Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
July 15, 2014

He was scary-looking. Standing about 6 foot 6 inches tall, he had shoulders the width of my dining room table. His hair hung to his shoulders, a full beard obscured half of his face; his massive arms and chest were covered with tattoos. He was wearing greasy blue jeans and a jean jacket with the sleeves cut out. Chains clanked on his motorcycle boots and on the key ring hanging from his wide leather belt. He held out a hand the size of a pie plate, in which lay a tiny, misshapen kitten.

“What’s wrong with Tiny, Doc?” he asked in a gruff voice.

My exam revealed a birth defect. Tiny’s spine had never grown together, and he was paralyzed in his back legs. No amount of surgery, medicine, or prayer was going to fix him – I felt helpless.

The only thing I could tell this big, hairy giant was that his little friend was going to die. I was ashamed of my prejudice but I felt a little nervous anticipating the biker’s reaction. Being the bearer of bad news is never pleasant, but with a rough-looking character like the man in front of me, I didn’t know what to expect.

I tried to be as tactful as possible, explaining Tiny’s problem and what we could expect, which was a slow, lingering death. I braced myself for his response.

But the big fella only looked at me with eyes that I could barely see through the hair on his face and said sadly, “I guess we gotta do him, huh, Doc?”

I agreed that, yes, the best way to help Tiny was to give him the injection that would end his poor pain-filled life. So with his owner holding Tiny, we ended the little kitten’s pain.

When it was over, I was surprised to see this macho guy, the size of an oak tree, just standing there holding Tiny, with tears running down his beard. He never apologized for crying, but he managed a choked ” Thanks, Doc,” as he carried his little friend’s body home to bury him.

Although ending a patient’s life is never pleasant, my staff and I all agreed that we were glad that we could stop the sick kitten’s pain. Weeks passed, and the incident faded.

Then one day the oak-sized biker appeared in the clinic again. It looked ominously like we were about to repeat the earlier scenario. The huge man was wearing the same clothes and carrying another kitten in his pie plate hand. But I was enormously relieved upon examining “Tiny Two” to find he was absolutely, perfectly, wonderfully normal and healthy.

I started Tiny Two’s vaccinations, tested him for worms and discussed his care, diet, and future needs with his deceptively tough-looking owner. By now, it was obvious that Mr. Oak Tree had a heart that matched his size.

I wonder now how many other Hell’s Angel-types are really closet marshmallows. In fact, whenever I see a pack of scary-looking bikers roaring past me on the road, I crane my neck to see if I can catch a glimpse of some tiny little kitten poking its head up out of a sleek chrome side-car or maybe even peeking out from inside the front of a black leather jacket.

By Dr. Dennis K. McIntosh
from Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
Copyright 1998 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker
and Carol Kline
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
July 15, 2010

Kleenex Alert

It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and the darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were very large, so large, indeed, that they had belonged to her mother, and the poor little creature had lost them in running across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling along at a terrible rate. One of the slippers she could not find, and a boy seized upon the other and ran away with it, saying that he could use it as a cradle, when he had children of his own. So the little girl went on with her little naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried a number of matches, and had a bundle of them in her hands. No one had bought anything of her the whole day, nor had any one given here even a penny. Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along; poor little child, she looked the picture of misery. The snowflakes fell on her long, fair hair, which hung in curls on her shoulders, but she regarded them not.

Lights were shining from every window, and there was a savory smell of roast goose, for it was New-year’s eve–yes, she remembered that. In a corner, between two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sank down and huddled herself together. She had drawn her little feet under her, but she could not keep off the cold; and she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not take home even a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; besides, it was almost as cold at home as here, for they had only the roof to cover them, through which the wind howled, although the largest holes had been stopped up with straw and rags. Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold. Ah! perhaps a burning match might be some good, if she could draw it from the bundle and strike it against the wall, just to warm her fingers. She drew one out-“scratch!” how it sputtered as it burnt! It gave a warm, bright light, like a little candle, as she held her hand over it. It was really a wonderful light. It seemed to the little girl that she was sitting by a large iron stove, with polished brass feet and a brass ornament. How the fire burned! and seemed so beautifully warm that the child stretched out her feet as if to warm them, when, lo! the flame of the match went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the half-burnt match in her hand.

She rubbed another match on the wall. It burst into a flame, and where its light fell upon the wall it became as transparent as a veil, and she could see into the room. The table was covered with a snowy white table-cloth, on which stood a splendid dinner service, and a steaming roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what was still more wonderful, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled across the floor, with a knife and fork in its breast, to the little girl. Then the match went out, and there remained nothing but the thick, damp, cold wall before her.

