Posts Tagged ‘amazing stories’

Marshmallow Peeps

The stapler was invented in Spring Valley, Minnesota.


The first television newscaster was Kolin Hager, who used to broadcast farm and weather reports in 1928


Pixie, a Siberian Husky, gave birth to 7 puppies, one of which was bright green


Back in 1953, it took 27 hours to make one Marshmallow Peep. Now it takes only six minutes


On average, an ear of a corn has 16 rows and approximately 800 kernels


The green ring that is formed around the yolk of eggs that have been cooked too long is formed by the chemical reaction from the iron in the yolk and the sulphur in the white part of the egg


The silk that is produced by spiders is stronger than steel


The first president to have a picture taken was John Quincy Adams


Some brands of toothpaste contain glycerin or glycerol, which is also an ingredient in antifreeze


1 in 2000 babies are born with a tooth that is already visible.


It was during World War II that clothes with elastic waists were introduced. This is because the metal used in zippers was badly needed for the war


In 1902, the game table tennis was brought to the U.S. from Europe by Parker Brothers


Hershey’s Kisses are called that because the machine that makes themlooks like it’s kissing the conveyor belt.

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The Easter Egg

Saki

The Easter Egg                   

It was distinctly hard lines for Lady Barbara, who came of good fighting stock, and was one of the bravest women of her generation, that her son should be so undisguisedly a coward. Whatever good qualities Lester Slaggby may have possessed, and he was in some respects charming, courage could certainly never be imputed to him. As a child he had suffered from childish timidity, as a boy from unboyish funk, and as a youth he had exchanged unreasoning fears for others which were more formidable from the fact of having a carefully-thought-out basis. He was frankly afraid of animals, nervous with firearms, and never crossed the Channel without mentally comparing the numerical proportion of life belts to passengers. On horseback he seemed to require as many hands as a Hindu god, at least four for clutching the reins, and two more for patting the horse soothingly on the neck. Lady Barbara no longer pretended not to see her son’s prevailing weakness; with her usual courage she faced the knowledge of it squarely, and, mother-like, loved him none the less.
Continental travel, anywhere away from the great tourist tracks, was a favoured hobby with Lady Barbara, and Lester joined her as often as possible. Eastertide usually found her at Knobaltheim, an upland township in one of those small princedoms that make inconspicuous freckles on the map of Central Europe.
A long-standing acquaintanceship with the reigning family made her a personage of due importance in the eyes of her old friend the Burgomaster, and she was anxiously consulted by that worthy on the momentous occasion when the Prince made known his intention of coming in person to open a sanatorium outside the town. All the usual items in a programme of welcome, some of them fatuous and commonplace, others quaint and charming, had been arranged for, but the Burgomaster hoped that the resourceful English lady might have something new and tasteful to suggest in the way of loyal greeting. The Prince was known to the outside world, if at all, as an old-fashioned reactionary, combating modern progress, as it were, with a wooden sword; to his own people he was known as a kindly old gentleman with a certain endearing stateliness which had nothing of standoffishness about it. Knobaltheim was anxious to do its best. Lady Barbara discussed the matter with Lester and one or two acquaintances in her little hotel, but ideas were difficult to come by.

