Bobby was a Hometown Hero

    Bobby was a Hometown Hero. He was a veteran who served our country. He also loved and served our community for many years. He was the Pastor of First Methodist Church and then after retirement served as the chaplain of our local hospital. I am thankful to have known and worked beside Bobby Ely. I have served as a volunteer chaplain with him at Sevier Medical Center and then more recently at LeConte Medical Center. His personality transcended any typical stereotype of a minister or a chaplain. He made you feel you like you were just part of his family regardless of your background or where you attended church. His grin, chuckle and his quick sense of humor always put a smile of your face. He had that same effect on hospital staff, volunteers, and patients. 

    In our ever changing and busy world, he was a steady and consistent source of comfort and encouragement to many, always there for us day in and day out. He and his wife Barbara have made our community so much stronger. Their love and commitment to our community is woven deeply into the fabric of our lives.

    Bobby didn’t want praise and admiration from others but he earned by doing whatever he could, the right way, and with a smile. A hero isn’t always someone who does one courageous act, but often times it is someone who gets in the trenches of life and helps pick you back up on your feet. That is why for me and many others, Bobby Ely will always be a hometown hero.


Cheeseburgers Are Not Always Made In Paradise 

Cheeseburgers are not always made in Paradise, at least not for me. In  a moment of over confidence and sheer stupidity…I volunteered to cook dinner for my daughter and her cousins while their grandmother and moms went out shopping for several hours. Three little kids and a bear (that would be me), cooking in the kitchen… a recipe for disaster.I decided to make it fun and entertaining for my young audience. I started flipping burgers up in the air, like someone tossing pizza dough, and spinning around and round like a helicopter. I even did a line dance with the containers of mustard and ketchup then I squeezed the mustard container too hard…the resulting momentum sent the mustard flying up into the air like fireworks on the Fourth of July! I looked up and to my horror saw that I had sprayed mustard all over the ceiling of the kitchen. The kids loved it and gave me a “jumping up and down” standing ovation accompanied by lots of laughter. 

After our “entertaining” meal, I organized the kids into a clean up crew with each one given a little something to do before the ladies night out group returned home. I told the kids to not tell about the mess I made, since we cleaned it up. When the ladies enter the house, my little niece loudly proclaimed: “Guess what Uncle Jerry did!” While pointing to some leftover mustard stains on the ceiling and the other kids jumped into the conversation describing  in their own words about our “entertaining” meal.

I was busted and a little embarrassed about it all. You know, some things just don’t go as planned. Even well intentioned plans can explode like that container of mustard. How do we respond when things go wrong?

LIGHTEN UP and LEARN TO LAUGH at Yourself and don’t take yourself so serious all the time. He who laughs …last. Life is too short to be miserable all the time, a little laughter can go a long way in keeping things together and giving you a release from stress and tension. It’s almost like a pressure relief valve for your mind and attitude. “If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over.” -Proverbs 17:22 ( CEV)

CHOOSE TO BE FLEXIBLE. Blessed are they who are flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape…This can happen by keeping episodes like this in perspective. Is it worth getting real upset about something that won’t change the course of human history or really matter next week? It’s better to make the best of the situation.

CLEAN UP THE MESS and go on with your life. We don’t have to have a perfect life in every little situation to be happy. It’s okay to make some mistakes, at least we can learn from them and then move on with our regular responsibilities. You can enjoy your life today, even it isn’t in paradise!