87-Year-Young Senior Citizen Builds New Personal-Sized Church–Ready For Weddings

Bill Alexander of Seguin, Texas stands at the front of his newly constructed “The Little Church.”

Verse 16:18 of the Book of Matthew found in the King James version of the Bible must have spoken very loudly to Seguin-area resident Bill Alexander, Jr. as he pondered building The Little Church off of U.S. Hwy. 90A near Geronimo Creek a short distance outside the city limits of Seguin.

The verse that may have struck a chord with the 87-year-old “retired” contractor reads:  “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Alexander doesn’t call himself a “preacher” or “reverend.”  He is a devout member of the First United Methodist Church in Seguin where he says “I feel very welcome by all of the good people there.”

But, he does “minister” to the needs of all-comers to his The Little Church.  “I built this church almost single-handedly.  I did need some help up on the roof.”  Alexander says that the church is his “contribution” to anyone who needs a peaceful, country place to pray, ponder and just let the worries of the world fade away.

“I had a couple the other day who wanted to get married in The Little Church.  They loved the church but were worried about their many guests fitting inside.”  said Alexander.

“The Little Church” in Seguin, Texas was bult amost singlehandedly by 87-year-old (Young!) Bill Alexander. Bill says “We’re ready for weddings.”

They have a point.  The church measures 10 ft. by 16 ft.  Just right for a “small” wedding. 

And one visit to the church will affirm that what the church lacks in size, it makes up with spirit.  Alexander noted “The spirit inside the church is very special.”

The inside of the “non-denominational” church is furnished with only the simplest of adornment.  Older Bibles sit on top of a small worship table in front of the centered podium.  Modest wooden benches are available for visitors.  A non-ornate wall-mounted simple cross captures the spiritual essence of the church as one sits quietly within its four walls.

View of inside “The Little Church.”

When asked what made him decide to build “The Little Church,” Alexander said “I’ve been thinking about it for many years.  Sort of drifted into it recently when I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger!”

A sign at the front outside of the church reads:  “The Little Church.  A memorial of the parents of Bill Alexander Jr. and Dora Evans.”

Alexander began construction work on the church on March 1, 2012 and finished on May 15, 2012.

A small collection of Bibles awaits the tired, the weary and the thankful.

Born and raised in Menard, Texas, Alexander served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman during World War II.  He served aboard a Landing Ship, Tank (LST) navy vessel in support of amphibious operations during the Battle of Guadalcanal and during fighting in the Solomon Islands and elsewhere throughout the war period.

Also, during the past “50 or so years,” Alexander has been a continuous adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America.  Only a couple of years ago, Alexander was a volunteer helping out during a week-long scout camp with Seguin’s American Legion H.U. Wood Post 245’s Boy Scout Troop at the Bear Creek Scout Reservation in Ingram, Texas.  And, most recently, he has assisted with the Boy Scout Crew #317 at Cross Church in Seguin.

Simple lessons from the Master viewed from the podium.

Being the consummate Boy Scout may have contributed to Alexander’s drive to begin and finish his The Little Church construction project using, primarily, his own two hands.

While explaining further the urgency to complete the building of the church, Alexander commented “You know that the Boy Scout motto is to ‘Be Prepared’ and the Boy Scout slogan is to ‘Do a good turn daily.’” 

He paused for a moment in reflection, and then said “That’s been a big part of my life.  It’s just a part of me now.”

Then he added, “This is my own way of being a witness for Jesus Christ.  The church is really dedicated to Him.”  His building of The Little Church seems to capture the spirit of both the Boy Scout’s motto and slogan.

To visit The Little Church, Alexander asks that you call him at 830-379-0144 to set up a time.  “I’m really very flexible regarding visits or even small weddings.  The Little Church is there to be of service to others.” Said Alexander.

By:  Survivaltimes Editor Bob Grafe

September 15, 2012

First Day of School – 1950s Style

Columnist:  Bob Grafe

One of the advantages of being a “senior” citizen is the ability to reflect back over at least a half-century of real time — and to finally be truthful about it!

About 55 years ago, my fifth-grade elementary school teacher, Mrs. Rumbleheart, was welcoming her new class of students back to school after our summer vacation.  She met us at the classroom door with her new class roster in one hand and, “Whack,” her 18-inch ruler gripped confidently in the other.

“Welcome back.” she said with her all-knowing voice.  Most of the girls smiled and said something nice in return while most of us boys just looked down to avoid that familiar teacher’s glare of suspicion.  

