The Main Reason I Like Being Old is …
By Floyd Allen, Editor
GOD’S GOOD NEWS GAZETTE
… it means I ain’t dead yet!!! I guess I could end right there, but I fear you might think me a bigger fool than you already believe me to be! Actually, there are a whole host of reasons that I enjoy being old, and I thought I would take this opportunity to share these with you. I have chosen this issue to do this because, as I am sure you will determine by the tone of this piece, I am most thankful for all of them!!!
- I Have Seen A LOT of Miracles and Super Blessings – I am going to do these chronologically, and because there are SO many in my life I am going to TRY to limit it to ten!
- 1957 – In October of that year Russia successfully launched Sputnik I. While that certainly was a miracle for mankind, it was the basis for an even greater personal miracle. You see, because of the Russians’ success with this endeavor, the US realized that they needed all of the nation’s brain power to catch, and keep, up. As a result, a number of programs were initiated to allow college entrance for the brightest and best, not just the rich and famous. Due to this fact, I was able to go to college in 1967 and would never have had that opportunity had it not been for Sputnik I!!!!
- 1959 – Mom was making arrangements to go to Florida in the fall of that year. While in Glens Falls she went into the AAA Office, where she was asked how they could help her. She explained that she would like to get a “trip tick” from there to St. Petersburg, Florida. They escorted her to a table, where they got all the necessary paperwork and put the trip tick together for her. Finished, she walked out – never even having been asked if she was a AAA member – which she was NOT! She had intended to join, but since no one mentioned it to her she just thought there was no need!
- 1966 – One Spring day during our Junior year in High School, my friend, Dave Savage, and I were walking down to The Triangle, a local teen meeting place. The route we took presented us with two options: we could walk down around the bend, across the bridge and back up the hill, OR we could walk across the Hudson River via a Railroad Trestle. Well, being young and full of daring-do, (or young and foolish, I’ll let you decide!) we opted for the trestle. As we started across I began to have some second thoughts.
First of all, I discovered that the railroad ties on a trestle are not evenly spaced – – making walking a real challenge! Then it dawned on me – I can’t swim! The incident back in ’55 had kept me away from water as much as possible. Glancing down, I noticed that the dam was closed, and that rather than water, if I fell it would be on to giant boulders. My thoughts were later echoed by the Sundance Kid when Butch Cassidy tells him he can’t swim, “Don’t worry about it … the fall will probably kill ya!” At that point, Dave, who was leading the way, turned around and said, “Don’t look down,” but, it was already too late!
We had no more than reached the other side when we heard, yep!, a train whistle! As we stood there, me mortified!, a small work train rolled by. Had that train been five minutes earlier …. Well, let’s just say that when it rolled by I literally knelt down and kissed the ground!
- That December I became somewhat of a celebrity at school as I was the first one of my graduating class to be accepted into college. Not only was I the first person in my nuclear family to go to college, I was the first one in my EXTENDED family to do so – – and my family extended a LONG way!
- 1967 – As hard as it was for everyone to believe, especially my family, I actually won four scholarships. It was a great jumpstart to the rest of my life!
- 1967-68 – The first year of college was a remarkable time for me – – socially if not academically! My freshman year I had 3.6 GPA – 1.8 the first semester and 1.8 the second semester. In the “normal” world there was no reason why I should not have flunked out of school. This was the height of the Viet Nam War, and Uncle Sam wanted ME!!! God had other plans, however, as my next miracle will explain.
- 1968 – In the fall of my sophomore year, and her freshman year, I met the lovely lady who is today my wife and has been so for over 50 years! The reason I hadn’t flunked out of school was because Chris hadn’t come there yet!!!
- 1970 – In the spring of that year I discovered that by taking an extra semester’s worth of classes I could receive a “Double Certification,” allowing me to be certified to teach both K -12 and 7-12. As a result, I did take the classes and graduated in December of 1971 instead of June of 1971. The “Super Blessing” was the Double Certification.
