Tag Archives: Ernest Hemingway

Who Packed Your Parachute?

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 20, 2011

Who Packed Your Parachute?

                     Remember your leaders who spoke God’s Word to you. 

                                                                  Hebrews 13:7

 Captain Charlie Plumb piloted an F-4 Phantom jet during the Vietnam War. On May 19, 1967, he was flying a mission near Hanoi when his jet was hit by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy territory.

Years later, Plumb and his wife were eating in a restaurant in Kansas City. A man a couple tables away kept staring at him. Later, the man got up from his table, walked over up to Charlie and said, “You’re Captain Plumb.”

“Yes, sir, I’m Captain Plumb.”

“You flew jet fighters in Vietnam,“ he said. “You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk.” The man continued to recite Plumb’s history in Vietnam: being shot down, parachuting into enemy hands, and spending six years as a POW.”

“How in the world,” Charlie asked, “did you know all that?”

“Because,” the man replied, “I packed your parachute,” adding, “I guess it worked.”


Charlie Plumb has shared his meeting with this sailor with thousands of audiences. When he finishes his story, he asks: “Who packed your parachute?”

We focus on those who achieve great things as if their accomplishments were done on their own. Yet, Charlie Plumb’s encounter with a sailor from the Kitty Hawk led him to realize that his success is due to the help and sacrifices of so many others.


After World War I, a returning vet rented an apartment in Chicago in order to live next to one of his favorite authors, Sherwood Anderson.

For two years, the two met nearly every day. When the young veteran, hoping to become a writer, brought samples of his work to Anderson, he could count on receiving brutally honest critiques. After each critique, the young man would return to his typewriter and seek to improve his writing.

Seven years later, the young man, Ernest Hemingway, published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. “I didn’t know how to write,” Hemingway admits, “until I met Sherwood Anderson.”

After Hemingway’s success, Anderson moved to New Orleans. He began mentoring another young writer. Three years later, this new student, William Faulkner, published the American classic, The Sound and the Fury.

Anderson was a fine writer, but is better remembered for those he helped. Three of Anderson’s students won the Nobel Prize for literature and four won the coveted Pulitzer Prize.


Who mentored you? Who guided and instructed you to become the person you are?

Whatever we achieve in life, it’s important to remember two important people: those who guided us with their wisdom, and those who packed our parachute.

                                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


Throw Your Heart Instead

Story of the Day for Saturday July 30, 2011

Throw Your Heart Instead

                                      ”They gave as much as they were able to give. “

                                                                                2 Corinthians 8:3

 Tony Melendez is a talented singer and guitar player. He lives and often performs in Branson, Missouri. He sang the National Anthem for the fifth game of the 1989 World Series. And he has played a solo performance before the Pope.


We have more to say about Tony in just a moment, but if I may be so rude as to interrupt myself, I want to ask you a question.

If a quarterback is right-handed, he throws the bomb with his right hand. If a tennis player is left-handed she makes a serve by holding the racket in her left hand. But, in what sport are athletes forced to rely on their weaker hand as an essential part of their athletic performance?

Baseball, right? All the players on the field must put their gloves on their weaker hand to field the ball.

There’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward. But if that won’t work, any foot will have to do.


A mother in Nicaragua was prescribed medicine to calm morning sickness during her pregnancy.  At that time, they didn’t know that thalidomide could cause birth defects. Her son, Tony Melendez, was born without arms.

When he was older, they moved to Los Angeles where he was fitted with prosthetic arms, but the fake limbs only got in his way so he refused to wear them.


If you don’t have arms, there are things you can’t do.  Tony Melendez, however, didn’t focus on what he couldn’t do; he focused on what he could do.

He learned to play the guitar with his toes. When he sang and played for Pope Paul II, Tony was shocked as the Pope jumped down from the stage on which he was sitting and went over to Tony to give him a hug. “My wish for you,” the Pope said,” is that you continue to give hope to others.”

He does.


Want to know something? Right now, I don’t feel so much like bellyaching about all my ailments and the things I can’t do. Instead, I feel like thanking the Lord for what I have, and asking him to teach me how to use them well.


Toward the end of his life, Ernest Hemingway was diagnosed with a disease by which his body could no longer metabolize iron, and leads to mental deterioration.

His writing was declining.  Nevertheless, the great mystery writer, Raymond Chandler, voiced his admiration. He likened Hemingway to a champion pitcher in his declining years. “When he can no longer throw the high hard one, he throws his heart instead. He throws something. He doesn’t just walk off the mound and weep.”

                                     (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)