Introduction to series:
I’ve been contemplating recently how important it is to “count your blessings”—regularly pondering those things you are grateful for in life—in order to maintain a positive attitude, reduce anxiety, and learn more and more to trust God. I’ve decided that one way to encourage myself to do the counting is to share my thoughts about some of those blessings with others via one of my blogs. Starting today, I’m going to be regularly focusing on various “Things I Am GR8FUL 4” in a series of blog entries on this BrightStarr blog.
TODAY I’M GR8FUL 4: “Google Search” (Part 1)
I suppose many folks love Google Search because they can quickly look up cheap deals on items they want to buy. Others no doubt love it for how easily they can get quick info to finish a high school or college term paper on the mating habits of pygmy marmosets. Still others may use it to settle bets with friends—just which team DID win the World Series in 1958?
Me? I am Gr8ful 4 Google Search because it allows me to do small miracles for friends and family that have made them smile.
Today I’ll share some Googlefied miracles I performed for my dad, in the next blog entry I’ll share some I performed for my mom. Maybe you’ll want to consider this miraculous tool to bring smiles to your own friends and family. No, these aren’t exactly “supernatural” miracles, but frankly I am convinced that God has indeed helped me and yes, inspired me, over and over to effectively use this tool to extend blessings to many. And I have been blessed by seeing those smiles!
For the final few years before they both passed away at age 87 in 2009, my parents were continually amazed at the little miracles I performed for them via Google—although they were completely computer illiterate and had no clue what a Google was.
Sometimes it was something very simple. When Dad unpacked his beloved paper shredder right after a move to a new home in 2007, he discovered it had quit working. He was utterly paranoid about shredding every little receipt and bill he got for anything lest someone steal his identity, and it really troubled him that the gadget wouldn’t work. He no longer had the instruction manual that came with it, so he hadn’t a clue what to do to trouble-shoot the problem. His solution was to sneak into Walmart, find a box containing the same model shredder in the office supply department, pry the box open when no one was looking and extract the manual, quickly reseal the box, and slip away to another part of the store to look through the manual. Then he’d reverse the procedure to return the manual, hoping no one would catch him at it. Yes, he was seriously considering doing this, and revealed his plan to me. I told him to wait on it for a bit.
I took down the name and model number of the shredder on a slip of paper, walked across the street to my apartment, Googled the information, and instantly found an online manual for the item. I printed it out, returned to his apartment, and presented it to him, all in less than ten minutes. He was stunned. I might as well have turned a lump of coal into a diamond—my little trick seemed as miraculous to him! (As it turned out, he’d just forgotten which buttons, in what order, to press to turn the gadget on.)
Another time, he mentioned an obscure song he hadn’t heard since World War 2, that he wished he could hear again. Over the years he’d inquired at music stores, but no one could ever find it for him. Yes, I went home and within five minutes Googled the title and singer, found a used record in good condition that included the exact recording he wanted, took down the order information, and returned with it. He called in the order and within days he was listening with nostalgia to the old song.
Another time he mentioned that he really had fond memories of hearing the bugle calls in Marine boot camp in 1941—reveille, taps, mail call, and so on, and wished he could hear them again. Over the years, he’d tried to find recordings of those via veterans’ organizations and such, but never had any luck. Yes, I went home and Googled “Marine bugle calls.” Within a minute or so, I had found a website with MP3 sound files of the complete collection of all the calls. Within a few minutes more I had downloaded the files and returned to Dad’s apartment ready to play them for him. He was once again astonished.
And yet another time, in 2009, he pulled a scrap of paper out of his billfold and showed it to me. On it, clear back in the early 1980s, he had scribbled down part of the lyrics to a ballad he heard on the radio and loved. He waxed eloquent about how profound the song was and how much he’d always wished he could hear it again.
Dad was a big fan of “the Old West” and cowboy mythology, and the recording he was remembering was called “The Last Cowboy Song.” Yep, once again I went back to my apartment, Googled “Last Cowboy Song,” and within a couple of minutes had the whole set of lyrics, and a link to an audio of the actual original song by the original composer/artist, Ed Bruce, on Youtube, with an accompanying slideshow of authentic cowboy photos.
Within another ten minutes, I had printed out an attractive 8.5 X 11 poster with Ed’s picture on it surrounded by the lyrics. And I downloaded the Youtube video to take to Dad to watch. (And eventually burned the audio on a CD for him, along with some other songs he had wanted.) Again he was stunned. He framed the poster and put it in an honored place on his mantel.
You can see the video with the Ed Bruce version on Youtube.
And you can also see a rousing rendition of a live performance of the song by The Highwaymen—the supergroup made up of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson who played together from 1985-1995.
This is the last cowboy song, the end of a hundred year waltz.
Voices sound sad as they’re singing along,
another piece of America’s lost.
He rides a feed lot and clerks in a market
on weekends selling tobacco and beer.
His dreams of tomorrow surrounded by fences,
But he’ll dream tonight of when fences weren’t here.
He blazed the trail with Lewis and Clark
And eyeball to eyeball Ol’ Wyatt backed down.
He stood shoulder to shoulder with Travis in Texas
And rode with the Seventh when Custer went down
Remington showed us how he looked on canvas,
And Louie L’Amour has told us his tale.
And Willie and Waylon and me sing about him
And wish to God we could have ridden his trail
(Spoken) The Old Chisholm Trail is covered in concrete now
And they truck ‘em to market in fifty foot rigs
They blow by his market never slowing to reason,
Like living and dying was all he did.
Yes, all that Googling produced just small miracles, but they sure made my dad smile!
(By the way, Ed Bruce also wrote the classic song “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”)
Check out the next entry in this blog series for more Little Miracles delivered courtesy of Google!