Education and Common Sense
A whole week of “Thankfuls”
A few weeks ago, I was challenged by a Facebook buddy to list three blessings I was thankful for on each of seven days. I duly listed my “thankfuls” on Facebook. Today, I would like to share my list of blessings at this Thanksgiving Season with those who read this column weekly.
Day One:.1. I thank God for the assurance that when I die, I am going to Heaven; not because I am good, but because Jesus is good, and I trusted Him to save me when I was ten years old and read a little red “Gospel of John” Tract and signed my name that I claimed Jesus as my Savior.
2.The second “thankful” is for a loving family in which I was never hungry or cold, never unclothed, unfed, unwashed, uncared for, or unloved.
3. That I learned to read before I went to school, and since that time I have never been bored.
Day Two:I. I was married to the kindest, most honest man I have ever known, and he loved me as devotedly as I loved him.
2. I have always had a job that has provided me with the necessities of life. 3. I was privileged to teach for over thirty years in one of the best high schools in Kentucky, and I have former students doing great and wonderful things for society all over the United States.
Day Three: My three children who have never put a crack in my heart. 1. My first born, Cathy Mattingly, who has her father’s trait of doing exactly what is right as nearly as she knows. She is a retired school librarian, a Sunday School teacher, and W.M.U. stalwart. She is responsible for seeing that I get to where I need to go, is the executor of my will, but she is also my Power of Attorney, not only in financial matters, but in my health also. She is responsible to be the one to authorize “pulling the plug” when I can no longer get well.
2. Patti Rice, my artist daughter, who is also a teacher, as are her sister and brother. She is a talented Art teacher and failthful Christian. She is Cathy’s substitute in all the endeavors concerning me in case Cathy is not able to perform the task. She calls me each school day morning on her way to school.
3. Stephen Harold Rice, ten years younger than Patti, who has been the director of the West Potomac High School Band in Alexandria, Va. for over twenty years. He is President of Virginia Music Educators, and his band is one of the best in Virginia.
Day Four:1. My two adult grandchildren, Jennifer Guthrie and Justin Mattingly, my two high school age grandchildren, Drew and Shelby Rice, my two step-grandchildren, Halen and Samantha Anderson, my two great-grandchildren, Thomas Eric and Sebastian Baxter Guthrie. 2. My two children and one grandchild by marriage, Marvin Mattingly, Wendy Sue Rice, and Kevin Guthrie. 3. Dozens of “adopted” surrogate children and grandchildren I have known over the years.
Day Five: 1. I am thankful that I was born in the United States of America. 2. I had two honest, hard-working, sober Christian parents, who taught me right from wrong, and disciplined me with love. 3. I grew up on a farm and know how food is produced and how much work is involved in its production.
Day Six: 1. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to serve God for sixty years at Liberty Baptist Church, at Denver, Kentucky, in east Kentucky. 2. I was also privileged to serve in various capacities in Enterprise Baptist Association and Woman’s Missionary Union. 3. I thank God I was asked to be Mrs. Eileen Mullins’ “sidekick” when God told her to create The Haven of Rest, a hospitality house for families of inmates in the Big Sandy Federal prison.
Day 7. 1. My present church, West Broadway Baptist; its pastor, Timothy Bouegher, who never preaches a dull sermon, the music director, Brent Witten, who can sing, play the piano (as well as tune it), lead the choir, teach music to the young ones, answer their thorny theological questions, and preach a pretty good sermon if need be; my Sunday School class of “Mature “ Adults; the Monday Ladies Bible Study Group; the Wednesday Night Ladies’ Group. 2. The Wednesday afternoon Bible study and the Sunday afternoon Chapel service led by Chaplain Peter Kaufman here at Horizon Bay Retirement Complex, where I live. 3. The thousands of readers I have of this column “Education and Common Sense,” which I have been writing weekly for over twenty five years, and that age 89, I am still able to continue writing it. And finally, I am thankful for the 1518 Facebook friends I have accumulated on the Internet.
God is so good. I thank Him for all these blessings.
Talking out of ‘context’
Technology isn’t my thing. I admit, I’m attached to my IPad, computers are a necessity, and Sirius Radio “rocks,” but, after all these years, cell phones are still an enigma to me. Those of you who know me well are probably saying, “Yeah, right, Miss ‘On the telephone 24/7’.” But actually, I rarely use my cell phone. It is not an extension of me, but most people can’t live without them.
For example, last week I tried for four days to get in touch with my son in Lexington. The first day I called and left a message that said I needed to talk with him ASAP. Thinking he may have misunderstood the acronym, I called again 24 hours later and left another message saying, “This isn’t an emergency, but my hair’s on fire.” No response. The next day I called and said in a weak voice, “I have been diagnosed with Ebola.” By this time I was feeling pretty rejected to say the least so I sent a text that read, “I have a son in Lexington, have you seen him?” Within seconds I heard a beep and the words, “How are you, Mom?” showed up on my phone.
For whatever reason, today’s youth can communicate only via texting. And it’s starting to be that way for adults, too. Everywhere you go people are texting. I was in the doctor’s office the other day and two people walked in together. Since the waiting area was full, they had to take seats at opposite sides of the room. As soon as they were seated they started texting. After a couple of minutes I realized that they were texting each other. One would text something and the other one would laugh out loud. Then the other one would do that “thumb clicking” thingy and glance at the other one and smile. Now, I don’t mind telling you that makes me somewhat paranoid. Are they laughing at me? Do I have a booger on the end of my nose? You know the feeling, like when you’re having a pedicure at the mall and those Asian women are talking while they’re scrubbing the crud off the bottom of your feet when they start laughing hysterically. Secretly you know they’re saying, “These are the ugliest feet in the world! Her toe-nails look like machetes.”