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“Might I suggest something to the Gnoedige Frau?” asked a sallow high-cheekboned lady to whom the Englishwoman had spoken once or twice, and whom she had set down in her mind as probably a Southern Slav.
“Might I suggest something for the Reception Fest?” she went on, with a certain shy eagerness. “Our little child here, our baby, we will dress him in little white coat, with small wings, as an Easter angel, and he will carry a large white Easter egg, and inside shall be a basket of plover eggs, of which the Prince is so fond, and he shall give it to his Highness as Easter offering. It is so pretty an idea; we have seen it done once in Styria.”
Lady Barbara looked dubiously at the proposed Easter angel, a fair, wooden-faced child of about four years old. She had noticed it the day before in the hotel, and wondered rather how such a tow-headed child could belong to such a dark-visaged couple as the woman and her husband; probably, she thought, an adopted baby, especially as the couple were not young.
“Of course Gnoedige Frau will escort the little child up to the Prince,” pursued the woman; “but he will be quite good, and do as he is told.”
“We haf some pluffers’ eggs shall come fresh from Wien,” said the husband.
The small child and Lady Barbara seemed equally unenthusiastic about the pretty idea; Lester was openly discouraging, but when the Burgomaster heard of it he was enchanted. The combination of sentiment and plovers’ eggs appealed strongly to his Teutonic mind.
On the eventful day the Easter angel, really quite prettily and quaintly dressed, was a centre of kindly interest to the gala crowd marshalled to receive his Highness. The mother was unobtrusive and less fussy than most parents would have been under the circumstances, merely stipulating that she should place the Easter egg herself in the arms that had been carefully schooled how to hold the precious burden. Then Lady Barbara moved forward, the child marching stolidly and with grim determination at her side. It had been promised cakes and sweeties galore if it gave the egg well and truly to the kind old gentleman who was waiting to receive it. Lester had tried to convey to it privately that horrible smackings would attend any failure in its share of the proceedings, but it is doubtful if his German caused more than an immediate distress. Lady Barbara had thoughtfully provided herself with an emergency supply of chocolate sweetmeats; children may sometimes be timeservers, but they do not encourage long accounts. As they approached nearer to the princely dais Lady Barbara stood discreetly aside, and the stolid-faced infant walked forward alone, with staggering but steadfast gait. encouraged by a murmur of elderly approval. Lester, standing in the front row of the onlookers, turned to scan the crowd for the beaming faces of the happy parents. In a side-road which led to the railway station he saw a cab; entering the cab with every appearance of furtive haste were the dark-visaged couple who had been so plausibly eager for the “pretty idea.” The sharpened instinct of cowardice lit up the situation to him in one swift flash. The blood roared and surged to his head as though thousands of floodgates had been opened in his veins and arteries, and his brain was the common sluice in which all the torrents met. He saw nothing but a blur around him. Then the blood ebbed away in quick waves, till his very heart seemed drained and empty, and he stood nervelessly, helplessly, dumbly watching the child, bearing its accursed burden with slow, relentless steps nearer and nearer to the group that waited sheep-like to receive him. A fascinated curiosity compelled Lester to turn his head towards the fugitives; the cab had started at hot pace in the direction of the station.

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The next moment Lester was running, running faster than any of those present had ever seen a man run, and – he was not running away. For that stray fraction of his life some unwonted impulse beset him, some hint of the stock he came from, and he ran unflinchingly towards danger. He stooped and clutched at the Easter egg as one tries to scoop up the ball in Rugby football. What he meant to do with it he had not considered, the thing was to get it. But the child had been promised cakes and sweetmeats if it safely gave the egg into the hands of the kindly old gentleman; it uttered no scream but it held to its charge with limpet grip. Lester sank to his knees, tugging savagely at the tightly clasped burden, and angry cries rose from the scandalized onlookers. A questioning, threatening ring formed round him, then shrank back in recoil as he shrieked out one hideous word. Lady Barbara heard the word and saw the crowd race away like scattered sheep, saw the Prince forcibly hustled away by his attendants; also she saw her son lying prone in an agony of overmastering terror, his spasm of daring shattered by the child’s unexpected resistance, still clutching frantically, as though for safety, at that white-satin gew-gaw, unable to crawl even from its deadly neighbourhood, able only to scream and scream and scream. In her brain she was dimly conscious of balancing, or striving to balance, the abject shame which had him now in thrall against the one compelling act of courage which had flung him grandly and madly on to the point of danger. It was only for the fraction of a minute that she stood watching the two entangled figures, the infant with its woodenly obstinate face and body tense with dogged resistance, and the boy limp and already nearly dead with a terror that almost stifled his screams; and over them the long gala streamers flapping gaily in the sunshine. She never forgot the scene; but then, it was the last she ever saw.
Lady Barbara carries her scarred face with its sightless eyes as bravely as ever in the world, but at Eastertide her friends are careful to keep from her ears any mention of the children’s Easter symbol.

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Unselfish Love-Grace Groner, True Story

Like many people who lived through the Great Depression, Grace Groner was exceptionally restrained with her money.

She got her clothes from rummage sales. She walked everywhere rather than buy a car. And her one-bedroom house in Lake Forest held little more than a few plain pieces of furniture, some mismatched dishes and a hulking TV set that appeared left over from the Johnson administration.

Her one splurge was a small scholarship program she had created for Lake Forest College, her alma mater. She planned to contribute more upon her death, and when she passed away in January, at the age of 100, her attorney informed the college president what that gift added up to.

