Category Archives: Misc

ONE ROCK TOO MANY

We can find ourselves in the middle of difficult situations when we least expect it—situations that push us beyond the boundaries of a calm, peaceful existence and challenge the very fiber of our being. When faced with such situations, we learn just how strong or brave we actually are.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to defining brave things done, life gets a bit convoluted. What some people view as an act of bravery others may view as an act of stupidity.

When it comes to acts of bravery, I could tell you the bravest thing I’ve ever done happened the moment I rushed into a burning house and saved a child trapped inside—but that never happened.

I could tell you the bravest thing I’ve ever done happened when I pulled an elderly man from a wrecked vehicle just before his car burst into flames—but that never happened either.

What I’m saying is my journey in life has been mundane to this point, but that’s not all bad. God blessed me with many situations that taught me moral values and helped build my character in ways I didn’t understand until long after they occurred.

You see, brave things are not always about saving someone’s life or going where no man has gone before. Brave things are often about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the face of difficult situations—situations that may be difficult only for them and no one else.

The following true story is a perfect example of performing brave acts:

ONE ROCK TOO MANY

I grew up with a passion for baseball. When I was ten-years old, you would find me playing baseball with neighborhood kids at the nearby vacant lot or in my backyard tossing rocks into the air and hitting them with a stick—any kind of stick became a bat as seen in the photo below.

My stick bat

Sometimes, I would venture across the street and hit rocks from a hill on a corner lot located in front of my house. There were a gazillion rocks there just waiting for me to hit them. I would pick one up, toss it into the air, and whack it down the street while pretending to be a major leaguer smashing the game-winning home run.

I remember picking up a nice-smooth rock one day and hitting it high into the air. I must have pulled it a little too far to the left because when it came down, it went right into the rear glass of a car parked on the street in front of my neighbor’s (Mr. Carr) house. There was a loud crashing noise as the rock shattered the glass into a million pieces. I immediately had a sick feeling in my belly. I knew I was in big, big trouble.

I ran home to tell my mother what happened. I never even thought about lying or trying to get away with what I had done. I owned up to the biggest mistake of my young life. Mama immediately called my dad at work to tell him about the situation. He asked to speak to me and my belly hurt even more.

I told him exactly what I had told Mama—every gut-wrenching detail of my one rock too many. Dad asked if anyone had seen it happen and I told him no. He instructed me to go back to Mr. Carr’s house immediately and tell him what I had done. Then he said the words that almost made my heart stop beating, “I’ll deal with you when I get home from work.”

I never dreamed I would have to go by myself to tell Mr. Carr that I had broken the glass and then have Daddy “deal” with me later. Fear was having a party in my head and I was the guest of honor. I could sense my life was about to end.

I got to Mr. Carr’s house and started walking up the steps to the front door. There must have been a thousand steps up to that door. At least it took me about that long to make it up to the porch level. In reality, I think there were only five steps up to the front door.

I knocked lightly on the door with hopes no one would hear. Unfortunately, the door opened and a man as large as Goliath stood in the doorway looking down at me. He was every bit of ten feet tall with a ferocious look in his eyes that would make a lion run away with its tail tucked between its legs. I knew my life was definitely about to end; I would never be able to play baseball again.

He opened the storm door slowly and asked me how he could help me. I wanted to tell him to go back into the house, but knowing that was not an option, I pointed to the car out front and started telling the tale of one rock too many. The words came out of my mouth very slowly as I told him what I had done. He said he had heard a loud noise but did not know what it was at the time.

We walked out to the car to see the results of my errant rock. The rear glass was in a million pieces and my rock was sitting on the trunk of the car. The very rock I wished I had never picked up.

The first thing Mr. Carr asked was why I had done that to his new car. I tried to explain that it was an accident and I didn’t mean to do it. I could tell he wanted to put me over his knee and let me have it, but he didn’t do that. It would probably have been better for me if he had.

We talked for a few more minutes but I don’t remember exactly what we discussed. I was too scared at that point. At the end of our verbal exchange, he asked if my parents were home, and if they knew what I had done. I told him Mama was home, but Daddy was still at work. Mr. Carr said he would talk to my dad when he got home.

I then returned to my house. It felt like it took three weeks for Daddy to get home. I was in “death-row” agony for hours. The waiting and waiting was horrible because I could not imagine what was going to happen next.

