By WILLIAM SHANNON
The following is a transcribed interview with Andy Smith. Part of the interview was over dinner and Smith’s wife, Nanci, was present during much of the talk.
WS: Where did you grow up?
AS: On a dairy farm in Ancramdale, New York.
WS: How big of a farm was it?
AS: Well, let’s see. It was a hundred and forty-five acres. Forty-cow dairy. It was over a hundred and fifty years in the family. We had a second farm that was a pasture farm that was just mountain, rocks and pasture and that was about a mile and a half away. That was a hundred and fifty-three acres. That had no tillable land.
We grew our own crops. There was a walk-in freezer. The refrigeration unit was built by Kelvinator. The year that Birdseye started freezing strawberries in Germantown, New York, my father drew up plans for a walk-in freezer. Because he had a fox ranch. And he raised foxes for their pelts. And he needed storage for the feed. Because he would go to the Hudson River and catch herring and grind ’em up and put them in barrels and they would have to be kept. And he went around and picked up downed, dead animals. Horses, cows. And brought ’em back, cut them up and barreled them and put them in the freezer. You had to have a place to keep them.
So, he drew up plans for a walk-in freezer, submitted ’em to Kelvinator and that year Kelvinator wrote back and said if you build this building, we will put a refrigeration unit in it. It was wood-framed. Concrete floor, wood-framed. It was insulated by two-inch by twelve-inch by twenty-four-inch slabs of cork. Natural cork. My father dipped ’em in hot tar—heated roofing-type tar—dipped ’em in it and then set them in the walls. And that cemented them all together with the tar.
The outside wall was clapboard. The inside wall was concrete. It was plastered concrete on the walls and ceiling. It was approximately ten by twelve foot. The door was about fourteen inches thick. And insulated, obviously. My father built the whole thing and it stood there for, well, about sixty years. Before the foundation corner got knocked out by the cows walking by it all the time. It deteriorated—it wasn’t kept up.
But that refrigeration unit worked and we had that for the sixty years. So a lot of the canning that my mother did went into freezing now. She still canned but most of the stuff was frozen. And when they got rid of the foxes—. They got rid of the foxes in the fifties. When the European fur came in. And our market just fell. So, they killed off the foxes. My father prepared the pelts and froze them in the freezer and held them until the price went back up.
I was born in nineteen fifty-three. My father was born in nineteen hundred, even. And, so let’s see, I was born in fifty-three. They slaughtered the foxes off somewhere in the fifties or sixties. And I was a little kid. No, it had to been earlier than that. Because I was a kid and they’d been in the freezer quite a while. The price went up and they brought them out and they had a couple of them—now, if you’ve ever seen a silver fox, they’re beautiful, beautiful grey silver. And he bought his first pair for a thousand dollars in the nineteen-twenties. Which was a lot of money back then. And they sold them when I was a little kid. And I can remember when they sold them, so that must’ve been, well, about ’60.
Let’s see, we had the dairy, we had that. The farm pre-fifties was half dairy and half fruit orchard. And they took the fruit and they took it to Germantown or Canaan, Connecticut to the rail-heads. What they didn’t sell locally. And in the fifties—it got hard then, to get help, like it is now. And the bugs were getting worse. You had to spray all the time. Which is something they didn’t use to do. And they cut down most of the orchard and put on twenty more head of dairy cattle, increasing it to the milking barn of forty that we had.
An interesting thing for your—is that, my mother told me about the time that it was a very dry year. Now a lot of people don’t know what folks use to use in the fruit business to keep bugs down. They used sulfur, which is natural-occurring. Which we also use for medications.
And they would take powdered sulfur. And he had a big sprayer. It had a small engine on it. And it was a wooden tub sprayer. And, now, you can still see some of them sitting around places. And that was sprayed—you had a hose on it, and a nozzle like firemen would have, almost like that, you turn it on and off. And they’d walk around and they’d spray it.
Now, they drive through with a tractor or truck with a cab that’s air-filtered. But back then they just stood on the ground and the pump ran and they drug the tank through the field.
They used sulfur and they used another naturally-occurring element called arsenic. Lead arsenic. And they sprayed that on the trees and the fruit and it kept the bugs down. This one year, my mother said, the rains did not come after the last spraying of arsenic. Which was good for the fruit, bad for the bugs, but that left a nice, funny-looking silver-grey coat on the fruit.
