My friend Mary told me that she had always valued the time she spent fishing with her dad. Not being a fishing aficionado myself, I was curious about what she found so enjoyable. “I just like being with my dad,” she said. “So you just fish and talk?” I asked her. “Oh, no, we don’t really talk,” she said. “We just fish.”
I’ve never sat in the first-class section of an airplane. But I still hold out the hope that someday I’ll get on the plane and the flight attendant will stop me and say, “Come with me. I have a special seat for you.”
On May 24, 1883, New Yorkers celebrated the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, the first steel-wire suspension bridge. This engineering feat, however, was not accomplished without sacrifice. To lay the bridge’s giant foundations in the water, huge watertight chambers called “caissons” had to be used. Men would work in them for 8 hours while under tremendous air pressure.
In the film Castaway, Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a clock-conscious Federal Express manager who gets shipwrecked on a desert island. Completely cut off from other people and modern conveniences, he must learn the primitive skills of a caveman. He puts arduous effort into harpooning fish, making fire by rubbing sticks together, and opening a coconut to get its milk and sweet fruit. The movie is rich with insights on how difficult life can become for someone who is stranded in an isolated wilderness.
During a walk through the picturesque Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, our attention was diverted from the huge, majestic, sandstone rocks toward two people wearing homemade robot suits. The park was thronged with summer tourists who immediately began taking pictures of the robots while their children gathered round to touch and talk to them. Folks who had come to admire the silent beauty of God’s creation were now watching people in cardboard costumes sprayed with silver paint.
Leonardo da Vinci’s contributions to art, science, and engineering establish him as one of the great geniuses in history. Whether it be designing a flying machine or painting the Mona Lisa, his mind was alive, observant, and creative. He is credited with making this comment about maintaining mental sharpness: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity; . . . even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
In February 1946, the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer was introduced at the University of Pennsylvania. The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) filled a 30-by-50-foot room, weighed 50 tons, and used enough electricity every second to power a typical home for a week. Today, a pocket calculator contains more computing power than ENIAC did.
Written on the wall behind the pulpit of the church we attended in my teens were these words: "The Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him" (Habakkuk 2:20). And keep silence we did! All eight of us boys said nothing to one another as we sat waiting for the service to begin.