Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Conversations with Random People --25 #T

I was in our local Consumer Value Store to pick up an item in the shaving needs aisle and a prescription.  I entered the aisle and easily located the prize I was seeking but it was on a bottom shelf.  I hate to bend down to retrieve things.  However, squatting down herself to get an item from a bottom shelf opposite my bottom shelf was a lady of a certain age.  She looked up, apologized for blocking the passage.  "Not a problem," I said.  " I just need to get an item over here."

She stood.  "It is such a pain to have to get down," she stated.

"I know what you mean, though for me I can get down readily enough but I am never sure I'll be able to stand up again."

She chuckled, then went into the getting-old-ain't-it-awful routine.  "I'll be sixty-five next month," she informed me.  "It's not just the aches and pains, but my health overall."

Uh, oh, I thought.  I'm in for it now.  And  I was.  She started with the dread of Alzheimer's. Told me her mother had it and she was constantly on edge for fear she was going to suffer the same fate.

"You may not get it.  Not everyone whose parent suffered from that does."

"Oh, yes; I almost certainly will.  My grandmother had it,  too.  Mother lived to be 94 and the last two years of her life were very unpleasant."

"Well, you may have a long way to go, then."  Always  trying to be an encourager, even when my efforts are clearly doomed to fail.  And they did.  She moaned on and the litany of ills got longer as each passing minute got even longer.  I was beginning to try to think of a way to graciously extricate myself from this conversation that I did not initiate.  I started to move slowly toward the pharmacy.  She kept talking. 

Suddenly she said, "How old are you, anyway?'  Well, she asked, so I told her.  "No!"  There's no way you can be 83."

"Well, yes.  I have children your age."

Conversation stopper.  Thankfully.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tax Day in America

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:7-8 (KJV)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

California, Fourth Trip

This one was a road trip.  Mom, Dad, kids in the car-- you may be familiar with the drill.  The vehicle was a '41 Chrysler Royal club coupe, a car with but two doors but adequate seating for six.  Remember, no seat belts, no kiddie seats and, which became an issue eventually, no air conditioning.

"Are we there yet?"

Actually, no.  It was a long trip from Colorado Springs to Ventura, US 85-87 to Route 66, on to Southern California.

A few memories:

I remember somewhat the anticipation of seeing the Petrified Forest and the disappointment I felt, but did not express, when upon passing through all I saw was a bunch of rocks-- no trees.  What kind of forest is that?

I seem to recall jogging south from Flagstaff and driving through Oak Creek Canyon and being duly impressed with the town of Jerome, clinging as it was to the mountainside, clothes flapping on the lines which were on pulleys so the laundry could be reeled in.  I mean, there were no yards.

 The drive from Needles to Barstow was hot (remember, no AC) and interminable.  Oh, not really interminable. I think it was in Barstow that I saw my first date palm.  Quite impressive.

I will make no attempt to retrace the visits to the grandparents, the uncles and aunts, cousins, and so on around Ventura, San Fernando, Riverside and points thither and yon.

An amusing recollection from the return trip is this.  My mother, who was in her late thirties at the time, had never driven an automobile.  Somewhere in the desert in New Mexico, the parents, probably mostly Dad, decided that Mama should learn to drive, and here was the ideal spot for that!  Dad pulled over and the parents exchanged seats.  Mom actually got the car into the driving lane and headed down the road.  She may have driven as much as fifteen or twenty miles, Dad instructing her the full time, you understand, and soon my little mother was a nervous wreck, pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the car and got out, walked around to the other side the vehicle.  So far as I know Mother never got behind the wheel of a car again in her life.

I thought I had posted an article some years back describing the most memorable part of this journey, but no, apparently I did not, for I cannot find it.  That will require another post.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Guidelines for Humor

You just told a joke and it appears the auditor did not get it. Explain the joke or move on?

Move on.  Do not waste your time explaining.

Puns are often subject to failure to grasp.  Let it be.

Satire is often lost on certain people.  It is not your loss.  Unfortunately their failure to grasp the concept lends itself to misunderstandings that may be perpetuated by repeating the piece in the belief that it is a serious item.

Sarcasm for the most part should be avoided as a vehicle for humor.  Why?  Because it is not funny.

Also vulgarity is not funny  Allow no dirty jokes in your repertoire.  To the best of your ability, don't listen to them either.  They are demeaning to others and worse, to yourself.

Laugh a lot, but don't be the first to laugh at your own joke.  Maybe it isn't funny.  Heaven forbid.

He who brays at his own humor. . .  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

California Again: Trip Three

Image result for 1937 chevrolet In 1944 we moved to Colorado Springs but Mother's family was still in California so another trip was planned, this one a bit different from the two previous trips.

