Monthly Archives: July 2014

Brock Bronson and the Russian Attack on Goliad


russian bomberOne day when I was just a small lad growing up at 125 N. Goliad Street in Amarillo, Texas, Brock Bronson scared the bejabbers out of me. Until that moment, I’d never even seen a bejabber. Maybe you’ve never laid eyes on one, either. You don’t want to, let me tell you.

Hmm. Until recently, I hadn’t thought of that guy in years.

Brock Bronson. Now there’s a name that means business. Especially if it’s attached to a teenaged bully sort of guy. Especially if you’ve barely broken into double digits age-wise yourself. Especially if the teenaged Bronson lives just three doors down the street from you. (I’ve changed the name to protect the guilty—and to keep the innocent from being sued—but it was exactly that kind of name.)

I barely remember Brock, His Teenaged Highness, ever lowering himself to speak a word to me, which may have made the words he spoke on that fateful day all the scarier.

In his defense (which is crazy—a guy named Brock Bronson doesn’t need any defense), he may not have been that much of a bully. He may have been just a pretty normal teenage boy which meant then, just like it probably does now, that he had a higher opinion than the facts would support regarding his own intelligence, invincibility, immortality, and skill behind the wheel of an automobile. Maybe his parents didn’t share those views, but I will testify, the pre-teen boys on his block were pretty sure that teenage guys like Brock were either one notch below deity or in very close contact with the Devil. Either way, they were not to be trifled with.

Which might explain to some extent why my little brother and I believed him when Brock and his companions (I don’t remember if he had companions, but this is the kind of brainstorm teenage boys usually have in pairs) roared to a brief stop in front of our house, stopped my little brother and me in our innocent tracks as we were riding bikes or trikes on our sloping driveway, and informed us that a Russian attack had been launched against these United States in general and Goliad Street in particular. He led us to believe that we didn’t have time enough even to run inside the house but that if we’d crawl way in under the juniper bushes that bracketed our driveway, maybe the Russians wouldn’t see us, and we might have some slim hope of survival.

I suppose we thought Brock was headed to the Front. All we knew for sure was that he was headed away. Jim and I ended up way under a big juniper waiting for Soviet bombers to appear. I don’t know how long we waited, but it seemed like hours, and, later, it seemed like days before I quit itching. (Have you tried crawling around under junipers recently?)

I suppose we were waiting for Brock to stop by and give the “All Clear.” It never came. Neither did he. But neither did the Russians or their bombers.

Ah, worrying about a Russian attack on Goliad Street was world-class dumb. But I hate to think how much time I’ve wasted in the years since then worrying about stuff which, from Heaven’s point of view, must be even dumber. Worry. Anxiety. It’s dumb and dumber.

Faith. Now that’s where wisdom comes in. On Goliad Street or anywhere else.


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Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

Reading E-mail? Scam-sniffing Skill Is Required


Since a long time before the biblical patriarch Jacob conned his blind old father Isaac, and thus shafted his brother Esau, a nose for the tell-tale smell of a scam has been a serious asset in this fallen world.

Why should we be surprised in this e-mail and internet age that scam-sniffing skill is as essential as a computer, tablet, or smart phone?

Here, let me show you. I’m opening my in-box. Hmm.

Well, for starters, anything marked in all caps, “URGENT” or “IMPORTANT,” isn’t.

Something someone sent from “Claims” asks, “Is this your money?” They already know that it is not. But they’d like to make a good bit of my money their money.

“ Dating” tells me that someone may be REALLY interested in me. I could have told them that already. My wife of 39 years has long ago expressed mild but lasting interest.

One note refers to me as “Dear Sweetie.” I don’t believe I’ll answer. (See the previous paragraph.) Another sender is checking to see if I got my check for “$5,645.” Nope.

Anything from someone whose first name is “Mr” or “Mrs,” usually followed by a Middle Eastern or African-sounding name, wishing you “GOOD DAY” in all caps, and informing you that their personal secretary has been instructed to release funds on your behalf . . . Well, they do want a release of funds—from your bank account to theirs.

A number of folks seem concerned about my health. A couple of companies want to tell me about SECRET diets that “all my friends are talking about.” If diets are what all my friends talked about, I’d look for less boring friends.

One company (lacking in punctuation skills) wants to send me a really comfortable knee brace. And one seems also to think I need to diet and wants to send me, uh, I hate to mention this, some kind of an “amazing bra” with incredible support.

Health-wise, I see an e-mail or two of a more legitimate nature from some of the many folks who seem sure that “wellness” is a real word somehow superior to “health.” Personally, I am healthily skeptical about that.

Yes, and here come a couple or three more GOOD DAYs from a couple or three more “Mr” and “Mrs” folks. One has been “tiring to reach” me on the phone, but has “deemed it necessary” to resort to e-mail to tell me of my amazing good fortune and to ask me to send information—and money.

Hmm. Dr. Somebody just sent me a long treatise extolling the virtues of a belief in reincarnation.

Somebody else wants me to know “Seven Ways Your Phone Is Harming You.” I can phone in more than seven ways without reading the note.

Let’s be careful out there in cyberspace. And remember: a written word from our Creator has been available a lot longer than e-mail. And it’s worthy of our time and our trust.


        You’re invited to visit my website at!

Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


“Come Quick, PawPaw! It’s an Emergency!”


“Come quick, PawPaw! Come quick!” came the plea from the back door. As I recall, it was one of the times that week when the sweet almost-six-year-old voice intoned again, “It’s an emergency!”

Well, come I did. Out into the back yard, pulled by Brenley straight to the pool.

“The pool” is a plastic “blow-up” wading pool, maybe a foot deep. I admit we’d drowned the “fill point” line marked on it by the same folks who scribbled lawyer-litter on the hose we used to fill said pool, sternly warning me not to put the hose in my mouth and turn the faucet on.

Back to the emergency.

Bodies were floating in the pool. It didn’t take CSI Muleshoe to identify them. Bug bodies. Brenley had already done the initial investigation. As I made my way to the microcosmic ocean, she reported, “Five, PawPaw!”

There they lay. Or floated. In a kind of bug-eyed insect rigor mortis. Past all human help and grotesquely out of place in that decadent resort pool surrounded by lush palm trees, white-clad waiters, and paparazzi hoping to cadge photos of the rich and famous.

Okay, for real. Plastic pool. Elm trees. No waiters or paparazzi, just a little brindle-colored dog hoping to stay out of the line of fire of anything wet. No CSI techs.
But the bodies were there, and out of place. It was July, and they were still recognizable as June bugs, grub worm kamikazes issued wings, buzzed up, launched way short of flight training. They’d ditched at sea. And why not? All June bugs do is mindlessly crash, hazards to prudent navigation. These had paid the ultimate price.

Bren was obviously not comfortable with burying them at sea. A quick bucket dip-out, an over-the-shoulder fling-out, and . . .

I wish all the emergencies my grandkids will experience were so easily handled. The little folks are growing too fast, and the thought of a time when spending time with PawPaw and MawMaw in the back yard, all smiles and giggles because they’ve found a cool rock with a hole in it, or one that glitters, made stew by stirring leaves and water and dirt in a colored bucket with a stick, and shared stories and held royal court in the magic castle shed—well, the thought of a day when those delights fade breaks my heart. Right now, the little people know what’s really important. They know who really loves them, and the amount they care about what anybody else thinks is about the right amount: not much at all.

Grownups are incredibly dreary and short-sighted, and I can’t imagine these amazing folks with imaginations gone dull and dormant. I pray they never lose the seeds of what is in full flower in them right now. I suppose the flowers must fade some with the years, but one day these folks I adore will be old enough that the seeds will sprout again, probably watered by their own grandchildren. And they’ll be young again together.

No wonder our Creator delighted in spending time with children. I love that about him. However he arranges it will be fine, but I hope to spend an eternity doing that same thing myself where bugs aren’t any kind of emergency, and genuine joy—and giggles aplenty—are the King’s orders for the eternal day.


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Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

Ten Years Later, Hats Off to “The Gipper”!

Ronald Reagan

Never one to leave much to chance, Winston Churchill remarked, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” And he did. As I read Churchill’s The Second World War (every volume!), getting inside Churchill’s head was fascinating.

It’s now been a little over ten years since another amazing man, Ronald Reagan, died (June 5, 2004). I remember watching the TV coverage after Reagan’s death, and wishing that Reagan had been the prolific writer Churchill was. Reagan, too, had fascinating stories to tell.

It was a bit nauseating to see many of the same media moguls who gave Reagan nothing but trouble when he was in office tripping over themselves to try to honor him at his death. I wonder how historians will one day evaluate his “legacy.” I’m not qualified to do much evaluating myself, and it’s way too soon anyway, but here’s what I think that I think.

Reagan was certainly a “great communicator,” even though he wasn’t in the class of Churchill. Who could be?

I think our greatest president was Abraham Lincoln (though that top slot might well go to first president George Washington). Lincoln was tried by fire, stood the test, and came out as pure gold. Reagan faced severe tests, too, but I think Lincoln’s pre-eminence is clear. The obvious similarity is that both spared no effort to tear down walls that never should have been built.

Evaluating Reagan. Well, we’re still at least decades away from real perspective, but surely he easily makes it into the Top 10 Presidents List and probably into the upper half.

Reagan was a true leader because, like Churchill, he saw what was good in the heart of his nation, and he called his countrymen to embrace that vision for good. Some would say he was naively idealistic about America; we have much more to fear from those who are naively blind to that which has truly been good about a nation that has twice in the last century “saved the world from total barbarism” (Charles Krauthammer’s right on that!).

Churchill was right: England never had a finer hour than when she stood, utterly alone for far too long, against Hitler. Churchill knew that freedom was good and tyranny was evil, and he never hesitated to say so. Reagan also believed in freedom, and he used exactly the right words when he called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” Only an evil system rotten to the core builds walls to keep its own citizens enslaved. Reagan was right: Communism is not just wrong-headed; it is evil, and the right word needed to be used.

I’ve not heard a lot (that I trust) about Reagan’s faith in God, but he was right on target in this belief: Human rights are not rights granted to human beings by the State. Freedom is a gift from the hand of God to every human being created in his image. Any system of government which says otherwise is wrong, evil. God blessed us with a great president who didn’t hesitate to say what is true.

So, ten years later, hats off to “The Gipper”!


    You’re invited to visit my website at!


Copyright 2014 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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