I saw Daddy pull into the driveway. He walked into the house and I explained everything again. It was not any easier this time. He did not say a word the whole time I was talking—he just nodded his head several times. When I finished my tale of woe, Daddy said he was going to talk to Mr. Carr and told me to stay in the house until he returned.

Dad was gone for what seemed like a month, but when he finally returned, he called me over to him. He said lets go to the backyard. I realized the time for a spanking was at hand. I figured he didn’t want Mama to hear me yelling as the paddle made home-run-contact on my rear end—multiple times!

As we were walking to the backyard, Daddy asked me what I thought my punishment should be. I wanted to tell him that I had already suffered enough and he didn’t need to punish me, but I figured he wouldn’t agree with that suggestion. So, I just said, “I don’t know.”

We walked to the tool shed in our back yard and Daddy picked up a huge bucket. He told me he was very sad that I had broken the glass in the neighbor’s car, but he was very proud of me for being brave enough to tell Mama what I had done. He said I had acted like a mature man by telling the truth in the midst of a very difficult and scary situation for a ten-year-old boy.

Unfortunately, Daddy told me that in spite of my bravery, he still had to punish me for what I had done. My punishment was to pick up every rock in the yard and put them into the big bucket he was holding. When I finished, he wanted to see all of the rocks I had collected.

I did as Dad instructed and then showed him the bucket of rocks. The final phase of my punishment was to bury all of the rocks in the corner of the backyard in a very deep hole that I had to dig.

I never knew what happened between Mr. Carr and Daddy, or what they discussed. I was just glad my “rock” ordeal was over. It was a long time before I ever picked up another rock or hit one with a stick. Thank goodness for me, rocks were actually hard to find because I had removed at least a million of them from the yard.

Yes, I eventually hit rocks again, but I always made sure there was nothing around me that I could break. I did not want to go through this nightmare ever again.

As a ten-year-old boy, I had bravely faced a bad situation and learned a valuable life-lesson that has served me well for many years. I confessed what I had done and accepted full responsibility for my actions. I didn’t try to run away and hide, nor did I try to put the blame on others. I bravely accepted my punishment. In the end, a bad situation yielded very good results.

My dad was obviously a very wise man to handle the situation the way he did. I am sure he was much more upset (mad) with me than he appeared. Fortunately, his method of punishment and the words he said to me left a permanent and lasting impression. Although a spanking would have hurt, the pain would not last as long as the lesson I learned. He was compassionate, yet firm with me. His method of handling the situation and the life-lesson I learned that day served me well in my adult life as I dealt with my own children.

Daddy was a special man of high moral character and I consider myself blessed that he was my dad.

Dad and me

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Blessings to all…

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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SPREAD KINDNESS EACH DAY


May your dreams soar as high as the sky.

May you give your best without a sigh.

May you treat others with warm respect.

May friends help you more than you expect.

 

May self-doubt never become your friend.

May willpower sustain you ’til the end.

May each deep breath you take renew you.

May your path never make you feel blue.

 

May you grow wiser with each new day.

May folks be inspired by things you say.

May you pause each day to pray awhile.

May all your days end with a big smile.

*****

And most of all, may you be blessed for spreading such kindness with your family, friends, and strangers who have the pleasure to being in your presence.

Let us all try to make someone smile each day.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2019

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THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR FREEDOM

Freedom is not free and many have paid the ultimate price securing and defending a nation. May we never forget their sacrifices to support a cause far greater than themselves—a nation. Let the Stars and Stripes continue to wave in their honor.

May they rest in peace and dwell in God’s house of many mansions.

Memorial Day 2018

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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NEW RULES TURNING GOLF UPSIDE DOWN

This is Chip Shotmaster of GOLF TV reporting to you from the headquarters of the TUSGA, one of golf’s new governing associations. TUSGA President, Slice Hook, no relation to Captain Hook, just made an announcement about two significant changes to the rules of golf that will turn the golfing world upside down—literally. These changes are to go into effect immediately.

Both changes were unanimous decisions by the TUSGA board of directors after having received numerous complaints about the antiquated scoring method used to determine winners in golf.

The now defunct method created too much emotional stress for the players in today’s “participation trophy” society. These changes will create more opportunities for lesser skilled players to receive first-place trophies.

