Archive for July 2013

Deer Crossing Next 20 Miles!

July 18, 2013

Deer Crossing SignWe were barely inside Mesa Verde National Park when we came across a one of a kind sign – at least, Bonnie and I had never seen a sign exactly like it: “Deer Crossing Next 20 Miles.” That reminds me of a recommendation that our daughter Rebecca once made while visiting us in West Virginia a few years back when we lived there. Instead of the highway department saturating the state with signs like, “Curves Ahead Next 3 Miles,” she offered that West Virginia would be better off erecting signs at the state line advising traffic entering the state, “Curves Ahead Unless Otherwise Posted.” The “Deer Crossing Next 20 Miles” covered the length of Mesa Verde.

Bonnie & Louis RushmoreIn view of my bad knees and the effect of chemotherapy on Bonnie, we opted for a self-directed car tour of Mesa Verde. We didn’t want to crawl through tunnels, climb 60’ ladders and navigate numberless steps anyway. Still, we consumed most of the day driving through the park and stopping at most of the sites. Sometimes the stops were within sight of each other! Most of the time, we didn’t get very far from the car, though occasionally, we walked farther.

Cliff DwellingsWe observed the remains of pit houses, which were partially below the surface of the ground and would have been roofed. Bonnie and I also saw cliff dwellings as well as some other structures built above ground. In many ways, the sites reminded us of some types of dwellings we and other missionaries encounter abroad, and we imagined that the ancient homes of indigenous people in America resembled biblical era homes in Palestine.

The green tables (Mesa Verde) and other rock formations ever remind us of our Creator. In addition, everywhere we traveled this past week we could see the evidence of catastrophism in contrast to uniformitarianism. In other words, Bonnie and I recognized the handiwork of God (Psalm 19:1) in the formation and fashioning of our home planet.

Ode to Our 40th Wedding Anniversry

July 17, 2013

Louis & Bonnie RushmoreWhen I Hold
Her Hand

 By Louis Rushmore

When I hold her hand, I feel the soft, petite fingers of the young maid of fourteen, who made my heart warmly flutter decades before when I myself was but a boy.

When I hold her hand, I am blinded to the gray in her hair and the telltale signs of age, because all I see is the love of my life, as she was when she became my young wife.

When I hold her hand, I am in touch with the other half of me, for without her I am undone and incomplete.

When I hold her hand, I am happy, no matter the when or the where, in good times and bad, nevertheless happy as I hold her hand in mine.

When I hold her hand, with our fingers intertwined, together we can face all of life with its trials and triumphs as we make our pilgrimage toward a city whose Builder and Maker is God.

When I hold her hand, I can guard her from stumbling, for she does as much and more for me every day of my life.

When I hold her hand, we can face even death’s door if we must, whereupon if we don’t cross that final threshold together, an angel hand will escort through darkened hallways to blissful morning.

When I hold her hand, I am warm all over, inside and out, content and perfected.

When I hold her hand…

Swinging in the Clouds and Galloping Geese!

July 17, 2013

Wednesday morning in Ridgway, CO greeted Bonnie and me with cloudy skies and a forecast for rain. Though we didn’t pay much attention to it, wind, rain and lightning buffeted the environs the evening and night before. “Nobody told us,” Bonnie bemoaned, “that this is the monsoon season!” Yes, that’s exactly what the TV weatherman called Colorado July weather.

Galloping Goose #1Before leaving town, we headed over to the local railroad museum. There we photographed an exact replica of Galloping Goose #1; whereas railroads of yesteryear referred to them generically as “motors,” the Rio Grande Southern nicknamed those odd trains (cross between a boxcar and a truck) in their fleet the Galloping Geese. This particular one was a small pickup truck that rode the rails delivering mail.

After refueling the rental car, we drove toward Telluride, CO. A long time before we encountered difficulties, a lighted road sign warned that the road ahead was closed. It seemed as if a sick joke, but the wording on the sign advised to take an alternative route, but there are no alternative routes! We were on the only paved highway and the only roadway that didn’t require four-wheel drive going the direction we needed to go. Eventually, we encountered the huge mudslide that had closed Colorado Highway 145 north of Telluride until 1 a.m. We experienced a delay, but we were able to pass through; the slick, red mudslide must have enveloped miles of roadway.

