BIG ARMS, BIGGER HEART

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

Abraham Lincoln,  16th President of the United States

March, 1995

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Roland Redmon both said, “I’ll be back.”

Chances are you’ve heard of Arnold but you may not have heard about Roland.

Arnold made his promise in a movie called, The Terminator.

 Roland made his promise from a hospital room.

I met Roland and his family when I joined a group called, Team in Training. They raise money for Leukemia research and patient aid. As part of this program, athletes are introduced to one of their patients and run a 26.2 mile marathon in their honor.

Roland told me his hero was Arnold Schwarzenegger. My home town of Columbus, Ohio is not only home to a great marathon race but each Spring a fitness expo and bodybuilding championship hosted by Arnold. When I tracked down the promoters of the event, they requested a letter detailing Roland’s struggle. It would be forwarded to Arnold.

Roland’s mother wrote:

“Dear Arnold,

My son Roland is a great fan of yours. He thinks you’re the greatest.

You don’t know it but you helped him through a difficult time in his young life. He had surgery on December 25, 1991, and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He started high dose intensive chemotherapy on New Year’s eve. He was the first child at Children’s Hospital in Columbus to receive high dose chemo. He spent the next six months in the hospital except for a few home visits. He had all kinds of life threatening side effects and lots of uncertainty about the outcome. He spent a lot of time in protective isolation with me at his side. He got visits from his Daddy, Brother (Danny) and Sister (Rusti). He watched a lot of movies and most of them were yours. He always said he was going to come through all of this and be strong like you. He would even do muscle poses in bed for me and the nurses.

There is one incident that everyone still talks about. He had a pair of sunglasses like the ones in “Terminator 1 and 2 that you wore. I had to go out of his isolation room and talk to one of his nurses about his lab work. He was laying in bed watching “Terminator” when I left the room. We were at the nurse’s station when his door opened. He stood there with his sunglasses on and said, “I’ll be back.” we all lost it laughing, but then panicked because the kid had gotten out of bed and moved three IV poles with nine pumps of fluid all by himself.

Then there was a period of two weeks where we had to call him, “Uncle Bob” because you were called that once in “Terminator 2.’ He used to wear his sunglasses in bed even when it was dark. That’s how he lost them because they accidentally got thrown down the laundry shoot during the night. He was awful upset and cried for days.

We would really love to meet you. He said he was going to be like you and fight. He did and he won. He is now six years old and considered cured after three years of treatment. Christmas is even more special to all of us now.

I would like to thank you for helping us. I have always been a fan of you and your movies. I wish you a lifetime of happiness and success in all that you do. Enjoy your family because they’re special.

We enjoy and treasure every little thing now.

Sincerely,

Tammy Redmon”

In the Spring of 1995, Roland Redmond met Arnold Schwarzenegger. A picture of them together hangs in the Redmon home. All the doctors and nurses who treated Roland did a wonderful job. As a role model, so did Arnold. By imitating Arnold’s muscle man behavior in standing up to adversity, Roland proved what any psychologist will tell you. – the most important part of reaching your goal is believing you can.

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NEW NEIGHBORS

“All I can say about life is, Oh God, enjoy it.”

Bob Newhart, comedian and actor

 

It’s Summer 1962 – I’m eleven years old.

A young couple, about to be married, were buying a house directly across the street from where my family lived. The groom politely asked if he could use our telephone. I remember he was very tall like Jerry Lucas the basketball player for Ohio State who was my hero at the time. My brother John also noticed the resemblance. We were introduced to the man. He looked happy. I don’t remember his name.

What I do remember, as if it just happened yesterday, was my mother calling me to the kitchen. She had a newspaper spread out on the table. Pointing to a picture of a mangled semi-truck and car –  she asked, “Do you remember that nice man that used the phone a few days ago?”

I nodded my head indicating I did.

“He was killed in this crash.

She was crying now.

I sat quietly with her for a short time then returned my attention to the television in another room.

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I have a long list of things to thank my Mother for. At the top of the list are the gift of life, marrying my Father and sharing that newspaper story about the terrible accident that took away happily ever after from our new neighbors. With 65 years in the rear view mirror of my life I’m ever mindful of how blessed the road has been for me. With the passing of time, even the most difficult and devastating events have turned out to be preparation for bigger and better things.

I’m still here.

Forward march!

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Imagine there is a bank account each morning with $86,400.

It carries over no balance from day-to-day.

Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do?

Draw out every cent, of course?

Each of us has such a bank.

It’s name is time.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,000 seconds.

Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.

It carries over no balance.

It allows no over draft.

Each day it opens a new account for you.

Each night it burns the remains of the day.

If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.

There is no drawing against “tomorrow.”

You must live in the present on today’s deposits.

Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success.

The clock is running.

Make the most of today.”

Anonymous

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And about those days when it’s not going so great. I believe that even in our darkest moments we are not here to be punished. We are here to serve. Someone needs your smile and encouragement today. Make it your business to find them.

Visit me at www.buddybloomwildflower.com