At the age of six, I took my first drink. Father, Mother, Aunts, Uncles and Grand Parents all drank heavily on a daily basis. What separates a daily drinker from being an alcoholic? This is clearly defined in step one of the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. ”We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. Avoiding the gory details, my family could not manage boiling water.
    I took my last drink on May 14 1978, and have been sober since. I did not want to but had to drink.  At two quarts of vodka a day the pain, physical and mental became unbearable. It will also cause you to return items you did not steal. On that morning, lying on a cold floor, I asked for help. A call to AA brought a man to our home who would later become my AA sponsor. I began attending meetings.
    Alcohol became my life, its absence convincing me that I would never laugh again; “my life is over” this cyclic thought like and old song playing repeatedly. The following is an event that occurred after ninety days dry. Living in a bottle creates an imposter like identity. I see myself as a sophisticated city kitty, lover of blues, overwhelmingly brilliant, and never wrong. Of course, none of this is real but inventing and wearing it everyday soon assimilates reality, answering the unasked question “Am I OK“ with a resounding yes. AA slowly erasing the false you to be drawn as God intended. It literally takes years.
    Around nine PM the phone rings, it is my sponsor (let us call him Frank). “Throw some cloths on, grab the wife and come over to the farm; a bunch of us are going coon hunting”. “Coon hunting“, I ask, “I don’t think so” and I
hung up. “Was that Frank“, my wife asks? “Yeah it was him, wants me to go coon hunting, I can’t take that redneck, tobacco chewing, dung pumping cowboy“. Frank pumps septic tanks for a living. “You should go“, she says, “It might be fun”. “I doubt the fun part but OK I’ll do it”. Calling him back, I told him we are on our way.
    Carl, Frank and I are the threesome. Carl has a young Blue-Tick, named Smoky that he is raving about. Frank has a Great Dane, born without a brain that has no idea of raccoons and is just going along for the walk. We will be hunting near The Devils Backbone which is a high ridge paralleling Elk Creek. There are sheer drops of sixty feet straight down to the creek. In the fall, the water can reach seven feet deep.
    I am the carry person, lantern, dog tethers and Ruger .22 revolver. Frank gives me a headlight, which I have never owned or used. I become completely intrigued when I realize, no matter where I turn my head I can see! “Dave what are you doing”; asks Frank? “The headlight, I have to buy one of these”. “How easy it is to entertain a recovering drunk” he replies and off we go.
    Hours pass without Smoky making a sound. “Carl”, I ask, “how much did Smoky cost”? “Twelve hundred”, he answers, then spits chew into his beard. I find that worth a chuckle and think how many used cars I could have bought. I realize I am laughing but at someone else’s expense. “Either there is no coon here or Carl got stuck”, I mumble.
    Suddenly Smoky lets out with “A-WOO-WOO”; “he’s on one” screams Carl. We all take off in a run. Do you recall the sixty-foot drop I mentioned earlier? Well, Smoky just ran off the edge. “The dog went over the cliff” yells Carl. We all peer over the edge and see that Smoky is walking out of the water, seemingly no worse for wear. Now I am stifling a laugh. “Take it easy Carl, says Frank, we will walk down to the creeks edge then back upstream and get Smoky”. We all make a left except the Great Dane who steps forward, “A-WOO-WOO-WOO” then the sound of the Dane hitting the water, which resembles a watermelon exploding.
    “Gosh dang it”, shouts Frank, “Both dogs are in the creek”. I have to step back because tears are running down my cheeks and I do not want them to know I am laughing my butt off. I envision two Cocker Spaniels holding cards over their heads with the number one on them; “neither dog knows how to dive,” says one Cocker.
    As we reach the edge of the creek, Frank tells me, “Stay here until we come back with the dogs”. “OK”, I reply, “take your time I’m having fun”. It is three AM; I am standing on the bank of Elk Creek with a .22 pistol on my hip and a headlamp on. “How on earth did I end up here”, I ask myself, it sure is beautiful“. Looking down into the water I am shocked at the number of very large Lake Run Rainbow, Coho and Chinook salmon, so I shot one and pulled it out of the water. A thirty-eight inch Rainbow, and by far the largest fish I ever shot! I turned out my headlamp.
    Thirty minutes later Frank is shouting; “Dave where are you”? Turning on my headlamp, I answer, “Over here”. “What is that you’re holding”? “Frank, I shot a fish; how are the dogs‘? “Oh fine…just fine, let’s head to the house”.
    As we walk into the kitchen Frank’s wife asks, “How did you guys do”? He replies, in a rather moody manner; “Dave got a fish”.
    I will never forget this evening, so etched in my mind. A ripple of laughter instilling hope that there is life in sobriety would soon become a tsunami. They never asked me to coon hunt again.