Telluride, CONot long after getting past the mudslide, we arrived at Mountain Village. At first, we could not find suitable parking; we paid $7 to an unmanned, cantankerous machine sentry to park so we could ride the free gondola from Mountain Village across hilltops and valleys and down a mountain into downtown Telluride. The parking fee was well worth just the experience on the series of gondolas in to town. After all, it is not every day that we get to swing through the clouds and skip on mountain tops aboard a cable-bound, swinging gondola.

Telluride, COApparently, we visited after most summer visitors had come and gone; all of the visitor maps and guides had vanished before we arrived, and we were left to wander according to our best guess to find the main thoroughfare of shops in Telluride. The entire town is consumed with real estate sales, expensive clothing stores and pricey restaurants (not necessarily fancy, just expensive). The historic mining town of bygone days was invisible amidst the joggers, hikers, bikers and the well-off clientele of the mountain golf course and sea of condominiums.

It was not at all what we had imagined, and it held little interest for us – except for Galloping Goose #4, which was on display along the main street. It was wedged angle-wise between two buildings, shrouded with short trees and with a picnic table in use at its side. Unfortunately, we were not able to get a picture of it in its entirety under those circumstances.

The second highest waterfalls in Colorado is somewhere around the town of Telluride. However, no map or guide book in hand, and with no signage, besides being on foot, we counseled ourselves that we were tired anyway and headed back toward the gondolas.

Galloping Goose #4The balance of the drive toward Cortez was uneventful compared to the harrowing ride across the top of the mountains the day before. For me personally, the brightest moment of the day was when we happened upon along our route of travel Galloping Goose #5. There it was beside the highway in Delores, CO in front of the old train depot – now a little museum. This specimen is carted by tractor-trailer various times of the year to special events where it once more takes on passengers and plies the rails. I must confess that I bought a souvenir!

Galloping Goose #4It was time to continue our day’s journey southward toward Cortez. Do you know how hard it is to find a restaurant with which you are not familiar in a part of the country with which you are not familiar – when it has changed its name! I drove in so many circles in all directions turning around and looking every which way. It’s a wonder that someone didn’t call the authorities to investigate. Finally, we found the place, but the name didn’t match the advertising, and subsequently, the menu was different, too. Nevertheless, we had a good meal before returning to our motel for the night (two nights in total, actually).

We are tired. Since we applied sunscreen to our faces and arms (we burned slightly yesterday), and we seemed to have experienced a dusty day, we feel like we have been breaded. To clean up and to slumber we must, for another day comes, we think. If it does not come, either because the earth no longer turns or though it does we do not, that will be all right, too. Each of us must ready ourselves to meet God in Judgment (Amos 4:12).

Durango to Ridgeway up US 550

July 16, 2013

Colorado Rocky MountainsTuesday morning as we drove through Durango northward, we observed that gasoline prices had jumped ten cents overnight, except for one station on the other side of the road. Since it was inconvenient to turn around, I proceeded north; that was a mistake as all other gasoline spied later in the day retailed from $3.84 to nearly $4.00 a gallon.

Colorado Rocky MountainsInitially, we feared that we would be able to see little and unable to take any pictures due to the overcast skies and low-hanging clouds. The first several pull offs to which we came were wasted on us because of poor visibility. Furthermore, the farther we drove the higher we climbed until we were literally driving in the clouds – in excess of 10,000 feet.

StagecoachHaving visited Silverton the day before via steam train, today we traveled by small rental car. We ate at the Black Bear Café and afterward strolled through some shops. To our delight, we were able to capture a working, old west stagecoach on our digital camera.

Colorado Rocky MountainsBetween periods of rain, the skies cleared considerably so that we were able to pull over from time to time (sometimes the pull offs were within sight of each other) and get some nice photographs. We visited two waterfalls, both of which were spectacular. Often, the roadway extended to the very guardrail-absent edge of a cliff dropping a thousand or more feet – punctuated with such sharp curves sometimes that the GPS directed us to turn right or left (the GPS didn’t know if we were coming or going!).

Water FallsThe second falls was in Ouray, CO, through which we passed on the way to our lodging in Ridgeway, CO. We found supper at the True Grit Café (several sites in and around Ridgeway were backdrops for the John Wayne movie True Grit). The town of Ridgeway was once the home of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, and there is a small museum dedicated to it that I hope to visit tomorrow. Its pride and joy, the Galloping Goose, though, has been removed to Telluride, CO, where we expect to be sometime tomorrow. If you don’t know about the Galloping Geese, look them up; you may find them as interesting as do I.