The war was still on and rationing was still in effect. Gasoline was severely limited.  But Dad had a "C" coupon due to his occupation.  He had a friend in the same line of work who had the same rationing status and he had a 1937 Chevrolet.  He and his wife wanted to make a trip to California but there was the gasoline issue.  The parents decided that Mom and the kids could make the trip with Mr. and Mrs. Meyers and by sharing gasoline rationing stamps they calculated the trip was possible.

So three adults, two children along with luggage took off in the old Chevy, California bound!  And just how was this trip memorable?  In order to conserve fuel, Mr. Meyers calculated that a speed limit of 35 miles per hour would best serve that end.  Therefore from Colorado Springs to Southern California and back, the car never exceeded a speed of 35.

It was a long trip.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Unity in the Lord

Differences of opinion arise and may result in conflict.  However, Christians bickering with one another provide a poor example of Christ's love for the world.  The Apostle Paul was made aware of conflict within the church at Philippi.  He addresses the issue.
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.  --Philippians 4:1-4 (KJV)
There is no hint as to the conflict between Syntyche and Euodias but we know it was creating a problem within the church.  Paul says, "Please!  Unity in Christ Jesus!"   Whether the dispute was between these two women differing with one another or, as some have suggested, these two women creating turmoil by disagreement with church polity or policy we are, again, uncertain.  What we do know is that Euodias and Syntyche were leaders, perhaps even ordained in the church.  Their voices and their examples bore weight within the community.  Paul pleads for unity and he asks for help of those who are yoked together with him in Christ in resolving the differences posed by these strong women in the church.

No less should we be careful, no matter how our opinions might differ, to present a united front in the presentation of the true gospel, the love of God and Christ crucified for the remission of our sins, eschewing conflicts, no matter how minor, which might hinder the work with which we are charged!
Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. --Romans 15:33 (KJV)
Image from Comefillyourcup,com

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Second California Trip

Our next family trip to Sunny Southern California occurred either a year or two years later than the Santa Fe trip described earlier, I think in 1943.  We took the Rio Grande Road through the Royal Gorge (which was a mere eight miles from our domicile) and over Tennessee Pass, on into Utah where we changed trains in Salt Lake City.

The most striking thing to my nine-year old mind was the crowded conditions on the train.  This was at the height of World War II and troop movements were being facilitated by every means available.  The train was overflowing with troops, most of whom were in fatigues and carrying huge duffel bags which were used as bolsters on which to lie as they filled the aisles.  Every available space seemed to be filled with a human body or its belongings.  Actually, I don't remember much more about the journey.

My sister, Vee, in a comment on the previous post, reminded me of a number of things I might mention about our visit to Ventura and the San Fernando area.  She recalled the black paint on the top half of the auto headlights and the fear of bombing by the Japanese.  Add to that my recollection of the dirigibles floating in the sky with cables hanging down in which to entangle any undesirable aircraft.  She also mentioned that the kids were admonished to be quiet so as not to disturb the neighbors.  I did think it odd to have strangers living on the other side of the wall in the same house.  Duplex, I think they called it.  Our Indiana friends call them doubles.

It was at Ventura that I first saw an ocean and I must say I was duly impressed.


Rio Grande Depot, Salt Lake City

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

First Trip to California #T

I recall four trips from Colorado to California during the 1940s.  Details are sketchy, but vignettes were impressed deeply in my memory.  I would have been about seven years of age during the first of these trips, thirteen at the time of the last.

The first journey was from Canon City to Los Angeles via the Santa Fe.  This would have been, I think, in 1941.  We, the family I mean, boarded the train at Pueblo and traveled through Raton Pass into New Mexico, and this provided one of the most vivid memories of the trip.  The train was drawn by a steam engine.  The Super Chief War Bonnet powered by diesel electric also ran this route but we were not Hollywood celebrities or movers and shakers.

At Trinidad helper engines were added to the train to assist it in making the grade and a very steep grade it is at 3.5%, which my seven-year old self did not know.  I looked it up.  The locomotives were chuffing up the grade, smoke pouring copiously into the atmosphere.  We discovered that on certain curves one could look out the window of our car and see the engine in the rear pushing us along.  I can see it yet.  Mallet, Dad said.  Mallay, I  heard, which is the pronunciation of the word.

Santa Fe Station, Raton, New Mexico

 Other bits of memory from this trip include the red peppers hanging on the sides of the houses around Bernalillo and across New Mexico; the more-or-less interminable transit of the desert lands between Albuquerque and Los Angeles; the arrival at Union Station in L.A. where we were met by the Uncle and the reunion with Mother's family began!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Magdalen, Evangelist

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.  --John 20:17,18 (AKJV)

He is risen!  The Good News was vouchsafed to Mary Magdalene and Jesus at once commissioned her as the first Christian evangelist.

Easter, the celebration of Christ overcoming death and the grave, is the best day of the year!

Have you accepted the gift Christ gives?

Happy Easter!