In those days we didn’t return to school until after Labor Day was celebrated.  Well, celebrated wasn’t exactly the way we looked at it.  We kids weren’t ever really sure what Labor Day was all about anyway; except we all knew that we were about to return to “slave labor” in that big building called a school where they made us “practice” all kinds of stuff like reading, writing … and that other one as soon as Labor Day was over.

We knew from experience that our only break from true forced “labor” at school was when we were allowed out for recess into “the yard,” complete with concrete flooring and a “protective” (very tall) cyclone fence all around — with school teacher “guards” at every gate.

Modern-day prisons have a resemblance to many earlier-day schools.

The first day back to school was always bad.  But, this one seemed particularly bad.

The teachers, Mrs. Rumbleheart included, were everywhere when we went out for that first recess.  My friend Bruce secretly showed us guys some cigarettes and matches that he brought from home.  Unfortunately, he also unknowingly displayed them in a way that Mr. Kling, the vice principal, could also see them.

A couple of hours later I saw Bruce and his parents leaving Mr. Kling’s office at the end of our hallway.  Mrs. Rumbleheart never called out Bruce’s name for the remainder of that day … or the next day for that matter.  It wouldn’t have made any difference since Bruce didn’t come back to school for a couple of days.  When he came back to school he said that Mr. Kling sent him home to “think about” smoking. 

That didn’t make any sense to us.  He could have thought about smoking while at school.  That way, we guys wouldn’t have had to choose a girl to be on our dodge-ball team since Bruce wasn’t there.

Soon, it was time for our first lunch.  My mother had paid some money so that on “special days,” like the first day of school, I could eat a “hot” lunch at school.  Usually, I would bring a bag lunch with a hand-sliced piece of bologna on thin white bread with mayonnaise and a leaf of Iceberg head lettuce sandwich in a brown bag with a cookie.

My brown bag had my name written on it and would sit proudly on one of the shelves in the overly warm cloak room until it was time to go to lunch.  The school provided a “free” carton of milk for all of us brown-baggers.

I think my mother let me have a hot lunch in the school cafeteria on occasion just to make those bologna sandwiches seem better.  I don’t know if the school cooks only knew how to heat up spaghetti or not; but, it seemed as if every time I ate the school’s lunch it was spaghetti and they always added way too much water to the sauce.

After lunch it was back to the books in Mrs. Rumbleheart’s class.  She told us that we would have a different teacher than her for music and art classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that we “Best be good!” or she would hear about it … and so would we … from “Whack!”

Before the first day of school was over, Mrs. Rumbleheart had us read out-loud some pages from a book so she could check our reading ability.  We all read from the book except for Donald and Doreen.  Neither one of them ever said much in class either.  They had a really funny sounding last name.

After the reading time, we had to write some sentences about what we had just heard.  All I could remember was a couple of guys chuckling when I couldn’t pronounce some big word correctly when it was my time to read.  So, I wrote about them.  Mrs. Rumbleheart was not amused.

Finally, as the end of the first day of school was approaching, Mrs. Rumbleheart handed out a paper to everyone with a whole bunch of numbers on it in various forms and fashions with lines and strange looking symbols. 

“We still have some time to do a little math.” she announced.  Her voice had the same friendly ring to it as does the guard’s voice on death-row asking “Sir, what would you like to enjoy for your last meal with us?”

I recall turning in the paper empty to Mrs. Rumbleheart; and then, years later, having to re-take college algebra three times to finally graduate.

And, so ended another miserable first day back to school after completing a perfectly wonderful summer vacation. 

How long until Memorial Day?

Some things in life really never change … now, do they!

Kingston Trio Comfort Music Continues

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

When I mention to friends that I grew up along the banks of San Francisco Bay, I have to be careful these days how I mention that I was always attracted to the goings-on at the hungry i (or as people referred to it then as “the eye”) night club in North Beach, San Francisco.

At that time, the club was located in the basement of the International Hotel at Kearny and Jackson streets. The club only sat about 300 people around its three-sided stage and would usually run a couple of shows each night — frequently offering up yet-to-be-discovered talent appearing on stage just before the headline act.

During my youth, the hungry i (the club’s name remains a mystery with some thinking the lower-case “i” was meant to represent “intellectual” while the club’s owner, Enrico Banducci always claimed that it was Freudian and short for “the hungry id.”) was one of “the city’s” hot spots to launch a performing arts career.

