Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Remembering Pearl Harbor



Relaxing ashore in one of the many bungalows not far from the nested ships of the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor, sailors on this Sunday morning were luxuriating in the warm tropical environs of a paradise that would soon turn into a killing field. Planes were heard flying along the island coastline, raising little interest in the minds of the sailors who were enjoying liberty ashore.

This story was told to me about ten years ago by a couple of Pearl Harbor Survivor veterans when I was asked to speak to their group. They continued to recount the events of that day.

The planes flying by the bungalows along the beach sure looked like Jap Zeroes! But, then again, these sailors had seen the Marines paint their planes to look like the Zeroes with the big red “Meatball” on the sides of the fuselage and wings. And after all, Sunday was often just another day of the week when it came to military training. Yet it was a bit unnerving to see these planes looking so much like Japanese bombers. Standing on the bungalow’s lanai the sailors could clearly see the pilots of the aircraft, and, dang! they sure looked like Japanese! Waves of aircraft were filling the skies now, flying by, heading directly for the ships berthed at Pearl. In a matter of minutes the thunderous sounds of detonating bombs captured everyone’s attention. Alarm bells exploded in their heads. In their haste to throw on their uniforms and scramble into the car some of the men forgot their wallets containing their ID Cards. At this point, returning to base was paramount!

Pressing the accelerator of the car as far as they dared, they rolled up to the gate practically skidding to a stop for the sentry. The Marine guard, holding his M1 Garand, was unwilling to allow these sailors to pass without their IDs. And you can hardly blame the Marine. At this point he didn’t know who to trust. The sailors attempted to explain the haste which they were in, needing to return to their ships. It was obvious to all of them that something awful was happening down at the harbor. The Marine seemed unsure, recognizing that a crisis was brewing, yet wanting to obey his orders in not allowing any unlawful personnel to pass. Finally, exasperated, the sailor driving the car announced to the flummoxed Marine that they were going to drive onto the base and return to their ship. So if he was going to shoot them, then start shooting!

The car shot forward aiming for the harbor. No one dared to look back to see if the Marine was drawing a bead on them with his M1. The Marine stood with his rifle raised but did not fire. What they found when they arrived at the dock where their ship was tied up was utter devastation. Their ship was already sitting on the bottom of the harbor. Thus, World War Two began for the United States of America.

Another friend recalled this same event from a different perspective. Isaura and I met this elderly couple while I was stationed as a Navy chaplain from 1984-85 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California. George and Mamie Tintori had long been regular attenders of the Mainside Chapel on the base. We soon developed a lasting friendship and spent many enjoyable times together. They became surrogate grandparents for our girls, Laura (5) and Jenny (2). What a wonderful godly couple they were! They were loosed from their earthly bonds quite some years ago.

But one story they shared was their indirect connection with Pearl Harbor. George had enlisted in the Navy in 1922. Working his way up through the ranks, he became a warrant officer, and later, a commissioned officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. He was given orders to report to a destroyer, home based at the naval station in San Francisco. They were living in a hotel in the city while waiting for base housing to open up. So George says to Mamie one morning that his ship was going out on maneuvers for the weekend, but that he’d be back late Sunday and that she should plan to join him for dinner Sunday night. Well, it just so happened that the Sunday George was out to sea was December 7, 1941, “A day that will live in infamy,” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt so eloquently stated. What is often forgotten is that Germany declared war on the United States the next day.

The next time Mamie saw George was four years later when the war mercifully ended.

America was hit hard at Pearl Harbor. Our military was at a dangerously low number having been downsized by Congress following World War One. What emerged from the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was a resolve by a unified nation to not only strike back at an enemy that had attacked us without provocation, but to reduce that nation and their people to the point where they could not hurt anyone again for a very long time. The same attitude was aimed at Germany.

The Greatest Generation rose to the occasion and successfully defeated two daunting enemies, once again securing our freedom and liberties.

I fear our current generation might be called on to engage in a global war against Muslim radicals and their despotic followers. As our fathers and grandfathers did in WWII, this generation will undoubtedly step up and win the day for America and all freedom loving peoples throughout the world, crushing those who would seek to destroy us.

God bless America!



With the closure of the Ripon Record this month, my column, Roots in Ripon, will still be available on the Internet. If you would like to receive my weekly column, please send an email to Roots66@verizon.net and I will send my articles to you as an email attachment. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this column for the Ripon Record the past 13 years. Hope to reconnect with you by email! Blessings! Chuck Roots

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Go Niners! Please?


When it comes to football, I follow the trials and tribulations of two NFL (National Football League) teams. Those two teams are: the New England Patriots of the AFC (American Football Conference) East; and the San Francisco 49ers of the NFC (National Football Conference) West.

At this point in the season, these two teams could hardly be more different. The Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl Champions, and they are undefeated this year with a 10-0 record. The 49ers, on the other hand, are a weak sister by comparison. They are posting a dismal record of 3-7 with a weak team that is in desperate need of a few wins just to put a good face on the season.

There is a very good and logical reason why I am a fan for two teams. First, both teams play in different conferences. Second, I was born and raised in New England, yet I’ve been living in California since the beginning of my senior year in high school, 1965. Third, I was impressed by the loyalty to the 49ers by my brothers-in-law, Tony and Joe, have been die-hard 49er fans since the 1970s when the Niners were the 98 pound weakling in the NFL.

