Marines.Together We Served

Monday, December 11, 2017

He Won't Fight!

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
11 December 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

He Won’t Fight!

Recently, I wrote an article about General Robert E. Lee, commanding officer of the Confederate Army during our American Civil War. Lee very nearly pulled off the upset of American history by outmaneuvering the apparently hapless Union generals called upon by President Abraham Lincoln to carry the fight to the outnumbered Southern forces. By most historical accounts, the Civil War should have been over in a matter of months, not the four long years and 700 thousand deaths it extolled from a war-weary nation.

My sister Joy, came over for Thanksgiving last month, bringing me a couple of magazines she ran across that she knew I would treasure. As a Civil War buff, I have accumulated over the years a small library of books, magazines and other items pertaining to this horrific war. The two magazines Joy acquired for me are both copies of The Civil War Times: one dated August 1968, and the other August 1962. A section in the 1962 edition focused on the centennial edition of the Battle of Antietam. The summer months of 1862 are considered the high summer of the Confederacy. Never again would the cause of the South and her fight for independence come as close to success as it did under the leadership of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart, and other notable Southern generals.

Historians argue over the ineptness of Union (or Northern) military leaders. In my research, I have found two primary reasons for the Union army failing repeatedly to secure major victories in the early stages of the war. First, the Northern forces were not defending their homeland against an aggressor the same way the Southern forces were. This is one of the reasons the war was referred to by southerners as the “War of Northern Aggression.”

Second, the Union general selected to head the Army of the Potomac (later to be called the Union army) was not willing to fight. General George B. McClellan, like his counterpart of the Confederate army, General Robert E. Lee, was second in his class at West Point. And like Lee, McClellan was a military engineer. He never commanded troops in the field against an enemy until the Civil War. And this was his undoing.

McClellan, referred to as “Little Mac”, attended West Point from 1842-46. Shortly after graduation he was assigned to fight in the Mexican-American War. It was during this time that he contracted what he called his, “Mexican disease,” better known to us today as, “Montezuma’s Revenge.”

McClellan was viewed as an up-and-comer as a military officer, serving successfully in every command during his eleven years of service. During his time in the army, he used his fluency in French to publish a manual on bayonet tactics that he had translated from the original French. He also wrote a manual on cavalry tactics based upon Russian cavalry regulations. The Army also adopted McClellan’s design for a cavalry saddle, known as the McClellan Saddle. It became standard issue for as long as the Army had a cavalry, and is still used today in ceremonial events.

Little Mac resigned his commission from the Army in 1857. He was married to Mary Ellen Marcy in New York City in 1860. During this time, he was the chief engineer and vice president of the Illinois Central Railroad, and then president of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad.

Civilian life simply did not suit him. He continued to study battlefield tactics which bolstered his adeptness at training and preparing soldiers for combat when he rejoined the Army. Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, McClellan decided to try his hand at politics. He supported the Democrat Party’s presidential candidate, Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 election. Later, he would run for president as a Democrat in 1864, in hopes of defeating President Lincoln. He re-entered the Army in the spring of 1861.

One of McClellan’s shortcomings was his impatience and impertinence toward those who were his superiors. He was referred to in the press as a “Young Napoleon.” He valued only career military men, showing utter disdain for volunteers. He often refused to obey political and military leaders, a tactic that would put him at odds with President Lincoln early in the war. He snubbed and insulted Lincoln, referring to him as “nothing more than a well-meaning baboon.”

Oddly enough, McClellan did not come from the abolitionist point of view, as did many of his fellow officers in the Union Army. He believed the South should be allowed to practice slavery if that was their choice. He was vehemently opposed to federal interference in slavery. But he was just as opposed to states seceding from the Union.

But his unwillingness to commit troops in the field, always believing that Lee had superior numbers, caused him to be viewed as an inept battlefield commander. Sadly, he spent the remainder of his life attempting to rewrite his legacy. He died in 1885.

Lincoln’s frustration with McClellan could be summed up in this phrase: “He won’t fight!” General Ulysses S. Grant referred to Little Mac as “one of the great enigmas of the war.”

General George B. McClellan simply did not have the heart of a warrior. And that cost the lives of countless men, both for the North and the South.