“Oh, my God,” the president said.

Groner’s estate, which stemmed from a $180 stock purchase she made in 1935, was worth $7 million.

The money is going into a foundation that will enable many of Lake Forest’s 1,300 students to pursue internships and study-abroad programs they otherwise might have had to forgo. It will be an appropriate memorial to a woman whose life was a testament to the higher possibilities of wealth.

“She did not have the (material) needs that other people have,” said William Marlatt, her attorney and longtime friend. “She could have lived in any house in Lake Forest but she chose not to. … She enjoyed other people, and every friend she had was a friend for who she was. They weren’t friends for what she had.”

Groner was born in a small Lake County farming community, but by the time she was 12 both of her parents had died. She was taken in by George Anderson, a member of one of Lake Forest’s leading families and an apparent friend to Groner’s parents.

The Andersons raised her and her twin sister, Gladys, and paid for them to attend Lake Forest College. After Groner graduated in 1931, she took a job at nearby Abbott Laboratories, where she would work as a secretary for 43 years.

It was early in her time there that she made a decision that would secure her financial future.

In 1935, she bought three $60 shares of specially issued Abbott stock and never sold them. The shares split many times over the next seven decades, Marlatt said, and Groner reinvested the dividends. Long before she died, her initial outlay had become a fortune.

Marlatt was one of the few who knew about it. Lake Forest is one of America’s richest towns, filled with grand estates and teeming with luxury cars, yet Groner felt no urge to keep up with the neighbors.

She lived in an apartment for many years before a friend willed her a tiny house in a part of town once reserved for the servants. Its single bedroom could barely accommodate a twin bed and dresser; its living room was undoubtedly smaller than many Lake Forest closets.

Though Groner was frugal, she was no miser. She traveled widely upon her retirement from Abbott, volunteered for decades at the First Presbyterian Church and occasionally funneled anonymous gifts through Marlatt to needy local residents.

“She was very sensitive to people not having a whole lot,” said Pastor Kent Kinney of First Presbyterian. “Grace would see those people, would know them, and she would make gifts.”

Groner never wed or had children — the sister of one prospective groom blocked the marriage, Marlatt said — but with her gregarious personality she had plenty of friends. She remained connected to Lake Forest College, too, attending football games and cultural events on campus and donating $180,000 for a scholarship program.

That allowed a few students a year to study internationally, including Erin McGinley, 34, a junior from Lake Zurich. She traveled to Falmouth, Jamaica, to help document and preserve historic buildings in the former slave port. The experience was so satisfying that she is trying to get Lake Forest to create a similar architectural preservation program.

“It affected my (career ambitions) in a way I didn’t expect,” she said.

But Groner was interested in doing more, so two years ago she set up a foundation to receive her estate. Stephen Schutt, Lake Forest’s president, knew of the plan for the past year, but had no idea how large the gift would be until after Groner passed away Jan. 19.

The foundation’s millions should generate more than $300,000 a year for the college, enabling dozens more students to travel and pursue internships. Many probably wouldn’t be able to pursue those opportunities without a scholarship: 75 percent of the student body receives financial aid, Schutt said.

But the study and internship program is not the end of Groner’s legacy. She left that small house to the college, too. It will be turned into living quarters for women who receive foundation scholarships, and perhaps something more: an enduring symbol that money can buy far more than mansions.

It will be called, with fitting simplicity, “Grace’s Cottage.”

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Superstitions about Death

BIRD—————————————-

A bird in the house is a sign of a death.

If a robin flies into a room through a window, death will shortly follow.

CANDLE———————————-

Light candles on the night after November 1. One for each deceased relative should be placed in the window in the room where death occurred.

CEMETERY——————————

You must hold your breath while going past a cemetery or you will breathe in the spirit of someone who has recently died.

CLOCK————————————-

If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family.

You will have bad luck if you do not stop the clock in the room where someone dies.

CORPSE———————————–

If a woman is buried in black, she will return to haunt the family.

If a dead person’s eyes are left open, he’ll find someone to take with him.

Mirrors in a house with a corpse should be covered or the person who sees himself will die next.

DOG—————————————–

Dogs howling in the dark of night,
Howl for death before daylight.