#1) I quit

#2) Everybody hates me

#3) Nobody cares

#4) It is impossible

“As I faced each tragedy in my life, I learned to reach into the depth of my soul for strength and determination. Through this healing process, I discovered perseverance and resilience. I could not go into the past and use White-Out to erase any events; instead, I had to find a way to use my pain to help me heal and grow. I had to stare darkness in the face and accept that I could not change the past, but I could build a better future.”
Quote by Erin Merryn

Thoughts For The Year


Thoughts For the Year:

Greatest handicap – Fear

Best day- Today

Easiest thing to do- Find a fault

Most useless asset- Pride

Greatest mistake- Giving up

Greatest stumbling block- Egotism

Greatest comfort- Work well done

Most disagreeable person- The complainer

Worst bankruptcy- Loss of enthusiasm

Greatest need- Common sense

Meanest feeling- Regret at another’s success

Best gift- Forgiveness

Greatest moment- Death

Greatest knowledge- God

Greatest thing in the world- Love



                                            God’s Accuracy

God’s accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs; for example:
-the eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days
-those of the canary in 14 days
-those of the barnyard hen in 21 days
-the eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days
-those of the mallard in 35 days
-the eggs of the parrot and the Ostrich hatch in 42 days. (Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week.)
God’s wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant: The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body–too large to live on two legs. For this reason, He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.
The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first.
How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation! God’s wisdom and perfect order is revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.
Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.
-Each orange has an even number of segments.
-Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
-Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
-Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.
The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.
All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundred fold all even numbers.
God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day. Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture, and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!
The lives of each of you may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if you will only entrust Him with your life. If you try to regulate your own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only the One Who made the brain and the heart can successfully guide them to a profitable end.







When you awake the first though is_______; if negative, bringing sadness like slippers scuffed about in all day? A sense of being treated badly last week or always has roots requiring bulldozer power to remove, especially where family is the source of resentment.
The word resentment comes from the Latin word “sentire” which means, “to feel”, and when you put “re” in front of any word, it means “again”, so the word resent means “to feel again”. It includes people, institutions or principles with which we were angry, with whom we were hurt or threatened or interfered with, with whom we felt had wronged us, with whom we stayed sore at, with whom we felt “burned up” toward, and with whom we held a grudge. Worn out shoes should be thrown away, tying each pair to sling around neck is pretty dumb; it’s what we do if we resent.
Let’s say it is your Mother or Father who is at the core of these feelings and you are twenty-five. Will the resentment be alive at thirty-five or forty-five? Why let someone live rent-free in your mind; why?
I offer a solution; ask God to remove them. Yeah right, just like handing a steak knife to a three year old, you might think. That is the resentment thinking for you; it does not want to go and will leave claw-marks when it does. For two solid weeks, every time those slippers slid on to your feet ask Him. Do not miss a day. The results are breathtaking.



Pray in a secret place that only you know of its location, no one else. In your undisclosed site, unseen, communicate with God. Psalm ninety-one, verse one: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty“. His majesty surrounds, His glory glimpsed through our eyes, the gateway to our soul.








I took my first drink at age 6 and never stopped until age 36. Every member of my immediate family was alcoholic. Baptized Roman Catholic and groomed for the Priesthood, a dream of my Father, attending private school is a must.

We were dirt poor living in a shack on the bank of Lake Erie. Mother worked as a maid and Dad a laborer, spending money for gallons of port wine and cases of beer left little for essentials. Shabbily dressed, devoid of social skills and physically small I am in a school with the children of Doctors and Lawyers; wealth surrounding this little drunk. Constant ridicule and rejection is the norm. Emotional pain is treated with port wine which disallows development.

God found this twisted, sick little lamb in 1978 and the process of becoming sober begins. Emotional hardness, also know as maturity, took years to develop. In 2004 I became a Southern Baptist and was saved by Jesus. The Holy Spirit endowed strength and tenacity on that remarkable day of Baptism.