So, what they did to get rid of it, was they set up a sluice with lamb’s wool and ran them through that to get the arsenic off the fruit. If you watched Doctor Oz a couple of years ago, he did a segment on how there’s arsenic lead in the apple seeds. So when you drink apple juice or cider, you get this lead. Because when you make apple juice or apple cider you grind up the whole fruit.
So, they did this thing and in the orchards—the old orchards—there’s a lot of lead in the ground. From the spray. And the fruit trees pick it up and it’s concentrated in the seeds. And that’s where Doc Oz got his little ooh-wow. And a lot of people went nuts. You’d have to eat an awful, awful lot of seeds, okay, to get any kind of concentration.
And if you want to look it up, the first cure for venereal disease was arsenic lead. Because it would pass the brain barrier and kill the venereal disease in the brain. You get a little stupid, which you were stupid in the first place. But that was the first cure for syphilis, was arsenic. Nice. Anyhow, what was your next question?
WS: Are either of those two farms still in the family?
AS: No. The only thing that’s in the family now, the home, the house—the building next to the house, which is called the wagon house, where they stored the carriages and the horses. So the wagon house and six acres are still in the family. Six acres. There’s a pond on it now. My brother built the pond and then I re-dug it. When I had my ’dozers.
Nanci: What year, Andy?
AS: I don’t remember what year that was. It was probably dug about the time we got married. So, originally dug in ’79 and then a few years later I re-dug it. And the whole family had a lot fun going there swimming, picnic area there and stuff.
So, what other questions you got?
WS: Have those two properties been subdivided?
AS: No. The only subdivision that’s happened, well—. I ended up owning the pasture farm and I sold it off in three parcels. All to one person. The farm has been sold except for the house, the wagon house and six acres, and that’s intact.
There was a tenant house up the road and that was sold separate and that was on a separate property anyhow.
The original home, farmstead, had a hay barn, which was a three-story hay barn. They built them tall and big so they could hold a lot of loose hay. There was a milk house attached to that.
There was a concrete vat in the old milk house and that’s where they kept the milk cold in cans. They were still doing cans when I was a kid. So, up to about ’60, they were still pulling the ten-gallon cans of milk down to what used to be a rail-head in Ancramdale. When the rail stopped they picked it up on a truck. And everybody would take their cans of milk down there. And I barely remember that.
Nanci: Oh Andy. What about this. What about your father teaching you how to snare.
AS: Well, my father was a good trapper. And he taught me some about trapping and snaring. Snaring is where you use a—well he made his snares out of picture-hanging wire. And you make a small, non-slip knot. And you put the wire back through it and you put it in a trail where an animal’d run through it. And they’d slip their head through it and the more they’d fight, the tighter it got and they’d choke themselves to death. That’s snaring.
My brother, when he was a teenager, the 4-H ran a fox-trapping contest. Now my brother was twenty years older than I am so I wasn’t even in the picture at this time. But the 4-H ran a fox-trapping contest and you can look that up online.
And it’s funny, there’s an internationally known trapper up in Stony Creek, New York. Thorpe. Johnny Thorpe. And if you go into Gander Mountain you’ll find Johnny Thorpe’s Tanning Mix you can buy. That’s Johnny’s mix. Our son-in-law’s brother lives in Stony Creek and he loves trapping and he became a very good friend of Johnny’s.
The one time I was up there a few years ago visiting, we went over to Johnny’s and we’re sitting there talking and Johnny goes, yeah when I was a kid I entered a fox-trapping contest the 4-H had and I missed it by I think it was one fox. My brother had caught seventy-four or seventy-five foxes. And Johnny had missed it by one. Okay? And he was complaining about that and I looked at him and I said, what’d you say? He says, yeah fox-trapping contest… I said, how many contests did they have? He said, I think they only had one. And I missed it by one ’cause the kid had a car and he could drive and I couldn’t and I was limited and ya know. And I went, oh Johnny, Uh, that was my brother.
And I went home and looked it up online and sure enough, it’s there. But they ran it more than one year. Johnny was wrong. They ran it more than one year. And I’m not sure if my brother took first place or not, so I’m not sure if he’s the one who beat Johnny. Johnny’s not mentioned in the article. My brother is. But I think my brother took second place that year. So, I don’t think he beat Johnny. But we had a good laugh. Johnny’s an awful nice fella.