- 1972 – During the school year of 1971-72 there was a glut of History Teachers and, yes, I was a member of their ranks. However, I did my Student Teaching in the Malone, New York area and, because of my stellar performance, my Student Teacher Advisor recommended me for a job for the second half of the ’71-’72 school year in the Brushton Moira School District as, you got it!, a History Teacher! Not only did I get the job for the second semester of that school year, they extended me a contract for an on-going position as well.
- 1973 – In the Spring of 1973 Chris and I went house hunting and God Blessed us with a ten-room house that also included two glassed in porches, a woodshed, and a two story, four-car Carriage House. It sat on a little over two and a half acres and came fully furnished. All of this for only $15,500.00 including all the house furnishings! This certainly was a Super Blessing!
- 1974-2015 – This one is going to be hard to believe, and also difficult to explain! The best way to describe this is as “Elijah and the Widow’s Bottomless Oil & Meal Jars Miracle.” For most of my married life, more money WENT OUT of our Checking Account than we had put in. Now, and this is a VERY BIG part of the Miracle, we NEVER bounced a check!
Deep into this I mentioned it to Paul, and he advised me that the VERY SAME THING had transpired with him and Barb! All I can say is God is Good All the Time, and All the Time, God is Good!
- 1975 – Later that year we were down to Mom Schultz’ house and we took a little trip to Hackensack, New Jersey. There was a giant used bookstore there, that had an enormous paperback section. This was at the peak of my “Paperback Collection” gathering, and I was able to locate a number of mysteries and westerns while there. When I had exhausted the supply of books they had, I went to pay and commented that I wished they had more for me to peruse. At that point, the owner said, “Well, we have a lot more upstairs, but they haven’t been sorted and categorized yet.” Twict as a tat I replied, “Would it be ok if I went up there and rummaged around to see if I can find more?” He said yes, and I did: I rummaged around and I found more books!
- 1976 – In July Chris and I flew to Phoenix to “scope it out.” In the spring of that year she had seen a P-R film put together by the Arizona State Chamber of Commerce, and what she saw convinced her that she wanted to see if it was as perfect as it was. She suffered terribly from Sinusitis in upstate New York, and firmly believed that the desert’s dry climate was the place for her.
I had no problem going with her to check the place out but wondered how I would know whether or not making the move would be the right thing to do. As we circled Sky Harbor Airport in making our approach, a strange sensation came over me – the same sensation that I felt when I took the bus home from Plattsburgh to Glens Falls – the sensation that I felt when I was coming home!
When we landed and made it into the terminal and went for our Rental Car we found that they wouldn’t allow us to have it as we had no Major Credit Card. To make a long story short, we did, in fact, get our car though we had no Major Credit Card! (you have probably already read the “long story,” but, if not, you will find it in the main body of this book!)
- 1976 – By Thanksgiving of 1976 I had become disenchanted with my employer, NEW YORK LIFE. On Thanksgiving Day, we went to the home of some new friends I had met while cold canvassing a neighborhood, attempting to set appointments. After dinner they took us for a ride. As we stopped for a red light at the corner of 48th Street & Southern, I looked at a small Industrial Complex and wondered to myself, “I wonder how one would go about getting a job at one of those businesses?” In less than two weeks, on December 10th, I was hired as Business Manager at FUNNY SHIRTS FASHION TO A T in that very complex!
- 1977 – 1980 – Sandy Kellin, owner of FUNNY SHIRTS FASHION TO A T, and I made a deal that benefited both of us immensely: He would pay for me to attend classes set up by the SMALL BUSINESS ADMIN. (SBA) and I would be able to use any of the information for not only his benefit, but for mine as well. So….. I received an in-depth education in Business without having to pay for it!
- Mid 1980s – On several occasions we made trips back east to see our families. Each time, two miracles took place:
- The connecting flights in Chicago were over-booked. In those days, if you volunteered to take the later flight they would actually write you a check for cash money AND give each person a $25 food voucher good at any of the Airport eateries! On several occasions we got to New Jersey $400 + plus richer than when we left Phoenix.
