On November 24, 1971, a man known today as D. B. Cooper hijacked a commercial flight between Portland and Seattle by threatening to blow up the plane unless he received $200,000. After landing to receive a ransom, he ordered the plane back into the air. Then the rear stairs of the 727 aircraft were lowered, and he parachuted into the night. He was never captured, and the case is still unsolved. This act hastened the age of airport security in which trust and confidence have been replaced by suspicion and fear. What he did affected us all.
My dad recently turned 90 years old and his physical capabilities are fading. He can still move around with his walker, but he needs someone to cook his meals and help him with other tasks.
On a trip out of the country, I hap- pened to meet an attorney who was from my hometown in New Jersey. We were surprised at how much we had in common. In the course of the conversation, he asked, “Did you say your name was Stillwell?” I said, “No, it’s Stowell.” He then mentioned that he had a client named Stillwell. “Is it Art Stillwell?” I asked, and, to my surprise, he said yes. Art Stillwell attended my church and was an influential businessman in the community.
In one way or another, we can all relate to Psalm 86:1 where David says, “I am poor and needy.” Even the richest among us should understand that poverty and need relate more to the spirit than to the wallet. When billionaire Rich DeVos speaks to groups he often says, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”
Artist and scientist Michael Flynn designed a singing bowl for display in ArtPrize, an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The bowl requires no electricity but it does require something that is in short supply: cooperation.
Astudy conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that almost 15 percent of American teenagers felt it was “highly likely” that they would die before their 35th birthday. Those with this pessimistic outlook were more likely to engage in reckless behavior. Dr. Iris Borowsky, author of the study published in Pediatrics magazine, said: “These youth may take risks because they feel hopeless and figure that not much is at stake.”
Each year at the end of November, the President of the United States issues an official pardon for the National Thanksgiving Turkey. During this lighthearted ceremony, one president remarked: “Our guest of honor looks a little nervous. Nobody’s told him yet that I’m going to give him a pardon.” The poor turkey had a good reason to be uneasy—without an acquittal, he was doomed to be Thanksgiving dinner.
My cable company sent a postcard inviting me to check out its latest improvements in TV channels. The card indicated that I needed to contact the company to get the necessary new digital equipment and explained how to hook it up and activate it. After that, the ad said I was just to “sit back and enjoy the World of More.”
The whole reason for saying thanks is to let the giver of a gift know how much you appreciate something. Author G. B. Stern once said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”