I care

I care that the majority of the people in Hollywood are taking drugs.
I care that they probably never heard the beautiful name of Jesus as anything but a swear word.
I care that they don’t know Who gave them their wonderful talents.
I care that they make fun of Christianity and pastors and priests in their comedies.
I care that they believe lies and promote them in their films.
I care that the people in them don’t know Jesus as their savior from sin and death.
How many times have you watched a movie and not thought about the people in it?
I care about the young men and women who are told that the only way that they’ll ever get good parts is if they showcase their bodies in their early films.
I care about the men who lay with men and the women who lay with women who don’t care or don’t know what they are doing is wrong and love to promote it in their movies.
I care about the woman who gets pregnant with her co-star and breaks up with him before the baby is born.
I care about the man who writes sex scenes into his movies to fulfill his own lust.
I care about the actor who can’t speak a sentence without swearing.
I care about the six-year-old who plays the part of the child in the sex and drug and swearing and violence filled R rated movie.
I care about the people who don’t care.
I care about the guilt-laden, the sorrowful, the angry, the heartbroken, the rebellious, the profane, the ones who think their doing it right, the ones who act happy.
I care about the Godless people who make the movies we watch.
I care so much that I cry myself to sleep, my heart breaks for them, because they don’t know.
I care all the time, every second of every day, while I’m doing school, while I’m drawing, while I’m reading, while I’m driving down the road, while I’m shopping, while I’m sitting in my house, while I’m laying in my bed, while I’m with family, while I’m with friends, they are always on my heart.
I must take to them the gospel so they can know the truth – so they can know where true happiness lies.
I wish I could have started caring sooner. I did not know, but now I want you to.
So next time you watched a movie, you can care too.

 

 

I was sort of hesitant to post this here, but then I remembered Phillips P. Bliss’s words “Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone! Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known.” And I knew I had to.

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Happy Birthday Jeremy Brett!

(I write this a little over a year ago)

Dear Jeremy,
If I could write a letter to you,
This is what I’d say:
I’d say I really miss you,
And would have prayed for you every day.

I’d say how much I like you,
And how much to me you mean.
I’d tell you what I’d wished to do,
If I wasn’t just sixteen.

But you died before I was born,
Only a few months, though.
You went away for me to morn,
Someone I do not know.

If I could write a letter to you,
This is what I’d say:
I’d say I really miss you,
And would have prayed for you every day.

I’d tell you how much fun you are,
And how much I like your laugh.
I’d tell you, though you’re ever far,
What I’d have done on your behalf.

But you died on September 12th,
In 1995.
Yet you left us that near-endless wealth,
You, just in disguise.

If I could write a letter to you,
This is what I’d say:
I’d say I really miss you,
And would have prayed for you every day.

I’d say I’m glad I met you,
Though never face to face.
I’d tell you how I admire you,
All your gentle ease and grace.

But you died of heart failure,
Lungs scarred from your childhood flu.
A night of broken grandeur,
And a meeting between God and you.

If I could write a letter to you,
This is what I’d say:
I’d say I really miss you,
And would have prayed for you every day.

I’d tell you of the times I’ve had,
Overjoyed in your array.
I’d mention the times you’ve made me mad,
And say that it’s OK.

But you died 16 years ago,
Though you’re still with us today.
If only you could learn and know,
How much I’d like to say. happy birthday jbHappy birthday, Mr. Brett!

Happy Early Birthday Basil Rathbone

Image

Just to answer any question that may have arisen from my title, I’m not going to be available to post on June 13th (Basil’s actual birthday) so I have to do it early.

It’s hard to believe that this is only the second of Basil’s birthdays that I’ve celebrated. It seems, somehow, that I’ve always know him. This poem that you are about to read was written only a few months after I had first “met” him, so it’s a bit more gushing than I would write it now, but hey, give me a break, I was fourteen.

Basil

By R. Noel Landis

The eyes,

Blue to those you knew

And knew you,

But black to those of us who’ve only guessed

At what you were really like.

Soft and dreamy

But hidden deep inside

Is love, kindness, and a hint of roguish playfulness,

Enrapturing and beating down

The unsuspecting girl

Who falls into your clutches

As the villain or the madman.