- For economy sake, we would always reserve one of the smaller cars available. However, when we got there they were ALWAYS all gone and we had to “settle” for an upgrade, but at the original price!!!!
- 1985 – We were able to buy a house we couldn’t afford because of three Miracles:
- We were able to sell our current house for more than it was worth.
- The sellers “carried the paper” for a second mortgage, making the purchase possible.
- We were able to buy a Dining Room set AND a Bedroom suite for only $75.00!!!
- Late 1980s (Not sure of the date) – I was in the process of purchasing a car but needed a loan to make it work. I called my banker, John McKeever, and explained that I needed the money “right now!” It was so late in the day, and on a Friday at that!, that I wouldn’t be able to make it into his branch to get all the paperwork accomplished on time and still get the car purchased. He told me to go the closest branch to me and he would call the manager and tell him to give me the money, and that I could come in on Monday to take care of the paperwork! Now THAT was a Miracle!!!
- Early ‘90s – In the early 1990s we had flown back east for a visit with family and friends. I was talking with someone and the following conversation took place:
Them: Well, you certainly got some good weather while you have been here. It had been cold and rainy for the whole month before you came.
Me: That doesn’t surprise me – – we have been praying for weeks that the weather would be nice while we were here.
Them: COMPLETE SILENCE!
(Side Bar: After we left, it was cold and rainy for another month!)
- 1993ish – I had, on several occasions, sent Letters of Query to BOY’S LIFE, the official publication for the Boy Scouts of America, but never quite hit their editorial needs, or was a “day late and a dollar short” as they liked the idea but already had a similar article “in the hopper.” This one day I got a phone call from the Editor, who advised me that a Boy Scout troop from Pennsylvania was coming out to hike Havasupai, which is the western end of the Grand Canyon. They had done a host of fund raisers to be able to afford to come, and, as a result, BOY’S LIFE wanted to do an article chronicling their exploits on the trip.
The reason for the call was, the Editor wanted to know if I would like to accompany them and then write the article. If I went, all of my expenses would be paid, and they would buy the article. A professional photographer had already been retained, so photos would not be my responsibility. As well as my expenses, Matt would be able to go along as well and his costs would be covered, too.
This was a tremendous Blessing/Miracle on several levels:
- Matt and I got a free vacation together.
- I was published in a major National Magazine.
- The pay was excellent!
1995ish – I was writing for a magazine called CELEBRATE LIFE, which is the literary arm of Judy Brown’s Right-to-Life group. The editor, Steve Dunham, asked me to go to San Francisco and do an article on Judy Squire. We stayed with Judy and her husband Dave, and their daughters. While there, Steve asked if we could go home by way of Los Angeles and do another article on Sarah Smith and her mother. The magazine was picking up the tab, so the kids (Matt & Mere) and I were glad to do so.
We got to LA on Saturday but couldn’t meet with Sarah until Monday. As a result, we got a room within walking distance of KNOTT’S BERRY FARM, and on Sunday we spent our day at “The Farm.” It was an unbelievably slow day – – so much so that the kids could ride their main ride, a roller coaster of sorts, with no waiting whatsoever – – one ride right after the other. When we decided we would ride the swings for a while, the operator didn’t even make us get off between rides!!! Now, you ask Matt and Mere and they will tell you THAT was a Miracle!
1995ish – At that time I was reading a publication called WRITING FOR MONEY. One of the “entries” was a publication named, “Bird Carving.” While the kids and I were at Knott’s Berry Farm I introduced myself to one of the artisans there – Bob Weir. Believe it or not, Bob was the official Knott’s Berry Farm bird carver! I wrote to the magazine and, sure enough, they wanted me to do an article on Bob Weir and Knott’s Berry Farm. They also picked up expenses, so Matt, Mere, Missy, and Matthias and I all went back to Bueno Park to do the story. The magazine paid my expenses for mileage, lodging, and for my meals. Bob provided us with free passes to the amusement park, so for the cost of the kid’s meals we got another trip to Knott’s Berry Farm!
