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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
October 1, 2001

Steamboat Mountain was a man killer, and truckers who hauled the Alaska Highway treated it with great respect. Particularly in the winter, the road used to curve and twist over the mountain, and sheer cliffs dropped away sharply from the icy road. Countless trucks and truckers have been lost there over the years and many dreams were dashed upon its rocky slopes.

Many years ago on one trip up the highway, I came upon an RCMP cruiser and several wreckers winching the remains of a semi up the cliff. I parked my rig and went over to the quiet group of truckers who were watching the wreckage slowly come into sight.

One of the Mounties walked over to us and spoke quietly. “I’m sorry,” he said. “The driver was dead when we found him. He must have gone over the side two days ago when we had a bad snowstorm. There weren’t many tracks. It was just a fluke that we noticed the sun shining off some chrome.”

He shook his head slowly and reached into his parka pocket. “Here, maybe you guys should read this. I guess he lived for a couple of hours until the cold got to him.”

My Darling Wife,

This is a letter that no man ever wants to write, but I’m lucky enough to have some time to say what I’ve forgotten to say so many times.

I love you, Sweetheart.

You used to kid me that I loved the truck more than you because I spent more time with her. I do love this piece of iron — she’s been good to me. She’s seen me through touch times and tough places and I could always count on her in a long haul and she was speedy in the stretches. She never let me down.

But you want to know something? I love you for the same reasons. You’ve seen me through the tough times and places, too.

Remember the first truck? That run down “ol’ corn binder” that kept us broke all the time but always made just enough money to keep us eating? You went out and got a job so that we could pay the rent and bills. Every cent I made went into the truck while your money kept us in food with a roof over our heads.

I remember that I complained about the truck, but I don’t remember you ever complaining when you came home tired from work and I asked you for money to go on the road again. If you did complain, I guess I didn’t hear you. I was too wrapped up with my problems to think of yours.

I think now of all the things you gave up for me. The clothes, the holidays, the parties, the friends. You never complained and somehow I never remembered to thank you for being you.

When I sat having coffee with the boys, I always talked about the truck, my rig, my payments. I guess I forgot you were my partner even if you weren’t in the cab with me. It was your sacrifices and determination as much as mine that finally got the new truck. I was so proud of that truck I was bursting. I was proud of you, too, but I never told you that. I took it for granted you knew, but if I had spent as much time talking with you as I did polishing chrome, perhaps I would have.

I always knew your prayers rode with me. But this time they weren’t enough. I’m hurt and it’s bad. I’ve made my last mile and I want to say the things that should have been said so many times before. The things that were forgotten because I was too concerned about the truck and the job. I’m thinking about the missed anniversaries and birthdays. The school plays and hockey games that you went to alone because I was on the road.

I’m thinking of the peace of mind I had knowing that you were at home with the kids, waiting for me. The family dinners where you spent all your time telling your folks why I couldn’t make it — I was busy changing oil, I was busy looking for parts; I was sleeping because I was leaving early the next morning.

There was always a reason, but somehow they don’t seem very important right now.

When we were married, you didn’t know how to change a light bulb. Within a couple of years, you were fixing the furnace in a blizzard while I was waiting for a load in Florida. You became a pretty good mechanic, helping me with repairs, and I was mighty proud of you that time you jumped into the truck and backed it up over the rose bushes.

I was proud of you when I pulled into the yard and saw you sleeping in the car waiting for me. Whether it was two in the morning or two in the afternoon, you always looked like a movie star to me. You’re beautiful, you know. I guess I haven’t told you that lately, but you are.

I made lots of mistakes in my life, but if I only ever made one good decision, it was then I asked you to marry me. You never could understand what it was that kept me trucking. I couldn’t either, but it was my way of life and you stuck with me. Good times, bad times, you were always there.

I love you sweetheart, and I love our kids.

My body hurts but my heart hurts even more. You won’t be there when I end this trip. For the first time since we’ve been together, I’m really alone and it scares me. I need you so badly, and I know it’s too late.

It’s funny I guess, but what I have now is the truck. This damned truck that ruled our lives for so long. This twisted hunk of steel that I lived in and with for so many years. But it can’t return my love. Only you can do that.

You’re a thousand miles away but I feel you here with me. I can see your face and feel your love and I’m scared to make the final run alone.

Tell the kids that I love them very much and don’t let them drive any truck for a living.

I guess that’s about it honey. My God, but I love you so very much. Take care of yourself and always remember that I loved you more than anything in life.

I just forgot to tell you.

