Every once in a while I take a look at the world and ask myself what the heck happened?
Most of the time I ask it when I’m watching the news.
What do we see in the news every day? Druggies. Thieves. Murderers. Con men. Lying politicians.
Nuts running around a campus with a chain saw.
People trying to put bombs on planes.
Someone stealing a ...
Enough! You know what I mean.
That stuff sometimes makes me want to lock the doors, shut the blinds, turn off the television set, and stare at a blank wall. Know what I mean? A blank wall might not be too interesting, but it’s a whole lot less likely to make you upchuck.
Then something comes along and reminds me that modern-day electronics have made it possible for all the bad news in the world to be dished up right in my own living room, but if I step outside, take a deep breath, and look at the real world — the one I actually live in — things aren’t so bad after all.
Hey! Sometimes good people walk right through the front door.
A while back I told you about a day back in the ’90s that started out just plain lousy. I walked into my computer lab classroom and was greeted by a couple of things I had hoped I would never see: A lot of places where machines used to be, and a Mesa policeman taking fingerprints.
One look told me I was out of business — unless I could figure something to do where five or six kids used each of the remaining machines. Then the door opened and here came Steve Shepple and Ralph Cunningham, two of our district technical wizards. In rolled carts loaded with machines. Inside of 30 minutes you would never have known I’d had a break-in.
There’s no way to express the gratitude I felt that day, or to describe how that kind of friendship makes you feel. You feel it, but it’s beyond your ability to put it into words.
That was 20 years ago and the three of us have gone our separate ways.
I retired up here, Steve “retired” by taking a job in the audio-visual department at Dobson High, and Ralph has gone into business for himself. But we kinda sorta keep in touch.
A couple of weeks ago one of my two computers went belly up. They’re not fancy, but I need two of them because my main guy is right upstairs above Lolly. I can’t use it at night when she’s in bed, and that’s when I do most of my work.
Anyway, that poor little guy downstairs was dead. DEAD dead! No sign of life whatsoever. Thinking that Steve might have a clue what was wrong, I gave him a call. We talked a bit and he said he’d get back to me.
And he did.
Three days later Steve and Ralph took a day off from work, drove all the way up here from the Valley, walked through my front door, picked up the poor little dead guy, took him back down to the Valley, fixed him, and brought him back.
Think about that for a minute. Try to find some words that describe that kind of caring. I hope you can. I can’t. There just aren’t words strong enough.
So I’m back in business, typing this column at a once-dead computer. Works great too.
Oh, and get this: It wasn’t enough that they came all the way up here to fix my machine; they came bearing gifts.
Ralph’s new business is called Cosmic Creations. He imports beautiful crystalline rock from all over the place — rose quartz, selenite, agate, salt rock, others. And he inserts light emitting diodes into beautifully shaped crystal creations, along with the electronic modules to run them — which he designs himself.
You should see the results!
The one he brought up for Lolly is gorgeous. Cut from translucent selenite, a fine grained natural crystal, chipped and flaked into a shape reminiscent of a magic mountain, it’s about the size of a pear. As it operates it lights up with hundreds of combinations of hues and tones that mix, and blend, and change, and swirl endlessly, filling a darkened room with a kaleidoscope of soft colors.
It is absolutely the most restful thing I have ever seen in my life. How he ever dreamt it up — and even more how he ever made it operate — I will never know. But that’s Ralph. If you knew him you’d know the meaning of the phrase “creative mind.”
And get this too: Yesterday, talking to Ralph, I mentioned that Lolly, being a creative person though unable to use her hands anymore, thought about it and described one of of Ralph’s creations which she said would be fun to watch if it existed.
It arrives in a couple of weeks.
Don’t ask me how he’s going to make it work.
Ralph mentioned that he has a Web site, so I went to it and took a look around. Take my advice: Go there. See for yourself. The stuff is phenomenal. The URL is www.cosmiccreations.biz.
Great stuff. Just great stuff.
I’m sure that, like me, you get wondering every once in a while if there are any truly good people left on this old planet. So let me reassure you from personal experience: There are.
When you find a couple of them like Steve and Ralph it makes you think. We get all the news that’s lousy enough to fire around the world, but basically, except for local news, that’s all we get. In fact, television news anchors seem to spend an ungodly amount of time searching for something rotten to talk about. So we don’t often get news about the Steves and Ralphs of this world.
Too bad. They’re still out there, and still quietly spreading good. I suspect there are a lot more of them than we realize, even though I’ve got to say that Steve and Ralph are extreme examples.
So what do we do about it? Well, one thing I’ve done is to cut down on how much “world news” I watch. And I’ve installed a little filter in my head that says, “It ain’t all like this.”