Today, however, (and this is why I have to be careful how I tell this story today) the hungry i has relocated from its original location to Broadway Street and is now a topless strip bar operated by Déjà Vu beginning their business venture after the original club closed its doors in the very late 1960s and the “hungry i” name was sold off separately.

What I think about most from those “early” days of my race to adulthood, is the music that was generated from within the walls of the hungry i from the likes of The Limeliters, jazz legend Vince Guaraldi, master folk singer Glenn Yarborough, a young Barbra Streisand and my favorite folk group, The Kingston Trio.

I could hardly wait for the moment when I was actually old enough to enter into the depths of the club to actually see and hear “in person” The Kingston Trio.

No longer would I be relegated to standing next to a side door of the club where I could actually hear Trio member Bob Shane knock out his favorite rendition of Scotch and Soda or Trio member Nick Reynolds verbally play with the audience while singing his story of The M.T.A. or Tom Dooley.

By the time I actually made it “legally” through the doors of “the Eye” the original Kingston Trio had dropped (via an expensive buy-out) singer/banjo player Dave Guard from its ranks and welcomed in John Stewart, a 21-year-old member of the folk group Cumberland Three.

Over the years, I have been a side-line follower of the Kingston Trio collecting bits and pieces of their history as I could — intended to enhance the listening pleasure that I have always received from them during most of my life. From written biographies of the original and subsequent members of the Trio, to song books, to albums to tapes and now to CDs.

Now, after 50+ years of being a true “fan” of this singing group, it finally dawned on me, and I reluctantly accepted the fact, that “they” wouldn’t be around forever to share their musical talents with us.

Original Trio members Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds have already passed on and Bob Shane resides relatively quietly in Arizona fighting an uphill battle with chronic health problems.

At that same time, I pondered just how much time “I” (not to be confused with “i”) would have left as I phase into the early years of senior citizenship, how I would miss the actual live performances of the Kingston Trio that I’ve attended or viewed electronically over the years, and I questioned how I could keep their “comfort” music for me going on forever during the remainder of my life.

While today three new members of the Trio continue performance tours as a tribute to the original and later Kingston Trio members, it just is not quite the “same” as it was originally.

In a deliberate rather than a desperate effort, I began to search out ways that I could still enjoy the original Kingston Trio performances and the other musical skills of many wonderful performers who have provided me with a variety of musical enjoyment excellence over the years.

When I searched the Internet for my personal selections of “comfort” music, I really hit a treasure trove. Not only did the Internet sites offer access to the lyrics of most of the music that I was interested in, but many sites actually offered full or abbreviated sheet music — especially for piano and guitar.

But, when I searched http://www.youtube.com for the Kingston Trio and hundreds of other performing artists, I was absolutely amazed at how many films from actual live performances and musical movie excerpts were available to me.

Music has always been a comfort for me throughout my life. Now, as a slower-than-I-used-to-be senior citizen, I really appreciate the skill and knowledge of computer geniuses that now allows us to access literally unlimited musical forms — right in the comfort of our own homes.

I guess if I ever return to my city-by-the-bay — San Francisco — there won’t be the pull to once again stand by the side door of the hungry i with my ear near the opening attempting to pick up on any new musical numbers.

And, I certainly won’t be trying to get a peek in the door to see any new talent!

Mrs. Rumbleheart And Henry David Thoreau Both Continue To Teach

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  March 18, 2010

Mrs. Rumbleheart, my fifth-grade public school teacher, was already within the ranks of “senior” citizenship the first day I entered her class at Lincoln School. Her classroom was in the typical style of “adequate for our needs” schools in the mid-1950s.

There was a cloakroom where our jackets, sweaters, hats and lunch boxes or bags were stored until needed. There were mostly individual wooden desks and a few double-occupant wooden tables with accompanying wooden chairs. The windows were wood-framed and the floor was wood.

The radiator for heat was situated along the window wall, the lights were incandescent, the ceilings were tall and there were inviting maps and pictures on the walls next to the blackboard. Air conditioning was never needed as the school was located one block from San Francisco Bay.

Behind Mrs. Rumbleheart’s large wooden desk were several book shelves where she housed her favorite works of literature together with a collection of history, geography, philosophy, art and science books and many reference materials.

One of the pictures on the wall next to her book shelves was that of an image of a well dressed gentleman, white shirt, bow-tie and boutonnière dated 1856.

