THE IDLE AMERICAN
Dr. Don Newbury is a longtime public speaker and former college president who writes weekly.
With each passing year, you are less likely to classify events as coincidence, fluke, or even “blind pig” luck. Now, it is probable that in significant matters, he classifies many of them as divine interventions or acts of God, his angels or others that he appoints.
In fact, two recent conferences at the same hotel on the same date were intertwined. More than 200 Lions Club members from Washington, DC, Maryland and Delaware were at the Marriott Delta Hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Down the hall were about 60 college students for a meeting of the National Federation of the Blind.
The Lions were celebrating their 100the anniversary, reflecting on numerous projects, including his longstanding mantra of serving the blind. His interactions with college students, seeing their guide dogs and hearing the confident tapping of their batons were constant reminders to the Lions of much of who they are…
SPAN OF 55 YEARS
As a speaker at the Lions convention breakfast, I watched them mingle, often thinking of how much they had in common and how courageously the students moved, some of them faster than sighted Lions! Surely this was a divine date!
Over the weekend, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem, and other patriotic celebrations reminded us of our heritage.
At the convention, I was welcomed back as a member of the Lions Club after a lapse of 55 years. I was admitted by Brian Sheehan, president of Lions International, the largest civic organization in the world. A Minnesota resident whose duties require him to go to remote locations during his year in office, he was at the Texas Lions camp in Kerrville a few hours before his visit to Maryland, after which he and his wife left for meetings in Chicago, then Iceland….
I was the master of ceremonies at the Lions banquet where Ray Hildebrand, a friend from college days at Howard Payne University, led the singing of the National Anthem and, the next night, sang his old number one hit, “Hey, Paula “. with “The Fabulous Hubcaps”, a well-known musical group on the East Coast.
At the concert on August 12, my wife and I watched our 56the wedding anniversary. I mentioned what an honor it was to be on the show with “The Fabulous Hubcaps.”
She agreed, saying that I could be the exhaust pipe….
Adding to the good fortune of the Lions and the group of blind men who landed in the same place, there was another event that had divine involvement written all over it.
For several years, Lion Lois Barb has been training guide dogs for the blind. Shortly after her arrival, she saw a dog that looked familiar to her. Sure enough, he was Pippin, a service dog she had trained several years ago.
He had no idea where the dog had ended up, or who he was leading. It was a happy reunion…
MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE
Before leaving the area, we toured the now five-year-old Museum of the Bible, located just three blocks from our nation’s capitol.
It dazzles, awash in marble and pristine surroundings, offering interactive exhibits and historical facts that make it a virtual must-see.
In just five years, it is already one of the most visited tourist attractions in DC….
THAT FLAP NOISE
Then it was on to Cincinnati, where we would be hosting tours of The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Before leaving Maryland, a sign on the interstate reminded us that the historic Civil
War’s Battle of Antietam was fought. It was the bloodiest day in US history, with some 23,000 casualties, including nearly 4,000 dead.
At a nearby rest stop, we discuss a butcher shop, fill up on gas, and continue driving west, wondering about a “clunk.”
Sure enough, the gas nozzle was still inserted, with a 10-foot length of hose flapping against the pavement. We returned it to the service station, apologizing profusely.
The lady had not lost the hose and thanked us for returning it. She immediately restored it, glad that the powerful magnets made it possible to easily reattach the hoses after thoughtless motorists ripped them from the gas pumps…