Sweeter And Sweeter


Better the end of anything than the beginning.

~Ecclesiastes 7:8, REB


Age is a case of mind over matter: if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.

~Satchel Paige

Aging does have it difficulties and those who have me by another ten years or so tell me that I don’t know anything yet. There are still a few who think of me as being young but that number is diminishing fast. There are also some advantages to aging. Children become grand, mountains are more majestic and valleys are greener. We become more sensitive in our appreciation for people and to the sheer beauty of God’s creation. I never paid any attention to flowers until I was 40 years old and now I love flowers. Lettie Cowman says, “Further along we…will find no thorns, only fragrant flowers…we will meet no foe but be in the company of kindred spirits who will cheer our way…the storm clouds will dissipate and the stars will shine brighter so take courage, it is better further on.” I think of C.S. Lewis who said, “What lies before us is far greater than anything in our past.”

Cowman’s thoughts brought two songs to mind: THE LONGER I SERVE HIM THE SWEETER HE GROWS. This hymn was written by Gloria and Bill Gaither. It was inspired by Bill’s grandmother’s dying words. Bill ask his grand mother, “Has it been worth it to serve Jesus?” Bill’s grandmother, Mom Hartwell, said with a glowing Irish smile, “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.” A second song is SWEETER AS THE DAYS GO BY. The Chorus goes like this– It gets sweeter as the days go by, It gets sweeter as the moments fly, His love is richer, deeper, fuller, sweeter, Sweeter, sweeter, sweeter as the days go by.

I ran two marathons and I don’t recommend that overweight people run marathons. My knees and back hurt every day and I think [I could be wrong] that all the running caused this. There was a time when I ran from 20-40 miles per week. If you take the low number that still adds up to 1,000 miles per year and multiply that times 30 and that puts a few miles on the old odometer. I was 46 before I tried and weighted close to 200 pounds. I ran both in very cold weather. The wind was brutal and on my first attempt, I had been fighting a cold. June went with me and I would have turned around and come home had it not been for her: she said, “You’ve trained hard and this is important to you…give it a shot.” A marathon is basically four 10-K’s so my first goal was to make it to the 10-K mark but the real pain set in as I started the third quadrant and then when I reached the 20 mile mark, I had a brain freeze and thought I was 4.2 miles from the finish line but at least we were back in the city with the houses giving some protection from the wind. When I looked up an saw Huntsville Hospital, there was hope and as soon as I passed it, I saw June at Lowe Avenue and then I saw the finish line less than a quarter of a mile away and I heard the loud speaker blaring my name…Jack Bailey from Danville, Alabama and I felt no more pain. As I crossed the line I collapsed in exhaustion but I didn’t hit the pavement, there were two people who caught me and walked me to a place where I could sit down. So I am telling you from experience, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning.” On my second go around at age 48, Seth at age 4 ran the final stretch with me. By the way, I broke the 5 hour mark on the second: I think my time was 4:46 or something like that: it took me 5 hours and 20 minutes to run the first.

“Look Kenny, I know we blew it, now get out of my face.”

For what it is worth and the fact that no one agrees with me doesn’t change my thinking: we should have saved Tua for Auburn. It was not ready. If he was ready physically, it was not mentally. Sometimes a lost is good. The last time we lost going down the back stretch, we came back and won a Natty. I don’t think that will happen this year but it is a thought. I bleed crimson so I would be lying if I said losing didn’t bother me but it bothers me less each year and we are going to lose some more. No one wins them all. My season now is for someone, and I don’t care who, to beat Ohio State. Personally, I think Georgia is better than folks think: I think they will beat LSU but whoever wins, I will be pulling for them even if Ed Overorange is a classless jerk. The LSU fans know the truth: we have the best coach in the country and he is a class act in victory or defeat. To my knowledge, he has never made such derogatory remarks about another University as Mr. Ed the talking horse’s rear made. I have a feeling he will live to regret his indiscretion. Of course, I could be wrong about that too. My biggest concern was the President’s safety and how he was treated by Alabama folk. So when the dust settled over our defeat; I was proud to be an Alabamian and I am not upset with our coach. If it was not for him, Alabama would be just another school with an average football program. Win or lose, I am a Saban and Trump supporter. One other thing: after a terrible 1st half our boys could have quit but they didn’t. LSU, Florida, Auburn and Georgia are good football teams and there is no shame is losing to any of them. Clemson will also have something to say about it too: putting Penn State over Clemson was insane.

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