So, I learned some trapping. I still enjoy it. I haven’t done it for a couple years. It takes time. You have to set them. And in this part of the state you have to check them once every twenty-four hours. Upstate you check ’em once in forty-eight hours. Down here, they figure you should be able to get to your traps every day. And I’m not in disagreement over that. Especially if it’s not a kill-trap. If it’s not a kill-trap you’ll probably lose the animal. If you wait too long.
WS: What brought you to Philmont?
AS: Well, that’s interesting. What brought us to Philmont was, Nanci and I were married and I became the pastor of the Mellenville church, which was called the Victory Baptist Church at the time. It had been a Reformed Church. I became pastor there. So we bought a house up here and that’s where we are now. Prior to that we had put a house in on that 153-acre pasture farm. Which was about a mile in on a dead-end road and it was fantastic. Couldn’t see any neighbors. There was several hundred acres of swamp on the one side of the house and in the spring all you could hear was peepers. And I love peepers. That was great.
WS: That’s a good sound.
AS: Yup. We had a sawmill. My father had a sawmill up on that mountain. And the last time it ran I was about five years old. We ran it with a Farmall M tractor, belt-driven. And the tractor sits out back here. And the sawmill is tore apart. It’s in my mother’s—what was my mother’s barn. In Ancramdale. That’s there. It had a fifty-two or fifty-four inch blade. That’s the entire diameter of the blade, so it would saw just a little less than half ’a that. And, as I remember it had a sixteen-foot carriage which means it could cut a sixteen-foot log. My father milled the lumber that he built the grainery out of. And that was about sixteen-foot by, I think, forty. It was built out of white birch and oak. Now oak boards you can drive a sixteen-penny nail in. I came to find out that white birch, when it’s dry, you don’t drive a nail in it. You don’t drive a sixteen-penny nail through a one-inch birch board. Tried it several times. Ended up having to drill them.
WS: When did you start thinking of becoming a pastor?
AS: Let’s see, I came to know Christ as my lord and savior when I was twenty-four.
WS: How come then?
AS: How come then? Well, I was working at a farm, I was a foreman. On a farm that milked a hundred and fifty dairy cows. I was the outside foreman. Ran the outside crew.
And the boss come there one day and he said I’ve hired a new man. I was in the middle of the compound in front of the shop. Working on a twenty-four inch offset disc. It was for plowing fields. And I was working on that and the owner came and said I hired a new man today and I laughed and said, that’s nice. We ran a seven-man crew and we handed out over sixty W-2 forms that year. But he said, He’s different, he’s a minister. I said, a what. He said, a preacher, a minister.
I figured this had to be a joke because the only thing I knew about ministers was they were weak, mealy and the only thing they could do was minister, because they couldn’t go out and do a day’s work. That was my opinion of ministers. And that may offend a few, but I’m sorry, that’s the way I saw it. And pretty much, I still do.
And I looked at my boss and I said, I suppose I have to watch my language now. He said, Nope, nope, I already told him, he’s gonna have to put up with us the way we are. I said that’s good.
Because I used to curse worse than any person I have ever met. And I’m not kidding.
A few minutes later this new hired man pulled in in a pickup truck. Borrowed pickup truck. To move his family in. And this guy got out of the truck and came walking down there, very briskly. He weighed about 180 pounds. Well built. And had never worked on a farm in his life, but he had worked.
And he come down there and grabbed my hand. The boss introduced me and he goes Hi, glad to meetcha! And he shook my arm vigorously. And everything in me went I don’t know what that is, but get it away from me. Because we were not compatible.
So, he came to work for us. And at that time I weighed about a hundred and forty—fifty pounds. I was very skinny most of my life till I got married. My wife fattened me up.
So, he came to work there and, because he had never worked on a farm, he became my right-hand man. The beautiful thing is he would do what you asked him to do. You’d show him how to do something and he’d do it the way you showed him. He wouldn’t do it the way he wanted to; he didn’t do it the way he thought he ought to do it; he didn’t do it the way he’d learned five years ago someplace else. He did it the way you taught him.
And in the morning—Hi, how are ya! Didya have a good sleep?
And, at noontime— Did you have a good dinner! How’s your family?
And the difference that I saw in this guy—he worked with us a few months. We started at four in the morning and went till whenever we got done in the evening. Which was supposed to be six o’clock. But the men didn’t pull together—it was never six o’clock.
