Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 16, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 16, 2013 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

STUART Tolchin........On LIFE




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdsall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Lori Koop

Rev. James Snyder

Tina Paul

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Welborn

Renee Quenell

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams



 I am the 
child of a salesman. 
My father came over 
from the old country 
with little education 
and fewer skills. He married in his mid 
thirties and had started many different 
businesses with his brothers and ran 
these business even while in the Army 
during World War II. By the time I 
came on the scene my father was already 
losing his eyesight but still attempting to 
drive and make his rounds as a salesman. 
The big fear in our family was that his 
eyesight would get so bad that would not 
be able to pass the eye test and qualify to 
have his drivers’ license renewed.

 When I was about ten or eleven 
it became time for my father to renew 
his license and he was pretty certain 
that he would not be able to read the eye 
chart. He encouraged me to go to the 
Department of Motor Vehicles Office 
and check out the eye chart and see if I 
could memorize it and then later go over 
it with him. I went to the Motor Vehicles 
place saw the eye chart and memorized 
it. I can still remember the letters-the 
Big E, then F,P, third line T,O,Z, fourth 
line L,P,E,D, fifth line P,E,C,F,D and 
that’s about all I can remember; but, 
after all, I memorized it sixty years or so 

 Of course eventually my dad 
did go completely blind, but he kept 
working. I drove him when I could 
and my friends and I taught my mom 
to drive and then she drove him. This 
went on for years even after I went away 
to college. I think of this every time I 
go Kaiser to pick up medication or see 
a doctor and lately these visits have 
been pretty frequent. There, at Kaiser, I 
always see a big eye chart with exactly 
the same letters on it. Sixty years later 
and still the same letters and the same 
tests I guess. I wonder how many others 
have memorized those eye charts.

 Really, it’s amazing how 
everything in the world seems to 
have changed but the eye charts have 
remained the same. Thinking about the 
eye charts reminds me of how we

children of immigrants struggled with 
our families to survive. Some of my 
earliest memories of working with my 
parents bring me back to Stuart Food 
Mart, named of course after me. This 
was our mom and pop grocery store 
located smack in the middle of South 
Side Chicago. A couple of years ago my 
wife and I prevailed upon a professor 
friend of hers to drive us into the South 
Side ghetto to view the store. The store 
was now on a block of rubble which was 
burnt down during one of the various 
riots. It’s in a very difficult neighborhood 
and as my wife and I looked through the 
rubble for a souvenir (she found a piece 
of tile) a group of Black People cluttered 
around us. They explained that they 
were from the near-by church and were 
kind of protecting the property. We all 
relaxed a bit I guess as I explained that I 
used to live right over there and that my 
parent’s store was on this very spot.

 The incident reminded of how 
tough my father’s life must have been. 
He had many businesses and at one time 
sold things door to door. He, or one of 
his brothers, once explained to me what 
a relief it was to go from door to door 
cold selling to having a business where 
people came to you to buy something 
you actually had for sale. Still, to a 
salesman every potential customer 
who walked onto your lot or store was 
a possible lifeline to your survival. You 
did not ever easily let those customers 
walk out without making some sort of 

 Prior to this weekend I thought 
things were still the same. My wife had 
decided to take the leap and purchase a 
new car. She was pre-approved for a loan 
and knew exactly the car she wanted. 
We checked the GPS and thought we 
found a dealership nearby. We went to 
the address but no dealership. We drove 
way across town to another dealership 
and after telling the salesman, and 
there were many salesmen, about her 
specifications the salesman said, ”Nope, 
we don’t have one like that.” Okay, off we 
went to another dealer.

 We went somewhere else and 
after some adventures managed to 
purchase a car

surviving disputes between employees 
over the availability of computers. 
Has technology, and entitlements 
undermined the American work-ethic. 
The children of immigrants still work 
hard to support families and even send 
money back to relatives back home. 
Somehow, it seems non-immigrant 
populations are unable to work quite as 
hard or care quite as much. Why worry, 
when we can be sure that Obama Care 
and Federal entitlement Programs will 
be around to protect us all. Maybe, 
future disasters will be limited to the 
other sides of the oceans; or maybe life 
will be easier on Mars.

 I have to wonder whether or not 
Americans still have the motivation to 
do whatever it is that the coming years 

Growing up back 
in “the day,” most 
people put a lot of 
credence on promises 
and lived by the motto, “A man is as good as 
his word.” Most agreements were sealed with 
a handshake. If you said you were going to do 
something, you did it. Period.

 Today it is an altogether different story. 
We need a lawyer with a pile of paperwork in 
order to do anything these days. A lawyer has 
the sneakability to make words say anything 
convenient at the time depending on what the 
word “is” is, and when you said it.

