Friday, January 20, 2017

Life is like a puzzle.

What if our life was like a picture puzzle? One piece representing one day in our life. What kind of picture would we create? Unlike the artist who sees the whole picture before him before he places the first dob of paint on the canvas, we create our painting one day at a time.  Wouldn't it be great if we could see our picture before we take our first stroke on our canvas?  Or, would it? If you could replace the pieces of the puzzle, which pieces would you replace and which ones would you add?

When we read the brilliant poem, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, do we wish we could go back and take the other road? I think it is only human nature to think those thoughts! How many forks in the road have we faced in our life. If you could go back in time and given the chance to take the other road, at which point in your life would you choose to take the other road?

I often think if I could go back at a particular point in my life, it would be to correct the many mistakes, which I have made. I wish I could go back and undo the harm or pain I brought into the lives of people I have encountered. I wish I had been a better person. I wish I had been a better coach and teacher. I wish I could have been a better husband, a better father. But most of all, I wish I had been a good Christian. If I had been a devout Christian I would have very few mistakes to correct. But, thank God we still have choices. He gives us the opportunity to be who we choose to be. He leaves it up to us to make choices. If we stop and think about the possible consequences of our options we would probably make better choices and make fewer mistakes.

Thank God we have the opportunity to ask for his forgiveness everyday. We know that He loves everything He has created. He is our Father and he will forgive ANY sin you may have committed or will commit. He gives his us the choice to to ask his forgiveness. He also gives us the choice to ignore him. Which road will you take.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Another one of my favorite fans when I played football for the Paintsville Tigers was Mr. Morrison. I am not sure but I believe his first name was Hugh. He was the father of Bobby and Peggy. He was on the sideline with us at every game, home and away. His favorite contribution to our team was to give any one of us a 50 cent piece for every fumble or interception we made. He was what our kids today would call a "Real Cool Dude".  He was always there with a towel when we came off the field. He would hug us and tell us what a great job we were doing. I remember this one occasion when we were playing at Belfry. It was freezing. I was playing over their center. When we collided the quarterback fumbled the ball and I recovered it. Somebody stepped on my right hand with their cleats and opened up the knuckle of my right hand. I could see the bone but there was no blood. It was so cold I could feel no pain either. When I came of the field I was met by Mr. Morrison who noticed my hand. He immediately grabbed the medicine chest and tended to my wound. With a sharp slap on the back he presented to me the coveted 50 cent piece. In 1952 fifty cents would buy me enough gas to shoot the loop for an entire week-end, or buy me two hamburgers and a coke. For fear of losing it, I placed it in the safest place I could think of at that moment, my jockstrap. (LOL)  I lost touch with Mr. Morrison after I left Paintsville but I have always remembered him as a great friend and a positive influence on my life. Rest In Peace my friend.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

One of my favorite Tiger fans.

One of my favorite memories of playing football for the Paintsville Tigers was the inner-action we had with our fans. Our Big Blue Nation is much like the University of Kentucky BBN. Our fans are almost fanatical. They love their Tigers regardless of the outcome of a game. Like the mailman, they are there to support their boys through the rain, the heat, the sleet, and snow.

One of my personal favorite was Wallace ("Wha Wha") Bailey. He loved to be called "Wha Wha" because "Wha Wha" Jones was his favorite UK player.

Wallace Jones

American Professional Basketball Player
Wallace Jones
Wallace Clayton "Wah Wah" Jones was an American professional basketball player. He played in the Nat…
"Wha Wha" Bailey enlisted in the Army at the beginning of World War II at the tender age of eighteen. While serving in combat he was crawling on his hands and knees when he was hit in the spine  by a German "Sniper". He was paralyzed from the waist down. As a result of his injuries he was discharged from the Army with a 100% disability. He received a nice monthly pension, a nurse to care for him, and free medical supplies and treatment for a lifetime. He also received a new car equipped with hand controls about every three years, depending on the mileage accumulated on the car. He was one of the toughest men I ever met in my life. He never complained. He just took life one day at a time and endured his constant pain.

