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 A Tribute to:
(For the spoken word at George’s ceremony)
July 22nd, 1999
Russell George Copley

And in the dust we lay him here rest,
We bless the man who gave us food of bread and thoughts of good.
He is ours and we are his In soul and spirit, body and mind.
In his passing we see ourselves laid bare by his Blessing.
Fewer men could have tried harder,
From whence he came
He strove to steady Courses
And bring Love to share
With us,
Through him, In him. His spirit soars upward ,
Purifying his Family he loved so steadfastly,
So loyally and with Honour.
Going gently now,
He teaches us Forgiveness, Fairness and Good Nature.
We praise you Father,
Giver of Life,
And Fellow of St. Sebastian.
Your loving sons and servants
David Hilton Copley
Russell George Copley
In the Name of Copley

Keep your fork........
Submitted by Steven Storc

 There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.  So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.  She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.  The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. 
    "There's one more thing," she said excitedly.   "What's that?" came the pastor's reply.  "This is very important," the woman continued.  "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." 
The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. "That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked.  "Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.  The woman explained.  "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners,  I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.'   It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.  "Something wonderful, and with substance!  So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder What's with the fork?'. Then I want you to tell them: Keep your fork....the best is yet to come."  The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye.  He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death.  But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.  She KNEW that something better was coming. 
    At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and  her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand.  Over and over, the pastor heard the question What's with the fork? And over and over he smiled.
    During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her.  The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
    So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.  Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.   They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.


 A Friend, a Real Friend, - Someone you - Love and Trust, - is going to tell you - All the things - You do not - Want to know - About yourself. - A Friend tells you - When you are right - And helps you - understand. - How you could - Be wrong. - A friend will - Yell and scream, - But when you need him, - He is there. A Friend is - Someone you cannot - And do not lie to - She knows your secrets - And holds them - In confidence. A Friend - Pushes you, shoves you, - And drives you real hard. - A Friend is someone - You can look at - And see yourself - And know you are - Really going to be - All right.  -A VERSE I READ ON A BEAUTIFUL CARD AND I THOUGHT THAT IT SHOULD BE PASSED ON TO THOSE WHO WOULD UNDERSTAND IT.   Big Hugs From Maryanne.

Thank you for the beautiful verse. A friend is a rare animal indeed. If we are our first good friend then it is easy to find and recognize other friends. If we lie to ourselves, how can we expect others to be truthful to us. The danger is that a lot of people don't know that they are lying to themselves. Thank you again.  Hugs back.

Words to think about from a Benedictine Nun

National Catholic Reporter
Is There Anything Left That Matters?

by Joan Chittister, OSB 05/29/03

A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Sister Joan is a best-selling author and well-known international lecturer. She is founder and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and  Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality, and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine  Prioresses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sister Joan has been recognized by universities and national organizations for her work for justice, peace and equality for women in the Church and society.She is an active member of the International Peace Council.

