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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Walking in the rain

  • Last Sunday morning, I slipped on my yellow slicker and headed out for my daily walk along Wildcat Boulevard.
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  • Last Sunday morning, I slipped on my yellow slicker and headed out for my daily walk along Wildcat Boulevard. The rain was perfect, steady and constant. I knew I would get wet, but had decided my walking clothes needed a washing anyway.
    As I walked along, I could not help but marvel at all the birds who were singing that morning. Their doing so almost made me want to sing "Singing in the Rain" myself, but decided I didn't need to make all the dogs in the neighborhood howl with my out of tune notes.
    Sometimes I feel sorry for us humans who are so concerned that we might get wet or get cold or get snowed on. The birds sing their wonderful songs in all kinds of weather. They don't have umbrellas, heavy coats, or rain slickers to keep warm and dry.
    I was thinking about another song; one I had heard on KBTN the day before. The song, "Three Wooden Crosses" was made popular by Randy Travis 10 years ago.
    The song is about four people, a farmer, teacher, hooker, and preacher, who were riding a bus that is struck by a semi. Three were killed. Three wooden crosses stand by "the right side of the highway" in their memory.
    The song laments the loss of these three people and what they left behind. The farmer left a harvest..."and faith and love for growing things in his son's heart."
    The teacher left "her wisdom in the minds of lots of children." The preacher whispered "Can't you see the Promised Land" to the hooker and gave her his blood-stained Bible before he died.
    The song concludes with the listener realizing that the hooker changed her way and was the mother of a young preacher who told the "Three Crosses" story to his congregation.
    It is a sad song, but one with a great deal of meaning, which is best summed up with two lines near the end of the song:
    "It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, "It's what you leave behind you when you go."
    Randy Travis, who recorded this song, has had some difficulties lately, primarily with alcohol. Will he leave his reputation as a boozer or will he leave the messages in the songs he sang like "Three Wooden Crosses?" I hope it is the latter.
    Take a walk, listen for birds singing, think about leaving something to the world, overuse those signal lights, and see what you notice or think about while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.
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