Monday, December 04, 2017

All About Christmas

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
4 December 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

All About Christmas

Yes, it’s the Advent Season where all things Christmas are on full display. Decorations have been set up in stores for quite a few weeks. Plus, the advertising has focused on what you can get for that special someone. Not to mention office parties and large gatherings to celebrate Christmas and so on.

This past weekend I was the guest speaker/preacher for a church in San Jose. It just so happens that this church is where Isaura and I were married forty-one-and-a-half years ago. It is also where I began my pastoral ministry as youth minister back in 1980 shortly after completing my master’s degree at seminary.

          It has been 36 years since I was last there, so returning was exciting, to say the least. Who was still there that we would know? Who had either moved on, or passed on, was another question Isaura and I wondered about. In fact, as we were driving down to San Jose later on Saturday, I commented aloud about two teenagers I had had the privilege of leading to faith in Christ in 1981. I remembered Pam’s name because she was a senior at Willow Glen High School across the street from the church. But, for the life of me, I could not remember the boy’s name.

One of the high school teachers contacted me asking if I would speak to her Sociology class, explaining the Christian view of Family & Marriage. Pam was in the first class I spoke to. Her boyfriend was attending another school.

          After the class, Pam approached me with questions about the Christian faith. I made an appointment to meet with her in my office. She asked if she could bring her boyfriend. “You bet!” I said. As we sat and talked, it was clear to me that Pam was ready to ask Jesus into her heart. I looked at the boyfriend and asked if he wanted to accept Christ as his Savior, too. He said yes.

          Back to the present. The church was having a catered dinner as part of their Missions Auction, and I was to be the guest speaker. I shared a couple of the Christmases that stood out in my life. I spoke of how I had come to know Christ as my Savior as a twenty-four-year-old sergeant in the Marine Corps in Vietnam on September 8, 1972. I returned home to my parents a week before Christmas. My sister Joy, was there, along with our grandmother, Bambi, and my brother John, who had flown out from his home in Louisiana. My first night home we all sat up talking and catching up until the wee hours of the morning. I was the last to finally call it a night. I was just so hyped up about being home with my family! Instead of going to my room to sleep in my bed, I grabbed several blankets and a pillow and plopped them down in front of the Christmas tree in the living room with a fire in the fireplace. I stretched out with my hands behind my head and just soaked in the reality that I was home. And best of all, I finally could celebrate Christmas for its true meaning: God loves us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to die for us so we could have eternal life in Him. Wow!

          The other memorable Christmas I shared was one where I was not home. In the mid-1980s I was assigned as the command chaplain to the USS White Plains (AFS4). As a supply ship we were always at sea. In 1987, we were in the Indian Ocean heading for the island of Diego Garcia which is about 1200 miles south of India. We have a small naval base there, so we pulled in on December 23. That evening, the USO put on a show in one of the warehouses on the pier. This was one of Bob Hope’s last tours with the USO. Lee Greenwood of “God Bless the USA!” fame, was also part of the entertainment. What a treat!

          Since we still communicated the old-fashioned way back then, I had written a letter to Isaura back in Guam that I would call her on Christmas Eve from Diego Garcia, or D-Gar as we called it. There was a small building with a bank of telephones for sailors to call home. It wasn’t cheap! For fifteen minutes it cost me $50.00! But it was certainly worth it!

          I paid the money, then placed the call. The way this works is, there is a meter on the phone that begins at fifteen minutes and ticks backwards until your time is up. When the phone rang, Laura, our oldest, who was nine, grabbed the phone. She said, “Hello?” I replied, “Hi Baby!” She screamed, “Daddy!” My emotions kicked in at that point, effectively shutting off my ability to speak. Then I hear Isaura on the phone say, “Hi Honey!” I wanted desperately to say something, but my throat was not cooperating. All the while I’m watching this stupid meter count down the amount of time I have left. I managed to squeak out, “Give me a minute.” I gathered myself enough to have a wonderful conversation with her and also to speak to our youngest, Jenny, who was then 6. I missed them all so much!