"Wha Wha" and I became close, personal friends as a result of him being on our sidelines at every game, home and away. He would often call me over to congratulate me on my play. He became my biggest fan; my best friend, and solid supporter. He often took me out to Tuffy's restaurant after a home game and allowed me to order anything I wanted. For a poor son of a coal miner this was a wonderful treat. We would often go back to the football field and pass a football in the lights of his car. He loved to throw me the football and bragged what a great quarterback he would have been. Beneath my teasing of him about his passing ability my heart cried out for his injuries and the loss of his youth.

I lost touch with "Wha Wha" when I entered the military. I have heard from friends that he married a wonderful lady who tenderly cared for him until he died, peacefully in his arms.

Wallace was not the only soldier in his family. His brother Charles, who later married my great friend, Victoria Meek, served in the Korean War and won the Silver Star for bravery in action.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Living with Alzheimer's.

Four years ago I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I was very fortunate to have been referred by my family physician, Doctor Pankaj J. Patel one of the best physicians I have ever known. He referred us to Doctor Bridglal Ramkissoon, a renowned Neurologist in Sebring, Florida, Thankfully, he caught the disease in time, which so far has resulted in minimum damage to my over all health.

About two years ago Doctor Ramkissoon increased the dosage of my medication, one of which is administered by a patch on my shoulder. I also take other medicine, which helps to control my anger and depression. I began to have crazy dreams, which Doctor Ramkissoon, attributed to my medications.

I often dream of being lost. In these dreams I wander through forest, which have no ending.  I encounter creatures of all kind, which do not threaten me but usually accept me as one of their own.
Another frequent dream involves water. I find myself floating or swimming in a large river. I pass houses floating in the water with people sitting on their front porch. I also receive crazy thoughts or sayings, which I would never think of when I am fully awake. For example, I had this crazy thought this morning: If the pawn shops have a better selection of expensive jewelry than does the jewelry store, you are in Las Vegas. Now, where did that come from and what significance to anyone. Your guess is as good as mine.

In other dreams I am presented with all kinds of crazy thoughts and memories. I remember things and events as far back as when I was too young to attend school. And, yet I cannot remember what I did yesterday or what I had for supper last night. Many of these are events, which I am sorry for having committed or omitted to do. I remember every person I have ever offended or events, which I wish I could do over or I could meet that person face to face and ask them for forgiveness. Seems like I am constantly asking God to forgive me of all my sins, both past, present, and future ones, which I will commit. I often ask, what sins have I committed that God will not grant his forgiveness. Of course, there are none.

By far, the biggest blessing God has ever granted me is my wife, Kathryn Neff Perry. God sent her to me because he knew before I was ever born that I would need her to care for me during the greatest challenge I will ever face. Kathy has a medical background sufficient for her to present my case to all of the medical people we encounter. On one occasion we had an appointment with a brash, young Physicians Assistant who acted as if she was actually a licensed physician. She refused to let Kathy enter the treatment room with her. She began asking me a series of questions about my meds, which I could not answer since only Kathy and my doctors know. I told her she would have to ask my wife. Angrily, she opened the door and reluctantly invited Kathy into the room. She has never been asked to wait outside the treatment room again.

I hope and pray that none of you who will read this will ever have to deal with this terrible disease, Alzheimer's. If you do, please be patient with the victim and pray that God will give you the strength to deal with it with compassion, love and understanding. If you can afford it and want to make a donation to the Alzheimer's Association you will be contributing to research, which may find a cure for this debilitating disease, which at this time is incurable.

Have a very blessed and safe day my friends.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

God Answers Prayers

After my wife of forty-one years died in January of 2004, I prayed that if God wanted me to get married again that he would send me a lady who would love me unconditionally and be my best friend for life. A few miles away Kathryn Jean Neff was praying a similar prayer. In August of that same year I ran out of gas in my little truck and was able to pull into her drive way. We were reunited after several years as friends. She had been one of my clients when I was selling insurance but we were both married at that time so we maintained a professional relationship. That reunion resulted in me taking her out to dinner that night. We have been together ever since. That was the answer to two prayers.

Shortly after Kathy and I were married we went to Florida for the winter, to an  RV resort, where I had spent several winters with my deceased wife. We bought a beautiful Park Model home in charming Adelaide Shores campground.

We enjoyed our beautiful little home for three winters. This campground offered all of the amenities one could think of. Kathy joined several groups of ladies at the club house and I was able to play golf five and six days a week. We enjoyed a busy social season at the clubs house such as dances and pizza parties. We spent many afternoons at the club's large swimming pool while our friends and family back up north were fighting the winter elements. Life was really, really good.

