Wednesday, July 1, 2009


What July 4th is all about ~ Heroes for freedom, for us ...
It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean.

Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now.

Everybody's gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on the end of the pier, Ed is alone with his thoughts...and his bucket of shrimp.

Before long, however, he is no longer alone. Up in the sky a thousand white dots come screeching and squawking, winging their way toward that lanky frame standing there on the end of the pier...

Before long, dozens of seagulls have enveloped him, their wings fluttering and flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As he does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank you. Thank you.'

In a few short minutes the bucket is empty. But Ed doesn't leave.

He stands there lost in thought, as though transported to another time and place. Invariably, one of the gulls lands on his sea-bleached, weather-beaten hat - an old military hat he's been wearing for years.

When he finally turns around and begins to walk back toward the beach, a few of the birds hop along the pier with him until he gets to the stairs, and then they, too, fly away. And old Ed quietly makes his way down to the end of the beach and on home.

If you were sitting there on the pier with your fishing line in the water, Ed might seem like 'a funny old duck,' as my dad used to say. Or, 'a guy that's a sandwich shy of a picnic,' as my kids might say. To onlookers, he's just another old codger, lost in his own weird world, feeding the seagulls with a bucket full of shrimp.

To the onlooker, rituals can look either very strange or very empty. They can seem altogether unimportant .....maybe even a lot of nonsense.

Old folks often do strange things, at least in the eyes of Boomers and Busters.

Most of them would probably write Old Ed off, down there in Florida . That's too bad. They'd do well to know him better.

His full name: Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a famous hero back in World War II. On one of his flying missions across the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. Miraculously, all of the men survived, crawled out of their plane, and climbed into a life raft.

Captain Rickenbacker and his crew floated for days on the rough waters of the Pacific. They fought the sun. They fought sharks. Most of all, they fought hunger. By the eighth day their rations ran out. No food. No water. They were hundreds of miles from land and no one knew where they were.

They needed a miracle. That afternoon they had a simple devotional service and prayed for a miracle. They tried to nap. Eddie leaned back and pulled his military cap over his nose. Time dragged. All he could hear was the slap of the waves against the raft.

Suddenly, Eddie felt something land on the top of his cap. It was a seagull!

Old Ed would later describe how he sat perfectly still, planning his next move. With a flash of his hand and a squawk from the gull, he managed to grab it and wring its neck. He tore the feathers off, and he and his starving crew made a meal - a very slight meal for eight men - of it. Then they used the intestines for bait. With it, they caught fish, which gave them food and more bait.and the cycle continued. With that simple survival technique, they were able to endure the rigor of the sea until they were found and rescued (after 24 days at sea...).

Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first lifesaving seagull. And he never stopped saying, 'Thank you.' That's why almost every Friday night he would walk to the end of the pier with a bucket full of shrimp and a heart full of gratitude.

Reference: (Max Lucado, In The Eye of the Storm, pp.221, 225-226)PS: Eddie was also an Ace in WW I and started Eastern Airlines.


  1. Hi Marydon
    What a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. That is a wonderful touching story, Marydon. Thanks so much for sharing it today!

  3. Great story, once they are gone this world will be a sad place.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Great story....thanks for sharing. If there ever was a moral here, it would have to be 'never give up'...on life or love or God.

  5. Thanks for visiting! Yes, we love Romeo...I know some people may not "get it" but he's a special little guy to us anyway! Blessings to you! Luanne

  6. Have you ever heard of Belleek china from Ireland? I have a cup and saucer and salt/pepper trays. I saw your picture down there and that your mother loved shamrocks! Well my daughter decided to get a shamrock tattoo on the back of her neck! We are some Irish but gosh! Luanne

  7. What a great story, Marydon. Thank you for sharing it. There will always be men fighting for us and suffering and dying. Some will survive and live to tell the story. I won't see the day of no more war and killing of our young men..but hopefully someone will.

    After Korea and three tours in Viet Nam, I hoped Patrick would...but he did not. I wish those men had lived to see that day. Just a random thought.
    The old addage "you can never tell a book by it's cover" is so true..
    Always look deeper for what you seek in human kind.
    Love and hugs to you, Marydon.

  8. What a wonderful and heartening story. Thank you for telling it here. Such great characters seem to be disappearing now.

  9. Thank you for sharing this story.

  10. What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.
    Gosh. What a tribute to a simple bird. That's awesome.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I so loved my quick trip to Montana. Don't know when I'll be going back. Gorgeous! Just gorgeous!
    Have a great day! Karen

  11. Thanks for the chillbumps Marydon!!!! ;)
    ♥ Teresa

  12. Hi Marydon, I got goosebumps (or should I say gull bumps) reading this story. I loved it and the fact that Ed is so thankful, made me cry. They prayed for a miracle and were given one. How many times I have prayed and been given one? And even been given one, when I have not yet prayed for it. And how thankful am I!

  13. I read his book when I was young...he is an impressive fellow! What wonderful heroes have been born in the defense of this great country. God bless them and the lessons they hold for all of us!

  14. I read this story recently and it STILL moved me when I read it again. What a wonderful thoughtful man. If only there were more like him, the world would be a more peaceful place.

  15. Thanks for sharing this and for your lovely comment on my blog!

  16. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful, touching story...I had tears in my eyes reading about it. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  17. What an amazing and touching story....thank you for sharing...hugs, Linda

  18. Such an amazing story. Thank you!

  19. Gratitude is such a simple concept but with powerful results. Eddie had a grateful heart. I love this story.
    xxoo, Susan