This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems to matter.
      First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man. Then they said they wanted Saddam Hussein, "dead or alive." He's  apparently alive but we haven't got him yet, either. However, President Bush told reporters recently, "It doesn't matter. Our mission is greater  than one man."
      Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq to destroy their  weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons probably  don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that doesn't matter either. - Except that it does matter. I know we're not supposed to say that. I know it's called "unpatriotic." But it's also called honesty. And dishonesty matters.
     It matters that the infrastructure of a foreign nation that couldn't defend itself against us has been destroyed on the grounds that it was a  military threat to the world.
     It matters that it was destroyed by us under a new doctrine of  "pre-emptive war" when there was apparently nothing worth pre-empting. It surely matters to the families here whose sons went to war to make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction and will never come home. 
     It matters to families in the United States whose life support programs were ended, whose medical insurance ran out, whose food stamps were cut off, whose day care programs were eliminated so we could spend the money on sending an army to do what did not need to be done.
     It matters to the Iraqi girl whose face was burned by a lamp that toppled over as a result of a U.S. bombing run.
It matters to Ali, the Iraqi boy who lost his family - and both his arms - in a U.S. air attack.
     It matters to the people in Baghdad whose water supply is now fetid,  whose electricity is gone, whose streets are unsafe, whose 158 government ministries' buildings and all their records have been destroyed, whose cultural heritage and social system has been looted and whose cities teem with anti-American protests.
     It matters that the people we say we "liberated" do not feel liberated in the midst of the lawlessness, destruction and wholesale social suffering that so-called liberation created.
     It matters to the United Nations whose integrity was impugned, whose  authority was denied, whose inspection teams are even now still being overlooked in the process of technical evaluation and disarmament.
     It matters to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world, both now and for decades to come, perhaps.
     And surely it matters to the integrity of this nation whether or not its intelligence gathering agencies have any real intelligence or not  before we launch a military armada on its say-so.
     And it should matter whether or not our government is either incompetent and didn't know what they were doing or were dishonest and refused to say.
     The unspoken truth is that either as a people we were misled, or we were lied to, about the real reason for this war. Either we made a huge - and unforgivable -  mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we are swaggering around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule.
     If Bill Clinton's definition of "is" matters, surely this matters. If a president's sex life matters, surely a president's use of global force against some of the weakest people in the world matters. If a president's word in a court of law about a private indiscretion matters, surely a president's word to the community of nations and the security of  millions of people matters.
     And if not, why not? If not, surely there is something as wrong with us as citizens, as thinkers, as Christians as there must be with some facet of the government. If wars that the public says are wrong yesterday - as over 70% of U.S. citizens did before the attack on Iraq - suddenly become "right" the minute the first bombs drop, what kind of national morality is that?
     Of what are we really capable as a nation if the considered judgment of politicians and people around the world means nothing to us as a  people?
     What is the depth of the American soul if we can allow destruction to be done in our name and the name of "liberation" and never even demand an accounting of its costs, both personal and public, when it is over?
     We like to take comfort in the notion that people make a distinction between our government and ourselves. We like to say that the people of the  world love Americans, they simply mistrust our government. But excoriating a distant and anonymous "government" for wreaking rubble on a nation in pretense of good requires very little of either character or intelligence.
     What may count most, however, is that we may well be the ones Proverbs warns when it reminds us: "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks the truth."
     The point is clear: If the people speak and the king doesn't listen, there is something wrong with the king. If the king acts precipitously and the people say nothing, something is wrong with the people.
      It may be time for us to realize that in a country that prides itself on being democratic, we are our government. And the rest of the world is figuring that out very quickly.
      From where I stand, that matters.

If you can't get through this list without wanting to throw up, I'll understand. But pass it around anyway. This is the nail in the Iraq War's coffin for any sane, thinking individual, regardless of their political stripe.
(Thanks to Tom and the Center for American Progress.)

To get some perspective, here are some real-life comparisons about what $87 billion means:

$87 Billion is more than the combined total of all State budget  deficits in the United States. The Bush administration proposed absolutely zero funds to help states deal with these deficits, despite the fact that  their tax cuts drove down state revenues. [Source: Center on Budget and  Policy Priorities].

$87 Billion is enough to pay the 3.3 million people who have lost jobs under George W. Bush $26,363.00 each! The unemployment benefits extension passed by Congress at the beginning of this year provides zero benefits to workers who exhausted their regular, state unemployment benefits and cannot find work [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

$87 Billion is more than double the total amount the government spends on Homeland Security. The U.S. spends about $36 billion on homeland security.Yet, Sen. Warren Rudman (R- N.H.) wrote, America will fall approximately $98.4 billion short of meeting critical emergency responder needs for homeland security without a funding increase. [Source: Council on ForeignRelations].

$87 Billion is 87 times the amount the Federal Government spends on After-School Programs. George W. Bush proposed a budget that reduces the $1billion for after-school programs to $600 million cutting off about 475,000 children from the program. [Source: The Republican-dominated  House Appropriations Committee].

$87 Billion is more that 10 times what the Government spends on all environmental Protection. The Bush administration requested just $7.6 billion for the entire Environmental Protection Agency. This included a 32 percent cut to water quality grants, a 6 percent reduction in enforcement staff, and a 50 percent cut to land acquisition and conservation. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council].

There you go. In black and white. A few million of you will receive this letter. Please share it. I, like you, do not want to see another approval rating over 50 percent.

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