The last football game I can remember attending was in 1971. I was in the Marines and home on leave for Christmas. I stopped by the Oakland Marine Corps Recruiting Office to say hi to my recruiter. I do not remember his name, but he was a Gunnery Sergeant. We chatted for a while, at which point he asked me what I was doing the coming Sunday. I said I’d probably be hanging out at my parent’s home in Alameda enjoying home-cooking and watching a football game or two with my step father. He said he needed another Marine to fill out a four-man colors detail for an Oakland Raiders game. I jumped on the opportunity immediately! I looked forward to this because I would be wearing my Marine uniform at an NFL game marching with three other Marines while presenting the colors (American flag and California State flag). I was to be one of the rifle bearers. There are two who flanked the two flag bearers. In carrying the rifle you are to present the manual of arms which every Marine is drilled in during boot camp. It was great fun! I got to see the game for free standing on the sidelines, and to see players who are icons of the sport: Daryle Lamonica, George Blanda, Fred Biletnikoff, Willie Brown, Ben Davidson, Gus and Jim Otto (not related), Art Shell, Ken Stabler, Gene Upshaw, Phil Villapiano, and Carl Weathers. You may know Carl Weathers better as the actor who played Apollo Creed in the movie series, Rocky. A career-ending injury caused him to look elsewhere to make a living. Good choice going to Hollywood!

My brother-in-law, Tony, was here for Thanksgiving and asked me if I’d be interested in attending the 49ers-Cardinals game on Sunday. Would I? You bet! So it’s off to the new Levi Stadium in Santa Clara tomorrow morning. It’s only been 44 years since I attended my last NFL game! If I wait another 44 years before going again I’ll be 111. I’m thinking that’s not going to work!

The happy crew that is going to the game besides me are: brothers-in-law Tony and Joe Cabral, daughter and son-in-law Jenny & Josh Sousa, and nephews Cameron and Matthew Cabral.

As much as I’d like to be optimistic about the chances of the Niners pulling out a win tomorrow, that’s simply not going to happen. The Arizona Cardinals are 8-2, winning their last seven games. One TV sports commentator made this remark when asked if the 49ers could pull off the upset. He just laughed! Eventually he said, “I suppose they could have a chance. Instead of winning by six touchdowns, the Cardinals will only win by four touchdowns. Sigh! Yet hope springs eternal.

In accepting going to the game I realized I would most likely not see the New England Patriots play on Sunday Night Football against the Denver Broncos. Well, at least I can record it and watch it when I get home Sunday night. Sure am looking forward to the Patriots extending their undefeated streak.

Even though a win by the Niners tomorrow is remote at best, I have always enjoyed rooting for the underdog. So, GO NINERS!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The French? Really!


The Islamic terrorists who launched the deadly attacks in Paris last weekend are evil. There’s no other way to state it. These degenerates are evil personified.

The utter disregard they have for human life is breath-taking. Even more astonishing is one of the terrorists was a woman, who, when she realized she was about to be captured by the French police, detonated a bomb vest she was wearing. Unfortunately, a bomb-sniffing dog was killed in the blast.

This whole calamity has produced some strange bed-fellows. For instance, the Russians have “sent a puppy to France in tribute to the French dog, Diesel, who was killed in an anti-terrorism raid after the Paris attacks,” Sky News reported Saturday. “Diesel’s death prompted an outpouring of grief, and Russia hopes the puppy, named Dobrynya, fills the void.” Nice gesture by the Russians, who, by the way, have their own bone to pick with Muslim terrorists going back a long way in their history.

In a New York Post article, November 22, written by Amir Taheri, entitled, “ISIS is inherently cowardly – to defeat it, hit it hard.” A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about the difficulties the United States has had with Muslim terrorists since before we became a nation. It was not until President Thomas Jefferson said, “Enough!” that we were finally rid of Muslim pirates harassing our ships in the Mediterranean. Jefferson sent Marines by way of Navy ships to deal with these characters who were doing then the same things they are doing today – raping, pillaging, enslaving, forced conversion to Islam, beheadings, stoning’s, and the requirement to pay tribute money to Muslim leaders, and so on. After the Marines did what Marines do, we had no problems with these Muslim terrorists for many years. The one thing these reprobates seem to understand and respect is a good punch in the nose. At least until a new generation of Muslim radicals starts to feel their oats.

Here’s the irony in all of this war on terrorism. Of all people, the French, under the leadership of President François Hollande, is taking the initiative and going after the ISIS stronghold in Syria. French bombers are delivering the payloads on ISIS targets! The Russians have already done so, and may well do so again following the Paris attacks. The U.S. is slowly catching up under the leadership of a president who leads from behind. After the horrific terror attacks in Paris, French President François Hollande is talking a lot about a “strategy” to deal with the threat posed by ISIS, one he hopes to sell to President Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin within the next week or so.”

Perhaps I should explain why I find this action by the French to be so rich. It has always been the United States who steps in and fills the gap when any Western nation is threatened. Case in point: England and Great Britain twice in the last century. France in particular was completely overrun by the Germans in both WWI and WWII. Had it not been for the leadership, grit and determination of the U.S. military, the French would be speaking German today. But today we find the current administration is reticent to commit to any aggressive military action, particularly against any Muslim group. Instead, Hollande of France, and Putin of Russia are embarrassing the United States with their quick and aggressive action against ISIS.

Taheri writes, “Twenty years and so many atrocities later, in more than 30 countries on every continent, it is perhaps time for France and the European Union to persuade the UN to provide the international framework needed to combat terrorism based on the principle that one man’s terrorist is every man’s terrorist.” Ah, would that could be realized! But, Alas! I fear our current administration simply does not have the stomach for such a fight even though we may well be inviting Muslim terrorists into the United States through Syrian refugees. If this happens, we can expect to see the same sorts of violence and attacks currently experienced by Europe. And it is laughable to think for a moment that the United Nations (an organization of self-satisfied pomposity if ever there was one!) can be persuaded to do anything that would help protect member nations.

So I say good for the French for going after these terrorist creeps. Who knows – the United States may need to call on the French as we did more than 200 years ago when we were up against it in the revolutionary war with Britain. Is there another Jean Lafitte who would help us defeat the enemy within our borders?

America has always stood up to the world’s bullies, standing alone at times when no other nation would venture into the fray. I pray this administration discovers its steely resolve to defend and protect the Constitution and the American people.

This Thanksgiving be sure to thank God for the blessings, rights, privileges and liberty we still enjoy as Americans. And say a special prayer for our military which secures these unique benefits.

