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Inspirational Accounts

Story ID:4983
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
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We have all heard of inspirational accounts- whether from our reading, TV,
YouTube, etc. On TELEVISION this past week, I found someone who many
of us will agree is a source of inspiration --SUSAN BOYLE. She was labeled
"frumpy" and too old to be auditioning for British Idol - but that didn't matter
after she started to sing. Despite some of the unkind words leveled at her,
she remained unflappable and gracious through it all. I found her to be so
genuine - a relief from seeing those who are not and who sometimes reflect
inflated egos. There was none of that in her.

Whether this e-mail account is genuine or fabricated - it still made my
day and inspirational "list." A group of students were asked to list what they
thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World." While there were
different responses, the ones receiving the most mention were:
1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

The teacher noted that one of the girls had not submitted her paper and
asked if she was having trouble with her list. She answered in the
affirmative- saying she couldn't make up her mind because there were
so many.

The teacher asked her to share the ones she had, and possibly the other
students could help. After a moment's hesitation, she read: "I think the
'Seven Wonders of the World are: (pictures were included on the link)
1. To See (a flower)
2. To Hear (music)
3. To Touch (a baby touching a puppy)
4. To Taste (an ice cream cone shared with a puppy)
5. To Feel (a mother grasping her baby's hands)
6. To Laugh (a smiling child)
7. To Love (young married couple walking through a grassy field)

"The room was so quiet you could have hear a pin drop. The things we overlook
as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous! A gentle
reminder-that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought
by man." (Author unknown or at least not credited at this site.)

This particular edition contained small capsule accounts of six people who
embraced hope. All 6 people were inspirational, but in the interests of space,
I had to choose one and that one reminded me of my Aunt in Slovakia. When
I visited her in 1973, I found that she lived in a small house which was probably
only heated by a stove in the similar harsh winters of NE Ohio where I live.

There was no inside plumbing either, and I shuttered to think how hard it
must have been to go out to an outhouse in the throes of winter- though maybe
they had chamber pots as they did in the Middle Ages which were emptied daily
or as soon as possible. I regret that I never thought to ask about these problems-
as I must have been staying where there was inside plumbing. How hard she
must have had it. It is no wonder that her two sisters (one- my mother) had
emigrated to America in the early 1900's. Why hadn't she? Another question
I failed to ask.

Robert Young had started The Red Feather Developmental Group in 1995 after
he had help build a stick-frame constructed home for a Lakota elder named
Katherine Red Feather who lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

He had been a partner in a successful Seattle-based lounge-wear company in
1992. And he had little inkling that after reading a headline in a small paper
called "Indian Country" that it would profoundly change his life. The headline
read "Elders Freeze to Death." Two weeks later a follow up re a program to adopt
a grandparent on the reservation appeared in the same newspaper.

It didn't take him long to apply and he was soon on his way to South Dakota's
Pine Ridge Reservation to meet seventy-eight year old Katherine Red Feather -
his new " grandmother."

Katherine lived in an old trailer which was pushed up against an old school bus.
There was no running water and an outhouse was shared with other families.
The Dakota winters were harsh - sometimes 60 degress below zero.

He did build Katherine Red Feather a proper house, and then later researched
building techniques so that others could be built more efficiently. The one which
proved sound was using straw bales wrapped in chicken wire and sealed with stucco.

Robert Young had found a new calling and soon sold his part of the business
interest in Seattle and moved his family to Bozeman, Montana where he founded
the non-profit Red Feather Developmental Group.

And lastly an inspirational story of animal heroes. This story of the swans and
the geese I've read before. You may have too - but like I often say - some stories
need second and even third reads. This is such a one. Reprinted in "THE WILDLIFE
WATCH BINOCULAR, it was originally written by Charlotte Edwards and found on
the website www.all-creatures.org.

A friend of hers was eating breakfact on a cold January morning in Maryland.
Her large picture window allowed a clear view of the Tred Avon River. Many water
birds found this to be a favorite stopping place except for the couple of times each
year when the water froze and turned to ice.

While seeing a line of swans in the sky, she also noted that a large Canada goose
with its wings folded to its sides was immobile on the river because his feet were
frozen to the ice.

She then watched in amazement when the leader swung to the right- followed
by a line of swans. She was a little bit worried because swans and geese are
often competitors. But not this day. The swans surrounded the goose and
began pecking at the ice until after a very long time of hard pecking, the
the goose was at last freed from its ice prison.

The swans weren't finished yet though with their rescue. Four of them moved
around him and with their powerful beaks scraped the goose's wings from top
to bottom, chipping off and melting the ice held within the feathers.

When the four swans watched as the goose spread his wings and were able
to reach their full extension -only then did the 4 swans rejoin their companions
in flight in perfect formation -er- almost perfect formation with an errant goose
following closely behind. What a beautiful picture of love and caring, Who says
we should not ascribe human characteristics to animals? Not me.