          So, back to my speaking engagement last weekend. I was to preach Sunday morning, so Isaura and I arrived early and sat in the sanctuary listening to the worship team practice. They took a break just before the service was to begin, at which point one of the men from the worship team walked over to introduce himself. He appeared to be middle-aged. I stood to shake hands, only to hear him say, “I’m Richard. I don’t know if you remember me or not.” I told him that I did not. He said, “I was dating Pam back then.” Well blow me over! This 17-year-old I had led to Christ in my office is now a 53-year-old husband and father, playing guitar with the church worship team!

          This Christmas Season has begun wonderfully for me! I trust it will be equally exciting for you, as well!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The King of Spades

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
27 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

The King of Spades

It has been said that “if we do not learn from history then we are doomed to repeat it.

It is my contention that this truism is uncomfortably accurate. In recent months we have seen the rise of those seeking to ruin monuments of persons or ideologies they find objectionable and offensive.

One such person is General Robert E. Lee, commander of all Confederate Forces during the Civil War of 1861-65. His statues have been damaged or torn down because he was the military leader of southern forces during the “War of Northern Aggression”, which is just one of the many names attributed to the Civil War. But what do we know of this man who nearly lead the Confederacy to victory over Union forces, often many times larger than Lee’s?

Robert Edward Lee was the son of Revolutionary War officer and hero, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III. Robert graduated in 1829, second of his class at the Military Academy (West Point) behind Charles Mason, who resigned from the Army a year later. Graduates of the academy were selected for assignments in the Army based upon their academic standing. Those who scored lowest were sent to the infantry. The brightest were chosen to be military engineers. Lee served in the U.S. Army for 29 years, mostly reengineering military installations around the country. He even served a time as the commandant of West Point (1852-59). One of the nicknames attributed to Lee by his academy classmates was, “The Marble Model” because he so typified the soldier they all aspired to be.

During the Mexican-American War (1846-48), the commander of American forces, General Winfield Scott, described Lee in this manner, “He is the best officer in the Army.

There are often numerous ironies during war that can only truly be appreciated after time and temper has passed.

The First Irony: In 1859 Lee was visiting Washington, DC when the radical abolitionist, John Brown and his ragtag band of followers seized control of the federal armory at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The War Department asked Lee, a colonel at this point in his career, to take a detachment of U.S. Marines and recapture the armory. The recapture was successful. The trial and execution by hanging of John Brown, occurred December 2, 1859. Brown wrote the night before his execution these sobering words, “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”

The Second Irony: In April 1861 Lee turned down the offer to command the Union Army. The person who had the authority to offer such a command was none other than General Winfield Scott! Lee told his old mentor, “I am a Virginian first.” Allegiance to one’s state often superseded national loyalty. Lee did not support secession and firmly believed that his home state of Virginia would choose to stay with the Union. When this did not happen, he felt his loyalty was to Virginia, though it grieved him greatly. It also brought about the split in Virginia, creating the new state of West Virginia because the sentiments of the majority of the folks living in that part of Virginia were for the Union.

The Third Irony: Colonel Lee resigned his commission from the U.S. Army two days after he was offered command of the Union Army and three days after Virginia seceded from the Union. He spoke with General Scott on April 18, 1861, explaining his decision. He said he would have resigned his commission already “but for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted the best years of my life and all the ability I possess.” His final comment to Scott was, “Save in the defense of my native State (Virginia), I never desire again to draw my sword.”

The Fourth Irony: After the war was over Robert E. Lee opposed the construction of public memorials to Confederate rebellion on the grounds that they would prevent the healing of wounds inflicted during the war.

The Final Irony: Following the close of the Civil War in 1865, Lee accepted the offer to be president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) serving in that capacity until his death in 1870. Lee did not suffer the indignities of arrest and imprisonment so often suffered by enemy combatants. However, his family home, the Custis-Lee Mansion, had been seized by Union forces during the war and was eventually turned into Arlington National Cemetery.

And the reason for the article’s title, “The King of Spades”? Well, when Lee assumed command of the Confederate Army, he put his military engineering into practice, requiring his men to take their shovels (spades) for digging earthworks, fortifications, and entrenchments in preparation for battle. The Daily Herald, Feb 16, 2014 states that, “General Ulysses S. Grant learned the hard way that if he gave Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia just six uninterrupted hours head start that they would have field fortifications built that were suicide for Union troops to attack. Grant attacked them anyway, and the butcher’s bill was catastrophic for the Yankees.”

