The Gospel According to Hank | The Book of Ross

The following is a transcript of a notebook found in the handwriting of Henry R. Ross (Hank):

Young men have no fear of aging. It's so far away, it will never happen to them. They dream of all they will do in the many years ahead. But how swiftly fly the years. All our lives we're young and hale, trim and fit, strong and agile. Then, in a twinkle, we wake up and find we've grown old. Sometimes, I suppose, we don't really notice until someone tells us. Or we discover we've become weak, frail, or unable to do what we once found so simple and easy.

Don't ever think you're better than someone else. It was only luck that put you in your circumstances, and THEM in theirs. The cumulative luck of your parentage - good or bad. The luck of health, or addiction, or associates who drag you down or built you up. The luck of talent, skill, even physical appearance. Be grateful for how well off you are - but never feel superior. Life is fragile. Health is perishable. Wealth is transient. Youth is temporary, at best. The luck of genes, as opposed to when and where you were born. The more you have, the more thankful you must be. Be humble, especially when in the presence of those less fortunate.

Of course we have global warming! A mere 10,000 years ago, the most recent Ice Age glaciers covered most of North America. That glaciers have melted suggests, perhaps, that a warming may be in process. Why would that process stop when glaciers have receded to Montana? Or Alberta? And this "warming" was at work long before humans' Industrial Age began in the mid 1800's.

The reason I talk so slow is because I don't want to say something I haven't thought of yet.

People are no damned good. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule. But the fact that they are exceptions, proves the rule.

Sometimes there's a big difference between being "right" and being "correct". Strive to be right, even when it's not correct.

White hair and stopped shoulders may proclaim your age, but you're not "old" until you can no longer dream. A 30-year old man is old if he has no dreams. Dreams are hope, anticipation, an inner drive. When we stop looking forward with eager anticipation, we're old... no matter our age. A man without dreams may not have died, but neither is he alive. Try to stay alive until you die. Dreaming takes effort, imagination, determination, and... motivation. And sometimes you have to provide your own motivation. If you can no longer hope for a cabin in the mountains, shoot for something more reachable - like a special Sunday breakfast!

Old is good! Ask the families of someone who didn't wake up this morning.

Never complain or be impatient when you're caught in a traffic jam. You're lucky - because you weren't in the accident that caused the backup. Unlike the victim in that accident, you'll just be late for your appointment.

If your old dog pees on the floor, just smile and clean it up. The day will come when you'll wish she were still there to make a mess. (May or may not apply to humans/family.)

Perhaps my least noble attitude concerns what to do about the radical Muslims. If your dog had fleas, and you killed the fleas but failed to also kill the eggs, your efforts were in vain. Those flea eggs aren't going to grow up to be butterflies.

Nobility is a behavior, not a birthright.

"Saying" a prayer is like "singing" a song, or "reciting" a poem. If you want to talk to God, pray - don't "say" a prayer.

Young people are prone to philosophize about old age. They might look forward to it; they might mock old people - as if they, themselves could never grow "old." A vain person might dread becoming old and some of us who ARE old may not even remember being young. There is a time for each of us when we realize the fragility of life and health. That realization doesn't always come with age. A severe illness or a traffic accident can do just as well. Only the most lucky become old enough to rust. We have a limited number of days to accomplish our lives.

Whatever you plan to do with your life - today might be your only chance to do it.

America would be a much safer place if we put as much emphasis on the Second Amendment as we do the First.

The only thing that follows birth, for certain, is death. We ARE going to die. All we can leave behind is what we leave behind. For some, that means monuments. Others leave monumental achievements. Some of us just leave.

My only legacy is my children. They're all self-made success stories. I take no credit for that. I didn't teach them what they know, but I like to think I gave them the belief that they can DO it - whatever they choose to do. Yet maybe - just maybe - they've succeeded just to show me they could... despite their heritage. Either way, I'm proud to have them represent my legacy. Proud, but humble. And thankful that our circumstances made it possible. We could have lived in Paris in 1540.

Isn't it odd that the most pious of us try to live good lives so that we may go to Heaven when we die - but then fear and resent it when it's time to go?

"Good enough" is never good enough.

It's OK to be a team player - but never sacrifice your integrity just to conform. If you have convictions, let them be known... even when it's scary or unpopular.

It's true that sitting in one spot will get you nowhere. But that might be preferred to hastening down the wrong road - or the right road in the wrong direction.

Remember, too, that sometimes there's a reason that a road is less traveled. But the only way you'll discover that reason is to check for yourself - unless you're willing to accept someone else's account.

The reason I talk slow is because I don't want to say something I haven't thought of yet.

When things change, they don't get better.

I chose to be born in Wyoming so I could be with my mother.

Young people often have long "want" lists. We old farts however, have our "don't want" list - things like: I don't want a Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Handicapped Parking Permit, disability compensation,

Picasso's art wasn't in being able to create that crap. It was being able to SELL it.

Recovering alcoholics often say they "feel better since they quit drinking". In my case, I quit drinking because I feel better (more at peace with my life).

We make our own destiny.

I can resist temptation all day long. It doesn't bother me a bit. But OPPORTUNITY... well, that's different! Most of us can resist temptation - at least a little bit. But it takes a good man to resist opportunity.

After I die, and everybody who knew me dies, it will be as though I never existed. - Except for my Children, their deeds, and their children.

Doing "well" is OK, but we should strive to do good... first.

Good parenting requires limits and consequences. Otherwise parents are just companions. (But don't forget there are GOOD consequences, too!)

At least I'm not as old as this rock.

I didn't used to look like this - or feel like this. I think somebody stole my identity!

At age 65, I made my very first New Year's Resolution: "Don't be so passionate about everything." It lasted nearly 2 hours.

My new goal in life: To be just half as good a person as my dog Sarah was!

There's no problem with people taking care of their bodies - so long as they pay attention to their everlasting souls first.

Things are never so bad that they can't get worse.

Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Sometimes it's worse.

Our politicians (please don't call them leaders) view us as nothing more than a resource to harvest as they please. They love to hear us whine and "demand" - that shows they're being effective. They won't be responsive to us until there are a million men with rifles standing on their desks and in their faces.

I'm not really hungry; I just eat to keep my weight up.

The pain inside some people is far worse than what we can observe.

Every family has a "Crazy Uncle Joe". If you don't know who yours is, it might be you.

There's more to life than happiness.


FEE COLLECTION: Most of the foreign visitors are not from around here.

SAFETY: Accidents can kill you. And if you're dead, you're lost an important part of your life.

LE RANGERS: We're ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.

INTERP: The old petrified logs are from many years ago.

HANK: It is wonderful to be here in the great state condition of Holbrook.

RESOURCE MGMT: It is bad luck to be superstitious.

PERSONNEL: When more and more people are laid off, unemployment results.

ANONYMOUS: That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it.

MAINTENANCE: Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.

PROCUREMENT: A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

PFMA: Half this game is 90 percent mental.

Transcribed 3/2/2015 by son Daniel H. Ross.

© MCMXCIII  Hank Ross