And he was that way every day, all day long, every day. And he started telling me how Christ came into his life. He’d been a drug addict, an alcoholic. Uneducated. And he used to drink Romlar 44-F when it came out—which was Robitussin and codeine—and it was over-the-counter. Not a prescription drug. He’d buy it by the bottle and drink it and wouldn’t know who he was for hours. Okay, that’s a problem.
So, he told me how Christ had come into his life and changed his life. He no longer drank, no longer did drugs. Had a family. He was broke but he had a family. And he was healthy and alive. And no longer an addict or a drunk.
I didn’t consider myself an alcoholic. My brother died at fifty-two. Alcohol-related. When I drank I drank seven nights a week, about seven hours a night. And my brother and I could consume large quantities of alcohol—never staggered, never fell down, never passed out, never got sick. One New Year’s Eve I had seventeen mixed drinks at the first bar in the first hour. There’s something wrong with that. I took alcohol, drug counseling courses in college—I shoulda been dead. People that have that tolerance—it’s not good. My brother had that tolerance. And he’d dead at fifty-two. And I would be.
But, anyhow, he’d told me how Christ had changed his life. I had a brand new car. I had an almost brand new motorcycle. I had the best job on the farm. The most pay. The nicest house. I didn’t have peace.
He had nothing. He had peace.
I didn’t believe in God. I’d gone to Sunday School—my mother was a Sunday School teacher for thirty years. And I had perfect attendance for thirteen years. I had those little bars you get on your pin. And I knew Bible stories. I didn’t know Jesus Christ. Nobody taught me about Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, the stories, he was born and all this stuff and I’d answer the questions properly.
This guy Dave Gooley said to me one day, he said, Do you believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin? Do you actually believe that he lived a sinless life, died on the cross for your sins, was dead and buried, rose again and ascended into Heaven and sits on the right hand of God? Do you believe that? And I stood there and went, No. And I was shocked at my answer. Because all those years in Sunday School I’d been taught Yes. And when I heard No come out of my mouth—.
At that point in my life I didn’t really think there was a God. Didn’t look like it to me. When I was fourteen, the Sunday School teachers had taught me all these golden rules and then they stood outside of church talking about the other people. Not how they could help them—just talking about ’em. And at fourteen I realized, if that’s what church is about, I don’t need this.
And when my father died I had the opportunity to stay home from church ’cause I had to work on the farm with my brother. And that suited me just fine.
So, here’s this guy telling me about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How it gave him forgiveness of his sins and gave him a new life. He was no longer an alcoholic. He was no longer a drug addict. He was no longer all the stupid things he used to do. And I could see he had peace. He had forgiveness and he had peace.
Now, every one of us does things that we cannot go back and change. We have done them. We regret them. And we can’t get away from them. And over the years, they built up and they give us a load of guilt.
It destroys some people. Some people just live with it. Unhappily the rest of their life. Not knowing they can get out from under this guilt. They can get out from under the guilt, the shame. They can have a new life.
Second Corinthians 5:17 says that if you are in Christ you are a new creation. All things are passed away; all things become new; all things are of God.
When he kept telling me these things for weeks—and like I said he had to spend most of his time with me. And he was surprised at the Bible stories I knew.
He’s telling me Jesus Christ is real and this is real.
Finally one day I went to church. And I was married to somebody else at that time. And when I came home from work that morning and there was time to get cleaned up and go to church—we worked seven days a week.
On that job we worked from four in the morning to whenever we got done at night. Seven days a week. Used to have a day off every two weeks. I was there for about a year and when I left I had eight days off coming. So, I didn’t get a lot of time off.
But that Sunday I came home and said to my wife at the time, I said, Okay, get changed, we’re gonna go to church. She said, What? Then she said, Oh, well, it’ll be good for ya.
We went to church. The guy up there at the front told me the same thing, told the congregation the same thing this guy’d been telling me for two months now.
He talked about a new life through Christ; he’d forgive your sins; give you new life; you can have hope and peace and all this stuff.
And I looked around at these people and they looked genuinely happy. And after the service, they didn’t stand around talking about each other, running each other down.
They did talk about who they could help and what they could do to help. And when the plate got passed, they didn’t drop a dollar in the plate. They dropped in twenties and many people dropped in several twenties. And he didn’t stand up there demanding that they give. These people were putting their money where their mouth is. They believe this.
And he’d been talking about this for a couple months, every day.
And it got me thinking, that maybe there is a God.