 It matters not what a man says anymore, 
only what he can get away with at the time.

 This brings me to the dilemma flavor of 
the week.

 Not mentioning any names, I am too much 
of a gentleman for that, but some person 
living in my house can be a little tricky when 
it comes to the usage of language. I may be the 
“wordsmith” in our house but she definitely 
is the “word butcher.” She can take any 
word and slice it so thin its meaning all but 

 A while back, we were having a little 
discussion centering on one of my favorite 
topics, Apple Fritters. Anybody who knows 
me knows that an Apple Fritter is at the top of 
my list of scrumptious delicacies. My motto: 
An Apple fritter a day makes it all worth 
living and two turns it into heaven.

 Satan may very well have tempted Eve 
with an Apple but God has more than made 
up for that by introducing into humanity a 
freshly baked Apple Fritter. At least, that is 
my interpretation. Another theologian in 
our house has different hermeneutics on the 

 In our discussion, I was reminding the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that she 
made a promise that if I liked an Apple Fritter 
I could eat an Apple Fritter. I laid out my 
argument very clear, at least I thought so, and 
encouraged her to follow suit.

 She then disrupted the whole discussion by 
insisting on evidence.

 “When,” she said with a very suspicious 
look on her face, “did I ever say if you liked 
your Apple Fritter you could eat your Apple 

 It was up to me at this point to produce 
a strategy that would convince her she said 
exactly that.

 “Don’t you remember,” I said as confidently 
as I could possibly muster at the time, “we 
were at a restaurant and our discussion 
centered on dessert.”

 “I don’t remember such an occasion.”

 I started to wiggle a little bit but I knew if I 
could win this argument at this point it would 
be a great win.

 It is at times like this I wish I was a little 
more like a politician. A politician can say 
something and it means different things to 
different people at different times. It does 
not matter what they say at any particular 
time it can always be reinterpreted the way 
a politician wants it any particular time he 
needs it. Oh, how I envy those skills.

 Let me point out very quickly that according 
to common knowledge, this is in no way lying. 
In fact, I am not sure what the definition of 
lying is anymore. Nobody lies, they are just 
being misinterpreted. They can get anybody 
to believe anything if they rearrange the truth 
in such a way it is no longer the truth but it is 
not necessarily a lie.

 “Don’t you remember we were talking 
about dessert,” I said as calculatedly as 
possible, “and you said a person should be 
able to like what they eat and eat what they 

 I sighed a deep sigh, smiling inside hoping 
she would not discover that inner glowing 

 She thought for a moment and then 
responded, “I seem to recall a conversation 
along that line but I do not recollect that 
we were talking about Apple Fritters. The 
words “Apple Fritters” never came up in the 
conversation, as I remember it.”

 My challenge was to reconstruct the 
memory of that discussion somehow to fit in 
the words “Apple Fritter” or at least the idea.

 “When I said that,” she said looking at 
me straight in the eye, “I did not have Apple 
fritters on my mind. In fact, if the truth were 
known, I had broccoli on my mind at that 

 How did broccoli get into this conversation? 
Nowhere in the recesses of my mind did the 
word broccoli ever appear.

 I knew I was losing the battle at this point.

 It is one thing to say something but it is 
quite another thing to hear something. Many 
times what I hear is not really what is being 
said. At times what is being said is not exactly 
what I hear, especially if my wife is doing the 

 Why is it people cannot say what they 
mean and mean what they say?

 Only God really says what He means and 
means what He says. I like the encouragement 
he gives to Joshua. “There shall not any man 
be able to stand before thee all the days of thy 
life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: 
I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 
1:5 KJV).

 Whatever God says He means and it never 
changes its meaning from one generation to 
the next. That is something I can really rely 

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HOWARD Hays As I See It

GREG Welborn


“I had other priorities 
in the 60’s than military 
service.” - Dick Cheney 
to the Washington Post 
explaining his five draft 

 How many of us 
actually thought about veterans last 
Monday? Sean Hannity managed to devote 
a minute at the end of his Fox News show on 
Veterans Day to those who fought wars on 
behalf of our country. Earlier in the show, 
he’d given twice as much time to Sarah 
Palin’s new book on the “War on Christmas”.

 I’d almost forgotten until noticing the mini 
Iwo Jima depiction on a webpage masthead 
that day. I began thinking of veterans who’d 
been a part of my own life – and thought of 
them a lot.

 An early memory is of being aware that 
when a new young family with small kids 
moved into our comfortable middle-class 
neighborhood, chances were it was headed 
by a WWII vet. They could afford a nice 
house in a nice neighborhood because 
of a nice job obtained because of a good 
education – courtesy of the G.I. Bill.