DREAMS———————————-

If you dream of death it’s a sign of a birth, if you dream of birth, it’s a sign of death.

If you touch a loved one who has died, you won’t have dreams about them

DYING————————————-

A person who dies on Good Friday will go right to heaven.

A person who dies at midnight on Christmas Eve will go straight to heaven because the gates of heaven are open at that time.

All windows should be opened at the moment of death so that the soul can leave.

The soul of a dying person can’t escape the body and go to heaven if any locks are locked in the house.

EYE—————————————–

If the left eye twitches there will soon be a death in the family.

If a dead person’s eyes are left open, he’ll find someone to take with him.

FUNERAL——————————–

Funerals on Friday portend another death in the family during the year.

It’s bad luck to count the cars in a funeral cortege.

It’s bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on.

Thunder following a funeral means that the dead person’s soul has reached heaven.

Nothing new should be worn to a funeral, especially new shoes.

Pointing at a funeral procession will cause you to die within the month

Pregnant women should not attend funerals.

GRAVE————————————

If the person buried lived a good life, flowers will grow on the grave. If the person was evil, weeds will grow.

MIRROR———————————-

If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die soon.

MOTH————————————–

A white moth inside the house or trying to enter the house means death.

PHOTOGRAPH————————-

If 3 people are photographed together, the one in the middle will die first.

THIRTEEN——————————

If 13 people sit down at a table to eat, one of them will die before the year is over.

UMBRELLA——————————

Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house.

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Short Story-The Lottery

The Lottery

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play. and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix– the villagers pronounced this name “Dellacroy”–eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys. and the very small children rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.

Soon the men began to gather. surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother’s grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.

The lottery was conducted–as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program–by Mr. Summers. who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him. because he had no children and his wife was a scold. When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called. “Little late today, folks.” The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three- legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool. and when Mr. Summers said, “Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?” there was a hesitation before two men. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter. came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything’s being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.

Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued. had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers’ coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves’s barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.

There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up–of heads of families. heads of households in each family. members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory. tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this p3rt of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans. with one hand resting carelessly on the black box. he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.

Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd. “Clean forgot what day it was,” she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. “Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,” Mrs. Hutchinson went on. “and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running.” She dried her hands on her apron, and Mrs. Delacroix said, “You’re in time, though. They’re still talking away up there.”

Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said. in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, “Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson,” and “Bill, she made it after all.” Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. “Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie.” Mrs. Hutchinson said. grinning, “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you. Joe?,” and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson’s arrival.

“Well, now.” Mr. Summers said soberly, “guess we better get started, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work. Anybody ain’t here?”

“Dunbar.” several people said. “Dunbar. Dunbar.”

Mr. Summers consulted his list. “Clyde Dunbar.” he said. “That’s right. He’s broke his leg, hasn’t he? Who’s drawing for him?”

“Me. I guess,” a woman said. and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. “Wife draws for her husband.” Mr. Summers said. “Don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?” Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered.

“Horace’s not but sixteen vet.” Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. “Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year.”

“Right.” Sr. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, “Watson boy drawing this year?”

A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. “Here,” he said. “I m drawing for my mother and me.” He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said thin#s like “Good fellow, lack.” and “Glad to see your mother’s got a man to do it.”

“Well,” Mr. Summers said, “guess that’s everyone. Old Man Warner make it?”

“Here,” a voice said. and Mr. Summers nodded.

A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. “All ready?” he called. “Now, I’ll read the names–heads of families first–and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?”

The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet. wetting their lips. not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, “Adams.” A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. “Hi. Steve.” Mr. Summers said. and Mr. Adams said. “Hi. Joe.” They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd. where he stood a little apart from his family. not looking down at his hand.

“Allen.” Mr. Summers said. “Anderson…. Bentham.”

“Seems like there’s no time at all between lotteries any more.” Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.

“Seems like we got through with the last one only last week.”

“Time sure goes fast.– Mrs. Graves said.

“Clark…. Delacroix”

“There goes my old man.” Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.

“Dunbar,” Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said. “Go on. Janey,” and another said, “There she goes.”

“We’re next.” Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand. turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.

“Harburt…. Hutchinson.”

“Get up there, Bill,” Mrs. Hutchinson said. and the people near her laughed.

“Jones.”

“They do say,” Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, “that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery.”

