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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Gloria



My wife was born October 8, 1939 to Alfred and Doris Schaffner. Albany, New York. Gloria had a sister, Dottie. They lived at 25 Garden Street. Schools and shopping were within walking distance. Their father finally bought a 1954 Mercury.  There was lots of aunts and uncles nearby.

Gloria was a guard on the high school basketball team.  She was always very athletic and after we were married had her bike in the garage and bar bells to lift. When she graduated from high school, she decided to join the Marine Corps and also a friend wanted go with her.  At the train station, her friend never showed, so she went on to the Marine base.  Gloria never had a license to drive. She rode trains and Trailway buses.  She did this for 3 and half years while in the Marine Corps.

Gloria Van Arsdall

We met through a Social Club; we wrote letters.  Today, that would all be on the internet. At that time she and another former lady Marine were living in an apartment in D.C.  This was when Martin Luther King was killed.

Well, what about the Marine Corps: Gloria said that on the first night several of the new recruits cried and cried and went home the next day.  I think she like the training.  She said the Drill Instructor (D.I.) could shout in her face all day, it never bothered her!  They did a lot of drilling and marched in many parades, even in July in wool uniforms and said the Marines were the only ones that knew how to salute.  They were given chances to shop at New Bern, she liked this.

Gloria worked in clothing.  She often told that it closed at 5 o’clock.  If officers showed at one minute after 5, she would point to the sign CLOSED AT 5. She never opened, no matter how long they banged on the door.

Thru the years: we adopted two boys now out in society saving the world, Gloria  kept a long prayer list, sent  encouragements to church members, made telephones calls and helped when needs arose.

She can’t do that now- in long term nursing care.

Ancient documents tell us of a trumpet made to sound clearly when blown and take action.  For us Christians it will be a motion to go home. Please; don’t burden yourself with the possessions of this world, travel light, be ready, because I have given you  a warning the gate to heaven may be CLOSED at 5, prepare to be there and on time, Gloria will be there and she likes people to obey the sign!

To Canaan’s land I’m on my way. Where the soul (of man) never dies. My darkest night will turn to day.

No sad farewells, no tear dimmed eyes, where all is love and the soul never dies. (John 6:50)

Crossing the bridge to church one Sunday morning, in two lanes, the outer lane had a truck with the Marine Corps sticker… I blew the horn and pointed to Gloria…they saluted each other , SEMPER FI.

The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Time



Can time move fast and then slow?

I think that it moves the slowest when you are in a store line waiting to pay. This would be at eleven in the morning on a weekday. I have been caught in these and try to reason it out and think that this is life. I do begin to wonder why this person is returning the third time to the car to ask mother for more money.

I notice that the lady in front of me has a fifty dollar bill ready to pay for a pack of smokes. In the other line (this is a two line gas convenience store) a patron is turning out his pockets to pay for gasoline. He is beckoning to his fellow passengers to come in and help with the money.

The person at the head of my line is using a credit card to pay for a loaf of bread. Wow! At card rates, this loaf may become rather pricey.(Oh that I had wings like a dove for then would I fly away,and be at rest. Ps. 55:6)

When I finally pay and escape this store but I wind up in another line at the grocery store. No 10 or 15 items line here! You wait your turn. Carts are piled high. Food has not gone out of style. Are these people inviting everyone in the nearby town to lunch and dinner. I begin to think of ways to let management know that life is threescore & ten. I am almost there in life, and so, could I cut to the front line and enjoy my remaining time elsewhere.

The news media lets us know that there are more and more senior citizens every year. Well, I think that there should be stores for us. We should be able to have all the time we need to pick over the shelves without concern of those long lines. It is cutting into our time to observe the weather and watch the clouds.

Someone close to me will mention that it is also shortening my naps. I couldn’t go without all the cellphone conversations that I am party to while in line. When the cell plays its merry tune, the rest of us become invisible. Yes! Aunt Bea is doing better if she would only take her pills and follow the doctor’s advice. Yes! I know the new Mercedes are in the showroom.

