happened every Friday evening, almost
without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to
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
seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a
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
him, their wings
flapping wildly. Ed stands there tossing shrimp to the hungry birds. As
does, if you listen closely, you can hear him say with a smile, 'Thank
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. 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 who'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....... A RESCUE STORY
Eddie Rickenbacker lived many years beyond that ordeal, but he never forgot the sacrifice of that first life-saving 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)
Eddie Rickenbacker also lived many years before this experience. He was a World War One Ace Pilot.
Here, in 1926, Eddie poses with his plane at Sand Point Naval Air Station - Seattle, Washington