1996 – As a Christian Educator it was always necessary for me to get a summer job to supplement my income from the school. This particular year I had called and made arrangements to be a dispatcher for SUPER SHUTTLE. My “job” was to answer phone calls and make arrangements for vans to pick up the caller and take them to the airport. It was agreed that I was to go in during the first week of June for training. My efforts would yield me $6.50 an hour, which was sufficient to meet my needs.
When the agreed upon day came, I drove down to the SUPER SHUTTLE offices, walked in, and then the following discussion took place:
Receptionist: May I help you?
Me: Yes, ma’am, I’m here for the training.
Me (With a twinge of concern in the pit of my stomach): Yes, I was told to come in today for training on the phones.
Her: Well, I’m sorry but there is no training today, and, in fact, we aren’t hiring anyone at this time, and I have no idea when we will be!
I thanked her, and then left to go find a place where I could get a double shot of Sodee Pop. My watering place of choice turned out to be a SMITTY’S grocery store. As I sat there trying to compose myself (the news had been more than a little bit devastating!) I availed myself of one of the “Job Hunt” publications available. Before I started to thumb through the paper, I did some brainstorming with myself to determine what type of job I might be able to get that would allow me the best opportunity to pursue my writing during the summer. My thought was, if I could be the desk clerk at a hotel during the “midnight” shift I could spend my afternoons/evenings writing. Convinced this was a good idea, I went to the proper section and found a most interesting ad.
THE CAMELBACK INN, the ad said, was looking for a Technical Writer to serve in the Engineering Department. Now, I had never done any Tech Writing, but I had/have always maintained that I can write anything, so with the courage of a naïve squire, I charged into battle at THE CAMELBACK INN!
Arriving at the INN I learned several interesting things. Basically, Engineering is a synonym for “Maintenance,” and what they really needed was someone to do Data Entry for a new preventive maintenance program known as MP2. After meeting with Chief Engineer Randy Sexton, I was hired on the spot – – for $9.50 an hour!
Late 1990s – Noticing that our pool needed attention, we hired a company to come in and apply a fiberglass like finish known as “Inter Glass.” They did the job, and all was well. However, some fifteen years later I had a friend from our Christian Business Networking group come over in regard to another situation with the pool. Checking out the pool in general, he commented on the fact that he was surprised at how well the finish had held up. When I asked why he was so surprised, he shared: “Well, there was a lot of those done back in the nineties, but only about one in ten thousand actually held up.” That ours was one of the very few is a miracle!
1990s -2017 – Chris and I have always done our own Income Taxes, and on many, many occasions the IRS sent us a bigger refund than we expected. Now, that, you are probably thinking, is REALLY a miracle!
2001– One Thursday morning in early November I was getting ready to go to work and was watching TV3’s GOOD MORNING ARIZONA, which, at the time, was the number one morning show in the state. Anyway, they were talking about who would be on that day: The Data Diva, The Garden Guy, and The Car Guy. As I watched, God spoke to me and said, “They need a Bible Guy.”
Welllllll, I immediately agreed and said, “You’re right – and I am JUST the man for the job. Good looking, intelligent, and articulate – I have all the qualifications for what they are looking for.” I went downstairs and told Chris about my soon to be fame, asked her if she wanted to kiss a TV Star, and feigned distress when she laughed at me (she did, however, give me a kiss!)
Not at all dismayed, I headed off for my thirty-minute drive to work. That was an interesting ride, for in that time, Satan, the Great Deceiver, convinced me of two things:
- Channel 3 is a secular station; they are not going to want a Bible Guy!
- Even if they did, it shouldn’t be you, because, basically, you’re a nobody!
I got to work and called Chris and explained to her that my TV career had been pretty short lived, filling her in on what I had “figured out.” This time we both had a good laugh, and I thought the whole issue had come to an end.
