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English is Tough Stuff!


As a French teacher, I love language-related humor, but I try to post a good variety on my blog. Because of some of the news in the personal update, I thought I'd go language-related with today's post.

The poem below has been attributed to several sources, as best as I can ascertain by doing web searches. One source says it came about as an exercise from the multi-national translation personnel at the NATO headquarters in Paris. According to some reports, the personnel maintained that English wasn't so hard to learn, except that English pronunciation is a killer! And apparently they composed the poem to prove their point.

Another source says that a an English teacher in Holland required his students to learn by heart this poem he called "The Chaos." The English teacher was named G. Nolst Trenité and lived in the city of Haarlem. Trenité wrote articles under the pen name Charivarious and a little booklet entitled "Drop Your English Accent," in which the poem appeared.

Anyway, I've tried to cover the attribution bases, tending to believe that the latter might be the right one.

So now on to the iv.... Try reading even just a part of the poem aloud and see what happens. The poem highlights effectively (some would say extremly) some of the myriad incongruities of English spelling and pronunciation. If you're unsure of the pronounciation of some words, you could go to merriam-webster.com and type the word in the search box.

It's been said that after trying to read this poem aloud, one native French interpreter said he'd prefer to spend six months at hard labor than reading any six lines out loud!

Every language has its own difficulties as a foreign language that non-native speakers try to master. However, the English language is so notoriously difficult to learn that it's amazing we manage to communicate at all, at least in writing, suffice it to say that English is tough stuff!

The Chaos

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;
So I shall! Oh, hear my prayer.
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it's written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say - said, pay - paid, laid but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak,
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding - sail, choir;
Woven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
Missiles, similes, reviles.
Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining,
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far.
From desire - desirable and admirable from admire,
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discount, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,
Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation's OK.
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Is your r correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyant, minute, but minute.
Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?
Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.
Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You'll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.
Would you like some more? You'll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice,
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,
Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with "shirk it" and "beyond it",
But it is not hard to tell
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
People push and rush to possess,
Desert, but desert, and address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.
"Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker",
Quoth he, "than liqueur or liquor",
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.
Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.
And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.
Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,
Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn't) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.
Don't be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.
Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)
Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don't mention,
Sounds like pause, pores, paws, and pours,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;
Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.
No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don't want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.
But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.
Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you're not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.
Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!
Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.
Please don't monkey with the geyser,
Don't peel 'taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.
Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.
The th will surely trouble you
More than r, ch or w.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.
Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget 'em -
Wait! I've got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.
The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight - you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,
Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.
Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use, to use?
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite, and unite.
Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.
Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion, Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess - it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.
Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.
Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce.

Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.
Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.
A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,
Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.
Pronunciation - think of Psyche! -
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won't it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??
Hiccough has the sound of sup.
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

divider

This Saturday evening the Modern Language Department at BJU is sponsoring three language plays from the Middle Ages. I have had the joy and responsibility of preparing my cast of nine students to present Le Vilain mire - The Peasant Doctor. If anyone local would like to come see the German play, the Spanish play, and the French play, they will begin at 7:00 pm in the SAS Assembly Room. Even if you don't know the languages, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much you understand.

Another bit of personal news is that it appears that my wife and I will not be going to Asia this summer to teach. Last fall when I contacted the Dean at the university where we'd taught two other summers, I was surprised to learn that some retired teachers from Mississippi had already contacted the Dean about teaching. We got an e-mail the other day indicating that those teachers are still planning to go. We are still willing to go if they don't end up going, but the Dean said we could definitely come in 2009.

quotation...

"One of the most important things prayer changes is you." - Dr. Tim Keesee

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"To do is to be." -- Plato
"To be is to do." -- Kant
"Dobe dobe do." -- Sinatra


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Miscommunications…


I have seen three things in the last two days about humorous situations that have arisen, thanks to people's trying to communicate in a foreign language. I pass these on with at least a little bit of trepidation since I'm currently trying to review what little Chinese I learned two years ago this semester. My wife and I plan to go teach in Asia again this next summer unless some door closes to show us clearly that that is not what we are supposed to do. Anyway, on to the miscommunications (or is it missed communications?)...