At first view, I thought it was an image of President Abraham Lincoln — the namesake of the school. But, upon closer examination, the name underneath the image clearly read “Henry David Thoreau.”

Thoreau died before he reached his 45th year, but this American author, poet, naturalist, surveyor, historian and philosopher certainly understood much of the importance of living a long life and wrote about it beginning at a young age. Much of what he wrote certainly applies to those in their senior citizen years of life today.

Even though Mrs. Rumbleheart made a few passing comments about this “Henry” man, I’m sure that she knew that most fifth-graders (including me) would have never understood or appreciated much of what Mr. Thoreau wrote about — especially at that early age in our lives.

It wasn’t until much later in my life after I had read many of Thoreau’s writings, and after several sojourns to visit Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts specifically for the purpose of attempting to get the “feel” for the place that Thoreau wrote from and frequently wrote about, that I really began to understand much of what he had to say in his writings as being very applicable and helpful to our senior citizens today.

Today’s senior citizens frequently have the luxury of time to really study what is and what is not important in one’s life.

Here are some comments about life as seen through Thoreau’s eyes. See if they’re not still applicable today … nearly 150 years since they were first written.

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” Just think about how often we might think we “have to” do this or that when in reality we really do not and we would probably be better of by not doing “this or that.”

“Men have become the tools of their tools.” Yes, we’ve created many jobs for companies and public agencies in this life to help pay for the “things” that we have been taught that we “need,” but has the person in the job become nothing more than another tool to help create the widget that is sold to the public to help pay the wages of the worker who 8 to 10 hours each day effectively puts “tab A” into “slot B” and then sends the widget along its path to the next “tool?”

Do we really need the “things?” Or do we need to spend those 8 to 10 hours each day doing something that is much more meaningful while we’re on planet Earth?

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.” We have often been reminded that our country is never more segregated than at around 11 a.m. every Sunday morning. It’s still not too late to change.

“That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.” There’s little worse than attempting to enjoy a $50 steak dinner on a $10 budget. Beyond money, the price we pay is just too great!

Keep that steak dinner in mind as you contemplate that Thoreau also taught that “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” This quote make one wonder just how many of our current senior-citizen-age or younger politicians have bothered to read and/or study Thoreau’s teachings?

Keep these Thoreau teachings in mind when you try to “keep up” your image for whatever reason. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”

And, “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.” Perhaps most importantly, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Mrs. Rumbleheart taught me many things that I have applied throughout my years. Her introduction of Henry David Thoreau to our class stands out in my mind as one of her more important teachings.

I’ll always be thankful to Thoreau, a wee bit before my time on Earth, but who taught eternal truths such as this: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Are Good Manners Becoming Passe

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  February 18, 2010

When today’s senior citizens were growing up, what was “in” then (especially with respect to manners and good behavior) apparently is “out” now.

Such things as manners and dress in the workplace, general civility in dealing with others, cell phone manners or etiquette, manners to refrain from public vulgarity, and even general respect or manners for and towards one’s God and country certainly have changed for the worse since most of today’s senior citizens were in their youth and young-adulthood.

To experience or to simply observe this general decline in our society, all one has to do is to frequent places where the public gathers en masse.

One is almost guaranteed to observe this decline taking place by simply turning on the television or radio or by visiting large retail or grocery establishments and fast-food restaurants, public schools, hospitals, many government offices, public parks, sporting events, movie theaters and certainly while driving one’s vehicle.

I was in a professional quasi-government office the other day when the receptionist, a very scantly clad near-middle-age woman put me “on hold” to take a telephone call from a friend on her personal cell phone.

Before I was “waited on,” her manager approached her, brushing by me and two other patrons to give the receptionist instructions on several letters that had many errors on them.

The manager never said “excuse me” to the patrons or to the receptionist. Perhaps she thought it was important for the general public to hear about the errors, as well as the receptionist.

This much younger manager was wearing torn (obviously on purpose by the tear’s location) blue jeans and cartoon characters painted on her finger nails. She also sported a partially exposed tattoo “enhancing” her neck.

Interestingly, the CEO of this organization dresses in appropriate business attire and always shows professional decorum when observed in public. The example for this organization was there, but the example was apparently not enough to affect the behavior of the staff.

While most medical offices seem to adhere to a high degree of manners with respect to what magazines they display in their waiting rooms, grocery stores certainly do not.

It certainly does not seem appropriate to me to have to drag my grandchildren through the near-porn magazine sections at check-out at most grocery stores.