It was during our second winter in Florida, we decided to go home to spend Christmas with our family. Shortly after we arrived in Ohio, I received a call from my Urologist.  He confirmed his diagnosis of prostate cancer. Kathy and I were facing several dilemmas. Do we stay in Ohio and seek treatment at the famous James Cancer Center? Or go back to Florida for treatment?  We prayed and asked God for his guidance. My Urologist recommended that we seek treatment at Ohio State. We were concerned that we would have to travel through Ohio's bitter winter storms and forty miles away. Kathy found a world renowned Oncologist a few miles from our Florida home. His primary practice was located in Orlando. However, he also practiced in a clinic  three miles from our Florida home. I had an appointment with Dr. Eric Saunders and a new urologist, Dr. Eustace Nelson, the next week.

Doctor Saunders proved to be exactly the practitioner we needed at the time. His regimen consisted of radiation treatments five-days a week, for five weeks. Later I received  implants of fifty radioactive pellets into the tissue of the prostate gland. During this five week period Kathy and I grew closer and closer as husband and wife. She purchased a disc of the famous LADIES SING GOSPEL for us to listen to on our way to and from the clinic. That music still brings tears to my eyes. We used these sessions as dates and received my treatments as a time to worship the Lord instead of a much needed medical treatment.

Kathy and I soon realized that maintaining two homes was completely unnecessary and expensive. We were hoping that we could find a house in Avon Park, which we could afford. Again, God answered our prayers. Two of our friends at the Nazarene Church, Pete and Wanda Maas, told us that their house was for sale as they wanted to downsize into a town house in the Oaks gated community near by. We were invited to visit their home and see if it met our needs. We fell in love with the house and immediately began searching for a buyer for our Park Model, which God provided right away. But, we soon discovered that we would not have enough money to buy the house.

We went to visit Pete and Wanda once again to inform them we would be unable to buy their house. It was at that moment we joined hands with Pete and Wanda, standing in the living room and asked the Lord for His will to be done. We said our good-byes and got in our car to leave.  A thought came to me. I said to my wife, "Honey, I am not sure but I think we have an account,  but I am not sure if it's enough. So, when we got home I checked my portfolio and discovered that indeed we did have a mutual fund, which would be more than enough to allow us to buy the house we wanted. We thanked God for this blessing and informed Pete that we would be able to buy the house.  We are so blessed to have the home of our dreams and one completely dedicated to God.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

One of my favorite memories is the Saturday morning I met John Bland. I was shooting pool by myself in the pool room close by the old Arcade theatre in Paintsville, Kentucky. John came up to me, introduced himself and asked if he could join me. This was the beginning of a friendship, which changed my life forever and for the better. John, a year older than I, became my mentor and best friend.

I related to John that I was very unhappy in my attendance at Meade Memorial High School. John suggested that I might be happier at Paintsville High School. I was somewhat surprised at his comments and his desire to help me. Our principal at Meade, A.I. Lewis, had revealed his dislike for the city school by continuously referring to PHS as a school filled with elitist students,  This propaganda would prove to be incorrect many times.

John took it upon himself to arrange for me to be able to attend PHS tuition free by playing football. This was a life changing event for me too. I loved football because I had great coaches who challenged me every day. As a result I became more secure in my own skin and able to make friends, which I still enjoy.

When I returned from Korea I requested and was granted an assignment at the same base where John was stationed. We enjoyed two years together before we became separated by circumstances beyond our control. We were reunited again after we both retired. We enjoyed many rounds of golf together at Paintsville Country Club.

John died a few years ago. There has been an emptiness in my heart ever since. I am looking forward to being with him again in Heaven.

Proverbs 18:24 ESV / 913 helpful votes

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

My wife ( a psychology Major) and my Neurologist have advised me to write as much as I possibly can to keep my brain active in an effort to combat my Alzheimer's disease. So, I am going to try and write a blog as often as I can using my long term memory, which is still very good at this point in my fight with this terrible disease. I hope and pray that my blogs will prove beneficial to at least one person. I am asking all of my Facebook friends to pray for me that I may receive an inspiring theme on a regular basis.