That Sunday at church, Pastor, of course, delivered his sermon. I don’t know what else he said, but I vividly remember that he shared, “When God tells you to do something you don’t have to do it, but you better be ready to suffer the consequences if you don’t!”
At that point I said, “Yes, Lord, I’ll have the letter in the mail tomorrow!” And I did! I shared with them that when it comes to the Bible, fact is stranger than fiction, and alluded to Baalam’s talking ass!
A few weeks went by and, having heard nothing back, I figured that maybe I was crazy. Then, one day in mid- December, I got a call asking me to appear in a week!
As you can imagine, we were all thrilled. It was the station’s policy to announce each night at 7 pm who the guests for the next morning’s show would be. Each of the on-air celebrities shared who would be with them, and when it came to Dan Davis he said, “I’m having someone called the Bible Guy, and I have no idea what that’s all about!” Chris and I sat there stunned, for in my letter I had NOT mentioned anything about being the Bible Guy!
Well, I went in and prepared for my first appearance. More nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I went ahead and did my very best. When we were finished, Tim & Willy, the morning team on the top country and western station in the state, followed us and they actually extended my time! They pointed out that they thought that “Donkey” in SHREK was an original and didn’t realize he had been scooped by a Bible character. In reality, they both are Christians and did what they did to give the Bible more exposure.
And, that wasn’t the only time they did that. In fact, almost every time I was on they expanded my time by using up some of theirs. One time they even wrote a song about me to the tune of VENTURA HIGHWAY. In all, I made nearly thirty appearances as the Bible Guy, discussing everything from Dan Brown’s THE Da VINCI CODE to how to choose a new Bible to information about the role of angels.
About halfway through my tenure as the Bible Guy, God and I had a really interesting discussion, that went something like this:
Me: God, are you sure I am the right person for this assignment?
God: I sent you, didn’t I?
Me: Well, yeah, but why did you send me?
God: You know the verse.
Me: (Ducking to avoid the Lightning Bolt): I’m the Bible Guy, God, I know a lot of verses!
God: I shall use the foolish to confound the wise.
So, with that conversation I learned two really important things: Why I had been chosen as the Bible Guy and why I had been born a fool! You see, God had been grooming me my entire life for the day that He would say to me, “What they need is a Bible Guy!”
2002ish – I had taken a couple of days off for some work around the house when I got a call from Andy Trichek, my Supervisor at Camelback Inn, who had gone to Chicago for a few days to visit family. His sister-in-law, he informed me, had been admitted to the hospital for an OD. The doctors informed the family they could do nothing more, and it was now in God’s hands. Andy asked that I pray for her … I did, and the next morning she walked out of the hospital!
Somewhere around this time, Randy Wepking, the Director of Engineering at Camelback Inn who had replaced Rob Bahl, called me into his office with another prayer request … only this one was a whole lot stranger. It seems his computer had a glitch, and as a result, he could not recover a file … neither by himself or with the help of the IT staff. So, he asked, could I please pray that he would be able to recover the file. I prayed, of course, and the next morning he came in and made the copy he needed. Thinking that making a backup might be a good idea, he tried to do so … only, he was unable to recover the file again!
2015 – Now, sit back and get comfortable because this one is going to take a while. And, be prepared to get goose bumps because this is truly an “OOOOOWEEEEEEEOOOOOO” miracle!
During the summer of 2014 Chris and I were driving home from Meredith’s house in Austin, Texas. It was mid-afternoon and, as usual for that time of day, Chris was napping while I drove. Sitting there, singing along with some really good yodeling tunes, I was interrupted by God, who said: “It’s time to start making arrangements to move in with Melissa.”
To say that I found that a little intriguing would be an understatement to say the very least. Much like Mary in Luke 2:19, I “pondered these words in my heart.” I didn’t say anything to Chris until the next morning when we stopped for breakfast, and the following discussion took place:
Me: God told me something interesting yesterday.
Chris: Oh? What was that?
Me: We are supposed to start preparing to move in with Melissa.
Chris: Really? When are we supposed to move in?
Me: I don’t know.
