My father is a very smart man in both ways… read and in reality. I often wonder why he doesn’t become a college professor because he taught my brother everything he knows and my brother knew more than his professors in college.
One of the ways that my father has expanded his knowledge over the years is with what I call “tidbits of information” and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree because we both crave learning new things everyday and seek knowledge in all forms… written, verbal and electric. My father has an especial fondness of sitting in his Lazy Boy chair, warming up his laptop and receiving, reading and forwarding emails from numerous friends, family and websites at least twice a day. Luckily, I am one of the recipients of his vast emailed messages and often learn many things from my father’s emails such as how to preserve berries from molding, how to protect your car from theft by covering up the VIN # or how famous actresses like Martha Ray helped save soldiers in WWII (a favorite subject of my fathers).
The following story was forwarded to me by my father. I immediately Googled the man and the story behind it and found it all to be true, and in my eyes a very heart-warming story of TRUE appreciation of life and how humans perceive the world around us… very often you cannot judge a book by it’s cover and whether it’s the man in this story or my father… knowledge is everywhere, if you look.
“It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.
Everybody’s gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts…and his bucket of shrimp.
Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier.
In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn’t leave. He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place.
When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.
If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like ‘a funny old duck,’ as my dad used to say. Or, ‘a guy who’s a sandwich shy of a picnic,’ as my kids might say. To onlookers, he’s just another old codger, lost in his own weird world,feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.
To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant …. Maybe even a lot of nonsense.
Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters. Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida.
His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker.
Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water.They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were. They needed a miracle.That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle.
Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck.. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal – a very slight meal for eight men – of it.
Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving seagull..