Do The Right Thing

I don’t forget everything—whew—and now, especially in the morning, which far more than not, is not mourning, I see something that triggers more than a blink.

I’ll share the link in a paragraph or two. But, now I want to talk about “doing the right thing.” It’s about my Aunt Ann Kottkamp, my mother’s sister. Aunt Ann and Uncle John raised three incredible kids, Marie, John and David. God rest John’s soul, but more important now is how much the three siblings became incredibly responsible adults. No details, but they are ALWAYS dear to my heart.

The focus, though, is Aunt Ann. Like her 3 brothers and 3 sisters, she didn’t have one minute of college, and for Aunt Ann, didn’t graduate from high school. And yet, well past 80, she studied and labored and completed her GED requirements. Oregon’s Governor Goldschmidt handed Aunt Ann [at age 83!!!!—yeah for tenacity!!!] her high school GED diploma. WOW!

In that regard, getting a high school diploma, popped up this morning on MSN.COM. It’s about Billy Joel. You can see in the link why it’s important and the words in his commencement speech at a Long Island High School are powerful.

My connector, though, which give thanks for special moments triggered by this link, is my indebtedness to the salving ministry to me by Billy Joel. It was 1985, October 12 in fact, that I was really low. The morning became the mourning, for my thought of a future as a fishing guide had been smashed. To wit, I had taken relatives out fishing Tillamook Bay for Fall Chinook Salmon for 5 straight days. Fish everywhere it seemed, but not for us. On Friday after fishing, relatives didn’t forget to say thanks, but it was limp and they didn’t look me in the eye.

So Saturday morning, October 12 I had a fishing date with Don Keller. NEVER EVER when fishing with Keller had I not caught a salmon…which had him rename me Preacher’s Luck. However, he had booked 4 other customers so I was out of luck. Gave a self-pity-party in my Tilla-Bay Motel room. Played over and again, Billy Joel’s “You’re Only Human.” The first line told my story, “You’re having a hard time lately…but you don’t feel so good. You’re getting a hard reputation in your neighborhood.” TELL MY STORY, BILLY!!!

Then I realized NO ONE has ever caught a fish in a motel room. So, I relaunched my boat from the Garibaldi Bay Marina…took my tape recorder with me, turned it to very loud, and began to troll. Then. The singing of the reel got me from my funk…and it was fish on! Here’s a picture of the result. Fifty pounds of joy, that finished the song, “That’s all right, that’s all right. You’re only human!”

So. Thanks be to God for Aunt Ann, never giving up or in…and for Billy Joel for helping me out!

Tell us, Billy, tell us, all of us:

And then…oh my…my cousin David Kottkamp just sent me this wonderful picture of my mother and father, with Aunt Ann Kottkamp on the right…oh my, tears of joy and gratitude in my heart!

About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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