God bless America.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Bright Future


Recently I have been called upon for pastoral duties associated with friends and church members who have been loosed from their earthly bonds and are now celebrating in the joy, comfort and presence of Jesus.

When you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior there is indeed a bright future which awaits you. Two dear friends from church in the past few weeks have left us, both having reached 80 plus years. Maybe because I find myself in the shadow of 70 I’m realizing that the conversations I have with friends invariably get around to lengthy discussions about our respective health conditions. Truth be told, I feel great and am as active as ever – just not as quick as I once was.

But the conversation seems to always work its way around to health problems. Now, I’m okay with that, really. It’s just that I don’t want that to be the only topic covered. I vainly attempt to discuss sports in an effort to steer the subject away from death and dying. “Are the 49ers going to get rid of Kaepernick?” or “How about Sports Illustrated considering PGA golfer Jordan Speith as Sportsman of the Year?” or “Yeah, baby! The Patriots are 9 and 0!” or “The Warriors’ Steph Curry is on fire!”

Perhaps as we get older these illnesses and physical setbacks are a constant reminder of our looming mortality. Sooner or later we will shed this body of clay and be laid to rest in one manner or another – be it a coffin in the ground, or a mausoleum, or ashes scattered somewhere over the flora and fauna. It is not possible to escape such a final act in life’s perpetually progressing drama marching steadily toward the moment when the heart stops and the last breath is expelled from this tired, worn-out body.

One of my grandmothers lived to be 94. My mother was three months shy of 99 when she passed away last year. Neither of these ladies considered themselves to be old, nor did they enjoy being around “old people.” We all laughed at this, but as I think back on it I’m inclined to believe they were more interested in life and the things that were going on around them than they were sitting over a cup of tea chatting about theit aches, pains and operations which they had experienced.

Which all brings me to this question: Why do we seem to be obsessed with death and dying? I know that after having eight stents put in the arteries of my heart seven years ago, and being diagnosed with prostate cancer more than four years ago, I’m much more mindful of, and grateful for, each day.

The Bible says that God has placed eternity in the heart of every single person. Simply put, part of our make-up as people, our programming, if you will, gears us toward reflecting on our own existence and the significance of it in the light of eternity. Where do I fit in? Is there really more to life than the 70 or 80 years ascribed to us as mentioned by King David?

So if the concept of eternity has been embedded in my DNA by God himself, it would only make sense that I should want to find out where this all leads. Am I, in fact, an eternal being? Will I live forever? If so, where? And so, the questions arise.

At this point it is important to remember that Adam and Eve, our first earthly parents, were perfect and fully prepared to live on this earth in its pristine condition. But then came the choice to reject this perfect eternity by desiring to sin against God. Thus we were launched into a careening path of debauchery, destruction and death. All of this separated us from God. But he had an antidote for the sin problem. The name of this antidote is JESUS. He’s the one who rescues us from sin by having paid the price for our sin. When we accept him as our Savior, we are promised a new relationship with God through Jesus which leads us ultimately to Heaven where God awaits.

While sharing recently at a friend’s funeral service, I made it very clear that because Jesus had died and then raised himself from the dead, I was paying attention to whatever he had to say. You see, I figure if someone has the power to raise themself from the dead, they have my full, undivided attention! And because I have been walking with Jesus for 43 years my desire is now, and always will be, to be wherever Jesus is.

So, as I say farewell to my departing friends, and when called upon, officiate at their funeral services, I can’t help but be constantly reminded that one day I, too, will be leaving my earthly home for a far better place and a brighter future in Heaven.

I do hope that I will see you there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nothing New


The United States Marine Corps celebrated its 240th birthday on Tuesday, November 10th. Each year Marines gather in small, informal groups, or in more formal social affairs to raise a glass in honor of their beloved Corps. Sunday afternoon, Isaura and I were privileged to join the members of the local Marine Corps League at Vito’s Ristorante in Modesto for a commemorative luncheon. Each time I attend such a gathering I am reminded of why I firmly believe in the old phrase, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Make no mistake! I loved my years as a Navy officer serving as a chaplain. I would not trade those twenty-five years of ministry to the men and women of the sea services for anything. But having been a Marine is something that is in your blood. It never leaves you. Whether it was the arduous training, or standing fire watch, or the boredom of guard duty at some remote location, or the terrors of combat, all go toward the making of a Marine.

One of the areas the Marine Corps excels in is their own history. This history of the storied icons and leaders of the Corps throughout its history is part of what we celebrate each November 10th. We honor those who have gone before us from private to general – all are Marines. And every one of us jealously covets the title, Marine. Once earned, it can never be taken away.

So, I was watching FOX News the other night as they were discussing Brian Kilmeade’s latest book, written in collaboration with Don Yaeger, “Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates.” I was intrigued because every Marine knows about the Barbary Pirates, and particularly, Lt. Presley O’Bannon.

Here’s the historical setting: Muslim pirates of the Barbary Coast attack ships at sea. Their purpose in doing this is to steal the goods on board. They also kill the sailors of the captured vessel, or press them into forced labor on Muslim ships, and in the process requiring them to become Muslims, if they want to live, or simply sell them as slaves.

These pirates operated in the Mediterranean Sea, harassing merchant ships, and even naval ships of the European countries as far away as England that dared sail the sea lanes of the Mediterranean. It was also common practice for these Muslim pirates to raid towns and villages along the shores of the Mediterranean, raping and pillaging, making off with men who would be sold into slavery, and women who would be forced to marry Muslim men or be sold into slavery, and children who would be placed in Muslim families or be sold into slavery.

When did these Barbary Pirates roam the waters of the Mediterranean? The latter part of the 18th Century and early 19th Century. The Barbary Coast was made up of the North African states of Tunis, Morocco, Algiers, and Tripoli (Libya).  Often these raids on foreign shipping would bring about demands for ransom of the ship and its crew. Then the Muslim rulers of the Barbary Coast would demand tribute from weaker nations to be paid to them by any country using the Mediterranean waters. This racket went on far too long. Most countries paid the tribute since they were not interested in expending men and ships in fighting a war against these Muslim pirates.