 My buddies and I would sit around a card 
table on Saturdays assembling plastic model 
kits of B-17s, B-24s and P-51s. The father of 
one of those friends would stop by to tell of 
being a side-gunner in a Flying Fortress on 
bombing runs over Europe.

 An uncle shared Kodachrome slides of 
when he was an officer in occupied Japan. 
Another uncle spoke of war hardly at all, 
and then only in utter disgust – with a 
decidedly left-wing tilt. I only learned years 
later of this uncle’s service in the infantry at 
the Battle of the Bulge. 

 A younger uncle served in Korea, but that 
war wasn’t talked about.

 The neighbor who was the gunner in 
the Flying Fortress became a U.S. History 
professor at a local college. Well-liked 
family man, active in his church and 
community, but then the whispers started: 
“You know, he’s such a nice guy, but – I hear 
he’s against the war.”

 Up until the mid-1960s, in many 
communities, questioning our involvement 
in Vietnam was akin to confessing 
Communist sympathies a decade earlier.

 I have two cousins a few years older 
than me. (When you’re in grade school and 
they’re teen-agers, it’s a lot of years.) One 
joined the Army. He was into cars, and 
chauffeured officers in their jeeps over the 
muddy roads between the rice fields. He was 
into business, and marveled at the young 
pre-teens helping support their families by 
dealing in the black market.

 When he came home, we piled into his 
Falcon convertible headed to McDonalds. 
The Beatles’ “Get Back” came on the top-
40 station. He grinned and floored it. He 
cranked up the volume – loud (“Get back to 
where you once belonged”).

 He got back okay. When we gathered 
for a family reunion, he flipped when the 
youngest cousins brought their toy cap guns 
into a group photo (“No guns! Guns aren’t 

 His brother went with the Marines. My 
mother read us a letter he’d sent about how 
he was “scared spit-less” before going out on 
patrol. (I saw the letter, noticing he’d spelled 
“spit-less” with an “h”, rather than a “p”.) Not 
more than a couple days later, the backs of 
his legs were blown off when he triggered a 

 I remember my aunt (his mother) 
describing her stunned horror upon seeing 
two Marines in full dress-blues arrive at her 
workplace. She thought it could mean only 
one thing, unaware such appearances were 
to inform of serious injury, as well.

 I’d heard the apocryphal stories of 
returning vets being spat upon and cries 
of “baby killer”. That wasn’t as I saw it; the 
vets I knew were the many who joined us 
in the anti-war marches and moratorium 
demonstrations I participated in.

 A generation later, vets weren’t to be 
honored, but rather hidden – especially 
when they didn’t come back okay. Cameras, 
reporters – even families were banned from 
Dover AFB as the remains of the fallen 
came home. When patients at Walter Reed 
complained of neglect and lousy conditions, 
steps were taken not to address the problem, 
but to punish the complainers.

 With WWII, every family had some 
connection to a vet. The Vietnam-era draft, 
along with nightly news coverage, ensured 
that war remained an inescapable part of 
our lives. Over the past fifteen years, for 
the majority of us there’s been no personal 
connection to someone who’s recently 

 The likelihood of having such a connection 
depends a great deal on what part of the 
country you live in. And, unfortunately, 
those parts of the country where the 
likelihood is greatest are those parts where 
services for our veterans are most lacking.

 Under the Affordable Care Act, the Urban 
Institute estimates Medicaid expansion 
could provide insurance coverage for half 
the 1.3 million (mostly young) veterans 
currently without it, or supplement 
whatever VA benefits they may have. States 
with Republican governors who’ve refused 
to participate are predominately those states 
with the highest concentrations of vets – 
with the most vets who’ll suffer as a result.

 The Center for Budget and Policy 
Priorities estimates the recent cuts in food 
stamp benefits will affect some 900,000 
veterans – with Republicans determined 
to slash even more. One in five households 
benefiting from the Household Energy 
Assistance Program is a household with a 
veteran – a program threatened by further 
cuts from the sequester.

 Veterans comprise 7% of our population, 
but 13% of our homeless. As cited in the NY 
Times, the fastest growing segment of our 
homeless population is female veterans.

 House Republicans have announced they 
plan on being in session no more than about 
fifteen days the rest of the year, with much 
of that devoted to their war on Obamacare. 
As for those who’ve fought the real wars for 
us, the focus will return to them a year from 
now next Veterans Day. In the meantime, 
we can turn to Fox News where the focus 
will be on “the War on Christmas”.

