I wouldn’t trade places
Everything is relative. Yesterday’s struggles are today’s blessings.
To illustrate this, I admit that one of the stupid things I’ve been known to say is that I wouldn’t have minded living during pioneer days. Then I remember how hard it was to do the family laundry, and I am quickly disabused of whatever notion I might have on being a pioneer.
Things really didn’t improve a lot for women until the late 1920s, early 1930s, and a lot of time flowed over the bridge prior to the advent of that wonder, the automatic washing machine. Before that, I can remember the way the women in my grandmother’s family had to wash clothes, and while I might not have paid a lot of attention in those days, I still saw enough to know I wouldn’t want to have to do that job the way they did, and I am doubly thankful that I don’t have to wash clothes like the pioneer woman, doing it outdoors, in creek water, rubbing the dirt out by hand or beating it away against a rock.
Happily, by the time I was born, or at least by the time I could form any kind of mental impressions, the kitchen in my grandmother’s house already had a sink, a homemade thing I pretty much took for granted. I also took for granted the pump that brought water in from a trough that went from the sink and out through the walls of the house to a pipe that was sunk into a well. I remember my grandmother and her daughters acted as though they were rich because they could pump water, buckets and buckets of water; enough to fill a wash tub put to heat on top of the cook stove. Thinking back, it makes me tired to realize that they had to lift that tub of water from the stove and situate it on a waiting washstand. In addition, I remember how hard those women worked with a small-legged contraption called a washboard which they rubbed their clothes against. Hard Work!
Then, in God’s own time, power lines were stretched across the countryside. Soon after that, we acquired electricity, and you can just bet that housewives began to get themselves those wringer-type washing machines which was a giant step up. Yep. We’ve come a long way, Baby.
For that matter, in most every aspect of life, we have gone forward. We have harnessed the atom, put men on the moon, seen into the deepest reaches of the universe. Of course, in every accomplishment there were those who moaned and groaned and predicted dire end results. When they tested the first atom bomb, and though I myself still wish we could have gotten along without that, I didn’t actually think it would cause a chain reaction around the world, spelling doom for all mankind. When space exploration became an everyday endeavor, I didn’t really believe that men at NASA could actually look through a hole in the ozone layer and see the Holy City coming down from Heaven. Wrong! The only human who has ever seen that sight was John, when he was in exile on the Isle of Patmos.
We hear a lot about the long expected end of time. I am sure no one knows when it will happen, so it doesn’t change a thing if we fret about this doomsday prediction. As long as we are ready for that eventually, we can relax and take life as it comes. I am just glad that I am alive in this age of promise, and I am watching and waiting, as the Lord has told us to do.
So no. I really wouldn’t want to be living in some earlier time. And in addition to all the reason why I wouldn’t trade places with a pioneer lady, I surely wouldn’t want to have to do without my automatic washer and dryer. Best of all, with each day that passes, I’m that much nearer home than I was the day before.
I think I don’t remember
The older I get the more I realize just how imperfect I am. I was always told that with age comes wisdom, and while that may indeed be true when it comes to matters of love or learning how to treat a cold, it obiviously doesn’t apply to everyone.
Many years ago when I was working, raising a child, and running a household, I did a lot of things many overworked and busy mothers do. In my rush to get things done quickly I’ve found my shoes in the fridge and the milk on the cereal shelf. Things like that used to happen so often that it almost became normal for me.
Then there were the times I would arrive at work only to discover that I was wearing two different shoes or mismatched socks or earrings. I’ve even discovered that I’ve worn my blouse buttoned unevenly and that was at an important function where I was supposed to look dignified. That’s difficult to do when your blouse is hanging lower on one side.
And I can’t tell you the times I’ve left a store only to discover that I can’t find my car. I’ve been told that this is nothing to worry about since many things like this are done in haste. The time to worry is when you don’t know what kind of car you are driving.
But this past week I outdid myself. I wasn’t in a particular hurry to get to a meeting, but I waited until the last minute to decide what to wear. Quickly, I donned an old sweat outfit and went on my way. The meeting didn’t last long so I decided to visit with some friends before going home to fix supper. When I finally arrived home, I walked into the kitchen just as some friends of ours came through the door behind me.
“How did your meeting go?” My friend Ann asked, with a smile that was hinging on laughter.
“It went fine, why?” I asked, curious to know what was so funny.
“Did you wear that sweatshirt?” she queried.
“Well, yes,” I replied hesitantly.
“Did anyone notice that it was inside out?” she roared.
“Why, Sara, your sweatshirt IS inside out!” Ronnie admonished me.
There I stood looking down at my sweatshirt with the word “LEXINGTON” spelled out backwards on the front. No wonder my friends acted so anxious when I said I was going to drive myself home! I suppose they were worried since I couldn’t even dress myself.
But, no harm no foul. I did what I always do in stupid situations like this —- I ate.
Have a great week and don’t forget to Smile Awhile!
Movie cowboys were not real
Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s December. If this were 1945, I’d be pretty confident that before this month was over, I’d be strapping on a brand new set of silver-plated, pearl handled genuine Hopalong Cassidy six guns … via the Montgomery Ward catalog, of course.
A real good haul on Christmas morning would also find me eating a big orange while wearing a pair of fringe-trimmed chaps, a bright red bandanna and a ten-gallon hat – that lost its shape as soon as it got wet.
The shiny new guns I so proudly wore were called “cap busters” and they usually came with an ample supply of caps; the red ones; the ones that came in little rolls and fed up through the top of the make-believe weapon as fast as I could pull the trigger. Most of the time, what smoke was generated came from the area where the hammer struck powder and not from the business end of the weapon. Never the less, after a fiery round at the very nervous family cat, which unknowingly had been temporarily changed into a puma … or some other varmint suspected of stalking the cattle I’d bedded down for the night, I’d hold the gun upright and blow imaginary smoke from the barrel.