She lighted another match, and then she found herself sitting under a beautiful Christmas-tree. It was larger and more beautifully decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door at the rich merchant’s. Thousands of tapers were burning upon the green branches, and colored pictures, like those she had seen in the show-windows, looked down upon it all. The little one stretched out her hand towards them, and the match went out.

The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked to her like the stars in the sky. Then she saw a star fall, leaving behind it a bright streak of fire. “Some one is dying,” thought the little girl, for her old grandmother, the only one who had ever loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star falls, a soul was going up to God.

She again rubbed a match on the wall, and the light shone round her; in the brightness stood her old grandmother, clear and shining, yet mild and loving in her appearance. “Grandmother,” cried the little one, “O take me with you; I know you will go away when the match burns out; you will vanish like the warm stove, the roast goose, and the large, glorious Christmas-tree.” And she made haste to light the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep her grandmother there. And the matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.

In the dawn of morning there lay the poor little one, with pale cheeks and smiling mouth, leaning against the wall; she had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year; and the New-year’s sun rose and shone upon a little corpse! The child still sat, in the stiffness of death, holding the matches in her hand, one bundle of which was burnt. “She tried to warm herself,” said some. No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen, nor into what glory she had entered with her grandmother, on New Year’s Day.

By - Hans Christian Andersen
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
July 12, 2013

Kleenex Alert

Many years ago when sailing vessels crossed the sea, one left an American port for Liverpool. All went well for a few days and there was every prospect of a pleasant voyage, when a storm broke in fury about the little craft, tossing it upon the waves until it seemed all hope of weathering the tempest must be abandoned.

The captain’s ceaseless vigil and the faithful crew’s efforts kept them afloat until the storm abated, but one morning the dreadful news was passed from one to another in startled whispers, “The ship has sprung a leak, and is sinking!”

Fear seized them; a chill threaded each vein and sinew at the thought of death in the depths of the sea. Vainly they searched the horizon for some glimpse of a friendly sail, and finally they appealed to the captain for some word of hope.

Said he: “The water seems to be slowly but surely gaining in spite of all we can do. There is one way to save us, but I hesitate about suggesting it, or advising it,” and with such words of comfort as he could express, he dismissed.

In a few hours the captain commanded the boatswain: “Pipe all hands aft,” and in response to the shrill shriek of the whistle the sailors gathered. The passengers, hearing a great commotion, crowded around in breathless anxiety.

“As you know,” said the captain, “our ship is leaking; our pumps are unable to keep ahead of the rush of water; and our lives are in danger. The leak seems not large, possibly only a few inches wide, as wide as a man’s arm.”

He stopped and repeated it slowly, “As wide as a man’s arm,” and as he said it he thrust his arm and hand forward, and waited a moment, but it seemed like years before he spoke again.

“Some one of you must go down into the hold, plunge into the water, and thrust his arm and shoulder into the leak; that one will lose his life, but will save the rest of us. Who will volunteer?”

The sun shone brightly upon the deck through a rift in the clouds as one stepped out of the ranks of seamen and looked into the eyes of the captain.

“I’ll go, sir,” he said, and a smile spread over his face as he realized that he had pronounced his own death sentence; but there was no trace of fear on his countenance.

“You!” cried the captain, as with blanched face he threw out both hands and leaned forward.

And the sailor answered, “Yes.”

Face to face they stood, the elder and the younger, father and son. Tears filled the captain’s eyes and, all unashamed, he permitted them to roll down his cheeks. He straightened up, removed his cap, and as he leaned over and kissed the youth on the forehead, he said: “My son, my son! Go, and God be with you.”

They watched the lad as he plunged into the deep water in the hold. Hours later, when safe at port, they found him with his arm thrust through the hold in the vessel’s side.

So it must have been in the courts of glory when the Son of God offered to give Himself for lost mankind.

J. L. Tucker 

Originally posted on "Working for Christ":

“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54, NIV)

 Son of God

A researcher in Boston visited Harvard Square to ask college students what they thought of Jesus. Although often respectful of Him many people really didn’t understand who He was. One said He was “a person who took care of people.” Another said, “He sounds like a cool guy.” Another, “he was a Jewish carpenter.” Others rejected Him completely: “He was just a guy, a man. I don’t think He was the Savior.” And “I do not accept any faith system that says, ‘I am the only way to God.’”