Old Man Warner snorted. “Pack of crazy fools,” he said. “Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about ‘Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.’ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a lottery,” he added petulantly. “Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody.”

“Some places have already quit lotteries.” Mrs. Adams said.

“Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools.”

“Martin.” And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. “Overdyke…. Percy.”

“I wish they’d hurry,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. “I wish they’d hurry.”

“They’re almost through,” her son said.

“You get ready to run tell Dad,” Mrs. Dunbar said.

Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, “Warner.”

“Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery,” Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. “Seventy-seventh time.”

“Watson” The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, “Don’t be nervous, Jack,” and Mr. Summers said, “Take your time, son.”

“Zanini.”

After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers. holding his slip of paper in the air, said, “All right, fellows.” For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. “Who is it?,” “Who’s got it?,” “Is it the Dunbars?,” “Is it the Watsons?” Then the voices began to say, “It’s Hutchinson. It’s Bill,” “Bill Hutchinson’s got it.”

“Go tell your father,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.

People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly. Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!”

“Be a good sport, Tessie.” Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, “All of us took the same chance.”

“Shut up, Tessie,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“Well, everyone,” Mr. Summers said, “that was done pretty fast, and now we’ve got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time.” He consulted his next list. “Bill,” he said, “you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?”

“There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance!”

“Daughters draw with their husbands’ families, Tessie,” Mr. Summers said gently. “You know that as well as anyone else.”

“It wasn’t fair,” Tessie said.

“I guess not, Joe.” Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. “My daughter draws with her husband’s family; that’s only fair. And I’ve got no other family except the kids.”

“Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it’s you,” Mr. Summers said in explanation, “and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that’s you, too. Right?”

“Right,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“How many kids, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked formally.

“Three,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“There’s Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me.”

“All right, then,” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you got their tickets back?”

Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. “Put them in the box, then,” Mr. Summers directed. “Take Bill’s and put it in.”

“I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that.”

Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box. and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground. where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.

“Listen, everybody,” Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.

“Ready, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked. and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children. nodded.

“Remember,” Mr. Summers said. “take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave.” Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. “Take a paper out of the box, Davy.” Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper.” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you hold it for him.” Mr. Graves took the child’s hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.

“Nancy next,” Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box “Bill, Jr.,” Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. “Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly. and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.

“Bill,” Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.

The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, “I hope it’s not Nancy,” and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.

“It’s not the way it used to be.” Old Man Warner said clearly. “People ain’t the way they used to be.”

“All right,” Mr. Summers said. “Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave’s.”

Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill. Jr.. opened theirs at the same time. and both beamed and laughed. turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.

“Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.

“It’s Tessie,” Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. “Show us her paper. Bill.”

Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.

“All right, folks.” Mr. Summers said. “Let’s finish quickly.”

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. “Come on,” she said. “Hurry up.”

Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. “I can’t run at all. You’ll have to go ahead and I’ll catch up with you.”

The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles.

Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. “It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, “Come on, come on, everyone.” Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.

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Runaway Zebra

A zebra from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus escaped his handler and led police on a chase through downtown Atlanta on Thursday afternoon.

 Workers walk through a parking lot after capturing a zebra that had broken loose from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus  Thursday.

Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com Workers walk through a parking lot after capturing a zebra that had broken loose from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Thursday.

The zebra, part of the Ringling Bros circus, ran through several city streets before being corralled on the downtown connector near Grady Hospital.

David Slocumb The zebra, part of the Ringling Bros circus, ran through several city streets before being corralled on the downtown connector near Grady Hospital.

The black-and-white striped animal was spotted all over town — in the parking lot near the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, near Centennial Olympic Park, CNN and on the Downtown Connector. He was finally captured on the interstate near the Grady curve. According to witnesses, he was galloping between lanes of traffic on the Downtown Connector before his capture.

The 12-year-old zebra, named Lima, was exercising to prepare for Thursday night’s circus performance at Philips Arena when “something spooked him,” Ringling Brothers spokeswoman Crystal Drake told the Associated Press. The zebra broke away from his trainers and bumped up against a fence before wiggling through an opening and running off, she told the AP.

“We’re not sure what it was that startled him, but we’re looking into that,” Drake told the AP.

Daniel Nance saw a westbound zebra zipping down Alabama Street near MARTA’s Five Points station.