I never gave up although hardships continue; God gifting this ex-drunk the strength of acceptance via surrender, to walk the path given. One must first surrender to HIS will to win. Which begs the question; if I do what is won?

The strength to decide not to give up when times are rough is the prize. A mystery wrapped in an enigma; understood through faith in Christ Jesus.

Emotional pain spins on weaver’s wheel creating yarn years long; another spins on a separate wheel. The weft of pain alternating stitches with welt of acceptance are woven into a cloak; the prize. Dew on Web is an expression of this passage.


dew on web photo

                                                            Dew on Web

Sweet dew drop on spider’s web slinks so slowly
Sliding on slippery satin’s path to multiple junctions
Then divides just glides on its way to tiny splash, at last
It takes so long, we think
Our timelines stretched
Such arrogance that we profess
To think mere man controls its quest
Light sees the drop of Heavens wealth
Reflects, refracts a rainbows worth
All man’s jewels possessed by few
Can not compare to simple dew
The wisdom whistles in the wind
Never going, always been
You have to listen with your heart
The little spider was the start
 It kills to eat entangled meat
We can not win without defeat
There is no beauty to be possessed
Unless first pain and then the rest
Sorrow precedes the deity’s feat
Dew drop dew drop oh so sweet

D. Edwin Burbee



   The end of the fishing pier, one quarter mile in length, is my choice.  That is if another fisherman hasn’t beaten me to it; such is not the case this Tuesday evening.
Parking the cart I prepare a rig, bait and throw. A warm breeze accompanies a stargazing night. Soon a copper moon will rise out of the East like a large penny creating a silent symphonic panorama. The taunt line, passing through the top eye, is a poetic sight enchanting me since seven years of age. If I catch nothing the tranquility is enough.

Several bluefish later a young man parks a few yards to my left and begins fishing. I nod to his presence and he nods back. Twenty odd minutes pass and he catches a flounder. “Nice fish” I tell him. “Thank you sir” he replies. This is the South where kids are raised to address another man as sir. Being called “sir” took some getting used too. “Can I borrow your tape”? “Absolutely” I answered, and tossed him the tape measure.

This is the year that the keeper length for flounder changed several times and settled at fifteen inches. “How long is it, “I inquired? His reply stunned me. “It’s fourteen inches, three lines and a little bit”. “I don’t mean to embarrass you but you can not read a tape measure”? “No, never learned” he answered. “Are you a high school grad” I asked. “Yes I am”. How is it possible that a high school graduate does not grasp fractions and decimals, I ask myself. Being a retired teacher causes me to wonder what on Earth is going on in our classrooms. “If your willing I can teach you now; won’t take long”. “Yes, I would” he responded.

So with a small notebook and pencil, a dried bait pier railing as a desk, class is in session. Beginning with converting fractions to decimals the young man learns quickly, putting to rest the idea that he is not capable. “Wait a minute, I think I understand, .0625 is one thirty-second, .125 is an eight of an inch and .250 a quarter inch…Hey I can read a tape”! I can’t thank you enough and I better put that fish back”.

“Where did you get your love of fishing“, I inquired. The lad replied, “From my Grandfather”. “Where is your Grandfather from”? “He’s from Manitoba”.
“Oh he’s Canadian”? He furrowed his brows and asked, “Isn’t that in North Dakota”? I thought to myself, “My job here is not complete”.
“Next time, if there is one, the subject will be geography because Manitoba is a Province in Canada”. Tossing me my tape measure he smiled and said, “I hope there will be one”.

One must remain open to learn but more importantly to teach. Rather than ridicule the ignorant, impart your knowledge to those willing to learn.






app trail

A man walking the Appalachian Trail, 2200 miles in length, is supported by his wife following him in a motor home with supplies. Each time the hiker wore out shoes his wife would give him a new pair. Instead of throwing away the worn out shoes the man would knot them together, placing them around his neck. Halfway through the journey he could barely stand erect due to the weight of worn out shoes. Why not throw them away? We do that when clinging to the past, carrying resentments, past mistakes and sorrow around our heart just like the hiker carrying worn shoes. Free your heart and mind this very moment and remove the past from your thoughts! Remove the shoes from your neck and burn them; the rising smoke healing your wounds. Walk upright this day allowing God’s grace to fill your heart and mind.