I'll start off with a story we received by e-mail from our friend Ruth with whom we have taught in Asia. She writes...

Cross-Culture Non-Communication

The following is a true story, however impossible it may sound.

After teaching for three hours, I asked a sophomore student to go with me to the language lab director's office to find out the name of a Chinese male teacher who had taught in the room next to me the previous hour.

Thinking my request quite simple, I told the student to ask the director to please tell me the name of the teacher who had taught in room 206 the previous hour. I know the student asked the correct question since I could understand most of the Chinese words used.

The answer?...

Director: No, you teach in room 208.
Me: I am not talking about me. I am talking about the Chinese teacher in room 206.

Student translates

D: You are not in 206 you are in 208.
Thought: Hello, is anyone listening to me?

In walks a Chinese English teacher. The director asks her to tell me that my classroom is number 208.

Me: I am not talking about me or my classroom. I simply want to know the name of the teacher in room 206.
D: But she is not in 206.
Thought: Would someone just listen to my question!
Me: There is a male teacher in room 206. His English name is Bear. I want to know his Chinese name.
D: OH, OH, OH. You mean the MAN! Is he a little big (meaning fat) and no hair on the top?
Me: Yes,
D: His name is __ __ __.

What if I really had an emergency? I would be dead before anyone listened to me.

This evening we received the following short e-mail from Ruth:

The story I wrote about non-communication has a second chapter. The original story took place last Thursday. Yesterday, Thursday, in class my little translator sweetly came to me and said, "The reason the lady could not understand you last week was because you were giving her the wrong room numbers." UGH! There I had to swallow some pride and repent. So my whole story just lost its punch line and I learned a good lesson.

divider

The following is an excerpt from a blog post by a man named Dave, who is currently teaching English in Asia.

He entitled it: I don't know what it is, but it likes ESPN2

I gave my first test last week, and as bonus questions, asked them to write a sentence using one of the slang phrases that I've taught them. A few students got them right. Many more failed in spectacular ways. Most of the difficulties centered on the phrase "couch potato." Seems simple enough, right? Maybe to you. A few of the (erroneous) attempts at capturing this phrase follow.

- He is a couch tomato.
- I was a sofa tomato.
- We should not be couch pasta [I know it's some kind of starchy food!]
- We are sofa and Pomato on the holiday.
- My sister likes laying Tomato, she always sitting on sofa.
- Tom A Couch Plato [These are not the ultimate Doritos, but merely shadowy copies of the true form].
- you watch TV, you will be crouch potato [Looks like the three-point stance to me]

And, in a guess at "baby boomer:"
- After the 2th World War, many boom babies borned.

divider

The following is from the blog of Carol who is living in Asia with her husband Hal and their three kids. Carol and Hal are both former high school students of mine from way back in the last millenium. Carol's parents are there visiting them right now. Anyway, Carol writes...

Today I thought I would share with you YET another language blunder. This one took place last week while my mom and I were shopping. Here we have markets that we shop at where we have to bargain for our items and that involves speaking. Well as you know I am new to this language so I am learning all the time how to say things and new words to add to my ever building vocabulary.