Chris: When are you going to tell
Me: I don’t know.
Chris: How are you going to tell Melissa?
Me: I don’t know.
Chris: Well what do you know?
Me: That we gotta start preparing to move in with Melissa.
The rest of the trip home was spent discussing what form these preparations were going to take. We decided that we would start cleaning all the junk out of the house (a task we had been “discussing” for years!), and have a realtor come over and give our house an appraisal and tell us what we needed to do to get the house ready to be sold.
NOW THIS IS WHERE IT REALLY GETS GOOD!
Two weeks later we were over at Melissa’s house getting ready to go up to the cabin in Flagstaff, when the following discussion took place:
Missy (as the kids were tying up both of the bathrooms): You know, when we have the architect come over to see about designing your place, I think I’m going to see if he can’t put another bathroom on this end of the house, too.
Me: Is that architect coming over soon?
Missy: As soon as he gets back from vacation.
Missy: Yes. Two weeks ago, God spoke to both Matthias and I separately and told us we needed to start making arrangements to have you and Mom move in with us.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
A couple of weeks after this Matthias was driving along, talking with God. He was wanting to make sure if they should do everything right away, or if they should wait. No sooner had that thought formed in his mind than he pulled up behind a pick-up truck and was amazed when he read the truck’s license plate which said: “Don’t wait!!!” OOOOOOWEEEEOOOOO!!!
April, 2017 – We pulled off one of the most unique “car swapping” coups I have ever heard of – – and, perhaps, you have ever heard of, too!
Here’s the situation –in 2015 Chris and I each leased a HONDA Civic for 36 months. Our goal at the time was, once Chris retired we would trade the two of them in and get one vehicle, another SUV. In late 2016 I called the Sales Manager at BELL HONDA and told him what we had in mind. His response was to contact him in April, and he would see what he could do. Well, April rolled in and we called and made an appointment with him.
When we went in I told him that we had three goals, and, if he couldn’t meet these goals we would shake hands and part friends without investing any more of each other’s time. The three goals were:
- We wanted to turn both cars in with no “Early Surrender” penalty, or, in other words, without having to pay anything for the Early Surrender.
- We did not want to have to pay any “cash down.”
- We wanted our Monthly Payment to go down!
When I told my brother-in-law, Roger, our plans he just kind of gave me a bemused smile and soothingly assured me, “It’s never going to happen.” Well, as we sat there waiting for the Sales Manager to “do his thing,” we prayed, again, that God would intervene on our behalf. After thirty minutes or so, the Sales Manager came back and laid down his work sheet, with the monthly payment before us… and it was less than what we were currently paying. Though not with a lack of faith, I said to him, “So, how much do we have to pay down to get this payment.” To which he replied, “You said you didn’t want to pay anything down.” The only thing that was different than we expected was that, instead of leasing the car, we had to purchase it. BUT, because the two cars we were “trading in” were worth more than the one we bought, we didn’t have to pay any sales tax!
When we got to New Jersey in June we told our story to the family – Roger and Judy and Valerie and Noel. When we were finished, the following conversation took place.
Roger: I’ll have to admit it, I didn’t think you would be able to pull it off.
Me: Well, we had been praying about it from the very time we had gotten the Civics
Valerie: Yes, and you have THE FAITH. We all have Faith (she quickly added), but you two have THE FAITH!
Praise God that others recognize that we do, in fact, have THE FAITH!
HONEST … I TRIED TO KEEP IT TO TEN!!!
As you can see, I have seen a lot of Miracles and Super Blessings!
- I have enjoyed A LOT of Blessings – Don’t worry, I won’t list all of them. In fact, I am going to let “A” take care of this section, too!
- I have Accrued a Host of Friends – Hope-fully, you are one of them!
- Strolling down my “Memory Lane” is such a pleasurable journey that I do it often!
Well, there you have it … Reasons I am glad that I am so old! The GOOD NEWS here is that as I accumulate even more years, all of these will be added to, and you can’t beat that with a stick!!!