In addition to scoring changes, golf’s callous, politically incorrect term used to define player capabilities is unacceptable. The policy of ranking player’s abilities based on their average scores is cruel and demeaning. The concept known here to date as “handicap” is no longer applicable.

The two rules are as stated below:

Mr. Hook added, “The TUSGA board members noticed a substantial increase in the number of birdies, eagles, and albatrosses being shot by players around the world and felt it was their duty to protect all fowl. By making the highest score in golf the winner as is done in all other sports, we believe fewer players will have the desire to shoot these fine-feathered creatures of the sky. It’s a win-win situation for the fowl and the less talented players around the world. We will be putting pressure on the PGA, R&A, USGA, and LPGA organizations to implement similar changes to the rules of golf.”

Chip Shotmaster: “Mr. Hook, many people may not be aware of your organization. Can you tell our viewers what the acronym, TUSGA, means?

Slice Hook: “Sure Chip. TUSGA is the Total Unlimited Scoring Golf Association. It’s an organization devoted to bolstering the efforts of less talented golfers and protecting wildlife at the same time. These two recent changes will also lower the cost per stroke for all golfers and make the game more affordable for all who love the game.”

“Mr. Hook, won’t these changes also increase the time required to play eighteen holes of golf?”

Slice Hook: “That’s one of the wonderful side effects these changes will have on the game, Chip. They allow players to consume most of a day to play one round. We expect many players might start pushing to make golf a nine-hole event—at least that’s what the TUSGA is considering in the future.”

Chip Shotmaster: “Thank you, Mr. Hook. Folks, that’s the golfing news of today. The TSUGA is definitely turning the golfing world upside down. Now, back to the studio with Kitty Woods for more details on how these changes will impact the 2018 Masters.”

Kitty Woods: “Thank you for that report, Chip. Now, for more on the Masters…”

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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“FORE!” DOWN UNDER IN AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK

There was a time in life when I really enjoyed playing golf. I would play every chance I got. You can imagine how excited I was when I learned my next duty station in the Air Force was to be in Australia—Woomera, South Australia to be exact, and there was a golf course nearby. Yay!

My first chance to play golf in beautiful, and I do mean beautiful in many ways, Australia finally arrived. I was excited and ready to play, but had no idea what to expect. In hindsight, my lack of knowledge about the course was probably a good thing.

When I arrived at the course, I thought it strange that I was the only person on the premises. Sure, it was 125 degrees F that day, but that’s common in the outback of Australia. Even stranger was the sign in front of what appeared to be the golf shack. The sign had an arrow pointing in the direction of the 10th tee and read, “Enjoy your golf, Mate! BEWARE of the dingoes.” Hmmm! I was more interested in birdies, not wild dogs.

The photos below show the overall layout of the golf course and a closer view of a few holes near the golf shack.

As I walked to the tee box, the view resembled what I would expect a Martian landscape to look like. It had the appearance of a place forgotten by time. There was not one blade of grass visible anywhere. All I saw was dirt, dirt, and more dirt, with sporadic clumps of small-brown Spinifex bushes or something similar. I started to return to my car and leave, but decided I had to experience this strange patch of land down under.

Here’s a photo of the 10th tee and the others looked much the same. Sort of takes your breath away doesn’t it. Yeah, right!

Then there was the fairway, also barren of grass. It was like playing an entire round of golf from a giant sand trap.

The “browns” (aka greens) were the same as the fairways with one exception—the dirt had an “oily” substance applied to it. Look closely at the photos and you can see the flag stick marking the location of the hole. The other vertical rod is a tool with a pipe welded on the end at 90 degrees. The tool was for smoothing the surface of the dirt between the ball and the hole. You have to remove the footprints of kangaroos, dingoes,  humans, and tractors. It was certainly a challenging experience putting the ball.

 

We won’t talk about how many rounds of golf I played while stationed in Woomera. I’ll keep that a mystery for another day. Let’s just say I’m glad I had the opportunity to play a course like no other. I promise you that I have not seen another golf course as strange as the one located in Woomera, South Australia.

Okay, I bet you can’t wait to have a chance to play on this fabulous track of dirt in Woomera! If so, let me know when you are going and maybe I’ll join you—maybe!

FORE!!!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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FELT THE PRESENCE OF GOD

There are some moments in life that are special—so special that you feel compelled to share them with others. Such is the case when I recently attended my grandson’s high school baseball game a few nights ago.