“All of a sudden, a freaking zebra comes running down the street like a car. Five or six police cars were in hot pursuit. And a bunch of officers on foot. But then I got scared, thinking … what else is loose?” a laughing Nance said.

Soon after, a man working with police got a hold of the zebra in the parking lot of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, said Jonathan Harris, a MARTA worker who was outside the Five Points station taking a break. But only for a moment.

“It just started dragging him,” Harris said.

Minutes before, Prapik Jani saw the animal jogging along Baker Street a half mile away next to Centennial Olympic Park. Jani, who manages the Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, said several of his customers gasped. He looked outside and saw an African creature running down the pavement. “It was wild,” Jani said. “I thought I was seeing things.”

Jani said there were “a bunch” of police on bicycles chasing after the zebra.

Using a combination of reports from AJC staffers and eye-witness accounts, here’s the route the zebra took:

4:37 p.m.

An AJC staffer spotted the zebra on Fairlie Street behind the Atlanta Journal-Constitution building. A circus trainer said the zebra had to have gotten through a hole in the gate.

The zebra walked down along a ramp on Spring Street and went up to Marietta Street.

It then ran to Luckie Street and over to Broad Street.

From Broad Street, the zebra ran up through the Five Points area and was near the Five Points MARTA station.

Nance and Harris saw the zebra run along Alabama Street — toward the circus animal holding area, which is across the street from the CNN Center.

5:00 p.m.

The zebra was contained in the parking lot by the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, near the CNN Center and Philips Arena.

Trainers were walking with the zebra when it started to charge, dragging one of the trainers momentarily before it took off again, running across the railroad tracks and through a gate. One of the trainers was holding on to the zebra as it ran through the gate.

The zebra ran through the parking lot and down through the tunnel between Philips Arena and the CNN center.

It then came out onto Baker Street and turned left, running onto Williams Street. It followed the ramp onto the downtown Connector.

The zebra was cornered on the downtown connector just before the Martin Luther King Jr. exit.

Police cruisers blocked off all southbound lanes of Interstate 75 and were able to herd the zebra over to the right shoulder and off an entrance ramp, where his trainer was on hand to capture and soothe him, Drake told the AP.

“He obviously was excited, but he was in good shape,” Drake told the AP. “His handler calmed him down.”

The animal suffered cuts on his hooves from his long run, Drake said. The show’s vet was examining him, but Drake said he would likely perform as scheduled.

This isn’t the first time a zebra has been out on the highway in recent years. A young zebra was found stranded and injured on I-75 in Butts County in April 2008. Then a zebra who usually lives on a farm across from Oxford College’s Newton County campus was zebra-napped and deposited inside the college’s Seney Hall as part of a prank.

Zebras’ stripes stick out on the highway or on campus, but they help them hide among tall grasses in Africa, especially from lions, the color-blind predator.

“Each zebra has an individual stripe pattern, similar to a person, which has its own unique fingerprint, ” Lisa Smith, Zoo Atlanta’s curator of large mammals, told the AJC in 2008.

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Life’s Lessons

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.

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Readers Digest pt 5

41. The local market has a bin where employees keep returned items. The bin is labeled “Spoils.” I never thought much about it, until one afternoon I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker: “Victor to the spoils. Thank you.”
–Chris Dejong

42. It was an absolutely crazy evening at our emergency clinic. The doctor on duty was being bombarded with questions, given forms to fill out, and even asked for his dinner order. I was in the next room, cleaning up a sutured wound, when I realized the doctor hadn’t given instructions for a bandage.
“What kind of dressing do you want on that?” I shouted through the door.
“Ranch,” he yelled back.
–Brenda Todd

43. For some reason, the bookstore clerk couldn’t get the computer to recognize my preferred customer card. Peering over her shoulder at the screen, I said, “There’s part of the problem. It shows my birth date as 12/31/1899.”
“That’s right,” my husband chimed in. “She was born in June, not December.”
–M. Patricia Capin

44. At 82 years old, my husband applied for his first passport. He was told he would need a birth certificate, but his birth had never been officially registered.
When he explained his dilemma to the passport agent, the response was less than helpful. “It’s all right,” the agent said. “Just bring a notarized affidavit from the doctor who delivered you.”
–Elgarda Ashliman