Lifting up and pulling in

The poor and needy lady

Or the high and lofty woman

As hero and as lover.

The voice,

Deep and subtly rich,

Sweet in overflowing character

And letting our spirits soar.

We cannot think of anything else,

Not wanting to miss a single word.

If only we could have really heard you

And not have had to rely

On what you left behind.

Little heard laughter,

How we wish to hear it more,

Cheering over victory,

Or quiet simple pleasures.

The mouth,

Like no other

As it shapes its words of hatred or of love.

Small and finely turned up at the corners,

With the personality of life itself.

It catches the eyes,

Framed by the usual mustache.

We peer blissfully

Trying not to overlook its smooth movement,

Sole in its matchless perfection.

The hands,

Gentle, tender, and smooth,

But strong and very firm.

Stroking heads, shaking hands,

Touching keys, holding cigarettes and pipes.

We watch and peer,

Looking eagerly at every touch.

Unmistakable in their movement,

Catching eyes and drawing attention.

They say so much with every motion.

Swift but careful,

Calm but eager,

Leading women across the floor,

Meticulously searching the crime scene,

Grasping knives and guns with intent to kill,

Holding children’s hands.

The whole of you,

Towering over some

But eye to eye with others.

Enchanting us in every movement,

Every bit of you unique,

We cannot take our eyes away

For fear of missing something.

Born in South Africa

Yet British through and through,

Faithful husband

Loving father

Patriotic countryman

Excelling actor.

We lost something that day

July 21, 1967,

75 years after that wonderful day

June 13, 1892.

We miss you,

Even though you left us before we knew you

We have come to know you by what you left behind.

This is my favorite picture of Basil Rathbone – and no, friends, this wasn’t posed, this wasn’t part of the movie, this was pure Basil.

The East Wind

I wrote this in August, when my Grammy died. I’m posting it now, because my pastor recently died. I loved both of those people and they meant more to me and taught me more than anyone could ever know.

This morning I read over one of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, “His Last Bow,” which is, I think, perhaps my favorite, and I noticed some very profound words on the part of the great detective. Now remember, this is directly before WW1. I read:

                “There’s an east wind coming, Watson.”

                “I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.”

                “Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

Think on that for a bit. No really, stop and think. Don’t read on unless you have taken a moment to think about what you just read. As I read I wondered, “Do I have anybody who is my one fixed point in my changing age?” As I considered my musing, for a moment I concluded “no.” Everyone and everything seemed to be changing and churning around me, and not particularly pleasantly mind you. But then a notion hit me. “Yes,” I do have a one fixed point in my changing age. God. It was a comforting thought. Not to be disrespectful, but it was sort of like it dawned on me, “Good old God! You are the one fixed point in a changing age.” Ah! What a truly miraculously comforting thought! To have a point, ever, ever fixed, regardless of how much might change around you! No matter if He is the only fixed point! He is the only real fixed point you need! All you must do is rely, and that’s the tough part. Really not just realize in word, “Yes, He is my fixed point,” but to begin to act and trust like you believe what you say to yourself, like you believe the truth.

Then I considered how much the rest of what Holmes said reminded me of the way I feel about my life at the moment, or that is, what has just happened in my life. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. I have never before had to endure, or keep enduring, any of the things that have happened and begun to happen in and around me. It is colder, and more bitter, than I have ever had to go through before. I really felt, and sometimes feel, as if I might just go ahead and wither before its blast. But then again, I thought, but it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared. It’s true, my life right now, however cold and bitter it seems, and however much I feel like I might wither before its blast, is God’s own wind none the less, and I have the open choice to lie a cleaner, better, stronger person in the sunshine when the storm has passed. It might never completely pass of course, and probably won’t, these are only the shadow lands, to borrow another metaphor, but some day, I will lie a cleaner, better, stronger person in the sunshine of God, when the storm of this life has passed. I will hold on, however cold, however bitter, and not wither, not wither, looking to that day when I am a cleaner, better, stronger person, in the light of God, for my storm will have cleared.