Well, if there is a supreme being, okay—this is what I kept thinking—if there is a supreme being, he’s not going to like me. I was not a nice person. I did a lot of things that almost nobody knows about and most of the people who knew the few things that they did know are dead. Okay? If there was a supreme being, he wouldn’t like me.
And if he was the supreme being of that Bible that I grew up hearing about and that this guy was talking about—.
This guy never told me I was a sinner. He never told me I was filthy, rotten, dirty, nasty or anything else. Never rebuked me for my cursing. That’s who I was.
I knew who I was. And if there was a supreme being, he wouldn’t like me.
And I wanted peace. I wanted forgiveness. And, one night, I laid in bed and I could not stop thinking about it. And I read this little tract that asked you questions about what you believe.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We’re all gonna die. That is a given. Death and taxes are real. I believe in both of them.
So I couldn’t sleep—I laid there thinking about it and thinking about it. And I thought about this Christ. Who was he? Was he who they said he was? Was he Christ? Was he God? And I didn’t believe. And I laid there and I thought about it.
And I had tremendous conviction and turmoil in my soul because I knew who I was. And I’m looking at a God who does not allow that type of people in front of him.
And I remember the moment that I laid there in bed and said, “Lord, I believe.”
And I remember the moment that I believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God. Born of a virgin. Lived a sinless life. Died on the cross for my sins. Was dead and buried. Rose again the third day. And now sits at the right hand of God.
I remember the precise moment I believed that.
And I remember laying there, going—wow, I believe it.
It did nothing for me.
Scripture says that demons believe and tremble. It doesn’t help them either.
Believing isn’t the only key.
So, I’m lying there and I have no idea. I don’t pray, I don’t know how to pray. I was twenty-four years old. You could count on one hand the times I’d been in church since I was fourteen. I didn’t know what to pray.
But I remember the moment I believed and then I said Lord, whatever it is these people have—and I knew they had peace and forgiveness—I said I want that.
And at that moment, that sin and guilt and shame that I carried for all those years was lifted and it was gone.
And I was given a new life like it says in Corinthians.
And from that moment forward, my life changed.
When I was in school I had an average of fifty, fifty-five, on my report card, or less. In tenth grade the guidance counselor, the principal, said—it’s written on my report card—I strongly suggest that Andrew be enrolled in BOCES next year. And what he didn’t put on there was, he’s too stupid to do anything else—you better get him a trade.
So I did, I took heavy mechanics.
But at that moment he changed my life. In school I took special reading classes through the sixth grade. They didn’t have them in seventh grade. By seventh grade you’re supposed to be able to read. I learned phonetics, I could read words. I could look at a word, pronounce it out and read it. But when I read a sentence—it’s rare; it’s a rare condition—when I read a sentence I left out words that were there, whole words, and put in words that weren’t there. So it meant nothing.
I’d quit school in the eleventh grade and I had worked at reading and I understood that I did this. But after coming to Christ—he changed my life, he changed my mind.
I’ve been in and out of college several times. Studied many things. When I went into college for nursing, I can take those large nursing books that we had to read and read a page a minute. And take a test within the next day or two and get an A or a high-B.
That’s not only reading. That’s comprehension and remembering.
I don’t have the mind that I had.
God has been good to me.
He gave me a new brain. He gave me a new mind. Scripture talks about renewing the mind in Christ. So he gave me a new life.
And I had a desire to teach people what Jesus had done in my life. And I’ve seen him do it in many, many, many people’s lives.
When you watch a Billy Graham crusade and he gives that simple message about sin and salvation and you see these people go forward, they’re asking Christ to come into their life. They’re acknowledging that they’re sinners. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God has a scoreboard that’s perfect. And we don’t make it. We don’t make it.
I wanted to share that with people. I wanted to teach people about it. And that’s what happened.
We lived in Ancramdale in a new house. The church I was in I couldn’t do anything except give money and fill a pew. And I felt God wanted more for us.
So Nanci and I went and visited a couple other churches. Her mother went to the church we came to know Christ in. And she said, come on, visit. We knew the pastor. We’d met the family before. We went there that Sunday and when we went through the doors, I was home.
That’s the only way I can explain it. When I walked through those doors I went—wow.
And that day they asked me if I would fill the pulpit next week. Because he was sick. And I said I’ll pray about it. And I did. And then I filled it a few more times. And a few other people did. And we started going there regularly and I filled the pulpit more. And he came back from his sickness. He had a back injury. We worked together for a year or so. We became very close. Our families. Our wives.
