternal twins that bracket our mortality to teach us to be grateful for every day, every hour, every minute God gives us to be together with those we love.
        Anniversaries are special occasions for happily married couples to celebrate their life together as husband and wife. On January 31 Margie and I celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary. Of course that was a significant milestone for us, for we both recalled having talked together on our honeymoon about how wonderful it would be if we could live long enough to celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary. It seemed so far away then.
        But here we are sixty-five years later, still going strong, and more in love than ever. How swiftly those years have flown, and what a wonderful life it has been. We’ve always had the feeling we were meant for each other, and if any marriage was ever “made in heaven,” ours certainly was.
        Our marriage has been a continual courtship, throughout which I have been writing love poems and silly rhymes to Margie. Here is one I sent her when she was a senior at Wellesley and I a love-sick senior at Princeton. She married me anyway!
          A doctor, who was Russian, in an ethical discussion,
          once gave me some advice I’ll ne’er forget.
          Said he, “Instead  of  keeping patients in the dark and sleeping,
          let them know just what they are about to get.

          “When you’ve made your diagnosis, tell the patient what the dose is
          that you’re just about to hand her in a spoon.”
          So now, sweet miss, please hearken, for the same applies to sparkin’ ---
          I’ve arranged for there to be a big full moon.

          And with fair and ample warning I shall keep you out till morning,
          while I whisper gentle nothings in your ear.
          For I’ve figured out your trouble; I shall make your doses double,
          and the outcome of my cure you need  not fear.

          I’ve decided what you’re missing is the proper kind of kissing,
          and I’ll dedicate myself unto the task
          of supplying love’s essentials with some duly sworn credentials,
          and provided your permission I might ask.

          In conclusion let me sum up: this prescription I did drum up
          will work, provided you heed my direction.
          So in order to be nice you must follow my advice —
          and remember that it’s for you own protection!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


     My son-in-law Thom Rhodes is an excellent writer, having a broad background as a journalist. He is a person of many talents,  a man of strong faith, and an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, New York, where his wife Elsie (our daughter) is pastor. He was the logical person for me to invite to submit the first guest article on my blog, while I cam recovering from total knee replacement surgery.I hope you enjoy his  beautifully personal and timely Lenten meditation as much as I did.   .
Thomas Rhodes

     Sometimes, you find yourself taking a surprisingly different road on your Lenten journey.
     Last week, I was rushing our ten-year-old son to an ecumenical Ash Wednesday service, which was taking place at the local Methodist church. My wife, a Presbyterian minister, was preaching at the service. Our church choir was providing the music.
     I was ready for an hour of stillness. I was ready to begin my 40-day Lenten journey. I was ready for my personal Camino de Santiago de Compostela – the legendary “Way of St. James” Christian pilgrimage from France-to-Spain ( Raised Lutheran (ELCA), I love the season of Lent, the preparation, the wilderness, the stark reality of life, death, death on the cross and the eager, lean-forward anticipation of a resurrection on Easter morning. Nothing is more satisfying than a powerful Good Friday.
     I was ready for the ashes.
     At least I thought I was.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Sen. John McCain grills Chuck Hagel at Senate Foreign
Relations Committee hearing -
        The Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee were downright mean to their former colleague Chuck Hagel at his confirmation hearing yesterday. Why? Because he is President Obama’s nominee to succeed Leon Panetta as Secretary of  Defense! In attacking Hagel they were attacking the President.
       Senator John McCain, for whose presidential bid in 2000 Hagel had served as National co-chairman, was particularly hard on the nominee, though the two men were fellow Vietnam war veterans and had been close friends. But with friends like John McCain who needs enemies?
        McCain’s not so hidden agenda throughout his questioning was to justify the war in Iraq. At one point he tried to pin down Hagel regarding his opposition to the troop surge, which in 2007 then  Senator Hagel had called the “most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” “Were you right?” asked McCain. “Were you correct in your assessment?”