Perhaps grocery stores would find it interesting to see how many customers would bypass the monthly magazine fold-out check-out stands if given an option of checking out at a porn-free check-out stand.

So, what do we do as senior citizens to “fix” what has gone wrong in the manners department of our society.

We can begin by not falling for and simply accepting the “new” lack of manners and civility in our society. We can stand up for good manners, good behavior and civility by demonstrating good behaviors ourselves.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply voice what is expected as basic good manners and behavior, we must demonstrate it consistently ourselves for others to see.

When I commented negatively on someone of senior citizen age being dressed in shorts and flip-flops at a funeral recently (a person that I knew to be normally appropriately dressed in public), I was redressed with the comment that “God doesn’t care what you dress in to worship him.”

I couldn’t agree with my critical friend more. If all that one has is cut-offs and flip-flops to attend a funeral, then his God will certainly bless him for being there. But, funerals are generally sacred in nature as are worship services. Perhaps it is safe to say that we might want to show respect and good manners by dressing for the occasion.

The worn-out statement, “You know pornography when you see it,” probably applies to what one wears in public as well.

It is very difficult to quantify every set of circumstances to determine what is appropriate to wear and what is not appropriate to wear.

But, it’s safe to say that you know if it’s appropriate to wear or not when you watch the reaction on the faces of others when you are first observed by them.

The public schools could go a long way towards improving manners and behavior by having a dress code similar to that of many parochial schools and by having all of their teachers following appropriate teacher-dress guidelines that are both spelled out and enforced by public school administrations.

Since “small” businesses, government offices and public schools seem to do a better job at teaching manners and good behaviors appropriate for their particular settings, they might become the models for the larger entities to follow.

Local senior citizens who sit on various boards of business and public interest entities should consider bringing the topics of manners and good behavior to their discussion agendas and by doing whatever is necessary to stop this decline.

Other seniors might consider noting when there needs to be an improvement in the way the public is being treated and to be proactive in bringing those needs to the individuals who can best make change happen … starting with themselves if needed.

Bad manners and behaviors are just bad habits. They can be changed for the good by creating good habits of manners and behavior. These are best learned by example and repetition.

Senior Citizens Do Leave A Legacy – One Way Or The Other

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  February 4, 2010

Have you noticed at about the same time you really need to be teaching your children or grandchildren something very important — they suddenly know more than you do?

They really don’t. But, just try convincing them of that. They’ll frequently set you straight with a form of “new-age” logic that has no resemblance to “old-age” logic.

Senior citizens, with their “old-age” logic, pick up on the communication “disconnect” between their own children and their children’s children far quicker than the actual parents usually do.

At times, it’s almost a Venus versus Mars relationship.

The combination of very busy lives while raising children and today having children who are being partly raised by Internet mentors, public school systems gone adrift, and popular movies and television programs that are anything but “reality,” provides for this ever-increasing generational parting of the way.

Is that a bad thing?

Absolutely!

Someone else may attempt to justify the new-age manner in which children are “trained” for adulthood — but in doing so they will surely fail to recognize the time-proven principles that best build the human muscle of personal ethics, morals and integrity.

Example! Example! Example!

Do senior citizens have any kind of responsibility to set an example of good for their grandchildren and/or their own children?

I would argue that we do if we recognize and want to help “fix” the ills of the society we are currently living within and to perhaps leave this world a little better than we found it — when we finally depart.

At some point in our lives, we realize that children learn best from the actual examples that we set. For the most part, senior citizen grandparents do a good job of being consistent in what they say and actually do.

As you know that is not always the case as you are progressing towards senior citizenship.

It’s not an easy sell to either children or grandchildren, for example, to simply tell them not to smoke cigarettes if you have a three-pack-a-day nicotine habit. Even new-age logic computes the hypocrisy in that scenario.

Even those well-intentioned parents who are convinced that their children “need” religion miss the point when they simply drop the kids off at the front door of the church and pick them up after services.

“Say your prayers” doesn’t have the same meaning to children if they’ve never heard their “teacher” actually pray.

Just “sampling” a few pieces of loose candy or grapes while shopping at the grocery store with our children or grandchildren in tow may just “set-up” (by example) a child for future shop-lifting charges for just “sampling” a few CDs.

While some academics (mostly preparing for mandatory tests these days) taught in the public schools may have application in the “making a living” department, they fall way short of the mark of excellence when it comes to the realities of life such as becoming a future good parent or a trustworthy, responsible and honest employee or business owner.