During the game, I happened to look behind the bleachers and witnessed this breathtaking view of the sky with ‘Ole Glory’ waving in the foreground.

God’s painted canvas was so majestic that I felt His presence all around me. I was blessed to have had this experience and hope you feel the same way as you look at the photo.

I stood at attention and saluted the moment—made me proud to have served this great country! The words of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag danced in my mind.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

May God’s blessings be upon all who read this post.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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EDISTO BEACH VS BOTANY BAY – BEAUTY OR EYESORE

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? What causes some people see beauty in something while others see it as an eyesore? The photos presented are of two beaches that are separated by less than twenty miles. Beauty or eyesore—what do you think?

My wife and I recently vacationed for a week on Edisto Island in South Carolina, where we were beholders of beauty, and in some ways, the fragility of life. The beaches we visited are known as Edisto Beach and Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area (4,000 acres).

EDISTO BEACH

I sensed it was going to be a nice week when I saw the view from the rear deck of the house we rented—a golf course. However, I never even touched my clubs. I did witness many golfers feeding golf balls to the fish with some very poor tee shots—some even did it multiple times. Maybe that’s why I decided not to play.

ATIL DeckView

Our next opportunity to behold the beauty of Edisto Beach came the first day on the beach. The Lord painted a canvas with a glorious sunset. The following four photos depict the transition in the final moments as the sun dropped below the horizon. It was a nice way to end the first day on the beach.

ATIL SS 1

ATIL SS 2

ATIL SS 3

ATIL SS 4

SUNSET – DAY 4

ATIL SS Day4

THUNDERSTORM BLOCKED SUNSET – FINAL DAY

ATIL SSLastDay

BOTANY BAY

Our trip to Botany Bay was nothing short of AWESOME! The journey began on a dirt road through a canopy of live oak trees that led to a narrow footpath to the beach.

ATIL BB Road

ATIL Path

The walk to the beach was a bit long, but the beautiful view of the marshlands was enough to keep us moving forward to our ultimate goal—the beach. The tide was ebbing, so there were hordes of fiddler crabs scurrying about on the mud flats in search of food.

ATIL Marsh1

As we made our way onto the beach, we saw a display of life, death, and destruction intertwined in mystery. The salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean have reclaimed some of the shoreline by sucking the life from trees and plants that once thrived, providing shelter for a variety of creatures. The massive quantity of driftwood was a sight I had never seen before.

It was with a sense of both sadness and awe that I looked to the left and right on the beach to see just how fragile life really is. Yet, at the same time, I wondered what the shore may have looked like many years ago and who might have visited this site when the trees were full of life. One can only imagine.

ATIL Shore1

ATIL Shore2

ATIL Shore3

ATIL Shore4

ATIL Shore7

ATIL Shore8

In addition to the driftwood on the shore, there was evidence of creatures that once lived in the ocean. Thousands and thousands of seashells covered the beach, providing further evidence of life once lived.

ATIL BB Shells

Unfortunately, the only living creatures we saw, excluding a few other nature lovers, were three pelicans gliding gracefully just above the lifeless trees.

ATIL Shore5

As we were leaving the beach, we may have spotted the reason for the lack of life—the Beast of Botany Bay. The Beast (center of photo) comes out each evening to roam the shoreline in search of new prey. Well, not really. The Beast is just my imagination working overtime. The Beast is nothing more than another lifeless tree. If you ever have a chance to visit Botany Bay, see if you can locate the Beast.

BeastBotanyBay

EDISTO BEACH and BOTANY BAY—did you behold beauty, an eyesore, or both? Each beholder will answer the question based on their personal perspective, but whether you beheld beauty or an eyesore, a visit to Edisto Beach and Botany Bay is well worth your time and effort.

I leave you with this true Beauty on Botany Bay (my wife) and another beast (that would be me).

BEAUTY

ATIL Shore6

AND THE BEAST

ATIL BB Beast2

Now, we’re moving on in search of more beauty in nature. I hope you will do the same. Enjoy every day you have!

Note – I apologize for the poor photo quality, but it was the best I could do with my cell phone.

Blessings,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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MOTHER’S DAY ROSES

A rose for all Mothers on this special day.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

RoseForMothers

There is nothing more beautiful than the tender love a mother gives her children, nor more powerful than her will to protect them from those who would do them harm.

Thank you for the gift of life and for all you do!