And he had another operation on his back and he just said I can’t continue. I have to resign. I have to stop. And they wanted me to become the pastor. So I became ordained. I became an ordained independent Baptist minister. And we pastored in that church—I say we because I put my wife through it too—we were there about fifteen, sixteen years.
Nanci: Was it that long?
AS: Yup, all together.
Nanci: Glory, be.
AS: And then I became pastor of the Gallatin Reformed Church. And the Gallatin Reformed Church is over two hundred and fifty years old. They had the 250th anniversary the year we went there. And they asked me to stay and I was there seventeen years. At Gallatin. And at the back of Gallatin’s church wall, there is the original charter. And I’m reading this charter one day after I’d been there a couple years. And I see this name at the bottom: Jeremiah Burger.
My great-grandparents were Burgers. And I said to my mother a few days later, Do you know a Jeremiah Burger? And she said Oh yeah that was your grandmother’s—it was my father’s mother’s father or grandfather. Was one of the charter members of the Gallatin Reformed Church. Two hundred and fifty years ago.
And he’s buried in the cemetery and the stone is so old it’s gone.
The church building that’s there now in Gallatin was built—finished in 1838. During the American Revolution, a Robert Livingston—Bob Livingston—filled the pulpit several times. During the American Revolution. And I’m standing there looking at this charter on the back wall going, oh wow. And I’m here.
We were there seventeen years. Pastored there.
And I resigned there two years ago September.
And I’m not pastoring anywhere right now although we do share what Christ does for people. And we will always share what Christ does for people.
He changed our lives. I’m not dead—I’m sixty-two. My brother’s dead. I’ve got dead uncles, dead aunts—alcoholics. It kills people.
I was with a friend of mine one time—I had to look at a big contracting job, I needed help. I didn’t want to babysit people. He was a good plumber, a good electrician. And I said, let’s take a ride, let’s look at this job. He was one of my brother’s best drinking buddies. And we got talking about guys we both drank with twenty, thirty years before that. He lived in a bit of a different area, so he saw guys I didn’t see and I saw guys he didn’t see.
And we’re going along, I’m driving and I go Reggie, wait a minute, all those guys we drank with—and this is quite a few years ago—either stopped drinking or they are dead. My brother was dead, all these other guys that we drank with either had stopped drinking or they were dead. Reggie and his brother Bob had both had bypass surgeries because of their lifestyles. Drinking had almost killed both of them. And they had stopped because they had to either stop or die. But—and the youngest one of that died at twenty-five years old. And, they’re scattered over the landscape.
Drinking killed them. Still kills.
WS: What would you say frustrates you the most right now?
AS: Well, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of things that frustrate me. I guess I would have to say what frustrates me the most is the direction I see our country heading in.
Right now I’m reading a book about George Washington. And something we don’t have in our politicians and ministers and leaders and teachers—I think they’d have to go back and get an old Webster’s dictionary to read it to know what it means—it’s called character. The United States of America was very fortunate and I’ve known this for a long time, I’ve read other works, I’ve read other writings of Washington and Jefferson and a few others. George Washington when he became president could have become King George of America.
That’s what they wanted him to do. He refused. He believed in this American republic run by the people. They believed that the people would go there, the senators, congressmen, presidents, they would go there for a few years and then return to their life. It wouldn’t become a job that they would protect by selling it.
There was one president, I forget which one it was—after he left the presidency, he was asked to do this-that-and-the-other-thing and he said No, the presidency is not for sale.
Every other president who has left the presidency has become wealthy because he was president.
Uhh, Clinton says Oh we were broke.
The year Bill became president he made nine million.
The year that Obama ran for president he made four million.
And President Obama got into office and said, everybody needs to give more. They need to give to their charities and stuff. Four million—he gave four thousand.
Nine million. They gave like eight thousand.
There something in the Bible about ten percent. I don’t think eight thousand is ten percent of eight, nine million.
And now they’re multi-millionaires. They’ve sold the presidency.
George Washington when he was president was asked to pass laws that would not allow Catholics, Jews and people of many other religions to ever hold office in the United States. He said no. They fought and died right alongside of us. We will not pass any laws in regard of a religion.