When I am out and about I try very hard to use each word I can possibly use. Personally I detest having to have someone help me anymore. Perhaps that is my slightly stubborn side coming out but I am at the point where I want to say it and do it MYSELF. SO that means I have to put it in high gear and start getting more words under my belt. Practice times for me are often found at the market because I have to speak to them in order to make a purchase and people are typically very willing to let me try my words on them. 🙂

My mom and I were shopping last week and looking for some 'wedding lanterns' that would be sent back to the states for a wedding shower of a Chinese woman and her American fiance. I had a bit of a hesitation when I was shopping because I was unsure exactly which lantern was for wedding and which for New Years. They look alike to me except for the characters written on them. I am still not able to read them so I have to ask. I figured that was no big deal...I would just tell the worker that this lantern was going to be for a wedding and make sure it was the correct one. That is not out of the realm of my meager vocabulary. I had learned all of those words and could readily ask those questions. The problem came when I got one key word mixed up. As I was describing why I wanted to purchase this lantern I repeatedly use the word "divorce" instead of "marriage/wedding". OOOPS big mistake there. The fun was as follows:

(Ok, so imagine yourself hearing some weirdo foreigner say this to you:)

"Are these lanterns used for the divorce of a man and woman?"

HMMM....no response...just odd looks....so let me try this again.

"I would like to purchase a lantern to celebrate a friend's divorce."

Ok, so that didn't go over real well...they are now just staring at me...one more swing at this...let's rearrange the sentence a little and see if it flies....

"An American and a Chinese person will be getting divorced and we would like to have 2 lanterns for the party."

Ok, I am talking Greek or something so may be I should describe the event...here's another feeble attempt...

"In America we give gifts, eat food, talk and celebrate 2 people getting divorced."

Ok...you you get the picture, huh? Those poor people just kept saying "no" and looking at me all weird and, I am sure, wondering about all of us sicko Americans out here that celebrate a divorce this way. They kept stepping back from me and shaking their heads and looking at me REALLY oddly.

THEN...it hit me. I realized I was using the wrong word for "marriage" and instead was saying "divorce". So I told them "oh I am sorry, I forgot the word" and when I fixed it and told them "wedding" they immediately took me to the correct lanterns for THAT occasion. AMAZING how one word can change the whole situation!!

SO...I have now given them something fun to go home and disuss at the dinner table. 🙂 When I told an Chinese friend here what I said/did, she said, "They will now tell all their friends what the crazy American woman told them today." 🙂 Guess I will be the talk of the town...me and my divorce celebration.

quotation...

"What a cheap imitation of glory is living for what will soon pass away!" - Dr. Tony Fox

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

When the seed store was robbed, the authorities suspected that the evidence was planted.


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Uncommon Sayings


This Wednesday here at BJU is the first day of university classes. For me this is my 52nd start of a school year, if I count all of them back to my first day of Kindergarten! It's my 35th year of teaching - YIKES!

All three of our kids chose to become teachers also. Here are some updates on them:

Megan was a little sad that after 7 years of beginning the school year as a first grade teacher, it's happening without her this year. But that sadness passed fairly quickly with the joy of her own little classroom at home with Drew. Here are a few of his latest pictures...

Bathtime is generally a happy time for Drew...

Drew taking a bath...

Drew loves the Bumbo. Even though he cannot sit up yet on his own, with the Bumbo, he can. (Some days I need one of those myself!) Becka was talking to Megan on the phone the first time Meg put Drew in his Bumbo and got to hear Drew laugh out loud!

Drew in his Bumbo

Drew also loves this Johnny-Jump-Up. We got to watch him jump in it one evening recently via webcam over the Internet. Cool stuff! In the picture below, you can tell from his little smirk that he thinks it's all pretty great!

Drew in his Johnny-Jump-Up

Nora teaches toddlers at a local pre-school and *loves* it! Below is a picture of Nora and some of her kids with the new classroom baby bunny, Dakota.

Nora, Dakota, and kids

Mark is teaching fourth grade this year after several years of teaching fifth grade. He seems to have a lively, fun group this year. He hasn't supplied us with any pictures lately.

Well, that's the latest about this family of teachers.

divider

A friend and I were talking recently about how sayings or proverbs are part of what makes up the general knowledge of one's own culture. There are some sayings that, after hearing the first few words, just about anyone familiar with them can easily finish.