Tom Tatum – Author -2016

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YOUR LIFE IS A STORYBOOK

We all have a life story to tell, and each story is different—unique, because it’s yours. Stories of things done and not done. Stories of joy, hope, and sadness—each chapter is full of life and begs to be told.

God bless you as you continue living your story.

LifeBook

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

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GIVERS AND TAKERS

Professor Stevens stood at the front of his classroom, nodding to each student as they entered the room for his 8:00 AM math class. As the last of the two-hundred students sat down, the smart screen on the wall behind the professor started flashing GIVERS AND TAKERS. The students began whispering to each other, wondering why the professor was displaying such a sign in his math class.

GiversTakers

A loud voice from the rear of the room bellowed, “Professor Stevens, I think you have the wrong graphic displayed on the smart-screen. This isn’t a sociology class—um, is it?!?”

Inquisitive whispers turned into laughter at question. Professor Stevens smiled and replied, “Danny, I’m happy to hear that you think you know where you are at this early hour. I believe there’s hope for you yet, my boy” as the laughter increased a few dozen decibels.

“No, Danny. This isn’t a sociology class, but I want to share an important experiment with all of you today. If you prefer to use math terminology, think of the graphic as PLUSES AND MINUSES in life. I’ll have questions at the end of the lecture, so listen carefully. Your answers may play a significant role in your final semester grade.”

With that comment, silence suddenly filled the room.

Professor Stevens’ Experiment

“I have recently observed many down-on-their-luck folks sitting on sidewalks displaying signs requesting help from strangers who were walking by. You know—signs such as ‘I’m Hungry! Please Help!’ or ‘Need $ For Food’. The vast majority of the strangers walked past briskly, ignoring the signs and those seeking help. Most of them walked past near or in the street and some even looked away to avoid eye contact with the downtrodden individuals.

“I started thinking about this and decided to conduct a little experiment to see how people would respond to me in a similar situation. I dressed in old-tattered clothes and sat on the sidewalk of a busy street on two sequential Fridays. The weather on both days was the same—nice. I displayed one sign in front of me each day.

“On the first Friday, my sign read, ‘I’m Feeling Down! Please Help!’

StoreFrontFeelingDownBW

I was asking complete strangers to help me. Although I didn’t say what kind of help I needed, the vast majority of folks looked away, choosing to ignore me. They responded similar to what I described to you earlier. After sitting quietly for four hours, I had collected a whopping $1.36 in my little tin cup. The money came from three individuals who were dressed just like me. They had very little to offer materially, but they gave what they could with a smile, and even offered a few kind words of support to me. The nicely dressed individuals who passed by had much to offer me materially, but they elected to give me nothing—not even a kind word or a simple smile.

“The sign I used on the second Friday was, ‘Shake My Hand – I’ll Give You $10’.

StoreFrontGive10BW

I was offering something to strangers for a simple gesture, a handshake, and the outcome was completely different this time. Folks were drawn to the sign and me. By the end of the first hour, I had given away $360. Thirty-six people, all dressed in nice attire, stood in line waiting to shake my hand for a $10 bill. Some were likely among those who ignored me the week before. One of the gentleman who contributed $0.53 to me the first Friday stopped by again. He shook my hand, but I couldn’t get him to accept my ten-dollar gift. He wished me well and then walked away. By the end of the second hour, an additional seventy-five people had paused to shake my hand. I ran out of $10 bills at that point and left. By the way, those who received a $10 bill did not thank me, nor did they offer a smile.”

As Professor Stevens ended his lesson, the smart screen displayed, “GIVERS AND TAKERS – WHICH DESCRIBES YOU?

GiversTakersWhich

“Okay, Danny, since you so bravely challenged whether this was a math class, here’s a math problem for you. How many people received $10 from me?

++++

Professor Stevens’ simple experiment offers many points for discussion—some are obvious and others, not so much. Sorta makes you think about where we are today as a society, doesn’t it?

Are you a TAKER? Well, we all are at times, but we don’t have to be that way in all cases. Consider being a GIVER sometimes. It’s easy to do. Share a smile, speak kindly to someone, or simply do something nice for others—such things don’t cost you and you just might brighten someone’s day.

If you are a GIVER in any way, thank you. You are a blessing to others and just aced Professor Stevens’ math class. Congratulations!

Please share your thoughts on any points about Givers/Takers that interest you.

Bless you and have a nice day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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