Thought for the Day:
You can make more friends in two months by becoming
interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other
people interested in you.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies
in the person's determination.
The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today's work
--Sir William Osler
Hold fast to dreams, for If dreams die, life is a
broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Don't worry about what's ahead. Just go as far as you can go
- from there you can see farther.
Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by
friends, not years.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a
kind word, a listening ear... all of which have the potential to turn a life
I don't care what you do for a living. If you love it, you
are a success.
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work,
the more I have of it.
Friendship is like a bank account. You can't continue to draw
on it without making deposits.
"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated
Jokes for the Day:
A duck walked into a pet store and asked the
owner "Do you have any duck food?" The owner said "No."
The next day the duck walked in and asked the owner "Do you have any duck
food?" The owner said, "No, we do not sell duck food." The next
day the duck came back again and asked, "Do you have any duck food?"
The owner said "No, and if you come in here again I will nail your beak
to the wall!" The next day the duck walked into the store and asked the
owner "Do you have any nails?" The owner replied with confusion
"No, we don't have any nails!" The duck then asked, "Do you
have any duck food?"
day in the future, Bill Clinton has a heart attack and dies. He immediately
goes to hell, where the devil is waiting for him.
"I don't know what to do here," says the devil. "You are on my
list, but I have no room for you. You definitely have to stay here, so I'll
tell you what I'm going to do. I've got a couple folks here who weren't
quite as bad as you. I'll let one of them go, but you have to take their
place. I'll even let you decide who leaves."
Clinton thought that sounded pretty good, so the devil opened the first room.
In it was Ted Kennedy and a large pool of water. He kept diving in and
surfacing empty handed. Over and over and over. Such was his fate in
"No," Bill said. "I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer and
I don't think I could do that all day long."
The devil led him to the next room. In it was Newt Gingrich with a
sledgehammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time
after time after time.
"No, I've got this problem with my shoulder. I would be in constant agony
if all I could do was break rocks all day," commented Bill.
The devil opened a third door. In it, Clinton saw Jesse Jackson, lying on the
floor with his arms staked over his head, and his legs staked in a spread
eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best.
Clinton took this in in disbelief and finally said, "Yeah, I
can handle this."
The devil smiled and said, "OK, Monica, you're free to go!"
The Bronx - Home of Champions
Unlike today's vista of decrepit buildings,
dilapidated housing and rusting junked cars, the South Bronx in 1950 was the
home of a large and thriving community, one that was predominantly Jewish.
Today a mere remnant of this once-vibrant community survives, but in the
1950's the Bronx offered synagogues, mikvas, kosher bakeries, and kosher
butchers - all the comforts one would expect from an observant Orthodox
The baby boom of the post-war years happily resulted in many new young
parents. As a matter of course, the South Bronx had its own baby equipment
store. Sickser's was located on the corner of Westchester and Fox, and
specialized in "everything for the baby", as its slogan ran. The
inventory began with cribs, baby carriages, playpens, high chairs, changing
tables, and toys. It went way beyond these to everything a baby could want
Mr. Sicker, assisted by his son-in-law Lou Kirshner, ran a profitable
business out of the needs of the rapidly expanding child population. The
language of the store was primarily Yiddish, but Sickser's was a place where
not only Jewish families but also many non-Jewish ones could acquire the
necessary paraphernalia for their newly-arrived bundles of joy.
Business was particularly busy one spring day, so much so that Mr. Sickser
and his son-in-law could not handle the unexpected throng of customers.
Desperate for help, Mr. Sickser ran out of the store and stopped the first
youth he spotted on the street. "Young man", he panted, "how
would you like to make a little extra money? I need some help in the store.
You want to work a little?"
The tall, lanky black boy flashed a toothy smile back. "Yes, sir, I'd
like some work."
"Well then, let's get started."
The boy followed his new employer into the store. Mr. Sickser was
immediately impressed with the boy's good manners and demeanor. As the days
went by and he came again and again to lend his help, Mr. Sickser and Lou
both became increasingly impressed with the youth's diligence, punctuality
and readiness to learn.
Eventually Mr. Sickser made him a regular employee at the store. It was
gratifying to find an employee with an almost soldier-like willingness to
perform even the most menial of tasks, and to perform them well.
From the age of thirteen until his sophomore year in college, the young man
put in from twelve to fifteen hours a week, at 50 to 75 cents an hour.
Mostly, he performed general labor: assembling merchandise, unloading trucks
and preparing items for shipments. He seemed, in his quiet way, to
appreciate not only the steady employment but also the friendly atmosphere
Mr. Sickser's store offered. Mr. Sickser and Lou learned in time about their
helper's Jamaican origins, and he in turn picked up a good deal of Yiddish.
In time the young man was able to converse fairly well with his employers,
and more importantly, with a number of the Jewish customers whose English
was not fluent.
At the age of seventeen, the young man, while still working part-time at
Sickser's, began his first semester at City College of New York. He fit in
just fine with his, for the most part Jewish, classmates - hardly
surprising, considering that he already knew their ways and their language.
But the heavy studying in the engineering and later geology courses he chose
proved quite challenging. He would later recall that Sickser's offered the
one stable point in his life those days.
In 1993, in his position as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - two
years after he guided the American victory over Iraq in the Gulf War --
Colin Powell visited the Holy Land. Upon meeting Israel's Prime Minister
Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem, he greeted the Israeli with the words "Men
kent reden Yiddish" (We can speak Yiddish). As Shamir, stunned, tried
to pull himself together, the current Secretary of State-designate continued
chatting in his second-favorite language. He had never forgotten his early
days in the Bronx.
The Pickle Jar
The pickle jar, as far back as I can
remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he
got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the
As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they
were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was
almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was
filled. I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the
copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun
poured through the bedroom window.
When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the
coins before taking them to the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was
always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins
were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.
Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me
hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill,
son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to
hold you back."
Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the
counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These
are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life
We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I
always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice
cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled
in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar
He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled
around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll
get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said.
The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town.
Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and
noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been
A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where
the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured
me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar
had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of
words could have done.
When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly
pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than
anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got
at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the
summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried
beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar.
To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring ketchup over
my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to
make a way out for me. "When you finish college, Son," he told me,
his eyes glistening, "You'll never have to eat beans again...unless you
The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the
holiday with my parents.
After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns
cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan
took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed," she
said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan
came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes. She
handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the
"Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the
floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been
removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I
walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a
fistful of coins.
With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar.
I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the
room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt.
Neither one of us could speak.
This truly touched my heart.....I know it has yours as well. Sometimes we
are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings.
Check out my joke page!