A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs, gave each child in the class the first half of a proverb, and asked the children to come up with the rest. Here are some of the best of the wrong endings the children came up with for these common sayings:

Better safe than ... punch a 5th grader.

Strike while the ... bug is close.

It's always darkest just before ... daylight savings time.
It's always darkest just before ... I open my eyes.

Never underestimate the power of ... termites.

You can lead a horse to water but ... how?

The grass is always greener... when you remember to water it.

Don't bite the hand that ... looks dirty.

No news is ... impossible.

A bird in the hand is ... a real mess.

Better to light one candle than ... to waste electricity.
Better to light one candle than ... to light an explosive.

You can't teach an old dog new ... math.

If you lie down with dogs, you ... will stink in the morning.

When in Rome, do... Roman numerals in math.
When in Rome, do... bulls run around town?

Too many cooks... so little meals.

A fool and his money are... my best friends.

Look before you... run into a pole.

The pen is mightier than the ... pigs.

An idle mind is ... the best way to relax.

Where there is smoke, there's ... pollution.

A penny saved is ... not much.
A penny saved is ... nothing in the real world.

Don't put off till tomorrow what...you put on to go to bed.

Two is company, three's ... The Musketeers.

None are so blind as ... Helen Keller.

Children should be seen and not ... spanked or grounded.

If at first you don't succeed ... get new batteries.

The squeaking wheel gets ... annoying.

We have nothing to fear but ... homework.
We have nothing to fear but ... our principal.

To err is human. To ... eat a muskrat is not.

I think, therefore ... I get a headache.

If you can't stand the heat ... get out of the oven.
If you can't stand the heat ... don't start the fireplace.
If you can't stand the heat ... go swimming.

Don't count your chickens ... it takes too long.
Don't count your chickens ... eat them.

You get out of something what you ... see pictured on the box.

When the blind lead the blind ... get out of the way.

Early to bed and early to rise ... is first in the bathroom.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with ... a blister.

A miss is as good as a ... Mr.

There is no fool like ... Aunt Edie.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and ... someone yells, "Shut up!"
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you; cry and ... you have to blow your nose.

quotation...

"What do you treasure? That's what you'll worry about." - Dr. Jim Deuink

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Good is often the enemy of the best.


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What’s So Bad About a #1 Pencil?


A regular contributor to the Greenville Journal is a man named Barry Ray whose column "Barry's World" reminds us a lot of the style of Dave Barry. One of his recent columns about back-to-school trauma was hilarious. I searched high and low to find it online somewhere, but to no avail. I wanted to put a link on my blog to the column. Finally I decided to write to the e-mail address for Barry Ray to ask him if I could get a copy of his article somewhere so that I could put it on my blog. Within a couple of hours I got a nice reply that stated, "I am planning on putting some older columns online soon. Right now, the Journal likes being the only source and putting them online would hurt subscriptions, I suppose. I have attached a JPEG of the column for you to use on your blog. Keep reading and thanks!"

And so with Barry's permission I'm placing the picture he sent me below. What you see below is a picture of a printed page, and so the quality of the print is not the best, but it's definitely worth the extra effort to read this one!

What's So Bad About a #1 Pencil?

A few weeks ago my wife Becka saw a restaurant review in the Greenville News that caught her attention. One of the reasons was that the reviewers all gave the restaurant high marks - a rarity indeed! So our little team who taught in Asia last year went there with our friend Ruth as a farewell before her return to Asia. We all enjoyed our meal very much, proclaiming we'd definitely be eating there again. The food was scrumptious, beautiful and plentiful, and the entrees ranged mainly from only $7 to $10.