Colorado Rocky MountainsMy best friend (Bonnie) and I, Lord willing, will make a huge circle over the next few days this week through and around the mountains in southwest Colorado. The handiwork of Almighty God is everywhere sounding forth the existence of our Great Creator (Romans 1:20).

The Silverton Train

July 15, 2013

Silverton TrainFor our 40th wedding anniversary gift to each other, Bonnie and I rode the Silverton train today. The 9:00 a.m. train left about 9:30 a.m., but as a song says, ‘We had tickets to ride the train from yesterday, and it left on time!’ We had reserved seats on an open car with padded bench seats facing to the side, and it was the last car on the train. Most of the better pictures we snapped (and between the two of us we took 456 pics) were obtained on the three-hour ride from Durango, CO to Silverton, CO – because it rained on us for three hours on the return trip (remember, we were in a car without windows – a gondola with a roof).

Silverton TrainDurango is at about 6,000 feet, and 45 miles or so away, Silverton is at about 12,000 feet. Durango was cool with overcast skies, but Silverton was noticeably cooler. (We even spied snow on peaks hovering over the little valley occupied by the town of Silverton.) The rainy, return trip was beyond cool; it was cold!

Water TankSilverton was not as I had imagined. For the most part, it appears to be mostly a summertime town – becoming nearly a ghost town itself in the winter. That probably explains why the streets except for the highway passing through Silverton were muddy gravel lanes. Many of the buildings were old frame buildings, many needing repair.

Colorado RockiesOur return trip was initially delayed due to a broken part of some sort on the engine. After ten minutes of welding, we were off. The engine had struggled uphill all the way from Durango, but from Silverton back to Durango was all downhill. The key to the first half of the trip going to Silverton was to go fast enough to successfully negotiate the steady upward grade, whereas the key to second half of the trip back to Durango was to go slowly enough not to either jump the track or rock into natural stone walls.

Colorado RockiesBack in Durango, wet, cold, tired and sooty, we went directly to our hotel. We buffeted for supper on crackers and cheese in our room after cleaning up from the day’s outing. I have desired for years to ride the Silverton train, and I never thought that it would ever happen. Happen it did, and what made it all the better was that my best friend, my wife, my dear Bonnie and I made the journey together. A longtime ago we began a journey throughout this life together – a journey that also has become a pilgrimage of Christian service in search of a city whose builder and maker is God.

Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies

Colorado Weekend

July 15, 2013

About 5:35 a.m. (Central Time) on Saturday, July 13, Bonnie and I rode a hotel shuttle to the airport in Jackson, MS. At 7:45 a.m. (late), Delta flew us to Atlanta, GA. About 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) and late again, we flew Delta to Denver, CO, whereupon hours later (still another delay) we flew to Durango, CO – arriving around 5:30 p.m. (Mountain Time). We picked up the rental car we had reserved and headed for our hotel. After checking in, Bonnie and I proceeded to look for someplace to eat supper in Durango. We entered two establishments and left both of them. The first was too costly and had an hour and fifteen minute estimated wait. The second was twice as expensive as the first. Finally, we inquired of a young man in period costume whose job is to pitch advertising for businesses (e.g., rafting, restaurants, etc.). We settled for bar and grill in a basement establishment. A sign upon entrance petitions patrons, “If you came here to drink to forget, please pay in advance.” We enjoyed a $10 hamburger and fries, which we shared; it was very good.

Sunday, we worshipped twice with the Church of Christ in Durango – at 10:20 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and we were present for Bible class, too, at 9:30 a.m. Interns/students from Bear Valley Institute of Biblical Studies conducted class and worship in the absence of the usual minister. Repeatedly, brethren prayed for rain due to drought conditions, but selfishly Bonnie and I confessed to each other that we had hoped that the rain would wait until our trip was over – but it rained anyway. Hence, we toured the Durango railroad museum – in an old roundhouse.

Since the rain had let up, we walked a bit, looking at things we are never going to buy in various little stores lining the street nearest the train depot. We made our way to Stone Cold Creamery; we had never eaten ice cream at one of these places, and it was an experience for us. Employees mix various things into the ice cream and make weird concoctions.

