American evangelist Billy Graham once said “May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door. Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil—it has no point.”

Graham, considered the most influential preacher of the 20th century by many, celebrated his 99th birthday on Nov. 7. That reminded me of an article I received about five years ago when Graham was only 94. Community leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Graham, to a luncheon in his honor.

Graham initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinsons disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, “we don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you. So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said: “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.

“Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train, when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.

“It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.”

The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.”

Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”

Having said that, Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious.

“So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.”

And may each of us have lived our lives so that when our ticket is punched we don’t have to worry about where we are going.


In the 1960s we were told to “Duck and Cover.” Today the words are “Run, Hide, Fight.” If you are 65, or older, you probably remember having Air Raid Disaster Drills at school or work. The drills prepared us for potential nuclear attacks, fires or tornadoes.

Today, because of the spread of mass shootings by active shooters, Americans of all ages are signing up for defense classes. Instructors tell attendees to Run, Hide, Fight. This applies to children in schools, adults out in public or at work when a shooter is on a spree.

No one wants to feel helpless. It helps to conquer fear and take control of the one thing they can: their survival. We are finding we can’t assume we’ll be safe at school, at work, at church, while shopping, at an entertainment venue or enjoying a day at the beach.

What should you do? Everybody needs to think about this danger. Wherever you go, wherever you are, survey the area and have an escape plan if something goes terribly wrong. It could save your life.

The experts say you should know where the exits are, where you can hide. Remember, trees, brick walls and buildings can stop bullets. Have a plan to fight back any way you can. It’s a dangerous world we now live in.


Did you know that studies show 30 percent of traffic congestion in our cities is caused by drivers looking for parking. Last year, traffic congestion cost each driver $1,400 on average, for a total of nearly $300 billion. This is according to researchers at Texas A&M and calculated by Inrix, a company that provides real-time traffic information.

Have you used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft? It might have saved you time and money, compared to using a taxi. But here’s the rest of the story.

In New York City, there are almost five times as many vehicles affiliated with ride-hailing services than with yellow cabs. There are 65,992 private vehicles compared to 13,587 yellow cabs, according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission of New York City.

That means ride-hailing services have added to urban traffic congestion. Just another unintended consequence of what many considered a great new idea.