Daydream

By one who does it often

To Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

                I was spending a vacation in Sussex, England, where my late husband had grown up.  It was nice, and rather sobering, to see where he had been a child, all his old friends, and a few of the odd old England survivors that he had told me so much about.  One in particular caught my fancy.  Every one called him Old Sherl the Beekeeper, and it seemed even the oldest of the Sussex residents could not remember when he had come.   He had become there a kind of legend – near immortal, and like a god to some of the older women, a nuisance and an annoyance to the men, and to the young and inquisitive, he was a sad, yet interesting study, if he still held on a bit to the immortal part.  By the second week of my visit I had fallen squarely into this last category.  I itched all over to learn all I could about him, and to meet him.  I found my opportunity to pick the brains of my late husband’s best friend one day when we were walking together across the downs, and past Old Sherl the Beekeeper’s little cottage.

“Why do they call him Sherl?” I asked.

“No one really knows his real name. It started one day, about 30 years ago, when a boy was spying on him through his window, and he saw him begin to sign a letter.  But the man only wrote the first five letters, which spelled Sherl, and then looked up to the window at which the boy was standing, and gave such a stare that the boy never came back to the house again.  Ever since then we’ve called him Sherl.  It just sort of stuck.”

“Tell me everything you can about Sherl, Nigel,” said I as I seated myself upon a large rock which jetted out from the rock wall to our right nearly to the path. “I want to know everything about him.”

“Alright,” he laughed, sitting next to me. “You always were inquisitive! No one living knows when he came.  That’s why he’s kind of got the idea of being immortal. We just can’t pinpoint how old he is. He’s got to be near 100. He has no housekeeper or anyone else at the house, and no one ever comes to visit him.  Though it’s said that once, long time ago, a young man came to the house, and when he left, Sherl went out onto the moor for three weeks without ever coming back to the house.  Everyone thought he was dead for sure, for even then he seemed old. On the last day of the third week some of the more conscientious of the townsmen thought it might be an idea to go look for him. If he was dead, they thought they should probably try and contact the next of kin.  They found him, well, not too far from here actually, right over there by Devil’s Peek, shaking and wet and near dead but he still had life in him. So they brought him back to his house and went to call a doctor, but he was so emphatic that he would have no doctor save the doctor, that they didn’t see how they could, if the old man didn’t want one.  So they left him in his house, raving mad they thought, mumbling under his breath about the death of, first, the woman, and now the doctor, thinking he would be dead by morning.  But he didn’t die, and has been kicking pretty lively ever since.  All he does is keep his bees and walk the moors, which is quite a feat at his age, whatever it is.  He never speaks to anybody. They say he’s a pretty avid reader, ordering books all the time. And they also say he reads the Bible, even though he never goes to church save on Easter Sunday and Christmas.  Nobody likes him, and he’s all around a pretty sad character. But he seems happy enough. I guess that’s all that matters. So there you are, Sherl in a nutshell.”

“He sounds kind of sad.”

“Yes, yes I suppose he is sad. Though whenever you do see him, he always seems happy, or almost happy. He whistles tunes most of us have never heard before. Probably tunes from his childhood.”

“Do you know anything about that?”

“Not a thing.”

“Let’s keep walking,” said I, standing from the rock. “How much longer ‘till we get to his house?”

“It’s just around that next rock jet-out.   We should be there in a second. Sarah,” he said looking at me with a wary eye. “You’re not thinking of stopping in on him are you?”

The corners of my mouth turned up and I looked down. “No, no I suppose not.”

