Articles from December 2011


Hayden and Sandra Collins

We went all out for Christmas that year.  The Men’s club from the church and other groups, friends from work, and many other people gave something to the boys’ Christmas.  We ended up with so many gifts that we had trouble storing them.  One truck came to the house, and when the man got out, said he was here for a delivery.  I asked which box was mine, and he said all of them.  I just about cried; the truck was full of boxes.  Thank you was a phrase that was said often and with meaning.

As the day approached, we had to get creative with our storage of gifts – neighbors houses, garage, attic, and work office.  Finally, Christmas Eve came, and “some assembly required” and I became friends.  At about three in the morning, I finished the last of the work.  My loving wife had fixed my last pot of coffee and lain down more than an hour before.  I woke her up and said “it’s done.”  We were both very excited and wanted to stir things up a bit.  So, I went to the wall, pounded on it really hard, and said “Ho Ho Ho,” trying to wake up the boys.

It worked, and Blane, the middle boy, got up first.  He stayed in the room and woke up Zack who was in the bed across from him.  Both boys peeked into the living room to see mounds of toys.  I do mean mounds.  We had to separate the toys by piles for each boy.

An oversight on our part then became apparent.  The house rule is that no one gets out of bed before Dad gets out of bed.  The boys are all hyper and liked to get about six hours of sleep before they get up and play.  It took us a long time to break that habit.  Well, with this in mind, they knew that if they got out of bed, they would be in big trouble.  So they woke up Cody, the youngest, who was asleep in a crib.  When Cody got up, he stumbled into the room and saw the toys but either did not understand or was still asleep, because his comment was “leave me alone.”  You could just feel our frustration.  Something had to be done.

I yelled, “who is out of bed this early in the morning?”  Zack answered, “we are Sir and someone left toys in the living room.”  My response was, “WHAT?  Someone left toys in the living room?” in a very loud command voice.  Blane’s response was, “it wasn’t us SIR,” and the boys ran back to bed.

Oh God, I was going nuts, so I walked into the living room and called all of them in with us.  As I looked around the room to see three very happy faces, I found a letter from Santa.  It read, “you all have been very good this year.  Have fun, Santa.” Hours of wrapping paper and toys went by, and we were cleaning up for lunch when Blane came over to me and asked if they got to keep the toys.  I almost broke down but managed to hold my face and answer a resounding “Yes!  They are yours to keep.”  They had never gotten to keep any other toys in care.  That question made all the money spent worth it.  It was a great Christmas.

If you like the story share it,  Merry Christmas to all. 

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When leadership is required

Austin Collins American Legion Post

December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day.  Many of us know the story of the 1941 surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet that led to the U.S.’s direct involvement in World War II.  It was not our intent to go to war, in fact at that time we were trying to make peace.  No one ever looks for war but wise leaders are always prepared for one.  George Washington once said the thing that sets Americans apart from anyone else is the fact that they would rather die on their feet then serve on their knees.

My family has a direct marker at Pearl Harbor: my cousin Austin Collins went down with the ship, The USS Arizona, and today the American Legion Post in Sebree, Kentucky is named after him.   History sticks with you when you have a direct connection to it.  The Collins family has served in every conflict and paid the price for freedom over and over. And it continues today, as one of my sons in serving in the Navy. This debt is never fully paid.

Modern day changes in policy are conducted at the ballot box and not at the end of a gun.  However, threats are addressed and answered by this example, and evidence can be found in the patriots’ bodies that fill the hallowed sites such as our national cemeteries, battlegrounds and local cemeteries where we place flags to identify those that have taken time from their lives to stand the wall.

Pearl Harbor Day is just as important as Sept 11th in my book.  But today, after Pearl Harbor and after the terrorist attacks of Sept 11th, we find that we are now addressing a choice to serve on our knees or stand and fight for the government that we have fought so hard to maintain.  Today we are threatened by another massive strike on the U.S. and it’s our Debt.

Our national debt CAN be fully paid, and we should consider the future of the next generation when deciding on how to handle this fight. We may be going through hell right now on the economy and hard times are upon us, but the important thing is to keep going and keep moving forward.  Now is not the time to slow down and don’t allow fear to stop you.  We must face the fire and set the example that we want others to follow.  There is no fire, fear or obstacle that has prevented our success as of yet.  Don’t let anything stop this generation from success.

The past generations have done more than enough and a new generation is stepping into the leadership caste with different goals and objects.  This is a very positive thing as we move beyond the Baby Boomer generation that is planning for retirement, to the new generation is planning for the future.  Respect your leaders of the past and help your leaders for the future. 

Let this Pearl Harbor Day be a reminder of the attacks of the past, and of fights and challenges yet to come.  Not looking for war, but wise leaders are always prepared for one.  Don’t let this next crisis be a surprise attack:  prepare for it and let’s strike this threat before it strikes us.  We can destroy the debt threat standing on our feet.