BarDChuckwagon Cowboy BandNext, we drove about eight miles north before turning on to a couple of other county roads to find the Bar D Chuckwagon dinner theater. A huge rock face overshadowed tall pines cradling the night’s destination. Again, we looked at knickknacks, etc. We had a good meal of barbeque beef, baked beans, baked potato, chunky applesauce, spice cake and biscuit on a tin plate; we drank lemonade from tin cups. Hundreds of people and we ate together at picnic tables under a sky sometimes sprinkling us with rain drops. Then, the cowboy band and comedy routine commenced.

This was our anniversary – 40 years! Between worship services we bought a few things at Wal-Mart, naturally. At the train station, I bought a train magnet; we spent precious time together while enjoying ourselves. Tomorrow, we move to the main attraction – to ride the narrow gauge train the Silverton 45 miles each way to Silverton and back. Oh, I hope that it doesn’t rain, but the local forecast predicts a 40% likelihood of thunderstorms!

Annual World Evangelism Team Meeting & More

July 12, 2013
Group Picture Less about 3 photographers

Group Picture Less about 3 Photographers

Wednesday, July 10, attendees of the Annual World Evangelism Team Meeting began arriving in Winona, MS. Altogether, just under 30 adults and children attended this year’s gathering on Thursday and Friday. Those attending included the core group of team members who voluntarily cooperate to provide a well-rounded and worldwide program of evangelism, but others who came are a part of a larger circle of fellow missionaries with whom we also cooperate. Yet others were merely interested in evangelism – stateside or abroad and came to be with us.

Happily, Thursday evening after returning from catfish supper at Carmack, MS Fish House, many hands of numerous visitors to the team meeting quickly tabbed (two per mail piece) and labeled 649 July edition of the Rushmore Newsletter. Friday morning, I shipped it off via the local Post Office. If we had not been the beneficiaries of such gracious assistance, the newsletter would have had to wait until we returned from our upcoming trip on July 19.

Of course, we did a lot of eating together! We chiefly encouraged each other and talked about how we can possibly be more effective in our evangelistic efforts. Among the topics entertained were literature (The Voice of Truth International and Global Harvest magazines, books, and tracts), foreign Bible schools, school of missions, graded class material under development, training our replacements as missionaries, etc.

Thursday night and especially Friday morning, brethren began departing for home, depending on the distances they had to travel or special needs to which they had to respond. Bonnie and I left around noon for her next chemotherapy about two hours away in Jackson, MS.

Unfortunately, Bonnie’s white blood count was low enough that she could not receive chemo on Friday, since we were leaving town for the week. If we were going to be around for a few days before leaving, she could have received a shot on Monday to help boost her white blood cell count. However, we are leaving Saturday morning on a jet airplane for Colorado to observe our 40th wedding anniversary. We will ride the Silverton train from Durango to Silverton and back. We will also drive the San Juan Skyway and take two days to do it. If Bonnie is strong enough and not too tired, we will also take a day to visit Mesa Verde before returning to Mississippi.

With the drop of Bonnie’s white cell blood count, she must be careful of not exposing herself to sickness or germs in general unnecessarily. We are taking a prescription antibiotic with us on the trip. We will have to wait and see in the future whether she must (at least some of the time) refrain from public interaction. When Bonnie has her next scheduled appointment, she will also meet again with her oncologist for an assessment and medical advice. It is important to Bonnie and me that we make this planned trip, and the medical personnel advise us as well to make this trip – for they think that not only does this milestone need to be celebrated but that the aside of this pleasure trip may actually be a positive note in Bonnie’s ongoing treatment. Thank you for your interest in us, and your encouragement and support of Bonnie and me as we endeavor to give ourselves over to the service of our Lord and Great God.

The 4th of July Weekend

July 8, 2013

Bonnie and I are still struggling with Volume 77 of The Voice of Truth International, trying to get it ready for the printing company in South Carolina. In addition, we continued to revise two of my new tracts, trying to make them fit in the available space; my new tracts about to be sent to the printer in Hong Kong include “To Drink or Not to Drink,” “Did Dinosaurs Really Exist?”, “Foreknowledge of God Explained” and “The New Testament Church Is Divine in Organization.” I continue to sometimes work on the August issue of Gospel Gazette Online.