I wonder how many of these recent “monument destroyers” know any of this about Robert Edward Lee?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

An Acid Test

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
20 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

An Acid Test

A few months ago, my wife Isaura and I decided to go through with having our DNA tested. It’s not like we didn’t have a pretty good idea what the results would be. After all, she was born on the island of San Miguel in the Azores, Portugal. As for me, the names in my background were all very British sounding.

Several years ago, our oldest daughter, Laura, signed up with Ancestry.com to begin researching our family’s heritage. We knew very little about the Roots family, primarily because we couldn’t get past my Grandfather. Little was known of him since he had left my dad and grandmother when my dad was only five. He was never heard from again within our family. Back in the ‘90’s I eventually traced several documents to him through the Internet. I found a copy of his draft card dated 1917, stating he was married and living in Houston, Texas. Since he was born in 1883, he would have been 34 years old, therefore, too old for military service. Another document was when he signed up for Social Security in 1935. And the final document I discovered was his death certificate dated 1964. Other than that, we knew nothing about the Roots family.

My mother did not have any family information, nor had she ever heard anything from my Grandmother Roots about the Roots family line.

My wife was born Isaura Maria Rodrigues Matos Cabral. Since her family was from an island in the Atlantic nine hundred miles from the Iberian Peninsula, we assumed her DNA test would have her at 80% or higher full-blown Portuguese (The Iberian Peninsula consists of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra).

So, just what is DNA? I wasn’t real sure, so I began to check into it. First off, DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. “It is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms.” In a word, it is the hereditary material found in all humans.

There are quite a few organizations that are doing DNA testing for a nominal fee these days. We decided to go with Ancestry.com. I ordered the packets for my wife and me over the Internet. In about ten days they arrived. The instructions were simple enough. Spit into a special tube until it reached a certain level (maybe a half ounce), then screw a specially provided top onto the tube. In this top was a chemical solution which would, under the pressure of closing the tube, break open and mix with the spittle. This would preserve the spit for a specified time. A number was assigned to each tube. Other than that, our names were not included. The numbers would be married up again after the testing was completed and mailed back to us.

About four weeks later the results came in. We went to the Ancestry web site and had a full display of our test results.

Like I said earlier, I was pretty sure the Roots clan was English with a bit of Scottish mixed in. Beyond that, it was anyone’s guess.

I must tell you that the results were spot on! From my DNA they pegged me as 49% Great Britain, 24% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, 13% Scandinavian, 5% Europe West, 5% Iberian Peninsula, and 4% Europe South.

The part that intrigued me the most in all of this was how they tracked the migration of others who shared my DNA across the USA. They have my family arriving from Europe landing in Virginia and eventually moving across Tennessee and further south, finally settling in Texas. And sure enough! My father was born in Marshall, Texas in 1909. My mother (née Lake) was born in Lone Oak, Texas in 1915. From separate research, we discovered one of the Roots clan had a farm in central Virginia back in the late 1600s up through the early 1800s.

This has fit in with all the research Laura and I have done on the Roots family going back to 1693 in America. Prior to that it was England. There’s still much to learn.

As for Isaura, that’s another story! As it turns out, she is 42% Iberian Peninsula, 26% Greek/Italian, 13% Europe West, 9% Great Britain, 5% North African (Egypt), 1% Europe East, 1% Scandinavian, 1% Ireland, 1% Jewish/European, 1% West African/Benin/Togo.
In all, it was a fascinating discovery and will be something our grandchildren and their offspring can enjoy for years to come.

The kicker in all of this came from my granddaughter, Alyssa, who turns ten this week. When she heard us talking about the DNA results some weeks ago, she said, “But Granddaddy, it doesn’t say anything about you being born in Milford, Connecticut! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What a Week!

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
13 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com
The Ripon Bulletin

What a Week!

The past week and a half have been quite hectic, to say the least. It seems to always work out this way every year in early November.

First on the docket was the Inaugural Patriot’s Ball, which was hosted by the Disabled American Veterans Charities of San Joaquin County. For the past number of years, I have been a board member for this organization that exists to help veterans who find themselves in need. Ours is a local organization established in 1972.