Parents are using the cell to track the kids at home, or are they at home? I can’t help but wonder if our native Americans did the same thing with smoke signals. Two puffs-your mother in law is here from Shawnee. Three puffs-are you on your way home? Four puffs-it’s buffalo again tonight. One puff- a long and slow one meaning “I still love you.”

The Bible gives us courage in our fast society. Note this in the following Scriptures.

What time am I afraid, I will trust in thee. (Psalm 56:3)

Remember how short my time is wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? (Psalm 89:47)

The customer ahead of me at the supermarket checkout counter had written a check for her purchases and was waiting for the clerk to package them.

Instead, citing “company policy,” he asked her for identification. The shopper looked astounded, then finally managed to say, “But David, I’m your mother!” (from SUPERMARKET humor)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: At the Door



Once upon a time in the early 60s there were two young ladies just out of the Marine Corps; they happened to be in Arlington ,Virginia and had found employment at the National Bank of Washington and Trailways. They were fortunate to get an apartment together on Lee Highway west of the Potomac River. Through the week Gloria was off to the Bank and Shirley was off to duel with fuel bills at the Bus Depot

Times were difficult, rent was high easy enough if you saved and saved you got by until the next month. Gloria often remarked about the bus ride to work, always packed and left you standing in the aisle. When it was raining, passengers got on sopping wet and you just managed to get to work before you were also drenched; men never had to worry about their hair.

When Shirley returned home one day, she had news that there was someone they could share the apartment and the rent. They had to make sure that management never saw the third person – frowned on such.

Time went on and they lived happily together. When there was a knock on the door, (Pat) would hide in the closet… It worked. How this happened was never revealed to me; Shirley told Gloria, she had learned that (Pat) had a pistol. Somehow, this came out and (Pat) told the two that she had an ex-male friend that was stalking her. At the moment she was sure he did not know where she lived, but would definitely find her; and obviously this had gone on long enough to warp her personality..became the reason to have a pistol (maybe it was his!).

The ‘secret’ made the two jittery… come home from work and the mystery became: was (Pat) there ? if so she might be in the closet… if she was in the closet did she have the pistol and was it loaded… and their minds raced with all the 911 possibilities. It was tight lips, if management found out, then they all got the boot! The deposit was gone.

Somewhere out of the blue, their third told them she was going to leave, maybe back to Pennsylvania to live with her parents for awhile. There was a ‘thank you LORD! “There’s a stranger at the door – Let Him in; He has been there oft before – Let Him in, ere He is gone, Let Him in the Holy One. Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son… Let Him in.” #616 SACRED SELECTIONS

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Writing



When our sons were in grade school and discovered the joy of writing, I asked them to write a science fiction story for me. They gave it their best! The result was quite a story of space ships, green aliens, and villains with big teeth. There were the good guys and the bad guys and of course the castle with the deep dark forest close by. I read it and praised them for a good job. Weeks later, I asked if I could see it again. No, they had thrown it into the trash and not to be found. Little did I know that we may have passed up the chance to be millionaires.

You would have to be on Mars or totally out of touch to have missed the stir about the J.K.Rowling’s Potter series of fantasy witchcraft books. These have made her the richest woman in England. It all started when she, a single parent, was forced to support her infant daughter. While her child was napping, Rowling started writing the first book at a table in a cafe. The books soon to end with the seventh one are now in most bookstores, schools and libraries. They are being applauded for being the catalyst to spur the 8-18 age group into a pell-mell race to grab the first edition at a price of nearly thirty dollars. Reading has jumped up 31% and has made reading “fun.” Many have tried to explain this reading surge translated into the languages of over 200 nations. Much has been written in the newspaper and on internet analyzing the interest among our young people in the Potter books. Books on magic and fantasy have been written over the years and are now cluttering the shelves of the used book stores. None have ever created a crazed reading stampede as these books.

What are the glaring short comings of the Rowling’s series? – God is not mentioned at all as the supreme being. Heroes have all the power and fly around on magic broomsticks and cast spells. A sinister being appears in the form of a gigantic snake. The main character’s mother returns from the dead in the form of an animal. Many put all this aside in the justification of these books and now movies as being sheer unadulterated brain floss entertainment and that’s that! This is one time the experts agree that too much exposure to this kind of entertainment “desensitizes our society to the occult.” This could well be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for many of our youth who really can’t handle one more peer driven pressure driven activity. Australia has already tried to place warning labels on the books when placed in the local libraries.

