Author: Dennis Ritchie

3 A.M. Mayonnaise Prayers

My Dog Snores Is it just me or does anyone else regularly find themselves awake at 3 A.M. worrying about the future of the country? Maybe it’s an inevitable consequence of trying to keep up with current events. The dog snores or Suzie rolls over or my neighbor who despises mufflers drives by or I drank too much tea before bedtime, for whatever reason, I find myself awake. And awake. . . In any case, my mind cranks up and it’s off to the races. They say more intelligent people don’t sleep as much. That must be it. Surely. But...

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The Unseen Dangers of Facebook Before Coffee

This morning, for some reason, all of my Facebook friends ganged up on me with a lot of uncalled for positive thoughts before I even made my coffee. I hadn’t even had a chance to wake up enough to be grumpy. Seriously, folks! Don’t you have better things to do? They started quoting inspirational people and posting scripture. There were beautiful pictures and happy memes. There were smiling faces and cute kids. There were positive lists, always the lists. People were grateful about things. One of them even asked who they could pray for today, as if there’s not enough...

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Chapter Four

I’ve always been a reader, ever since my two single aunts tired of the looks of disappointment from my brother and I when we opened their “useful” gifts of clothes. In frustration, they discovered John Blaine’s “Rick Brant SCIENCE Adventure” series. Yes, science was always capitalized and featured. In it, my aunts found a dependable, repeatable,  glee-inducing gift solution for their picky nephews and I discovered a fascination with science. They were kind of like Nancy Drew mysteries for boys with science and far-flung adventure thrown in. There were laser beams, rockets, radar dishes, submarines, and airplanes. The series inspired the Johnny Quest cartoons and probably Indiana Jones. The books always involved Rick, the son of a top-secret scientist, Scotty, a young marine, and a problem that could always be solved by science and some hard thinking. Always. Now you know more about me than is comfortable. Tech stuff attracted me and I probably have those books to thank for a career as a recording engineer. Too bad they didn’t involve computers or I’d be a billionaire by now. So, it was entirely predictable that I faced the possibility of my wife getting cancer with massive amounts of late night reading and research.  It started when Suzie’s mother and aunts were diagnosed and never stopped. No stone was left unturned. I was going to be prepared and brave and...

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Chapter Three

On the Monday morning after Thanksgiving, Suzie was sitting in a hospital hallway when she got the feeling that something was wrong. Donelson Hospital had so outgrown its facilities that even the halls served double duty. Plastic chairs lined one wall and the passage now functioned as an overflow waiting room. She felt naked in the hallway, dressed only in a breezy, three-sleeved, wraparound hospital gown and white socks. A diverse group of men and women were scattered down the corridor trying not to notice one another. Discretion was the only privacy to be found. Along the far wall were several patients lying on gurneys. Nurses and technicians threaded the gap in between. Suzie had already been admitted, stripped, prodded, sonogramed, and mammogramed. Now she was waiting to go home. She had been waiting too long. “Mrs. Ritchie?” a woman in scrubs called, leaning out of a doorway. She got up and sidled down the aisle, aware of the row of eyes watching her as she stepped through the door. “We need to run you through one more time,” she said as they walked back into radiology. This had never happened before. The tension must have shown on Suzie’s face because the tech immediately began reassuring her. “It’s not unusual. Nothing to worry about,” the woman said as she motioned her to the machine. “Sometimes the film gets smudged....

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A Time For Swords: Our Test Of Priorities

Jesus was walking with the disciples between the Lord’s Supper and the Mount of Olives in his final moments when he said this: Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about...

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