In nineteen fifty-something, the congress established a little committee to research this separation of church and state. It doesn’t exist in the Constitution. Does not exist in the Constitution. The committee came back to congress and said no, there’s nothing, there’s no grounds for this no-religion-in-government, government-can’t-have-religion. Congress is opened with prayer. Yet today. Okay? Wow. But we can’t have prayer in schools. Oh, this could be bad for the kids. Maybe it is—it ain’t helping congress much.
We were fortunate to have men of character who set aside their personal feelings and belief. And I work as a registered nurse today and I don’t care what your thoughts are or what your beliefs are, I will honor your desires. Even if I do not agree with them.
No, I won’t marry gay and lesbians. I won’t perform their weddings. I don’t care what they do. I’m not gonna hurt them. I’m not out to hurt them. It’s a lifestyle that’ll kill you just like alcohol or drugs. And if you don’t think so, read their own findings.
Years ago I looked up psych history—psych records. Even articles written by gay and lesbian authors cite the psych issues that they have. This is a problem for them. This is not healthy. In a lot of ways. It’s all part of us.
What else would you like to ask?
WS: Let’s see. I had some questions that you covered on your own—. You must have some advice on how best to live life.
AS: Well, I could quote Washington and Lincoln and a few others here. My grandfather—I have somewhere my grandfather’s primer reader. When he was a little kid in school. I also have his slate. Kids didn’t have writing tablets. They had slates. And chalk. And that’s what they wrote their lessons on. His primer, like to learn his ABCs, are Scripture verses. Oh, we want separation of church and state, right? This is what built this country. This education. These people.
So my grandfather’s primer reader—you learned the ABCs by Scripture verses. The ABCs were connected to Scripture verses. Character was taught from the Bible.
You know, we have a Judeo-Christian heritage. If you want to know who you are—I grew up in the sixties, Ohh I gotta find myself—until you know who your creator is you ain’t gonna know who you are.
Everybody wants to know where they came from and where they’re going. Read the Bible.
I would recommend that a person sincerely seek after God. Not with your pre-conceived ideas. But read the Bible, what I call the word of God. Read the Bible. And ask him to reveal himself.
And the Scripture says if you diligently seek him, he will reveal himself to you. He will not hide himself. Another Scripture says, if you lack knowledge, ask God. He gives knowledge to people, not considering who they are. He isn’t going well you’re a white guy or a black guy or an Indian or a purple or red or yellow—you’re too fat, too skinny, you’re too dumb, you’re too stupid, you’re too smart, you’re rich, you’re poor—no. The Scripture says if you ask God he will give you wisdom liberally and does not consider who you are. He has done that for me. And he has done that for many others.
I don’t know about you, but I do not expect I will live to a hundred and twenty. Which means, at some point, I’ll die. Probably sooner than a hundred-twenty. Every person dies. Every person is gonna face it.
I’ve come to believe it doesn’t matter how you die, when you die or where you die. This is important. It doesn’t matter how much money you have.
I used to think if I had ten, twenty, thirty, forty thousand dollars I could start a business. I really believed I needed fifty thousand dollars to start a business. I started my business with seventy-five dollars, my first one. Worked it for fifteen years. Seventy-five dollars. The first day I made a hundred and seventy-five dollars. And I went, wow, I can do this. Now, I slit my wrist and almost cut my finger off. But I made a hundred and seventy-five dollars. I’ve done that and made almost nothing.
That was my first business. I started this foolishness of self-employment when I was twenty-five. The following year after I got saved I started my own business. I was a hoof-trimmer of dairy cattle. Hoof-trimmed dairy cattle for fifteen years. I did construction for around thirty years. I am sixty-two. My wife and I have been involved in probably thirty businesses over the years. General contractor. I can design your house. Dig the foundation. Lay the foundation. Put in the electric. Put in the well. Put in the plumbing. Put in the heating system. I can do all of your electric. All of your plumbing. All of your heating. I don’t do air conditioning. I missed that one. I can do your tile work. I can do your wallpapering. Your painting. Your finish sheetrock. Your trim work. I can do your landscaping. I use to own a bulldozer and a dump truck. Excavating. The only heavy equipment I have not run, are a roller and a crane. I would love to run a crane. Roller I don’t care about.
WS: Any parting thoughts?
AS: …I’ve done a lot of weddings. A lot of funerals. Lot of baptisms. Seen some people come to know Christ. And I imagine we’ve used up all your time and then some. Anytime you wanna talk some more, come on back.