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Mon, 23 Dec 2002, 06:05 AM

Froscher's Forum
By Norm Froscher

This is the Holiday Season and if you'll excuse the switch, this offering isn't about drag racing, racing or sports...but in a way, maybe it is.

It's a couple of stories about life, and after going on 50 years in this writing business, I've grown to really love the O'Henry ending to each story.

Oh, you're not familiar with the writer O'Henry?

Well, maybe you're acquainted with the Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" on television?

Still blank? Then please accept this Holiday-timed offerings with a Norm Froscher ending, since you're reading them here.


I love the thought that coincidence is the pseudonym God chooses to use when not wishing to use His own name, so here goes:

First, in a story related by a Dave Egner in the publication "Our Daily Bread" there's a church organist trying unsuccessfully to practice a piece by Felix Mendelssohn.

Frustrated, he gathers up his music and prepares to leave, then notices a stranger who has come in and seated himself in a rear pew of the Church.

The stranger approached the organist and asked if he could play the piece.

"I never let anyone touch this organ," was the blunt reply. But finally, after a couple of more polite requests, the organist relented.

The stranger sat down and filled the sanctuary with beautiful, flawless music and when he'd finished the astonished organist asked "Who are you?"

"I am Felix Mendelssohn," came the reply.

The organist had almost prevented the song's creator from playing his own music.

And how often in our daily lives do we leap at somewhat the same decision as that frustrated organist? Perhaps we need exercise other than jumping at conclusions, on the drag strip as well as in our daily lives.

Here's another tale, not from the drag strip, but from everyday life and one which seems especially worth repeating at this time of celebration. And notice how one individual gets exercise from jumping...well, hear me out.

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband in an almost threadbare suit, left a train in Boston and -- without an appointment -- walked into the outer office of the President of Harvard University.

The secretary frowned and wondered what business such a couple could possibly have there in those hallowed halls.

"We want to see the president," the man said softly.

"He'll be busy all day," came the reply from the quick thinking receptionist.

"We'll wait," said the man.

For several hours, the secretary ignored the couple, hoping they would get discouraged and leave. They didn't.

Finally, she told the University President that perhaps if he would just take a couple of minute with them, they'd leave.

He consented and stern-faced, approached the couple.

The wife spoke:

"We had a son who attended Harvard here for one year. He was happy here and loved Harvard, but about a year ago he was killed in an accident and my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him somewhere on this campus."

The president was unmoved.

"Madam," he said gruffly. "We can't put up a statue to every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.

"Oh, no," the lady explained. "We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes, glanced at the homespun couple and said, "Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard."

The lady looked at her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own."

Thus the couple left the befuddled president and his secretary and went to Palo Alto, California where they did, indeed, establish a university.

You'll recognize their name as Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford and the university is in memory of a son that Harvard no longer cared about.


Finally, a sage once said there are two types of people who enter a room.

"One says, 'I am here!' The other says, 'You are here!'"

For those of you who've gotten this far in this "room", I appreciate your being here and wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

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