I didn’t restrict my shooting to four-legged critters, either. And unless it was sub-zero weather, I’d take my act outside and with every neighbor I’d see becoming a target, just like I’d see my cowboy heroes do every Saturday morning at the Sipp and Royal Theaters, I spent many a cold winter’s day knocking sneaky, black-hatted rustlers and bank robbers from their saddles as they tried to stampede the herd or get away after holding up the Wells Fargo stage. When I’d run out of caps, I’d make the noise of the gun with my mouth and not miss a beat.
But not even for a second did I ever think that what I, or those cowboy heroes on the big silver screen, was doing was anything other than make believe. I knew that what they were doing was … well, just a movie. In the first place, the dirty, low-down, rotten crook the main player (Gene Autry or Roy Rogers) had tossed into jail last week was the same dirty, low-down rotten crook that Rocky Lane or the Durango Kid had put behind bars the week before that.
I guess that’s why I now have difficulty, some sixty-five, or so, years later, in believing that TV shows and movies are a major cause of young people today exhibiting such violent behavior. I mean, if a coal-camp kid in the mid-1940s was smart enough to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, since youngsters today are a pretty intelligent bunch themselves, they know the difference, too.
It seems to me that somebody needs to blame somebody for the misbehavior of today’s youngsters. I don’t want to point fingers, but I guess what it all boils down to is this: when I was a kid, cowboys were not real. Parents were.
Leaning on friends and giving thanks
For the past four months, I have been experiencing the after-effects of chemotherapy treatments that I took to combat any errant cancer cells that may have visited other obscure sites in my body. And after four treatments, I am proud to announce that my doctors say that I am totally cancer-free!
The effects of chemo can be devastating and painful; however, losing my hair was the least traumatic for me. (Ronnie’s been bald since his late 20’s). Although I had a reaction that caused my hair follicles to burn that made losing my hair painful, being bald as a bowling ball didn’t upset me at all. In fact, the wigs I purchased looked a lot better than my hair ever did. While no one cut their hair in my honor (it wouldn’t have helped me one bit), my dear friend Katie did make the observation that “I had a perfect fully shaped head.” Now that’s what friends are really for!
The one side-effect that I didn’t anticipate was the neuropathy that I’m still having in my feet and hands. Even though my friend Cinder warned me about it, the numbness in my fingers and feet has been quite painful at times and certainly debilitating to say the least. Diabetics and those who experience back and neck pain often have this condition. It makes it extremely difficult to pick up objects or walk since the bottoms of your feet are tingly and you’re hesitant to take steps. After five years, Cinder still experiences the neuropathy from time to time so I expect I will be no different.
One side-effect I have that many do not is the blurring of my vision. But since I already have trouble in this area, the oncologist and my retina specialist aren’t sure if it was caused from the treatments. To ensure that I won’t have future problems my retina specialist has recommended bi-lateral injections in my eyes for the next three months.
While these are all symptoms of what chemotherapy treatment can do, the anticipation of killing cancer cells makes the process worthwhile. But I am sure of one thing, this year I have much to be thankful for. I also have friends who are going through these same issues and they are doing well also. I thank God everyday for those healthcare workers who strive to make our lives easier. Life is precious.
Again, I am eternally grateful to my family, friends, and those who have prayed for my recovery. God Bless you all!
Have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to Smile Awhile!
Seems to happen all at once
Believe it or not, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Christmas is exactly 28 days away.
I can recall that when I was a kid, I would hear folks saying that time flies as we get older. But back then, with a lifetime ahead of me and aging the furthest thing from my mind, that concept – which I now accept as pure fact – was terribly hard to grasp; seemed like Christmas and birthdays took years to get here. Now, of course, it seems that only last month I was toting Christmas decorations back to the attic.
But the good news as it regards the swiftness, with which the world goes by these days, is that now that the leaves have fallen, it won’t be long before the snow does likewise. Matter of fact, that just might happen before this sees print. Then, before you know it, we’ll start having the frogs sing their spring-time refrains and the grass will start turning green again. Pesky dandelions will literally take over our lawns and we’ll bemoan the fact that the hedge is about to need trimming … again. It’s always been that way, of course, but it just didn’t seem to happen so all at once.
In a 1940s coal camp, winter lasted forever. This time of year — much to Mom’s chagrin, I’m sure — drove me indoors. Fortunately, I had a younger brother with whom to share those long, late-fall and winter afternoons. Since TV was still a thing of the future, older siblings kept us supplied with a ton of reading material (funny books) and one of them had bought us a card game called Authors. (That’s where I first heard of Louisa Mae Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Dickens). We had a Monopoly game, too and when we weren’t fighting and scratching and generally giving Mom grief, we spent hours on end buying hotels and passing “Go” without collecting $200.
But I digress.
Back to tomorrow being Thanksgiving, perhaps I’m extraordinarily fortunate, but I don’t think I could ever list all the reasons I have to be thankful and say why I truly appreciate this holiday. I have a wonder wife, Wilma Jean, and family that care for me; a fine son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Marcy, who have given us Alison and Owen, our two grandchildren. I have great friends I can count on and who, I truly hope realize can count on me too.
On top of all that, I have a loving church family who has time and time again proven its love and dedication to me and mine. I live in a country that is, even with all its problems, greater than any civilization at any time in the history of man.
And finally, I appreciate my readers and value deeply their comments and criticism.
So whether we’re ready for it or not, have a happy Thanksgiving.