45. Short and baby-faced, my buddy Wiggins had trouble being taken seriously in the Army. A mustache, he assumed, would fix that. He was wrong.
“Wiggins!” bellowed our drill instructor after spotting the growth during inspection. “What’s so special about your nose that it’s got to be underlined?”
–K. Trott

46. While my husband was stationed overseas, our four-year-old daughter decided that she needed a baby brother.
“Good idea,” I told her. “But don’t you think we should wait till your father’s home?”
She had a better idea. “Why don’t we just surprise him?”
–Kay Schmidt

47. During basic training, our drill sergeant asked all Jewish personnel to make themselves known. Six of us tentatively raised our hands. Much to our relief, we were given the day off for Rosh Hashanah.
A few days later, in anticipation of Yom Kippur, the sergeant again asked for all Jewish personnel to identify themselves. This time, every soldier raised his hand. “Only those who were Jewish last week can be Jewish this week,” declared the sergeant.
–Allen Israel

48. Just before I was deployed to Iraq, I sat my eight-year-old son down and broke the news to him.
“I’m going to be away for a long time,” I told him. “I’m going to Iraq.”
“Why?” he asked. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there?”
–Thomas Cioppa

49. When I worked as a medical intern in a hospital, one of my patients was an elderly man with a thick accent. It took a while before I understood that he had no health insurance. Since he was a World War II vet, I had him transported to a VA hospital, where he’d be eligible for benefits.
The next day, my patient was back, along with this note from the VA admitting nurse: “Right war, wrong side.”
–M. Murray

50. Few people outside the military know what a quartermaster does. So during my aircraft carrier’s Family Day, I demonstrated a procedure called semaphore-I grabbed my flags and signaled an imaginary boat.
When finished, I pointed to a little girl in front and asked, “Now do you know what I do?”
“Yes,” she answered. “You’re a cheerleader.”
–Danny Sullivan

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Readers Digest pt 4

31. Sitting in coach during a lengthy flight, my wife and I heard a flight attendant ask the high-paying passengers in first class, “Would you care for Chardonnay or Burgundy?”
A few minutes later, the curtains between the two sections parted, and the attendant wheeled the wine cart back to our aisle. “Excuse me,” he said, looking down at us, “would you care for a glass of wine? We have white and red.”
–William V. Copeland

32. When Dad’s satellite dish conked out, I found him on the phone with the help desk. The TV set was pulled away from the wall, and he was staring at the mass of tangled wires spilling out the back of it.
He looked absolutely overwhelmed.
“Tell you what I’m going to do,” Dad said to the technician. “I’m going to hang up now, go to college for a couple of years, and then call you back.”
–Dana Marisca

33. My 50-something friend Nancy and I decided to introduce her mother to the magic of the Internet. Our first move was to access the popular Ask Jeeves site, and we told her it could answer any question she had. Nancy’s mother was very skeptical until Nancy said, “It’s true, Mom. Think of something to ask it.”
As I sat with my fingers poised over the keyboard, Nancy’s mother thought for a minute, then responded, “How is Aunt Helen feeling?”
–Catherine Burns

34. A pastor I know has a standard liturgy for funerals. To personalize each service, he uses the Find and Replace command on his computer to replace the name of the deceased from the previous funeral with the name of the deceased for the upcoming one. Recently, he had to replace the name Mary with Edna.
The next morning, the funeral was going smoothly until the congregation intoned the Apostles’ Creed. “Jesus Christ,” they read from the preprinted program, “born of the Virgin Edna.”
–Robin Greenspan

35. I feel inadequate when talking with a mechanic, so when my vehicle started making a strange noise, I sought help from a friend. A car nut, he told me how to explain the difficulty when I took it in for repair.

At the shop, I proudly recited, “The timing is off, and there are premature detonations, which may damage the valves.”As I smugly glanced over the mechanic’s shoulder, I saw him write on his clipboard, “Lady says it makes a funny noise.”–Kate Kellogg


36. My friend was flabbergasted. She’d read that in a recent survey, our home state of California was ranked 47 in a list of the nation’s smartest states.
“Can you believe that?” she fumed. “We’re 47 out of 52!”
–Juan Gonzales

37. Halfway through dinner one night, our friend Jim told us of his days playing football in college as a defensive lineman.
“Did you play sports in college, Mike?” his wife then asked me.
“Yes,” I answered. “I was on West Point’s shooting team.”
“That’s great,” she said. “Offense or defense?”
–Mike Maloney

