The Greatest Gift

There are many reasons to love Morning Call columnist Bill White—not the least of which is that he is a genuinely nice guy. He writes with wit, humor and compassion about many subjects other reporters would ignore or simply gloss over. Case in point: In a December 4, 2014 column, White told the story of former Call sportswriter Andre Williams and his struggle to regain his life after a devastating stroke in 2010. My heart broke as I read about his long road from physical and financial collapse. As White wrote, “[p]eople like Andre Williams are not supposed to be homeless.” Indeed, they are not.

I, too, worked with Andre for many years and although I didn’t see him often, when I did he would always break into a big grin and bend down from his 6’2″ frame and give me a bear hug. Anyone who knows Andre knows that he is one of those “truly good souls” that we rarely see in these post-Frank Capra days.  His story goes to show how each one of us is just one tiny step away from a disaster that can change a life forever.

“When everything is going well & you’re on top of the world you have many friends,” Andre wrote after his stroke. “When you’re down you discover you’re really alone.”

This is the season of giving, so before you run out to the big box store to buy one more mindless and potentially unappreciated gift for Great Uncle Gimme, consider giving something to those who desperately need your help. Next time you pass one of those red kettle bell ringers throw in some paper money. Next time you head east on Hamilton Street and see that big neon sign touting “God is Love” give thanks for the Allentown Rescue Mission and its work. Stop and open up your checkbook. Be generous, be compassionate, because you never know who you might be helping just as you never know when it might be you or someone you love who needs that help. Give without expecting anything in return. And trust me in this; you will receive back a hundredfold for your generosity. Love never fails.

Jesus, the real reason for this Christmas season, drove that point home to his disciples over and over. Love God and love each other, He told them. Take care of the widow and the orphan. Help the one who needs a hand up. Feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Love one another, and even your enemy, for love is the total fulfillment of the law.

Back when I was a Call photographer in the Easton Bureau a customer once told me that “Bill White is the best thing about the Morning Call.” I have to agree. Long may you live, my friend, and continue to view our confused and erratic world through the eyes of your heart.

And as our class-conscious, self-centered, smart phone-dependent society grows more and more fragmented, let’s all take time out to remember those gentle souls like Andre Williams, a true “Miracle Man” who walked through the valley of the shadow of death into a new life.  Andre’s story is one of hope. When he needed help, New Bethany Ministries was there for him.

May God bless you, Andre, for being who you are—an inspiration, a poet and a lesson in giving for all of us.

Another Great Allentown Fair

Always the signal that summer is coming to an end, the Allentown Fair is one of my favorite events of the year. From the creepy sideshows to the myriad of farm animals and homegrown veggies on display, the fair has something for everyone. Below are a few photos of one perfect evening spent wandering the midway.

 

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Fairgoers are a blur on the Vertigo ride.

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This young fellow does not look too thrilled with his mount.

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A quarter moon hangs over the midway.

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Riders are silhouetted as the sun sets.

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Look at me!

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Riding into the sunset.

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Two boys ham it up for the camera.

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Stylin’ at the fair.

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Schuylkill County Fair Princess, from left, Queen and Little Miss stroll the midway.

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Brazilian parrots hang out at the food bowl.

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Fair icon Dapper Dan the Clown, right, chats with WFMZ TV’s Kathy Crane.

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And of course, my favorite part of the fair: Robinson’s Paddling Pigs.

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The little hammies frantically vie for first place and a delicious Oreo cookie.

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Fans watch the Paddling Pigs.

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Morning Call columnist and friend Bill White samples one of the entries in the Bechdolt’s Orchard Fresh Peach Dessert competition.

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Two of the entries in the peach competition.

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Mary Ellen Miller gets a hug from her daughter after winning first place in the Fresh Peach Dessert competition.

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Miller’s Peach Pie with Peach Wine Sauce, front, took the blue ribbon.

And the beat goes on…

Here’s an interesting thought for the day considering the state of our global society in 2014. Author Ayn Rand prophetically saw the future in 1957:

“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

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Here we go again…hope to remain this time!

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