Wednesday, July 3, Bonnie and I decided to go up to Collierville, TN to be with our daughter Rebecca. Though we could not be with our daughter on Friday for her birthday, due to Bonnie’s chemotherapy that day, we wanted to bring her a present and wish her well – not only for her birthday but for her Saturday departure for Guyana, South America; she will be there a week with three others from the Collierville Church of Christ to conduct two VBS programs per day and teach adult classes nightly.

The City of Collierville hosted a fireworks display Wednesday night, and several church members and we gathered in the grass adjacent to the church parking lot to watch. It was perhaps the nicest fireworks display we have ever witnessed firsthand. The weather was pleasant, misquotes were absent and the fireworks were pleasing.

We are always unsure what to buy for or give to Rebecca. She is low maintenance (doesn’t want much), but particular (choosy), too. She had shown some interest in Bonnie’s Nook book reader, and so we got her one for her birthday – as well as to permit her to read more easily on her long airplane trip to South America. In addition, the model we got her was the best available at nearly half price and that would accept computer files from which Rebecca can teach some of her classes in Guyana.

When we are out of Winona, and especially when we are at our daughter’s home, we are probably more relaxed than we are anywhere else. We feel less worked because we are far from the house in Winona (that always cries for some attention) and the office with its printers, etc. Besides, not having just arrived from an appointment and not on the way to an appointment creates its own atmosphere of relaxation. We slept. We ate. We read or played computer games. We didn’t do anything – except take a day off.

We returned home Thursday evening, via a stop at our favorite restaurant in Horn Lake, MS. The Texas Road House burnt the first glorified chopped steak brought to our table, whereupon I sent it back. There is a difference between well done and charred a quarter of an inch deep all around! Bonnie and I ate lots of peanuts waiting for the return of the beef. The rolls were delayed until late – and deformed at that – some the size of hushpuppies! Bonnie and I shared one order of the so-called “Road Kill” (one salad between us, one baked potato shared and one chopped steak with melted cheese and sautéed onions); we share a lot because neither of us and especially Bonnie can eat much at a time.

Friday was consumed in chemotherapy – the nearly two hour drive down, nearly two hours driving back and hours more for the appointment. This was the second time that we had to go to the hospital infusion clinic (one floor above Jackson Oncology) for chemo. Nearly an hour after her appointment passed before blood was drawn for analysis; then, we had to wait for the hospital laboratory to process it to determine she was able to have chemotherapy. Then, the pharmacy has to mix the chemo drugs accordingly, and when a cubicle is available, only then can Bonnie begin the hour long infusion. The waiting room is small and crowded, and chemo patients must compete with all the other patients throughout the hospital for laboratory time, whereas Jackson Oncology has its own lab, a bigger waiting room and more cubicles. On the other hand, the hospital does not charge us a $50 insurance copay like the cancer clinic does. We are spending nearly $10,000 a month between chemotherapy, doctor visits for either of us and medical insurance with a $5,000 deductible apiece. Fortunately for us, the insurance picks up most of those charges.

Saturday, I finished painting exterior areas of the house in Winona where we reside. It has only taken me about a year to complete what I started last summer. The underside of the back porch roof and trim needed to be painted; the porch roof had rotted and had to be replaced before I could attend to the ceiling. Also, I found an overhang on the front of the house that needed some paint. There is a satisfaction with a job completed.

Sunday, we attended worship and a Gospel meeting at the Old Union Church of Christ in Carroll County, MS. Brother Don Roberson from the Coffeeville, MS Church of Christ preached. Following Bible class and morning worship, we all packed tables to share a potluck meal together. After lunch, we resumed the meeting with an early service. Upon returning to Winona, Bonnie took a nap. She has been going at three-quarter to full throttle speed despite cancer treatment, but she may be beginning to slow a little.

This week I need to mow the grass, especially since we are leaving for a week starting on Saturday in observance of our 40th wedding anniversary. We need to do some extra as well as routine cleaning since we will have guests staying with for the Annual World Evangelism Team Meeting this week. We will be trying to attend the Gospel meeting at the Old Union Church of Christ through Wednesday night, and we have the team meeting on Thursday. Friday, Bonnie has chemotherapy again, but we will not return to Winona afterward. Saturday morning, we fly out of Jackson, MS to Denver, change planes and fly to Durango, CO. We plan to ride the Silverton train and drive the San Juan Skyway. We may need a rest after the next two weeks, but alas that is not likely to occur.