The Patriot’s Ball was held on Friday evening of November 3, at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, and was a delightful evening. I wore my Navy “mess dress” accompanied by my wife in an evening gown who always looks stunning. I was asked to offer the Invocation for our Ball, and also a special prayer for a Gold Star family.

Next up was the Annual Show of the Golden Valley Chorus, Saturday evening, November 4, at the Turlock Community Theater. This is a chorus I joined at its inception in 1997. The theme of our show this year was “A Tribute to the USO.” We had a great audience and the guest quartet we had was fantastic! “Newfangled Four” formed just a few years ago, and were soon crowned the Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS) “International Collegiate Quartet Champions in 2013”. These four young barbershop singers are sensational! They brought the house down. Our hobby is in good hands with these young guys! Check them out on You Tube.

Then on Tuesday, November 7 I was asked by Supervisor Chuck Winn to attend the meeting of the San Joaquin County Supervisors in Stockton where they annually honor veterans. The chambers were filled with veterans from throughout the county. This time I was asked to offer the Benediction for this special tribute to veterans.

Last year my granddaughter Alyssa was in third grade. Her teacher, Mrs. Thomason, asked me then if I would come and speak to the class about the meaning and purpose of Veterans Day. This year, she invited me back to speak to her third-grade class. Since she is friends with Alyssa’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Stevens, I was asked to speak to this class as well. Another teacher, Miss Rigg, heard of this, and also asked me to speak about Veterans Day to her third graders. That was on successive days, November 8 & 9.

On Friday, November 10, I spent the day celebrating the 242nd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps (November 10, 1775, Tun Tavern, Philadelphia). I was decked out in my mess dress uniform again for this next occasion, which was the annual Marine Corps Birthday Luncheon at the Sutter Club in Sacramento, located a couple of blocks from the state capitol. I ran into a good friend, Dave Fisher, at the luncheon. We served together after I returned from Vietnam.

Once back in Ripon that afternoon, I met up with my friend, Rick Van Unen, a former Marine (Recon, Vietnam), and a friend of his who was a retired Marine colonel. We sat and visited for about an hour, sharing Marine stories, most of which were true. Rick always hosts a Marine Corps Birthday gathering at his home on November 10th. However, I was committed to attending the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, hosted by the Stockton Marine Corps Club at the Hilton in Stockton.

Isaura and I once again, put on our evening formal wear, joined by our friends, Elwood & Patricia Cooper, and it was off to the Ball. Elwood served in the Army’s 101st Airborne in the late 1950s. I have told Elwood in the past that every person who has served in another military outfit other than the Marine Corps, needs to attend a Marine Corps Birthday Ball. The pomp and ceremony is like nothing else. It is an evening not to be forgotten. And again, I was privileged to be asked to offer the Invocation. And the ladies love to dress up!

On Saturday, November 11, the Ripon American Legion Post 190, in conjunction with the Ripon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1051, hosted a Veterans Day event at the Ripon Veterans Wall. They asked me to speak about the POW/MIA issue that still haunts us to this day. Did you know that from World War Two to today there are more than 83,000 men and women still listed as POW/MIA (Prisoner of War, Missing in Action) unaccounted for? Even with the advances in detection through DNA only about seventy of our missing are identified each year.

At this event, a small table and an empty chair was set up with a number of articles on display. This has become a sacred event in many military social events, reminding all present that our POW/MIAs are not with us. I asked if this was going to be explained to the crowd that attends this annual event in Ripon. They asked me if I would be willing to do it. So, I worked with my nine-year-old granddaughter Alyssa, and had her ask me questions about this empty chair and all the articles associated with it: white table cloth, lighted candle, Bible, inverted wine glass, red ribbon, red rose in a vase, American flag, salt sprinkled on the plate, and a slice of lemon. My daughter, Laura, recorded it on her phone. You can see it on my FaceBook page, .

Finally, that evening, the Golden Valley Chorus (GVC) sang at the “Better Together” annual event at the Mormon Church in Modesto. Musical groups from churches and schools each perform a couple of numbers. People “pay” for the performance by bringing non-perishable food which will be distributed to those organizations in our area who feed the hungry. The GVC finished by singing the Armed Forces Medley. Since this was Veterans Day, we asked anyone who had ever served in the military to stand when they heard their service song. We do this every year, and it’s always a crowd favorite.

