When I think of my brother Joe, “always ready to help” comes to mind. We lived by each other just outside Arkadelphia. When my wife of years past was going through the physical trial she went through, with me being care-giver to her, he was my sounding board when it seemed like I just could not keep going. There were times when the money got tight. He bailed me out, knowing that I would pay him back. He was a Viet Nam war veteran. He loved his country and we shared many of the values we were raised with. He stepped on a land mine in Nam which was intended to blow up right through his body. Instead, its detonation delayed a split second which only got his back side instead of his life. He carried some of that shrapnel for the rest of his days. Because of what he did, and what my other brother did, and my cousins, and a host of others, I have the utmost respect for these men who served under our flag and what it stands for. I have zero tolerance for those who spurn what these men have done for all of us. In fact, the physical afflictions and disease that helped carry him to his grave was probably directly connected to the service he performed to insure the freedoms we all enjoy. Back when we were boys feeding chickens together on the egg farm at Poyen, he could get the best of me in every way except one. I was like a little biologist always messing with critters. When I wanted to get back at Joe all I had to do was go catch me a snake and I could run him all over the farm with that snake in my hands. We laughed about that his whole life. He never did like snakes – of any kind. I will burn some wood this winter that he cut and split and gave me. He’s been a wonderful brother to his “little brother”. I am satisfied he was ready to cross over to the other side by stepping through The Door into the other room. I expect to see him again. My last contact with him was with a reading of Psalms 23, a prayer, a kiss on the forehead, and I told him that I loved him. From that scripture it was shared that because of what Jesus has done, he was taken care of through life, and this same “Great Shepherd” is taking care of him right on in to eternity. That’s the wonderful thing about our Lord. The beautiful work he has done of taking our sins away and having resurrection life to impart to us all, is ours to receive as a gift. Turning from our sin to embrace the all-loving Savior is our entrance into his everlasting life. Joe left here during Independence Day celebration. The next time I see Joe, we will have the celebration of our life!