Two thousand years ago, people questioned who He was, too. As Jesus faced death many people mocked the idea that He was anyone special. “Above his head…

View original 265 more words

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
July 10, 2014

God has a way of allowing us to be in the right place at the right time. I was walking down a dimly lit street late one evening when I heard muffled screams coming from behind a clump of bushes. Alarmed, I slowed down to listen, and panicked when I realized that what I was hearing were the unmistakable sounds of a struggle: heavy grunting,frantic scuffling, and tearing of fabric. Only yards from where I stood, a woman was being attacked. Should I get involved? I was frightened for my own safety, and cursed myself for having suddenly decided to take a new route home that night. What if I became another statistic? Shouldn’t I just run to the nearest phone and call the police?

Although it seemed an eternity, the deliberations in my head had taken only seconds, but already the girl’s cries were growing weaker. I knew I had to act fast. How could I walk away from this? No, I finally resolved, I could not turn my back on the fate of this unknown woman, even if it meant risking my own life.

I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I don’t know where I found the moral courage and physical strength—but once I had finally resolved to help the girl, I became strangely transformed. I ran behind the bushes and pulled the assailant off the woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground, where we wrestled for a few minutes until the attacker jumped up and escaped.

Panting hard, I scrambled upright and approached the girl, who was crouched behind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I could barely see her outline, but I could certainly sense her trembling shock. Not wanting to frighten her further, I at first spoke to her from a distance.

“It’s OK,” I said soothingly. “The man ran away. You’re safe now.” There was a long pause and then I heard the words, uttered in wonder, in amazement.

“Dad, is that you?” And then, from behind the tree, stepped my youngest daughter, Katherine.

 

Author unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
July 9, 2009

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Walt-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.

It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there, under the awning, just inside the door of the Wal-Mart.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.

I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, ‘Mom let’s run through the rain,’She said.

‘What?’ Mom asked.

‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated.

‘No, Honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mom replied.

This young child waited a minute and repeated: ‘Mom, let’s run through the rain..’

‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mom said.

‘No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,’ the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.

‘This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?’

‘Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘ If God can get us through this, He can get us through anything!

The entire crowd stopped dead silent…I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain.. We all stood silently. No one left. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.

Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

‘Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD lets us get wet, well maybe we just need washing,’ Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They got soaked.

They were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
July 8, 2014

Anne sat at the breakfast table, eating her cornflakes and reading the print on the cereal box in front of her. “Tastee Cornflakes – Great New Offer!” the box read. “See back of box for details.”

Anne’s older sister, Mary, sat across from her, reading the other side of the cereal box. “Hey, Anne,” she said, “look at this awesome prize – `your name in gold’.”

As Mary read on, Anne’s interest in the prize grew.

“Just send in one dollar with proof-of-purchase seal from this box and spell out your first name on the information blank. We will send you a special pin with your name spelled in gold. (Only one per family, please.)”

Anne grabbed the box and looked on the back, her eyes brightening with excitement. The name “Jennifer” was spelled out in sparkling gold. “That’s a neat idea,” she said. “A pin with my very own name spelled out in gold. I’m going to send in for it.”

“Sorry, Anne, I saw it first,” said Mary, “so I get first dibs on it. Besides, you don’t have a dollar to send in, and I do.”

“But I want a pin like that so badly,” said Anne.

“Please let me have it!”

“Nope,” said her sister.

“You always get your way – just because you’re older than me,” said Anne, her lower lip trembling as her eyes filled with tears. “Just go ahead and send in for it. See if I care!” She threw down her spoon and ran from the kitchen.

Several weeks passed. One day the mailman brought a small package addressed to Mary. Anne was dying to see the pin, but she wouldn’t let Mary know how eager she was. Mary took the package to her room. Anne casually followed her in and sat on the bed.

“Well, I guess they sent you your pin. I sure hope you like it,” Anne said in a mean voice. Mary slowly took the paper off the package. She opened a little white box and carefully lifted off the top layer of white cotton. “Oh, it’s beautiful!” Mary said. “Just like the cereal box said, `your name in gold’. Four beautiful letters. Would you like to see it, Anne?”

“No, I don’t care about your dumb old pin.”

Mary put the white box on the dresser and went downstairs. Anne was alone in the bedroom. Soon she couldn’t wait any longer, so she walked over to the dresser. As she looked in the small white box, she gasped. Mixed feelings of love for her sister and shame at herself welled up within her, and the pin became a sparkling gold blur through her tears.

There on the pin were four beautiful letters – her name in gold: A-N-N-E.

By A. F. Bauman
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