What a run of events! I think I’ll sleep for a week!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Aspirations of Progeny

Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
6 November 2017
www.chuckroots.com

Aspirations of Progeny

In the 1950s, the beloved Arthur Gordon “Art” Linkletter had a TV show that was always entertaining. Perhaps the best-known segment of this weekly show was, Kids Say the Darndest Things! Well, I’ve got a couple of my own!

A couple of years ago I bought a new cell phone. It was the iPhone 6Plus. On my previous phone I had two or three different apps I had downloaded that acted as flashlights. With my new phone I went looking for my flashlight apps to no avail. So, I was standing in the kitchen fumbling with the phone, wondering where these apps were when then seven-year-old granddaughter Alyssa says, “I’ll show you, Granddaddy.” I sheepishly handed over my phone while having this sinking feeling that I was about to be shown up by a second grader. My premonitions were correct! With one deft swipe of her little finger she made another screen appear on my phone. She quickly tapped the glass surface and Voila! A very bright light came on. She handed the phone back and resumed working on her homework.

At this point I should have left well enough alone. But, Nooooo, I had to step right in it. I said, “You were moving too fast for me. Show me what you did.” She gave me a patient, parental look, reached for my phone and said, “Granddaddy, the new iPhone 6 comes with a flashlight app built in.” “Oh,” I said. “I didn’t know that.” It didn’t even occur to me that a flashlight device was built in. I just stood there with what I can only assume was a foolish look on my face. Alyssa simply returned to her homework.

Just a few weeks ago friends from Texas came to visit. Of course we got around to talking about our grandkids and showing our latest pictures of this newly emerging generation. The way Frank explained this story about one of his grandkids, the college being attended by this grandkid was very expensive. On a recent visit with this progeny they asked what they were planning to do once they graduated from college. Without a moment’s hesitation, the child said, “I want to be a professional dog walker.” Our friends were stunned, to say the least. Several hundred thousand dollars for the best education money can buy to become . . . a professional dog walker! I looked it up – “An average dog walker salary in New York City is $45,000.” I may come out of retirement.

Brooklyne is our other granddaughter, nine-years-old, who lives about a half-hour from us, so Isaura and I are fairly active in her life and grandson Colson’s on a weekly basis. Isaura was down taking care of Brook and Colson a few Fridays ago when Brook announced to Meema (Isaura) that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. My wife, of course, encouraged her to share this revelation. The conversation had been about Brook’s natural artistic abilities which prompted my wife to suggest she might pursue that as a career path. Brooklyne quickly nixed that idea. “No, I don’t want to do that. I want to be a lawyer!” Somewhat surprised at this pronouncement, Isaura then asked, “Why do you want to be a lawyer, Brook?” Brooklyne smiled and said, “Because lawyers get to argue. And I’m really good at arguing!” We all had a good laugh at that! I believe Brook could convince me the moon is made of cheese!

My last foray into children and their career choices brings us back to Alyssa, now nine-years-old, but turns ten later this month. A couple of weeks ago, our daughter Laura, asked her daughter Alyssa, what she wanted to be when she grows up. Well, we all know how much she loves animals, having expressed interest in becoming a veterinarian before. So, she pops off with this comment, “I want to be a vet, or a professional horseback rider . . . NO!” Leaving her parents in suspense, she then says, “I want to be a professional bed tester!” Our son-in-law Ken, says, “A what?” Alyssa responds, “You know, Daddy! A professional bed tester where you take naps on beds and get paid for it to see how comfy they are.”

Okay, so I checked on how much a professional bed tester makes. The motel chain, Travelodge, has a professional bed tester who makes $53,000 a year! I’m seriously thinking about coming out of retirement now!

I can’t wait to hear what Colson wants to be. Right now, he’s only five and isn’t thinking about careers just yet. At least I don’t think he is.

When I was their age I wanted to be a fireman riding a big red fire truck with a Dalmatian riding in the seat. Or a professional baseball player (Yea for the Houston Astros – 2017 World Series Champs!). That was about the extent of it for me.

But I do think I might be cut out for this bed tester job. I’m sure there’s a phone number I can call. Where is that number? It’s right here somewhere . . .

Psalm for the Day