“Good. I think that would be very foolish.” We walked in silence around the next large rock.  Just as we rounded it, we nearly walked over a man who was crouched by a flowering bush, intently studying the bees that were busying themselves around it.  He did not look up, and when we tried to apologize he picked up the book that lay by his feet, turned on his heel, and walked off into the surrounding moor, never showing us his face.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“I’m not sure, I didn’t see his face. But it would be my guess, by his occupation, that it was Sherl.” My heart leaped inside me. The mysterious Old Sherl the Beekeeper! And I had seen him!  Nigel and I talked little about Sherl for the rest of our walk.  Later that week, I went on a walk by myself, now knowing and trusting the people enough that if I carried something to protect myself if needed, I had no qualms about walking alone.  Without even meaning to I took the path to Old Sherl the Beekeeper’s cottage.  I spent most of the walk daydreaming and when I came to Sherl’s house, I was broken from a very vivid one by a labored cough and then a whistled tune. I had never heard the tune before.  I looked over into the garden of the old beekeeper.  He was bent double over something.  I could not tell what it was until he kicked at it with a groan and a cat came tearing out of the

Courtesy of http://www.basilrathbone.net, a small illustration which dear Basil did for his own story, entitled the same as mine, from which my tale is inspired

garden and past me, shrieking like a devil.  I looked up in blank horror at the man who now sat in a wicker chair with a blanket over his knees, and a book directly in front of his face.  I noticed the name of the book he read; it was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  It was red with gold lettering.

He slowly dropped the book from his face and stared at me, a clay pipe clenched tightly between his thin lips.  Such a stare as I think he gave to that little boy who came up with the name Sherl for him.

“That was my tom cat, Charles Augustace; it was stung by a bee. What do you want,” he said in a surprisingly strong voice as he stood from the wicker chair to a full height of six feet, which looked much taller because of his extreme leanness, and took the pipe from his mouth. “You may come in if you must, unless you have come to gawk, as most do–” then as his eyes rested directly on my face, his voice suddenly sank into a dry whisper. “The woman!” he murmured. “What is your name?”

“Sarah Douglas.”

“No, no! Before you were married!”

“How did you know I had been married?” I cried. Since my husband had died, I could not bring myself to wear my wedding ring, and I could think of no way that a complete stranger should know this.

“I deduced it from the ring of skin that is lighter than the rest on your left ring finger. What else would be the cause of that save having once been married?”

“Oh, well, my name was Sarah Adler.”  Never have I seen a change in expression as in that man’s face.  His face lit, and his whole mannerism changed from rather dull and harsh, to very pleasant, and eager, and there was some hidden emotion that I could not pinpoint.

“It’s enough to make one believe in reincarnation,” he whispered. “Come in, come in and I will get us some tea, or would you rather have coffee? I used to be a devoted coffee drinker in my youth, and I know you Americans enjoy it.”

“Some tea would be nice, thanks,” I smiled as I walked through the open gate of his fence and seated myself in the wicker chair he had indicated with his old, sinewy hand. “How long have you lived here?” I asked as he brought out two mugs of hot tea.

“Since my late fifties,” he said. “I came here after I retired and have lived here, save for an interval of a few years when I was around sixty, ever since.”

“Where did you live before you moved here?”

“London.”

“What did you do?”

“I helped out Scotland Yard.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.” I was quiet for a moment, and he asked the next question.

“What brings you here?”

“I’m visiting some of my husband’s old friends. He was born here. He told me about you.”

“Did he?” he smiled. “What did he tell you about me?”

“Not much. He said you were a beekeeper, and that no one knew when you had come, or who you were. And that you had become a sort of legend.”

Again he smiled. “What was your husband’s name?”

“Basil Douglas.”

“Ah! I remember him. He and another boy, Nigel, I think was his name, were always spying on me. But I did not, and do not, mind. I am used to people staring, and thinking I’m odd. I’ve lived with it all my life.”

“I’m sorry,” said I.

“Don’t be, I don’t mind it. I am happy, and was, mostly, then as well. It was the doctor that made me happy then.”

“I’m glad you’re happy. Nigel told me a lot about you, and it seemed like maybe you might not be, but I’m glad you are.” I paused a moment. “What is it you enjoy about beekeeping? I’m afraid of bees, I could never do it.”

“I like the bees themselves. They are so mechanical, and they are always doing the same thing. They are a very interesting study. I mark different bees, and see which flowers they go to the most, and things like that. It is nice, after such an unpredictable life as I’ve had, to live surrounded by such consistent creatures.”

“It sounds nice. But don’t you ever get lonely?”

