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Superior oil refinery rocked by explosions, fire

Reader's view: Be thankful even when 'hanging by a thread'

The prairie dog was sleeping in his burrow when suddenly he was awakened by a thunderous noise. The earth shook violently about him, and he quivered in fear. After a time, he shook off the dust and navigated cautiously to the surface, poked his head out, and gasped. About him was devastation, burning prairie, smoke, and foul odors.

He spotted a nervous jackrabbit nearby, ambled to him, and asked, "What just happened, my friend, and, are you OK?"

"Yeah," said the jackrabbit, "I survived, but them crazy humans blew up the world, and I don't know how we'll survive. Our vegetation is gone, our pond is contaminated, and we have nothing to eat or drink."

Suddenly, two emaciated coyotes jumped upon them and feasted on their flesh. Mankind was destroyed, but many animals survived, and the food chain began again that unfortunate day.

Suddenly, the man awoke, sweaty and agitated.

"It was all just a dream." It was a puff-back from his furnace that had made the noise and that had enveloped his house with soot and stench. Still shaken but relieved, he pondered, "Was this an admonition of the future?" He counted his blessings in prayer and then notified his insurance company.

On a flight to Oregon for my dear uncle's funeral, in 1983, the passenger next to me (a businessman from Boston) bought us a drink and said, "Here's to your uncle, my friend. Please remember, we are simply hanging by a thread. Count your blessings because life is fragile and each day is a blessing from God."

I never forgot his kindness and those wise words. We take so much for granted, yet have so much to be thankful for.

Is it true? Are we as individuals and as a world simply "hanging by a thread?"

Dennis Cooke