Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2012 No. 4
 

Neil Crain & "Just Checking In"

The confluence of three major events at Ucross, Wyoming on April 28th was enough of a blow away literally to last a lifetime plus!

 

All the effort that Ucross Foundation people, volunteers, and workmen had put into the physical side was extraordinary.  As was the high-spirited craftsmanship and accomplishment of the artist workmen, son Mike, and architect Jeff Robertson to use the mild winter weather advantage to get ahead of schedule; that advantage was amazing, as is the result.

 

Yet the greatest thing about the day was the people who came from near and afar to participate in the events with great spirit and thoughtfulness with three hundred in attendance coming from London, California, Houston, British Columbia and of course across Wyoming. 

 

My after event mail and phone callers thanked me, regretted family emergencies and flight discrepancies that prevented them from attending.  Lucky for me, my assistant insisted I autograph books in advance, as I didn’t get cramps signing “A Small Difference,” which has been well received.  I had from handing out fifty-five “gifts” and telling stories associated with fine people who continue to uplift my being.

 

Since I began my remarks with Neil Crain – a close friend over 50 years – who had driven from Louisiana to Buffalo, Wyoming and upon checking into his hotel, the concierge took one look at him and immediately called for an ambulance.  Some who joined in concern over his survival may be interested to note that he made it to a Casper hospital and nurses who stopped internal bleeding and controlled the blood flow, as two family members flew to Denver to which my sturdy friend drove 325 miles and awaited a son’s and R.N. daughter’s arrival to return him to Lake Charles, Louisiana.  He called several times en route to report, “still breathing” and positive in soul.  We have begun discussions of our annual Lake of the Woods, Ontario fishing outing.  May the Lord continue to smile on him.  I’m attaching below a story he had sent me on spirituality, which we had not therefore discussed previously.  In my memoir, I wrote a few pages on spirituality beginning at page 329 of “A Small Difference.”  The memoir is not a spirituality vehicle, it simply represents my personal views, while other passages deal with topics I believe particularly relevant to those who may find useful perceptions of constructive utilization of the opportunities associated with lifetime learning.




JUST CHECKING IN


A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, Decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.

Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in a while. His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed, The man knelt; he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed, each noontime came this chap, Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear, He decided to stop the man and ask him, 'What are you doing here?'

The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour. Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power.

'I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away; As I kneel here talking to the Lord,
This is kinda what I say:

'I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD,
HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS MIKE CHECKING IN TODAY.'

The minister feeling foolish, told Mike that was fine.
He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime

Time to go, Mike smiled, said 'Thanks.' He hurried to the door. The minister knelt at the altar; he'd never done it before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there. As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Mike's prayer:

'I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD,
HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHERS FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY.'

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Mike hadn't come. As more days passed without Mike, he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill. The hospital staff was worried, but he'd given them a thrill.

The week that Mike was with them, brought changes in the ward. His smiles, a joy contagious changed people, were his reward.

The head nurse couldn't understand why Mike was so glad, When no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse's concern: No friends came to show they cared; he had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Mike spoke up and with a winsome smile; 'the nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that he's in here all the while.

Every day at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:

'I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, MIKE,
HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN.
ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY,
I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY, AND SO Mike,
THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY.'

If this blesses you, pass it on. Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart

May God hold you in the palm of His hand and Angels watch over you.

Please pass this page on to your friends & loved ones if you aren't ashamed. Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me,' I will be ashamed
Of you before my Father.'

If you are not ashamed, pass this on. So, FRIEND, this is ME... "Just Checking In Today"