Last evening Becka and I returned there for dinner and were dismayed that we were the only customers during our meal. We would hate to see this place close its doors! The restaurant is Vietnamese, and it is as authentic as you can get. It's a family-run restaurant, and everyone who works there is Vietnamese - unlike some of the local Chinese restaurants with Spanish speakers doing the cooking! With delicious food and a dining area that is clean and pleasant, there's no reason this place shouldn't be packing in the people! ...except that I don't think they have much of a notion at all about advertising. As a result, other than the review in the paper, they get customers only by word of mouth or from people happening by and wandering in.

updated 20 Oct. 2007: I've learned that the restaurant has closed its doors. Very sad.

Below is their business card. Too bad they didn't make it. Thanks to all of you locals who tried it out and attempted to give them more business.

SaiGon River business card

quotation...

In reference to teachers ... "We are not just data merchants." - Dr. Dan Olinger

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?


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Lives Touching Lives


At church yesterday morning we learned that Dr. Walter Fremont had passed away earlier that morning. In December he and his family celebrated 20 years of his survival after being diagnosed with ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease in December 1986. He has to be among those who have lived the longest with this horrible disease. And it wasn't even the ALS that caused his death - it was internal bleeding!

Dr. Fremont's influence on me as a student in several of his classes was huge, much greater than I realized at the time. His love for the Lord and for people and his enthusiasm for life and service were evident to all his students and left a mark on us all. If he had not encouraged us to go visit the displays at the Principals' Conference on campus my senior year, I would probably not be a teacher now. And now as I teach I feel greater freedom just to be myself because of his example. I remember his standing on his desk and doing many other zany things to get or keep our attention or to get his points across.

In my summer work as an IT tech, I worked on his computer this past summer at Barge Hospital on campus. Even with his severe limitations, he was cheerful and encouraging as always. He even used his only finger and thumb that he could still move to give his repaired computer a command to tell me thanks, praise the Lord, and have a great day!

Furthermore my wife and I counted his daughter Elaine Fremont as a good friend and were shocked and saddened by her sudden death in an automobile accident in the mid 90s. Like her dad, her life was about others rather than self. I have a page on my site about a holiday she invented - Bonza Bottler Day. You can read about it on the official page her family has put up about the holiday, Official Bonza Bottler Day website.

I'm sure Dr. Fremont and Elaine are enjoying a grand reunion after over 10 years of separation.

For those interested - the visitation will be this evening (Monday) from 6:30-8:30 in the War Memorial Chapel on the campus of BJU and the funeral service will be Tuesday evening at 7:00 at Hampton Park Baptist Church here in Greenville.

As I reflected on Dr. Fremont's impact on my life, I thought I'd send a special iv early this week to honor him and the way he touched lives.

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Do famous and powerful people wear sunglasses because the spotlights blind them to reality? Maybe they suffer from a delusion that earthly power means something. (It doesn't.) Some may suffer from the misconception that titles make them special. (They don't.) Others have the impression that temporal authority always makes an eternal difference. (It doesn't always.)

To prove the point, take this quiz:

1. Name the ten wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last ten Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last ten winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. How about the last decade's worth of World Series winners?

How did you do? I won't tell you how poorly I did. I think most people don't do very well on it. With the exception of you trivia hounds, most of us don't remember the headliners of yesterday too well. Surprising how quickly we forget such "important" things, isn't it? And those categories mentioned above are no second-rate achievements. These are purportedly the best in their fields. However, the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
2. Name ten people who have taught you something worthwhile.
3. Name five friends who have helped you in a difficult time.
4. List several teachers who have aided your journey through school.
5. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier? It was for me, too. The lesson? The people who make a difference are often not the ones with this world's acclaim, but the ones whose lives truly touch other lives.

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This is Rob again...
Some of you have had profound influences on my life (and I thank you for it), and some of you have been influenced by mine. (I hope it's been for the good.) Our life touches other lives, for good or for ill. Let's all keep trying to have a positive influence on the lives we touch. Things are temporal ... people are forever.

quotation...

"Do I see my world as a tourist or as a missionary? Do I just admire the beauty of the attainments or do I see the bondage and death?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Teachers live forever in the hearts they touch.


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