- Stashed away in a drawer somewhere around my house, now nearly forgotten, is a batch of old 45 rpm records from the '50's and early '60's. Here and there in this dusty stack, one can find an occasional recording by the great bluesmaster Jimmy Reed. A share-cropper's son, Reed brought the throbbing harmonica-and-guitar-driven black rhythm-and-blues of the Mississippi Delta into the popular rock-and-roll mainstream. My high school friends and I, fancying ourselves a budding rock band, would play and replay these recordings -- "Big Boss Man," "Bright Lights, Big City," "Hush, Hush," "Baby What You Want Me To Do" -- trying to imitate Reed's hypnotic rhythms on our cheap Silvertone electric guitars, attempting in vain to capture the pain-soaked cries of his mahogany voice in our too-tight, too-white, suburban throats.
However, in placing the phonograph needle again and again in the grooves of Jimmy Reed's records, we began to notice something curious. If one listened very carefully, there could sometimes be heard, ever so faintly in the background, a soft woman's voice murmuring in advance the next verse of the song. The story that grew up around this -- and perhaps it is true -- was that Jimmy Reed was so absorbed in the bluesy beat and the throbbing guitar riffs of his music that he simply could not remember the words of his own songs. He needed help with the lyrics, and the woman's voice was none other than that of his wife, devotedly coaching her husband through the recording session by whispering the upcoming stanzas into his ear as he sang...
- ("As the eldest of three daughters, I was the designated babysitter in my family. From the time I was twelve, I was the one my parents left in charge when they went out at night. First my father would sit me down and remind me how much he trusted me - not only because I was the oldest but also because I was the most responsible...")
- The cardinal is dying, and he is dying a remarkable death. Even until this very moment, he has spent months teaching his last lesson by sharing his final earthly days with the entire world. In August 1996, at the age of 68, he found out that he had less than a year to live due to pancreatic cancer. "Well," he calmly told his oncologist, "this changes everything. Now I have an opportunity to live what I've been telling people: that we have to look at death as a friend."
- Today, when I awoke, I suddenly realized that this is the best day of my life, ever! There were times when I wondered if I would make it to today; but I did! And because I did, I'm going to celebrate! Today, I'm going to celebrate what an unbelievable life I've had so far: the accomplishments, the many blessings, and, yes, even the hardships, because they have made me stronger. I will go through this day with my head held high and a happy heart. I will marvel at God's seemingly simple gifts: the morning dew, the sun, the clouds, the trees, the flowers, the birds. Today, none of these miraculous creations will escape my notice. Today, I will share my excitement for life with other people. I'll make someone smile.
- in placing the phonograph needle again and again in the grooves of Jimmy Reed's records, we began to notice something curious. If one listened very carefully, there could sometimes be heard, ever so faintly in the background, a soft woman's voice murmuring in advance the next verse of the song. The story that grew up around this -- and perhaps it is true -- was that Jimmy Reed was so absorbed in the bluesy beat and the throbbing guitar riffs of his music that he simply could not remember the words of his own songs. He needed help with the lyrics, and the woman's voice was none other than that of his wife, devotedly coaching her husband through the recording session by whispering the upcoming stanzas into his ear as he sang.
- "I once got a Christmas card which I thought said it the best. The picture on the card has a little boy opening his present on Christmas morning. And out of the box, there comes the World. The boy is so enchanted with the wonder of his new toy that he doesn't see that still in the box, there is a little book. And on the front cover of the book it says 'Please look after this world. It is not a toy. Please follow the manufacturer's instructions.'..."
- ("many are the disturbances of life. Being upset, disappointed, jealous, angry or lonely. Feeling a lack of confidence, or a lack of something can make us greedy, possessive, even lustful...")
- ("Two painters were once asked to paint a picture illustrating their own idea of rest. The first chose for his scene a quiet, lonely lake, nestled among mountains with a reflected sky. The second, painted a thundering waterfall. Beneath the falls grew a fragile tree, bending over the foam. On its branches, nearly wet with the spray from the falls, was a robin with its nest...")
- ("Charlie Brown goes for counseling, where the sign says The Doctor Is In. 'I don't know what to do,' he says. 'All of life is frustrating. I love this little redheaded girl, and she doesn't know I'm alive. Every time I try to kick the football, it gets moved...")
- ("Two weeks ago, one of my patients died and a couple of days later her son came to see me. She was a lady who lived long enough to see seven great-grandchildren, but her last two years had been a constant struggle with the heart disease which finally killed her. As doctors we had done the best we could to help her, but she was still very restricted by her disease...")
- ("The story is told of an aged man who was dying and wanted to see a minister. Having not been a 'regular attendee' in any church, the daughter called the local minister and explained her father’s certain fate. In about thirty minutes the minister arrived at the man’s home. Customarily the minister would read a passage of Scripture with those who were close to death but realized he had left his Bible at the Church...")