I Love You,
Bill

 

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 30, 2000

Once upon a time there was a happy little train. He had such a good time as he raced down the tracks. He blew his whistle at all his friends along the way. His friend the horse galloped alongside to the end of the pasture. His friend the duck soared over his steaming smokestack.

But one day the happy train stopped being happy. He began to envy his friends. The horse could go anywhere he wanted in his pasture and the duck could fly through the sky. “But all I ever get to do is stay on the tracks!” grumbled the not-so-happy little train.

“How can I get off my tracks?” wondered the little train.
“Maybe if I go really fast at the curve. Then I’ll be off the tracks and as free as my friend the horse!”

So the next day the little train began to pick up speed miles before the curve. His friends were astonished at how fast the little train steamed by. They watched with amazement as the little train reached the curve at full speed and jumped free of the tracks. “I’m free” thought the little train as he plowed into the field next to the tracks.

But before he could blow his whistle he was stuck. He churned his wheels. He tried to go backwards. But he didn’t move an inch.

“I’m not free!” he cried. “I’m stuck!”

His friend the horse came over to the little train. “You silly train, what were you thinking?” asked the horse.

“I wanted to be free like you,” said the train. “But I discovered that the only way to be free is to stay on the tracks!”

“Of course,” said the horse.

“Absolutely,” said the duck. “We’re only free when we play by the rules.”

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 29, 2009

A little boy visiting his grandparents and given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead. The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you, Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck.

“I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”

By Pastor Steven Cole
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 24, 2005

I woke up shivering the morning of Thanksgiving Day 1969. I’d pulled a canvas tarp over me while laying on a hay bail in a barn just off the road I was hitchhiking on, north of Sacramento going north to Oregon. Freeway 5 was closed for repairs so I found myself on some country road in the middle of no where. I couldn’t sleep with all those roosters crowing in my ear so I quietly sneeked back to the road with my friend Tom. We saw the sun come up to another clear crisp chilly California sunny day. The road was completely deserted of cars for a long time until a black man in a white pick up finally came by and graciously pulled over to pick us up. He headed north to the freeway and let us off at the first off ramp, again in the middle of no where.

We stood there on the side of the freeway for a long time watching the sun slowly rise in the sky and feeling our tongues slowly swell with thirst and hunger. Why was I doing this?

It must’ve been noon with the sun high and the air hot and dry. I thought, “I must be out of God’s will. Nobody has come down this road to pick us up.” I said, “Why don’t we test God to see what His will is. You stand on one side of the road and I’ll stand on the other. The one who gets the first ride, that’s the way we’re suppose to go.”

But then my heart smote me. I hadn’t come this far to go back. I knew it was for God that I’d come this far. How could I be so unresolute? I wasn’t anywhere near dead yet. I sure was in pain though, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain.

Then I said, “Why don’t we go over to that almond grove and see if we can get something to eat?” Tom agreed. So we jumped the fences and started going from tree to tree. Not one almond! I saw another grove on the other side of the drainage ditch and said, “Let’s try over there.” I found one hanging on a tree and another on the ground, but nothing else. So we gave up.

We jumped the fences back to the road and stood there quiet, thinking, praying. No traffic. I thought about all the early settlers, our forefathers who had walked into this land a hundred years ago. I thought about the early saints and Israelites who’d persevered though their wildernesses. Finally it came to me I shouldn’t just be dependent on some driver who might pass by. If God wants me to go to Oregon I could walk just like all those who’ve paved this road before me. So I said to Tom, “Let’s walk to a better place to hitchhike.” I could see a long way. I didn’t see a better place to hitchhike. But any place was better than here.

So we started walking through what felt like the Sahara desert. The sun baking down on our skin, the dry wind, the thirst, and the breeze of the cars going by. I didn’t even turn to the traffic any more, I just put out my left arm, thumb up.

I was looking down at the gravel and sand I was walking on just putting one foot in front of the other. Then I saw a pebble that looked strangely different than the others and stopped to look at it. Tom caught up and said, “What are you looking at?” I bent down and picked up an almond just laying there along the side of the road.

We joked and rejoiced and said grace and very carefully divided it up savoring every morsel. Then we started stepping down the road again. Again and again we stopped and stooped to pick up more almonds until we started putting them in our pockets.

Then a white station wagon pulled over in front of us and we ran up to it. The couple inside offered us a ride and said to get in the back seat. When we got in we saw the floor covered with almonds! They were almond growers who had just harvested. They said, “Help yourself.”

