"Katrina Winners"
(As Told by Mike Dowdy)

9-29-2005 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #359

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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

Last week I told you I would include some Archive Updates that we received from our friend Ree.

SOW #154--- The Story of Daniel [formerly Author Unknown] is By: Pastor Richard Ryan. (See some story facts about this story, #69--- Grandfather's Wooden Bowl; and #137--- A Very Special Prayer [By: Helen Roseveare] at the end of Today's story… courtesy of Ree.)

SOW #137--- A Very Special Prayer [formerly Author Unknown] is By: Helen Roseveare.
SOW # 60--- The Old Fisherman [formerly Author Unknown] is By: Mary Bartels Bray
SOW # 11--- A Flower for Bobby's Mother [formerly Author Unknown] is By: Thomas Pucci.

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Minister Judy Girard

Story of the Week
Katrina Winners
(As Told by Mike Dowdy - Hartselle, Alabama)
        I just returned from New Jersey. While en route there, I was stuck in traffic on Interstate 81, just below the Virginia state line (Bristol, Tennessee), due to a traffic accident with a fatality involved. This accident involved a tanker truck hauling a hazardous material load that developed a leak, which meant that we weren't going anywhere for several hours. After being told by the Tennessee state troopers that we would be sitting still until the clean up was completed, I set my brakes on the truck and got to stretch my legs. Other truck drivers did the same, and at one point there were 5 of us standing there by my truck, complaining.
        Sitting right beside me in the left lane, were two elderly people in a Silverado pick up truck, which was loaded quite well. The man (Joe),lowered his window and asked what was going on regarding the traffic situation. Soon we were all talking with this couple. I mentioned that if I had known about this, I would have bought something to drink, (water), for I was becoming thirsty. The lady, (Anna), said that they had plenty of water, and sodas in the cooler in the bed of the truck, and offered everyone present something. While she was back there, she said that she had plenty of tuna salad made up, and asked if we would be interested in a sandwich. After some urging from Joe, we agreed to a sandwich.
        While Anna was making the sandwiches on the tailgate of the truck, she was singing like a songbird. To be close to 70, (I guess), she had a remarkable voice. When she finished making the sandwiches, and putting everything up, Joe raised the tailgate of the truck to close it. I noticed a Mississippi license plate on it. I inquired as to what part of Mississippi they were from. Joe said Biloxi. Knowing that Biloxi had been ravaged also by hurricane Katrina, I asked if they sustained any damage. Joe said that they lost everything but what they had on and what was in the pickup.

        All of us drivers tried unsuccessfully to pay them for their drinks and the sandwiches. They would have nothing to do with it. Joe said that their son was living around Harrisonburg, Virginia. And that they were going there. He was in the real estate business and that there was a home that became open, and that they were going to start all over there. Staring over at their age would not be easy. I will soon be 48 years old, and I have say that I have never eaten a tuna sandwich with side orders of reality and humility. These people lost everything except the pictures, important documents, and some clothes. Joe had managed to get their antique heirloom grandfathers clock into the bed of the truck and Anna got her china and silverware, but that was all. These wonderful people lost practically everything they owned and they still would not accept any money for the food and drinks. Joe said "It is better to give than it is to receive".
        They sought refuge behind a block wall that he had built years ago, and they watched their belongings and their home disappear in the winds of Hurricane Katrina. Joe said that during all this he had one hand holding onto Anna and the other holding on to God. Both their truck and them selves came out of Katrina unscathed.

        As I stated before, Anna was singing a song while making the sandwiches. The song is titled "I know who holds tomorrow," an old gospel song. She knew every word, and was quite a gifted singer of it. Have you ever heard it? The chorus of this song is, "Many things, about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand". There is no doubt in my mind, who was holding both their hands. I know, there have been many, many email that have circulated over the years about things that will touch your heart, but this one I personally was involved in. Forget all of the politics that the news is striving on, and think about people just like Joe and Anna. If you can, help out with the victim's relief funds. If you cannot help, at least offer a prayer for everyone. Do what you wish with this email, forward it, delete it, whatever. I know that these two elderly people got to this old boy. I will always remember them. "Joe and Anna". If by some strange way you, or someone you know gets this, and shows it to you, God Bless you!

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        Sometimes it's easy to recognize those of Your Children who Really DO Know You!

NEW Story Facts
SOW #154--- The Story of Daniel
We first saw this story circulated on the Internet in 2001. Although many copies omit mention of its author, the essay is the work of Richard Ryan, the assistant pastor of the Old Capitol United Methodist Church in Corydon, Indiana. It first appeared in the July/August 1995 issue /The Corydon Democrat/ magazine and has since been reprinted in a few inspirational collections, including /A Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul/.

Pastor Ryan wrote the account of his meeting with Daniel the day after the event, when the encounter was still fresh in his mind. Indeed, the memory of that day in 1993 has not much faded through the intervening years, as I discovered when I spoke to him. Daniel's gloves are "still sitting in my office today," said the pastor, who is bemused by the number of folks who have dropped by to see the discarded hand coverings, which he describes as "an ordinary pair of work gloves." Daniel was a real person, a weather-beaten traveler the pastor brought back to his church and introduced to others. As for this modern-day Johnny Appleseed who spreads the gospel as he treks through the countryside, though we've yet to locate news stories about a fellow walking from town to town handing out bibles, we can't help but believe Pastor Ryan's claim of having handled the autograph book Daniel carried and having seen the many notations other well-wishers had added to it over the years.

The version which has come to be part of the ongoing lore of the Internet is almost word-for-word the first draft the pastor produced. Apart from the end section that begins "If this story touched you, forward it to a friend!" (which was added by some anonymous forwarder during its journey from inbox to inbox), the only difference is the elision of the original ending line: "God bless you, Daniel, wherever your feet take you."

SOW #137--- A Very Special Prayer
This story originates from Helen Roseveare, a missionary from Northern Ireland. TruthOrFiction.com tracked her down and she told us this story is true and that she included it in her book "Living Faith." She has written about the revival that took place in the 1950's in what was then the Belgian Congo. She has been associated with WEC (World Evangelization for Christ at

SOW #69--- Grandfather's Wooden Bowl
Versions of this e-mailed heart-wrencher have been on the Internet at least since 1999, but the story itself is centuries older. Leo Tolstoy's (1828-1910) "The Old Grandfather and the Grandson" describes the degree to which an elderly grandfather has become an outcast in his own family through a rendition of this tale, and the Brothers Grimm's "The Old Man and His Grandson lt;http://www.northvegr.org/lore/grimmsf/078.html>" is also a recounting of this story. (It is presented as Tale #78 in /Grimm's Fairy Tales/, volumes of which were variously published between 1812 and 1822. These fairy tales were folktales painstakingly collected by the Brothers Grimm, stories which had been part of the oral tradition of those days.) And a compendium of tales from fifteenth and sixteenth centuries lists this tale as being in circulation around 1535.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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