Swallow Cliffs

Those of you from the Chicago area probably remember the Palos Toboggan Chutes (officially Swallow Cliffs). For those of you who haven’t.. These were probably the most awesome winter entertainment available. There are other places to go Tobogganing, some even have chutes (Ryan’s Woods on the south side was another spot that had chutes). But … Read more

Fringe People

Jeremy is Mike’s son. And fortunately for the world, he is a lot like his dad. A very caring person. He’s a teacher.. the kind you only get one of during your life. And then only if you are lucky. Here’s his reaction to this story… OK so my Dad is the one who can … Read more

The Story Behind the Narcissus Bulbs

I have the fable of the Narcissus Bulb in another post, but I thought it would be interesting for you to see where they are handed out. Mike talks about handing out 80. But later on, the number grew to over 600 before he had to cut back because of the cost. I passed out … Read more

The Legend of the Narcissus Bulb

For years, my brother has given out hundreds of Narcissus Bulbs as a special Christmas gift. They come in brown paper bags (fancy Christmas bags if he can find them on sale). Complete with a small cup holding small pebbles and the bulb, and a note with this story of the bulb that he wrote. Just water and put in a window.
Pretty nice Christmas present that reminds you of somebody who cares for a long time after Christmas. That’s my brother.

After the Magi left and prepared for their journey back to Herod, a servant boy with stunted arms slipped in to see the babe. He presented a small narcissus bulb to the young mother.

“My masters say your son will be a king,” he began. “I have no gifts fit for a king, but perhaps this will bring some beauty into your lives. Place it in a jar indoors, water it, and give it light. After it has bloomed this winter, and its foliage has died, trim it back and dry it again for next year.”

“My mom used to teach me with bulb, ma’am. I can still remember her lessons: That I shouldn’t judge by appearances. That my only real needs are sunshine, water, food, and someone to care for me. That everything else is a ‘want’, not a need. That I depend on God, and that I should live that way. That I should remember my roots. That life itself is a miracle. That life is short. That there is a time to be active and grow as well as a time to rest. That death is not the end. Moreover, that someday somebody else may need my help and I shouldn’t hesitate to give it.”

“Perhaps you could use this bulb to teach your son, the way my mom taught me.”

“May I be as wise a mother for my son as your mother was for you,” Mary said as she placed her small child in the boy’s stunted arms. “What is your name, so that I may tell him when he’s older?”

“Simon”, the boy replied. “I come from Cyrene.”

(Copyright 1997 by Michael Vrtis)

Senility is a wonderful thing.

Got up late this morning. Hurried up and changed. Stuck some clean socks in my back pocket for when I had time to sit down and put them on. Put on coffee for Mom. Put dogs out, filled their food & water bowls. Uncovered parakeets changed their food and water, gave them a morning shower … Read more