If this has a familiar ring to it, then you’ve obviously been paying attention to what is going on in our world. You see, nothing is new. The same tactics are still being used today with certain modifications. The pirates have relocated to the East African shore of Somalia. The rampage of Europe where raping and pillaging is taking place is occurring within the borders of all European nations, many of which are in dire straits of losing their identity to the overwhelming flood of Muslims forcing their way into these Western countries.

While America was still under the rule of England, our ships were protected by the tribute the English Crown paid these Muslim pirate states. However, once we declared our independence from the British monarchy, any merchant ships flying the American flag were fair game. Presidents Washington and Adams reluctantly followed the practice of paying tribute simply because we did not have a Navy capable of protecting our merchant ships so far removed from our shores.

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, also continued the practice of paying off these Muslim bullies. However, the damage being done to our ships and crews continued. Jefferson decided enough was enough, and the United States pushed back. The American flag was desecrated by the Muslims in Tripoli. This prompted President Jefferson to take decisive military action. He appealed to European nations to assist him, but none would join forces with the United States.

A navy ship with a contingent of Marines aboard sailed to Tripoli in 1805 laying siege to the port city where the Marines forced the potentate of Tripoli to see the error of his ways. The Marines were led by Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon. For his personal bravery and the bravery of his Marines, O’Bannon was presented with the Mameluke sword, which is yet worn by Marine officers to this day.

So, the United States earned the respect of these North African Muslim states. The question for us today is: Will we have the courage to once again confront these murderous thugs who care nothing for our values and freedoms? Or will we acquiesce by surrendering some of those freedoms if only the bad guys would leave us alone.

These bad guys had no intention of leaving us alone more than two centuries ago, and they have no intention of leaving us alone today.

What will the United States do, I wonder?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Golf Gods


This week’s article is not a theological treatise on the universally accursed game of what the Scots call golf. But it could be!

The ancient story goes something like this: Back about 600 years ago some boys tending sheep in the fields of Scotland decided to entertain themselves by creating a game that would help pass the time as they tended to their duties caring for the sheep. So they grabbed what was at hand and came up with an obscure game relegated to the British Isles for most of 500 years - golf. The tools for this game were a cudgel and a round stone. I can’t be sure, but I’d be willing to bet that the pilgrims who first settled in America weren’t just escaping a British monarchy that stifled their desire to worship God in their own way. No, I’m thinking certain Scottish, English, and Irish wives were prodding and encouraging their husbands to sign on to the next sailing ship to America to escape the insipid game of golf that had obviously befuddled their minds.  

I can see it now – the husband has been in the fields all day planting the barley, harvesting the wheat, and tending to the flocks. But in truth, the poor devil has been sneaking off to play the infernal game of golf! As luck would have it, a neighbor lady, known for a loose tongue, sees the man making his way to a field set aside for playing “The Game.” This neighborhood gossip feels it is her duty to inform her neighbor of her husband’s meanderings on a golf course, signifying a neglect of his responsibilities to his family. Thus another ticket is purchased for a slow boat to America.

So it was off to the New World for many a poor soul who had been stung by the golf bug. Ha! But in the New World there was no golf! It took about 250 years from the time the pilgrims landed in Virginia in 1607 before golf arrived on the shores of New England in the middle of the 1800s. I have played several of the oldest courses in the United States. A couple of them resemble the sheep fields they once were.

The English champion, Harry Vardon, traveled to the United States in the early 1900s to play some exhibition rounds to show these unwashed, uncouth Americans the gentleman’s sport of golf. Two American boys were fully taken with the game, watching Vardon and his partner, Ted Ray, perform for the mesmerized Americans. Francis Ouimet became proficient enough in golf that he challenged the Englishman to a match – and won! Well, Katy bar the door! That’s all it took to have golf become an emerging national sport in the United States.

The other boy who was enamored with golf was Bobby Jones. More than any other golfer of note, Jones stamped a pedigree on golf that lasts to this day. Bobby Jones was your quintessential Southern Gentleman, hailing from Georgia. Because golf cost money, and the American middle class had not emerged as yet, golf was a sport enjoyed by the wealthy and highbrow in society. And it remained so for most of the first half of the 20th Century. It continues to be considered a gentleman’s sport. And because of the efforts of the famous female athlete and Olympic champion, Babe Didrikson, women were brought into the game of golf as well.

Following the victories over Japan and Germany in World War Two, an economic boon followed in the United States transforming many in the working class to a new status – the American Middle Class. Things changed: 5-day work weeks; 8-hour days; two-week vacations; decent pay with raises and bonuses; and the ability to buy a car. This also introduced leisure time for everyone. Golf took off as a sport in this environment. Add to that the advent of television and golf was here to stay.

 This brief history of golf is intended to point out the callousness of the golf gods who torment players of the game incessantly – mercilessly. These denizens of whatever passes for the spirit world’s Nirvana, Heaven, Paradise, Kingdom Come, Happy Hunting Ground, Glory or whatever, they have no heart!

If you are a golfer, or you’re married to a golfer, you understand fully what I am saying. For those of you who are clueless, let me simply say, “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be golfers!”

The list of things that golf does to a person is literally endless. The amount of money a golfer will spend on equipment, golf togs, and all manner of do-dads and gizmos is embarrassing. And we are so easily convinced that the newest golf ball will fly farther and straighter; that the newest set of clubs will allow us to hit the ball with power and authority; and that the latest style of golf shoe will give us an edge when addressing the ball.

Woe is me! For just when I believe I’m getting the hang of this diabolical game, and my scores are causing me to thump my chest in pride, the golf gods sprinkle “stupid dust” on me and I forget how to play. Oh, I try, but I look pathetic, thrashing away with my clubs trying to hit this nefarious ball, only to hear the golf gods chortling from their denizen of golfdom. They are heartless. I am doomed!