38. Strolling through town, I saw a road worker printing a sign that read “Raised Manhole Ahead.” I pointed out that there were more like ten raised manholes. The sign, he assured me, would be changed.
Later that day, the sign was corrected. It now read “Raised Menhole Ahead.”
–Minx McCloud

39. Since I was a new patient, I had to fill out an information form for the doctor’s files. The nurse reading it over noticed my unusual name.
“How do you pronounce it?” she asked.
“Na-le-Y-ko,” I said, proud of my Ukrainian heritage.
“That sounds real nice,” she said, smiling.
“Yes, it is melodious,” I agreed.
“So,” she asked sweetly, “what part of Melodia is your family from?”
–Ann Nalywajko

40. These newspaper editors stand corrected. From The Silver City (New Mexico) Daily Press: “Due to technical difficulties, Tuesday’s page 7 was inadvertently left out and replaced with Monday’s page 7. Today, page 5 will feature Tuesday’s front page, while page 6 will be the correct page 7 for Tuesday.”
–Robin Shetler

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Readers Digest pt 3

21. A woman from our office brought in her new bundle of joy along with her seven-year-old son. Everyone gathered around the baby, and the little boy asked, “Mommy, can I have some money to buy a soda?”
“What do you say?” she said.
He replied, “You’re thin and beautiful.”
The woman reached into her purse and gave her son the money. –Mercury Nickse

22. When a nun collapsed in the sales representative’s office at our time-share resort, the rep ran to the front-desk manager.
“Two nuns walked into the sales office, and one of them fainted!” she yelled breathlessly.
Unfazed, the manager just looked at her.
“Well,” said the rep, “aren’t you going to do anything?”
He replied, “I’m waiting for the punch line.”
–Donna Caplan

23. Although desperate for work, I passed on a job that I’d found on an employment website. It was for a wastewater plant operator. Among the job requirements: “Must be able to swim.”
–Michael Leamons

24. My first job was wrapping hams at a meatpacking plant. One day, I was heading out the main gate right behind a woman who was rather rotund. Or so I thought.
Just as she passed the guard shack, a ham dropped from her skirt. Before the guard could react, she wheeled around, shouting, “All right, who threw the ham?”
–Roger Schoen

25. While I was shopping in a pharmacy, a couple of teenagers came in. They were dressed in leather, chains, and safety pins. The boy had blue and purple spiked hair and the girl’s hair was bright yellow. Suddenly the boy picked up a pair of sunglasses and tried them on. “What do you think?” he asked his girlfriend.
“Take them off!” she howled. “They make you look ridiculous.”
–Audrey Kelly

26. My brother Jim was hired by a government agency and assigned to a small office cubicle in a large area. At the end of his first day, he realized he had no idea how to get out. He wandered around, lost in the maze of cubicles and corridors. Just as panic began to set in, he came upon another employee in a cubicle. “How do you get out of here?” Jim asked.
The fellow smiled and said, “No cheese for you.”
–Christine Probasco

27. I am five feet three inches tall and pleasingly plump. After I had a minor accident, my mother accompanied me to the emergency room. The triage nurse asked for my height and weight, and I blurted out, “Five-foot-eight and 125 pounds.” “Sweetheart,” my mother gently chided, “this is not the Internet.”
–M.M.

28. Anytime companies merge, employees worry about layoffs. When the company I work for was bought, I was no exception. My fears seemed justified when a photo of the newly merged staff appeared on the company’s website with the following words underneath: “Updated daily.”
–Dianne Stevens


29. Our first day at a resort, my wife and I decided to hit the beach. When I went back to our room to get something to drink, one of the hotel maids was making our bed. I grabbed my cooler and was on my way out when I paused and asked, “Can we drink beer on the beach?”
“Sure,” she said, “but I have to finish the rest of the rooms first.”
–Louis Allard

30. My friend John and I, determined to see the world, signed on to a Norwegian freighter as deckhands. We were being trained as helmsmen, and John’s first lesson was given by the mate, a seasoned but gentle white-haired seafarer. John was holding the heading he’d been given, when the mate ordered, “Come starboard.”
Pleased at knowing which way starboard was, John left the helm and walked over to his instructor. As the helm swung freely, the mate politely asked, “Could you bring the ship with you?”
–Bruce Ingraham

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