They gave us a ride to a perfect place to hitchhike. We’d hardly got out of the car before someone else stopped and gave us a ride all the way to the front door of the commune we were going to in central Oregon, 10 miles off the freeway. We ate Thanksgiving dinner with them and slept under warm blankets that night.

Just before I woke up the next morning I heard a voice asking me, “Where were the almonds?” I said, “Lord, not on the trees, but on the road.” Then was opened to me even further the scripture in Matthew 6:31 – 33, “… Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’. For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. …”
— Written by Alan Bane –

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 24, 2014

An atheist was walking through the woods one day in Alaska, admiring all that evolution had created. “What majestic trees! What a powerful river! What beautiful animals!” he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.

Turning to look, he saw a 13-foot Kodiak brown bear beginning to charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could down the path.

He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was rapidly closing on him. Somehow, he ran even faster, so scared that tears came to his eyes. He looked again & the bear was even closer. His heart pounding in his chest, he tried to run faster yet. But alas, he tripped and fell to the ground.

As he rolled over to pick himself up, the bear was right over him, reaching for him with it’s left paw and raising its right paw to strike him….he yelled out, “OH MY GOD!”

Time stopped…….

The bear froze…….

The forest was silent…………

Even the river stopped moving.

As a brilliant light shone upon the man, a thunderous voice came from all around,

GOD SPOKE:

“YOU DENY MY EXISTENCE FOR ALL THESE YEARS, TEACH OTHERS THAT I DON’T EXIST AND EVEN CREDIT CREATION TO SOME COSMIC ACCIDENT. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO HELP YOU OUT OF THIS PREDICAMENT? “AM I TO COUNT YOU NOW AS A BELIEVER?”

Difficult as it was, the atheist looked directly into the light & said, “It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian?”

“VERY WELL,” said GOD.

The light went out…

The river ran…

The sounds of the forest resumed..

And the bear dropped down on his knees, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke:

“Lord, thank you for this food which I am about to receive, Amen.”

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 23, 2003

A man had a little daughter–an only and much beloved child. He lived only for her, she was his life. So when she became ill and her illness resisted the efforts of the best obtainable physicians, he became like a man possessed, moving heaven and earth to bring about her restoration to health.

His best efforts proved fruitless, however, and the child died. The father was totally irreconcilable. He became a bitter recluse, shutting himself away from his many friends, refusing every activity that might restore his poise and bring him back to his normal self.

Then one night he had a dream. He was in heaven and witnessing a grand pageant of all the little child angels. They were marching in an apparently endless line past the Great White Throne. Every white-robed, angelic tot carried a candle. He noticed, however, that one child’s candle was not lit. Then he saw that the child with the dark candle was his own little girl. Rushing towards her, while the pageant faltered, he seized her in his arms, caressed her tenderly, and asked, “How is that your candle is the only one not lit?” “Father, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out again,” she said.

Just then he awoke from from his dream. The lesson was crystal clear, and it’s effects were immediate. From that hour on he was no longer a recluse, but mingled freely and cheerfully with his former friends and associates. No longer would his little darling’s candle be extingushed by his useless tears.

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 21, 2002

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God and didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife did believe and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked her husband to come, but he refused as usual, .. “The Christmas story is nonsense!” he exclaimed. “Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That’s ridiculous!” She and the children went, and he stayed home.

That night the wind began to blow and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he could see was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down before the fire-place to relax . Suddenly there was a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then a second thump. He looked out, but couldn’t see more than a few feet because of the blinding snow.

When the storm let up a little, he ventured out to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near the house was a flock of wild geese. Apparently they were flying south when they were caught in the blizzard and couldn’t go on.

They were lost and stranded on his farm, without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they aimlessly flew around the field in low circles. Some had apparently flown into his window.

The man felt concern for the geese and wanted to help them.

The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It was warm and safe. They would be saved if they spent the night there waiting out the storm.

He opened the barn doors wide. Then he watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and enter. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn’t seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and brought out some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became frightened and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be safe. “Why don’t they follow me?” he puzzled. “Can’t they see this is the only place where they can survive?”

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn’t follow a human. “If only I were a goose, then I could save them,” he said out loud.

Suddenly he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. When he released his goose, it flew through the flock and straight into the safety of the barn. One by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: “If only I were a goose, then I could save them!” Then he thought about what he had said to his wife.

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese–blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first real prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for coming in human form to get me out of this world and leading me to a better one. Lead me to the safety of Your Father’s arms.”

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