Remember the drive to place the TEN COMMANDMENTS into the schools. The first commandment is: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.(Exodus 20) We have to keep this is mind that God has not changed because thousands of years have passed. HE has also said from brother Paul,” ,”And now, brothers, as I close this letter let me say this one more thing, Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.” (Phil. 4:8)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: A Farm Kid in the Marines



(At San Diego Marine Corp Recruit Training; writing a letter back home)

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because we get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there’s walla water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you until noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much.

We go on “route marches,” which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

The country is nice but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none. This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting back at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes. Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull at home. I’m about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6″ and 130 pounds and he’s 6’8″ and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Out of the Blue



It is Friday 4th, January, 2019 and I never thought I would wake up with a VoiceMail on my TracFone. I stared at it as tho it was a virus. In today’s cellphone environment it is mostly ‘text’ and get the instant send/return. I did remember to press “1” and then follow the instructions, well enough. I was thwarted when it asked for a password…had none. At the end of the day, I had not mastered the learning curve to find out the who was leaving a Voice Mail for Moi. I found a TracFone box that had a 800 number. I needed a rest and decided to give the next day its due attention. Late on Saturday I used the 800 and chose “other” from the menu; a person answered and in ten minutes I was ready to open the VoiceMail.

The person in the message was the Piedmont Hospice Grief Consular; Gregg thought it was wonderful that we had chosen the route to medical science. Even donation has to pass inspection and I was shocked that in death…you still have to pass the test.

Sweden, and Japan and many small countries are running out of room for what we have come to know as the traditional burials. In Japan, cremation is the route; families are given a lease on a small plot that serves the need to visit and place flowers and etc. , when the lease is up, the urn is taken home and the plot is leased to the next family.

In older hymn books, is found a song I heard as a youth…ASLEEP IN JESUS,

I had been driven in a friend’s carriage through some of the exquisite green lanes in Devonshire,” wrote the author of this hymn the year before her death. “We paused at Pennycross, attracted by a rural burial-ground, and went in to look at the graves. It was a place of such sweet, entire repose as to leave a lasting impression on the memory. There were no artificial walks or decorations, but the grass was very green, and there were no unsightly signs of neglect. On one of the stones were the words, “Sleeping in Jesus.” It was in such entire keeping with the lovely and peaceful surroundings that it clung to my thoughts. On arriving at home I took a pencil and commenced writing the hymn, little thinking that it was destined to find so much favor, and that part of it would be inscribed on many tombstones.”

Mrs. Margaret Mackay was born in Scotland, and died at Cheltenham, England, in 1887, at the age of eighty-five.

“Asleep in Jesus! blessed sleep, From none ever wakes to weep!A calm and undisturbed repose, Unbroken by the last of foes.
Asleep in Jesus! O how sweet To be for such a slumber meet! With holy confidence to sing, That death hath lost its sting.
Asleep in Jesus! peaceful rest, Whose waking is supremely blest! No fear, no woe, shall dim that hour That manifests the Savior’s pow’r.” see Matthew 9:24

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Souls



All through 2018, we have given our bodies the best: food, water, clothing, but due to human frailty, the soul is often left out in the cold.

God sent HIS only son to save the soul, no one will dispute this well known Biblical fact.

The year 2019 is knocking at the door; it will be let in! we’ll will miss 2018 as it is gone and joins lots of other memories, happy or maybe sad ones. We look forward to the new year with hope and a smile that it will bring lots of blessings and chances to spread goodwill.

If there is a resolution for the next 12 months it would be the words of Arnuly Leuven circa 1200 – O SCARED HEAD- And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.


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The Power of Rise @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Randolph-Macon Academy invites you to come discover what “The Power of Rise” can do for your child at the next open house on Monday, February 18th. Tours begin promptly at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. To[...]