How bad is it? The first chance I have this week will find me on the golf course. Do you hear it? They’re laughing at me!

I need help.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BENGHAZI - All Four Articles

The following four articles were all written as a result of the Benghazi, Libya debacle of September 11, 2012. I had the privilege of speaking on air with the Americhics (Molly Vogt and Kim Monson) on Radio Station KLZ 560 AM, Denver. The program airs weekly on Thursday at 2:00 PM Mountain Time. It was a delightful experience to speak with these ladies.
The articles are in the order as they were written.
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From: Chuck Roots,

          Pastor, Ripon Free Methodist Church

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 3 October 2012

 
Courageous
 

Recently I was teaching a class in my church on the biblical character, Joshua. You remember him – he’s the one who took over for Moses to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. God made several promises to Joshua in the opening verses of this book of the Bible named after him. Three times God instructs Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” In fact, one of those times God instructed him to be “very courageous.” The road ahead was a tough one and Joshua would need to be up to the task.
 
The news has been full of the attacks on our embassies throughout the Muslim world, and in particular, the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi, Libya. However, apart from the shameful amount of disinformation willingly distributed by the Main Stream Media and the current administration, there’s a little known story of incredible bravery, heroics, and courage that should be the top story of every news agency across the fruited plain.

So what actually happened at the U.S. embassy in Libya? We are learning more about this every day. Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable

A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”

A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction on their numerically superior force.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!  

Consider these tenets of the Navy SEAL Code: 1) Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate, 2) Serve with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield, 3) Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit, 4) Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates, 5) Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation, 6) Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies, and 7) Earn your Trident every day (http://www.navyseals.com/seal-code-warrior-creed).

Thank you, Tyrone and Glen. To the very last breath, you both lived up to the SEAL Code. You served all of us well. You were courageous in the face of certain death.

And Tyrone, even though you never got to hold your newborn son, he will grow up knowing the character and quality of his father, a man among men who sacrificed himself defending others.

God bless America!
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From: Chuck Roots

          Pastor, Ripon Free Methodist Church

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 22 May 2013

 
Benghazi Redux
              

It has been just over eight months since the travesty in Benghazi. I remain sickened by what took place there, saddened for the devastation this event has brought on my country.

The unnecessary deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, hang now over the American conscience with the unanswered question, “Why?”.

Immediately following the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, a friend who is related to one of the SEALs called me with information that was contradictory to what was coming from the White House and the media. Because my friend is an honest person, with permission, I wrote an article entitled, Courageous, for the October 3, 2012 edition of Roots in Ripon. My purpose in writing this particular article was to eulogize the brave former SEALs. It was first reported that they saved the lives of as many as 20 American personnel, but in the process they killed a bunch of the bad guys. The report I first received from my friend was that Glen and Ty managed to wipe out 60 of the attacking force.

Recently I was contacted by a gentleman who told me he had previously served with one of the SEALs. He had read my article and wanted to update my earlier information. Glen and Ty, through their actions and bravery, killed as many as 100 of the attackers, not the 60 I had first been told. And they affected the safe rescue of some 40 or more American personnel before they themselves were killed, not the 20 first reported.

Because the information I wrote about was not in the main stream media, I received numerous e-mails and phone calls asking me where I had obtained my information. Of course, I could not reveal my sources without compromising my friend and the job he holds. I heard from quite a few special operations folks who appreciated my writing about this story since the media was not willing to do so. One of the more interesting e-mails I received was from someone in the State Department who was irate that I would dare to write about something that I had no knowledge of, and took me to task over my article. My reaction was to trust the information I received from my friend. I told folks to watch the news and wait to see if the things I wrote about were not proven correct eventually. I just didn’t know it would take this long, nor did I see this becoming a major scandal.

What is so troubling to me is knowing that within our government we have contingency plans in place virtually everywhere in the world, yet they were not implemented for these men in Benghazi. Why? I don’t know. With all that is taking place with Congressional inquiries, and the main stream media seemingly coming awake, this story is not going away. Nor should it.

There are those who are saying the Benghazi debacle is much to do about nothing. Or as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “What difference does it make?”

I would like to answer Mrs. Clinton’s question. The difference it makes is that the four Americans died needlessly. Help was ready, willing, and able to come to the rescue. But that help was told to stand down. That decision has sent a chill through the soul of every single member of the military. Anyone who has signed on the dotted line to serve knows there are situations where you may not have help coming. Well, so be it. But this was not one of those instances.

Will our young people coming of age want to serve in our military if they have doubts as to whether their government has their back? I suspect they will. But our nation will rebound from this.

This is a painful chapter in our history, but the travesty of Benghazi does not define us as Americans. We yet remain the home of the free because of the brave.

At the end of the day terrorists are nothing more than thugs and are no match for our freedom-loving American military men and women.

God Bless America!
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From: Chuck Roots,

          Pastor and Navy Chaplain, Retired

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 10 September 2014
 

Benghazi Update
 

This Thursday, September 11, will be two years since the attack on our embassy personnel in Benghazi, Libya.

During this time I have written two articles about this travesty. Initially I wrote about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty because a friend of mine was related to one of the SEALs and shared information he had obtained from a military officer who spoke at one of the funeral services for the fallen. I was fascinated with the strange twist the whole affair had taken with the tragic results, results that brought then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, upon being questioned about this obvious screw-up during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing of January 23, 2013, to express with frustration, “What difference at this point does it make?”

Well, Mrs. Clinton, if I may say so, it makes a big difference to the Americans murdered at the hands of Islamic thugs. And it sure matters to their families. It has also cast a pall over our military who have realized that Americans in trouble and who called for help that was readily available were denied that help. That’s the difference it makes.