“Yes. At first I was not; I was glad to be out of the city, and the life I lived before. It was quiet and calm here. Then my friend died, and I became very lonely. It is not that he often came to see me, he was married and had business of his own, but just the thought that he could never come to see me again made me lonely.”

We spoke a little longer, mostly in inquisition. Then, since it was beginning to get dark, and I really did not know this man, whoever he was, even though he must be so old if he tried anything I could have knocked him down by sneezing, I said, “I’ve got to go now.”

“I’m glad you came. I don’t ever have anyone to talk to aside from my bees, and occasional curious visitors such as you. But often they are not as kind as you have been.”

“Well, thanks,” I smiled. “I’ll come and visit tomorrow, and every day after that until I leave!”

“Thank you, I look forward to your visits. And,” he added as I stood and he led me to the gate, “may I ask you one more question.”

“As long as I can as well when you’re done.”

“It is a deal,” he said with a smile. “What is your grandmother’s name on your father’s side?”

“Irene.”

“Was she named after anyone else in her family?”

“Yes, all of them are named that on my dad’s side, why?”

“I recognized you when you came in, and since I knew I had never seen you before, I thought perhaps I knew your family. Do you have British relations?”

“Yes, a little ways back. Is that it?”

“Yes.”

“Now for my question. You know everyone calls you Sherl?”

“Yes.”

“What is your real name?” He looked at me for some time, blinking in the fading light and slowly opening and closing his mouth, letting thick, sweet smelling smoke drift from his clay pipe.  Then he smiled.

“You may call me Sherlock,” he said. “But don’t say it to others; let them think of me as Sherl.”

I thanked him for the lovely evening and the tea and turned to go.  He reached out his old, worn, sinewy hand and laid it on my sleeve.

Thank you,” said he, and he squeezed my arm with more strength than I would have given him credit for. “You do not know what this visit has meant to me. Now I have a reason.”

I didn’t understand those last words, so I smiled and left.  A little ways away I looked back. He was in his wicker chair with a blanket over his knees, a red book with gold lettering in his one hand, and a clay pipe clenched between his teeth, its smoke encircling his face and floating gently upward.  His eyes were closed as if he slept, and his head was resting back on the chair.  I never saw him alive again.  The next morning I went to his house and found him sitting dead in his wicker chair.  He looked so peaceful and happy in that secluded and lonely spot, just the same as I had left him the night before, and by the chilled feeling of his wiry hand, it seemed as if he had died not long after.  I must admit I shed tears at the sight of the old man, and kissed his cold, hollow cheek.  He had been lonely, he said so himself, and I had come to stop that, but I hadn’t had long to do it.  I wished I had been able to know him longer.  He seemed like he would have had so many stories to tell.  I knew I would miss him even though I had never known him.  But at least now he would no longer be lonely, I was sure of that.  We searched his house but found nothing to indicate his name, so we buried him under the name of Sherl Beekeeper.  We put on his gravestone, Sherl Beekeeper, Friend of two, Reader of books, Keeper of Bees.  We did not know what date to put for his birth, so we put a question mark with a dash to the date that I had visited him.  We found little in his house that was not a necessity or something he needed for beekeeping.  The bulk of his possessions were books, old, novels mostly, and collections of short stories, a few books of poetry, and a Bible, but no educational books or books of facts, unless they had something to do with beekeeping.  He had five different pipes, a collection of 14 different kinds of cigars, and a silver cigarette case, a few writing utensils and boxes of paper, five changes of clothes, and a photograph of a woman.  It seemed to me that that photo looked very familiar, and Nigel said that she looked like me.  There was no will to be found, and we were at odds to know what to do with his possessions.  I was looking through his books some two weeks after his death when I found a red one, with gold lettering, it was the one he had been reading the night I had talked with him.  I opened it and on the first page there was a note written.  It read:

To Miss Adler,

This book will answer more of your questions than my faulty memory ever could have.  It is I. You will never know what your visit meant to me tonight.  I had promised myself I would not die until I saw the woman’s face again.  You have let me die.  Thank you.

Sherlock

I gaped for a moment, and “no way” were the only words that came to my mind.  I closed the book and read the title, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I smiled, and concluded, that it had been quite a daydream.