While attending public schools, where the existence of God, the actual study of the Constitution and the “un-modified” lessons in history are becoming rare, our children and grandchildren frequently miss out on the opportunity of leaning through the examples of good teachers and administrators who are true to their principles — but, limited by the demands of political correctness in their “school” setting.

When senior citizens go to the polls and vote in local, state and national elections (and they are very good at that), they are providing a tremendous example for their children and grandchildren to follow.

But, when seniors choose not to exercise their citizenship “duty” to vote, it is a sure bet that many of our grandchildren and children are watching — and learning from that example as well.

While we seniors still have the time and energy to “do something good,” it might be a wise decision to think through all of those significant actions that we take in our lives where we actually do set an example for our children and grandchildren.

Is it important to set an example of not eating too much ice cream or candy? Sure. That is probably an important health matter.

But, is that as important as teaching that one should always be honest in their dealings with their fellow-man and woman? Probably not.

For many of us seniors there is still plenty of time to provide excellent examples, high in the principles of ethics, morals and integrity, for at least those within our own immediate families and circle of friends.

What is the legacy you want to leave the generations who follow you?

Pearls Of Wisdom And Time To Just Shut Up

By:  Columnist Bob Grafe

First Published:  January 18, 2010

As one grows older, it becomes abundantly clear that life and politics are similar to what happens when you add water to a dry package of Kool-Aid. Once mixed together, it is almost impossible to ever again separate them back into their original forms.

For many senior citizens, much of life is impacted by the political stage of daily life. One day it may be concerns about ones future health care — and how to afford it on a fixed or even a semi-fixed income.

The next day may bring about worry for grandchildren who have been called to military service. Then the focus changes to a natural disaster somewhere around the globe claiming the lives of thousands. Or, to a potential life-changing event such as a political race where much is at stake for senior citizens and other citizens alike.

With all of this busy activity filling up one’s limited plate of choices, what is a senior citizen to do?

At times like this, it may be both helpful and rewarding to share our limited knowledge about life with our grandchildren and other loved ones. Senior citizens have an abundance of those little “secrets of life” that have been passed down over many years. And, many personal “lessons” that senior citizens have learned themselves during their lifetime.

Maybe it is time to share these insights and warnings — while there is still time to do so.

There is a story to share that might help our grandchildren and others to make good choices in life. The story is about an old Cherokee who was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A battle is raging inside me … it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The old man fixed the children with a firm stare. “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee replied: “The one you feed.”

Like the Cherokee story, suggestions for coping with many of life’s challenges, political and otherwise, are found throughout history and are important to pass along.

Sun-Tzu, the Chinese general and military strategist is credited with the idea that it is important to “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Julius Caesar is the likely originator of the conflict strategy of “Divide and conquer.” This might be presented as an example of what some in politics (and elsewhere in life) today employ to their advantage during a conflict.

Even the French have had interesting philosophies to use during a conflict. Nepolean Bonaparte instructed “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.”

Our first president, George Washington, taught us “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”

Spoken as a wise and patient political force in Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher taught “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Oscar Wilde’s proposal that “A man can’t be too careful in his choice of enemies.” is something that is frequently forgotten in our daily lives.

The fewer the enemies one has means that there is more time to focus on doing good for ones family, community, state, nation — even the world.

By looking for and understanding those little nuggets of wisdom that have been left for us along life’s pathway, senior citizens are able to prepare themselves and others for circumstances that may appear impossible to overcome.

“Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Socrates made that observation sometime between 470-300 B.C. Some things really don’t change much over time!

Author Ernest Hemmingway recommended that we “Never mistake motion for action.” Something that takes a few years of experience to finally learn for many of us.

Martin Luther King, Jr. left us with this reflection about life: “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well.’”

Abraham Lincoln taught us that “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” And, football coach Vince Lombardi commented “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”

Some bits of wisdom take some time to digest, but, digest they will.

George Carlin once said “Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.” Comedian or politician?

Perhaps the humorous genius of those like Will Rogers are the most palatable snippets of knowledge to catch people’s attention when senior citizens attempt to leave this world a little better than they found it — by sharing their years of wisdom and of hard-knocks experiences.

Rogers taught us many things about the lives we live. He observed that “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” He also noted this jewel: “Don’t squat with your spurs on.”

And, Rogers also cautioned that no matter how important it was to get ones point across to others, one should “Never miss a good chance to shut up!”