My first article, written for the October 3, 2012 publication of the Ripon Record, was entitled, “Courageous.” Over the next six to twelve months I received countless phone calls, emails and letters from folks wanting to know how I had obtained my information on Benghazi. I was not at liberty to divulge my sources without compromising folks I knew and trusted. Most folks were supportive of my article, but there were some who were, to put it bluntly, angry with me. One individual called me from the State Department, so they said, angrily calling into question my knowledge of what actually happened, insinuating that as a Navy chaplain what could I possibly know about such things. I replied, “Prove that the facts in my article are wrong.” They hung up.

I also heard from a number of special ops guys, thanking me for writing the article, which prompted my second article, “Benghazi Redux,” May 22, 2013. I received a call from someone claiming to be a flag officer (a general) who was in the Special Forces. It has made life exciting for a while, I can assure you!

This past weekend, Bret Baier of FOX News did a special report where he interviewed three men who were part of a security detail directly involved in the battle in Benghazi. They were with Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty throughout the thirteen hours they defended the embassy annex compound where the fight raged. It is based upon a book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi,” written by Mitchell Zuckoff along with the Benghazi American Embassy Annex Security Team.

These men, two former Marines and one former Army Ranger, stated unequivocally in the interview with Bret Baier that when they were first alerted to the attack on the annex compound in Benghazi where Ambassador Stevens was in mortal danger, they grabbed their gear and were heading for their vehicles to attempt a rescue when they were ordered to wait, and then to “stand down.” They were confused by this order to stand down, but assumed they would be released shortly once info came in from two drones circling over the city. After 30 minutes had passed, and three refusals to allow them to initiate the rescue, they jumped in their vehicles anyway and drove the few minutes to the embassy compound. They described in detail the slugfest they found themselves in with Islamic terrorists which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.

Toward the end of the hour-long TV special Bret Baier asked each of the men if they firmly believed that if they had been allowed to go to the rescue immediately, instead of enduring the frustrating thirty minute stand down order, if the Ambassador and the others would be alive. They said without hesitation, “Yes. Definitely.”

There is presently a Congressional Investigation into the Benghazi affair being chaired by U.S. House of Representatives Trey Gowdy. I believe Mr. Gowdy to be an upright man and a straight shooter. What he and his investigative committee will be able to conclude from the Benghazi mess only God knows.

But here’s what you need to know: The administration, specifically the White House and the State Department, continues to deny that any stand down order was ever given, and that available assistance was never refused. The three special agents who battled the Islamic terrorists in Benghazi say otherwise.

For my money, I trust the agents.
Next week I’ll share from a phone conversation I had with Charles Woods, a retired judge and the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods.
********************************************************************

From: Chuck Roots,

          Pastor and Navy Chaplain, Retired

To:     Craig Macho

          Editor, Ripon Record

Subj.: Roots in Ripon, 17 September 2014
 

A Father’s Heart
 

Several months ago I was contacted by the father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who was killed in Benghazi along with former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty. I had a most delightful conversation with Charles Woods, a retired judge.

Mr. Woods called me to discuss the article, “Courageous,” I had written immediately following the Benghazi travesty which was published October 3, 2012. A friend, who is a family member of one of the four Americans killed that day by Islamic thugs, had provided me with the initial information which I then wove into the article, highlighting the bravery of Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Like many of you, I had seen Mr. Woods on FOX News being interviewed quite a number of times. From the FOX interviews it was clear to me that this man was a man who had his faith placed solidly in Jesus. During my first phone conversation with him back in the spring his strong faith in the Lord was abundantly evident. “You see,” he said, “Ty was not just a number – he was a real person.”

On the subject of forgiveness, Sean Hannity of FOX News asked Tyrone’s three teenaged half-sisters, Joy, Faith, and Hope, this question, “Can you forgive?” referring to forgiving the Islamists who killed their brother. One sister responded, “As a Christian we should act how Jesus would want us to act.” The question of forgiveness came up in my talk with Mr. Woods as well. He said to me, “I have forgiven those in (Benghazi) Libya, and in Washington D.C.” That’s quite a statement in light of the serious questions that remain as to the possible mishandling of the Benghazi affair from a host of players within our government.

Last weekend, Bret Baier from FOX News interviewed three of the surviving members from Benghazi, security team members, Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto (former Army Ranger), Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen (both former Marines). They partnered with author Mitchell Zuckoff, producing a book that was released September 9, entitled, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.” These men were ordered to “stand down” from aiding Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other three who all died in the ensuing battle. The order apparently was given by the top CIA officer in Benghazi.

I waited a couple of days after this news special, and then I called Mr. Woods to basically see how he was taking this information. I’m pleased to report that I came away from the conversation uplifted and blessed by him!

The following story is one which Mr. Woods shared with me during the phone conversation we had the other night. Because of what happened to his son, Tyrone, you might expect Mr. Woods to hate Muslims. This should give you a good idea of this man’s character and faith. Little wonder that his son became the man he did. In 1985 Mr. Woods felt he should go on a mission trip which found him in Northern Uganda, Africa. He and others from their team were hiking into some remote areas when they were accosted by a band of Muslims. Fear and intimidation are the tactics used by these guys, except that it didn’t seem to bother Mr. Woods. One of the Muslims, noticing the calm demeanor exhibited by Mr. Woods despite the threats, said to one of the other team members, “This one doesn’t seem to be afraid.” When Mr. Woods was then questioned by this Muslim man as to why he was not afraid, he replied, “If I were to kill you, I know you would not go to heaven. But if you killed me, I know I would go to heaven.”

Concerning the loss of his son, he said, “This is just a brief interruption before I see him again.” It is this strength of faith in Jesus that enables Mr. Woods to carry on. He demonstrates a father’s love and heart, just as God our Heavenly Father demonstrates toward us, offering us eternal life through his Son, Jesus.
 