 America has its problems, most likely 
always will, but there are also many things 
great about America. This week saw the 
observance of another Veterans Day and 
thus an opportunity to move beyond the 
debates about spending, unemployment 
and Obamacare. There will be sufficient 
time for those. This week, let me pay 
homage to America’s spirit as evidenced 
in the lives, service and sacrifice of her 
soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

 Beyond just the mark on the calendar 
and clock – “the 11th hour of the 11th day 
of the 11th month” – this Veterans Day 
was very personal because I spent much 
of it at a funeral. I didn’t know the man 
that well, but I knew his daughter and her 
family quite well. There was more than 
sufficient evidence in the tenor of the lives 
they lived to attribute greatness to the man, 
but I learned more of his greatness from 
the particular duty and sacrifice to his 
fellow man which was chronicled in the 
celebration of his life. 

 Don Richter, like almost everyone else of 
his generation, was just a boy when he felt 
that pressing duty which called so many to 
service in the 40s. He came from humble 
means, loved his family and friends, played 
sports in school and ultimately sought 
a simple life. In fact, he wanted to be a 
farmer. But WWII interceded, and he 
volunteered to serve, and to sacrifice.

 With each passing of Veterans Day, we 
are all reminded of the sacrifice these men 
made, and while they are appreciated, I 
dare say we don’t truly understand their 
undertakings until we understand the 
context in which they occurred. The pastor 
officiating at this service was one of them, 
and he reminded us of what they truly 
faced when they agreed to don a uniform, 
pick up arms, set aside 3 to 4 years of their 
life and walk into a hell not of their making. 

 The pastor reminded us all that when we 
entered the conflict, the Nazis controlled 
the European continent, save for that tiny 
speck, Switzerland. Only Britain held 
out, even then just barely, Russia was 
in Hitler’s sights, and there were many 
here in the homeland who said it was a 
lost cause. There were still sentiments 
toward striking a deal with Hitler when 
the Japanese bombed Pearl. Japan, herself, 
was a fearsome opponent. As of that day, 
December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese 
army had never been defeated. China 
had fallen, Korea had fallen, the French 
and British in Southeast Asia had fallen, 
and Russia retreated. On both sides of 
the oceans protecting us lay disciplined 
military forces in control of continents, 
each planning how we would be destroyed.

 We asked these young men, and they came 
forward, to confront the fears of a nation, 
bear unfathomable hardship, persevere 
against overwhelming opposition, and, for 
too many, pay the ultimate sacrifice so the 
rest of us at home, and 
around the world, could 
resume a life of peace 
and security. To put a 
gritty, real world face on 
that, we asked these men 
to penetrate jungles, 
march hundreds of 
miles in the dead of winter, take hills and 
hamlets – too many to recount, traverse 
the Sahara, land on a sliver of a beachhead 
and climb cliffs under withering enemy 
opposition. They did it all. And then they 
returned to their civilian lives. Neither 
they, nor we as a nation, claimed conquered 
territory as our own, took title to colonies 
or bled populations of their sustenance. 
In fact, after the conflict, we, as a nation, 
shipped food and supplies to starving 
populations and rebuilt countries ravaged 
by this war. We asked not for repayment. 
These soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines 
were, as they are now, the greatest force for 
peace the world has ever seen.

 And when it was all over, they returned 
home to resume peaceful and productive 
lives. Many toiled to build up the greatest 
economy the world had ever seen, while 
others – like Don Richter – turned their 
attention and efforts to their communities, 
both secular and sacred. Public service 
has always been part of the heartbeat 
of Americanism, and this generation 
– and Don Richter in particular – was 
no exception. In point of fact, he was 
emblematic of this American trait.

 Don, earned his credentials as a minister 
and then returned to the South Pacific, 
where he had fought as a marine, to nurture 
and preach the Gospel. He left a legacy of 
service and sacrifice beyond the short years 
he spent in uniform. He devoted a lifetime 
to it.

 Fast forward to today – November 
2013 – and we read that the U.S., through 
its uniformed ambassadors, is lending a 
needed hand to those in the Philippines 
ravaged by what is being called the worst 
storm ever recorded. Typhoon Haiyan 
has displaced a million people and killed 
thousands. Into the midst of devastation 
sails, flies and marches today’s next greatest 
generation. The USS George Washington, 
support ships, and crew have entered 
Philippine waters. Once again, in a story 
that has been repeated countless times in 
history, the U.S. military is bearing witness 
to the true meaning of America.

 So, let me conclude with a salute to 
America, its military, and one Don Richter 
- U.S. Marine, minister of the gospel of 
Jesus Christ, but at heart just an average 
American – this Veteran’s Day week. 
Don, you bore as impressive a witness on 
the hearts and minds of your family and 
friends as the U.S. has born on the hearts 
and minds of the world. That is why we 

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