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Monday, November 12, 2007


Unfinished business

"Excuse me sir," the voice was coming from a car that was pulling up along side me, "I grew up around here, but I haven't been back in so long, I don't recognize anything." I had to stop running to talk to the man on the passenger side of the car. His grandson was driving him around, but the man needed directions to find memory lane.

He had a New Orleans accent that closely resembles someone from New York. He had a stogie in his mouth and could have passed for an aging mob boss. He continued, "I grew up in a house near Madisonville in the bend of a road. It was a big two-story place. Do you know of it?" I like to be able to answer people's questions when they stop me from running. It makes me feel smart. This guy had me stumped. We talked a few minutes and I gave him a few ideas, but I basically was no help.

The man thanked me then drove off, stogie and all. Later that week it came to me just like stepping on a rake. The man probably lived on 1077. Darn, I have the answer, but no way to give him the information. It may sound funny, but this stuck with me. I would think of the man with the stogie from time to time and how I came up with his answer after it was too late to help him.

Today, I was off of work. One of the perks of state employment is more holidays. So to celebrate the day, I took Bear on an extra long walk. I was walking along listening to a book on my iPod when a car pulled along side me and a voice with a New Orleans accent said, "Excuse me sir, I grew up around here, but I haven't been back in so long, I don't recognize anything." It was the man I saw a year or two ago, still gnawing on a cigar. He didn't recognize me, but I recognized him. Now was my chance to finish that unfinished business.

The conversation went like our first one, but this time I suggested he drive down 1077. "No that's not it, I already tried there." So I repeated the advice I gave him the last time I gave him the wrong information. He thanked me and in a puff of smoke from his cigar, his grandson drove off still in search of the old homestead.

I laughed to myself. For a couple of years I had hoped for such a moment to bestow information on the man to help him end his lengthy quest. I had imagined accepting graciously and humbly his heartfelt adulation for helping him. In reality, he blew off my pearls of wisdom.

Ha. Oh well, it's the thought that counts I guess.

My business is now finished with the cigar smoking traveler.

Godspeed my friend.

Until the next time
John Strain


Thursday, November 08, 2007


I like Frank's sense of humor

Far Side Cartoon

Have a nice weekend.

Until the next time
John Strain


Monday, November 05, 2007



Sombrero Galaxy

This is a photo of the Sombrero Galaxy or M104 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is in the constellation Virgo and cannot be seen by the naked eye. It can be seen with binoculars - just a little speck in the night sky. Now consider that speck is 28 million light years away from the earth. It is equalivant to more than 800 billion suns. Were you to travel from one edge of the Sombrero Galaxy to the other, it would take you 50,000 years traveling at the speed of light.

Now consider this galaxy that shows up as a faint piece of lint in the night is but one pixel on a huge canvas that is the night sky.

Our star, the Sun is just one of 200 billion stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy. There are 150 billion galaxies in the universe.

Does that make you feel small and insignificant?

Does that give you some new perspective on those things about which you worry?

To think. The God who created it all loved us so much that he gave his only Son.

Small and insignificant as compared to the size of the universe is not equal to unlovable and valueless.

When I consider myself compared to the universe I feel humble.

When I think about God loving me I feel grateful.

What are worries compared to these truths?

That was a rhetorical question.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
-Psalm 8: 3-4

Until the next time
John Strain