          Tyrone is buried in a national cemetery in the San Diego area. But in Hawaii, on the Big Island, Mr. Woods told me that a Milo Tree was planted in Ty’s honor and memory in the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery. I asked him why this tree. He said that it is commonly believed that this tree lives forever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Baseball Memories

              Baseball. How I loved to play this game when I was a boy. Nothing could captivate me more than a pick-up game on a sand lot, or an empty field, or an actual baseball diamond. And if we could play after dark using the ambient light from street lights or homes, all the better. An older kid with a car might bring it to the area where we played and turn on his headlights so we could see to play.

My baseball career was short-lived. Initially I played in the Pee Wee League, later advancing to Little League. The Babe Ruth League would have been next. However, my folks moved to Europe in the summer of 1960. I took my glove and bat, sadly realizing the French were not the slightest bit interested in baseball. The summer of ’60 I was anticipating entering Junior High. I hoped to play baseball for Fox Lane Junior High (a middle school today). I was also at the peak of my Little League exploits, experiencing an undefeated season as a pitcher, playing for Bracetti’s Appliances. But playing organized baseball ended for me in July of ’60.

I guess this is part of the reason I get a bit nostalgic thinking back on those days. Those were good days to be a kid in the late ’50s.

This brings me to my current hobby of singing the classic American music form of Barbershop Music. I sing with the Golden Valley Chorus out of Modesto. Our Annual Show is November 7th at the Turlock Community Theater, 7:00 PM. The theme of the show is “Get Happy.” One of the songs we will be singing is “There Used to be a Ballpark Right Here.” The lyrics begin, “Oh, there used to be a ballpark where the field was warm and green, and the people played their silly game with a joy I’ve never seen.” Then the song ends with these words, “And the summer went so quickly this year. Yes, there used to be a ballpark right here.” Man, I remember playing those games that I never wanted to end, during a summer I never wanted to end. Makes me wonder what fields are still there where I grew up in New England.

Well, enough of the maudlin stuff. My interest in baseball was renewed this post-season when I realized that, even though neither of my teams (Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants) were going to make it into the play-offs, there was something I learned. My brother informed me that his son’s wife’s brother is married to the sister of the 2nd Baseman for the American League Champion Kansas City Royals, Ben Zobrist. Alas! I now had a team to root for!

I followed the Royals through there early post-season wins leading to the climax of game six where Ben Zobrist hit a home run in the first inning to give the Royals an early lead. The final score was 4-3, Royals! When you read this in the Ripon Record the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals will be underway.

So, now with the World Series upon us, we have up to seven more games to enjoy the remainder of this year. Each game will start with a local celebrity singing the National Anthem. There’s also the throwing out of the first pitch by some dignitary. And then the famous cry of the home plate umpire, “Play Ball!”

Was it really sixty years ago I was playing Pee Wee League? My calendar says “Yes!” Well, I can still smell the linseed oil I’d rub into my glove and the feel of a new baseball fresh out of the box. Parents and friends would gather in the bleachers cheering on all the would-be pro baseball players. But once inside the lines of the baseball field it was like being transported into another dimension. That must be why I love the movie, “Field of Dreams” so much because it beautifully captured the magic of the game.

As the movie came to a close, Kevin Costner asks his dad if they could play catch. So as the credits begin to roll, there is the father and his son playing catch on the field of dreams.

I used to play catch with my step father in the afternoons when he came home from work. I miss that. Those were good times, and even better memories.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Desert Mud

           Traveling is always interesting, to say the least. Regardless of the amount of time a person has traveled (and Isaura and I have done a lot!), there are always new experiences just around the corner. Sometimes those experiences are not welcome.

          As most of you know who follow my column each week, one of my hobbies is singing – particularly 4-part harmony in the Barbershop style. The fall convention for our Far Western District (FWD) was held in Mesa, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix). Not feeling real excited about driving the route in one shot, we decided to break up the drive into two parts. Last Wednesday we packed the car and headed for our first day’s destination: Marine Corps Base at 29 Palms, California. This base is actually called MCAGCC (Marine Corps Air Ground Command Center). It’s in the desert and removed from most of what we call civilization.

          We rolled easily down Hiway 99 to Bakersfield where we hung a left onto Hiway 58 toward Barstow. At the junction of 58 and 395, known as Kramer Junction, we stopped for gas at a Pilot station. It was late afternoon so I was quite surprised to smell fresh baked cinnamon buns when I walked into the convenience store. There, big as life, was a Cinnabon shop! Isaura and I showed great restraint by abstaining from succumbing to those tasty baked treats.

In Barstow we connected with Road 247 which angles southeast toward 29 Palms where we rolled onto Hiway 62 which took us to the base. In one of my chaplain reserve rolls I was the command chaplain for a Marine artillery battalion. This base was home for four successive summers in the mid-90s. Memories abound!

          On the base is a delightful hotel called the Sleeping Tortoise. And across the street is DiCarlo’s Italian Café where we always have dinner. It is one of those quaint little places that feels like home. The food is delicious, too.

          The next morning, after a good night’s rest, we went to the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) where Isaura loves to shop. I went in search of the barbershop for a much needed haircut. Right next to the barber was a Starbuck’s. I could hardly believe it! When I was a Marine, there were never such nice places as Starbuck’s and DiCarlo’s. Heck, we didn’t even have a single fast food joint on base. You ate in the chow hall or nothing.

          The remainder of the trip to Mesa took about six hours, of which about two hours of that was roadwork on Interstate 10, and then rush hour traffic in Phoenix. But what I found most unsettling was the drive across the desert around Joshua Tree National Park before connecting with Interstate 10. Clouds covered the sky all day. I’ve never been caught in a flash flood and I never want to be. I kept a wary eye on those clouds looking for rainfall. I was constantly figuring out possible high points or escape routes should a flash flood come our way. Thankfully, we avoided such a calamity. However, the next day we heard that there had been massive mud slides covering large sections of the highways and roads where we had been just hours before.

          The past three days we have been fully engaged in the chorus and quartet competition, taking in all the wonderful talent of these singers. Some of these quartets and at least one chorus will be competing next summer at the International Competition in Nashville, Tennessee. There is where barbershoppers from around the world come to see if they can become the champions for 2016. It may not seem like such a big deal to those not involved in this fulfilling hobby but for those of us who sing the old songs, it is a slice of heaven on earth.

          So tomorrow Isaura and I will begin our homeward trek. I’ll be checking with the Highway Patrol first to make sure the roads we plan to travel are clear of mud and debris. Yet, despite the clear danger associated with flash floods in desert regions, the beauty of the desert is simply exquisite. The various shades and hues of browns, tans, grays and greens is evidence of God’s handiwork. We witnessed a road runner in full form zipping along the road like he was being chased. I looked for Wiley Coyote, but he was nowhere to be seen.

          If you’ve never traveled through the desert, you’re missing something special. The rock formations thrown up toward the sky along with a variety of small mountain ranges are fantastic in their design. Some of the names of these small ranges are comical: Old Woman Mountains; Chuckwalla Mountains; Chocolate Mountains; Big Maria Mountains; Turtle Mountains; Sheep Hole Mountains; Orocopia Mountains; Dome Rock Mountains; Eagletail Mountains; Big Horn Mountains; and Gila Bend Mountains, to name a few. And don’t forget the Grand Canyon. Wow!

          Why not jump in your car and visit some of God’s amazing creation? You’ll love it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Make Mine Creamy

             For me, it’s Skippy Peanut Butter – hands down.

I have lived in a lot of places around the United States and the world. I’ve tried peanut butter everywhere. In recent years, due to health concerns, my wife and I experimented with at least a half-dozen different organic types of the best snack food ever (in my humble opinion). Sadly, these healthier versions of the classic creamy spread don’t even come close. I have diligently stirred this brand of peanut butter so that the oil and cream base are blended well. To no avail, I fear. Allow me to be candid regarding these organic, healthy brands of peanut butter: They are terrible. How terrible, you ask? In answer – A jar of this food will become a science project in my fridge before I’ll eat any of it again. That is not to say that I don’t appreciate the efforts by these manufacturers to make a really good organic peanut butter. I certainly do! One word of advice, however – Keep at it. You’re not even close.

As a child I was your classic PB&J kid. Mom would make our lunch which often included my favorite: a PB&J sandwich (Welch’s Grape Jelly and Skippy Peanut Butter on white bread was my choice), an apple, celery or carrot sticks, and Graham Crackers and Marshmallow Fluff. I loved eating my Graham Crackers last because the combination with the Marshmallow Fluff simply made my taste buds dance. I wanted the taste to last as long as possible. I still eat that way today. I’ll size up my meal and decide what, if anything, I dislike the least, targeting that first to be ingested.

So back to peanut butter. While working on my academic exploits I would find myself studying late into the evenings. Out would come the Graham Crackers and peanut butter. Add a large glass of milk and I was one very content guy.

For many years I preferred crunchy peanut butter. As I have gotten older, however, I have shifted to creamy. I’m not sure why, except that I occasionally tasted a crunchy nut that wasn’t quite right, setting my teeth on edge and ruining the overall culinary affect.

Because we moved a lot while I was growing up (3 elementary, 2 junior high, and 5 high schools, both coasts of the United States, plus Texas, and France and Norway), peanut butter was not always accessible. I truly missed it during those times.

While serving in the Marines we would have as part of our food ration in the field a small container of peanut butter which resulted in teasing the taste buds more than anything. Often we would trade with each other the various items in our package of food stuff. Peanut butter was a good bargaining chip.

During my bachelor years I always had a large jar of peanut butter in the kitchen cabinet. To this day I still do. To assuage that bit of hunger with a bit of sweetness, a large spoonful of the creamy stuff right out of the jar is a wonderful remedy.

I’ve mentioned those food items that go well with peanut butter, not the least of which is Graham Crackers. Another excellent choice is Ritz Crackers. Yum! Mom also used to put peanut butter in the hollowed out curved shape of celery sticks and then place several raisins across the length of the stick. We called those “Ants on a log.” Loved those!

Reese’s Candy has made a fortune on their classic Peanut Butter Cup, a highly favored snack item.

But the one I remember the most, but never ate, was my step father’s favorite dessert dish consisting of several scoops of vanilla ice cream, bedecked with a ridiculously large spoonful of peanut butter. As I say, I could never bring myself to enjoy this combination. It doesn’t make sense, because I love both of those things. My daughters, however, are another story.

On those occasions when Isaura and I would visit my folks in Fresno, we would leave the girls with them on an evening while we would visit with friends over dinner at a restaurant. Well, this was the classic, “While the cats away, the mice will play,” scenario. Pop (my step father, our girls’ granddad) would stay up and watch TV with the girls. This always included a trip into the kitchen whereupon bowls would be brought forth with Pop scooping copious amounts of ice cream into three bowls, followed by the heretofore mentioned peanut butter daub. At first the girls thought this was a strange choice for dessert, but their granddad won them over. Later in the evening a second trip into the kitchen for refills was made, always with an atmosphere of being involved in something clandestine, even naughty. This was high adventure for our girls. Granddad would caution them not to say a word about staying up late and eating ice cream and peanut butter. Of course, the girls excitedly told us all about it the next day.

My wife grew up in Portugal where peanut butter was not a preferred food item. After nearly forty years of marriage, she has become a true-blue peanut butter person. We maintain two very large jars of Skippy Creamy in our food pantry. Tasty!

The Bible says that “the Lord God has made all things good,” and that we are to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” I’ve been a Christian for 43 years and I have tasted of the Lord’s goodness. I can’t swear to it, but I sense a slight flavor of peanut butter in those times with Him. Just kidding!
 
But the Lord truly is good. Don't you agree? I'm hopeful there'll be peanut butter in heaven. If this turns out to be so, you can make mine creamy!

Psalm for the Day