I tell my son that it is hard for me to see the screen on my phone so I wish he’d just call and talk normally. But he insists that he’s busy at work and can’t do that. When I explain that it takes time to text, he says it doesn’t. He says that texting frees you up to do other things. When I ask “what other things” he replies, “Like driving, watching ball games, or eating.” Which leads me to believe that he only calls me when he isn’t driving, watching ball games, or eating. I don’t think it has a thing to do with texting. I just think communication as we know it is a thing of the past.
This past weekend, I left my cell phone in my purse on Friday night. (I actually only use mine as a watch since the time shows up in big letters). By the time I remembered it on Saturday, it had lost its charge so I took it in the other bedroom and hooked it up to the charger. Since I’m never in the other bedroom, I forgot about it. Finally, on Sunday night, I had to get a phone number stored in its memory, so I retrieved it only to realize I had 14 unanswered calls. What happened to land lines? You don’t have to remember to charge them, you rarely, if ever, drop them down the toilet or lose them since they’re attached to the wall. It’s a no-brainer for me. And at my age, I need no-brainers.
In the future, people won’t have to talk at all. Everything we do will be programmed from our phones and conversations will cease to exist.
Twenty years from now babies will be born without tongues and with elongated thumbs that make texting easier. Just think of it, the age-old problem of getting the little darlings to go to sleep at night can be solved simply by just hanging an IPhone from the mobile dangling above their crib!
Have a great week and don’t forget to Smile Awhile.
My free genuine, U.S. Air Corps leather aviator cap
I don’t remember the exact month or year, but I know that it was cold as whiz when a Paintsville department store owner got hold of some Army surplus and gave away free to every kid who showed up, a genuine U. S. Air Corps leather aviator cap.
It was either in the late forties or early fifties when word reached – either via The Paintsville Herald or WSIP – the young residents of Society Row.
It was a school day and I’ve no clue how I got to town that cold and dreary afternoon. But at 4 p.m., I joined perhaps forty-five or fifty others from all over the county, who had gathered in a wad in front of the Court Street business.
The store’s owner, an older gentleman with gray hair, and who wasn’t nearly as tall as some of us were, stepped out onto the street and told us to form a line. Every one of us apparently thought we should be first and a mad scramble ensued with a good deal of pushing and shoving before a string of boys (and a girl or two) filled the sidewalk all the way to the corner of Second Street. I found myself in about the middle of the line.
As I stood shivering, hands stuffed deep into the pockets of my mackinaw, worry set in immediately that the man would run out of caps before he got to me. My fear was eased a bit, however, when I saw he had brought out three big boxes … and a folding chair. Instead of just handing the caps to us, he sat down and personally placed them on our heads. It must have been one of those one-size-fits-all deals, because he’d reach into the box and the cap he pulled out is the cap you got.
It was rather comical, actually, because the old gentleman would just jerk the tight-fitting, head-hugging cap over the recipients head. If it was too small, too bad. Before anybody could protest its fit, he was digging into the box for another one.
Anyway, the line moved rather quickly and in short order, he was jerking one over my head. It was a perfect fit, right down to the fact that the chin strap didn’t even need to be adjusted. It was a cool cap, all right, and even had removable sections over each ear that popped out and hung down by a little leather string. Having seen John Wayne wear one just like it in Flying Leathernecks, I knew that’s where the pilot put the earphones when they wanted to talk to other pilots.
The problem was, though, that cap wasn’t nearly as warm as the brown-striped toboggan that Mom had ordered from Montgomery Ward. Consequently, it got very little wear. Matter of fact, about the only time I ever wore my free genuine U. S. Air Corps leather aviator cap was when a bunch of us would take a break from playing cowboys and Indians and play war. Then, I’d don that cap, climb into the cockpit with Ole John and take to the wild blue yonder.
But it was really a cool cap.
Education and Common Sense
Cranberry Salad for Thanksgiving
One of my favorite recipes to go with turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving dinner is “Irene’s Cranberry Salad.” I encountered this wonderful dish shortly after I married and moved to Paintsville in 1950. My husband, Harold, had been hired to be the drafting instructor at Mayo Vocational School.
The faculty and their families were invited to a Thanksgiving pot-luck dinner for Thanksgiving every year, and one of the secretaries, Mrs. Irene Vance, brought the best cranberry salad I had ever eaten (and it is still the best one I have ever seen) and I had to have the recipe. She gladly shared the recipe, but I only made it about twice a year, because, in the days before blenders, it was a big pain in the neck to do all the grinding of the fresh cranberries and oranges with a food chopper cranked by hand. Here is the recipe:
IRENE’S CRANBERRY SALAD
4 cups fresh cranberries (ground in food chopper or blender)
2 cups sugar
2 cups crushed pineapple (Number 2 can)
2 red apples (chop with peeling
2 oranges (ground up with peeling)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 family-sized package of orange Jell-O
I family-sized package of red raspberry Jell-O
4 cups boiling water
2 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin dissolved in
1 cup cold water.
Check cranberries for soft or rotten ones. Wash with clear water. Drain. Grind cranberries and oranges. Add sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients. Add dissolved Jell-O and gelatin. Refrigerate. This makes a 9”x13” Pyrex dish full. It will easily serve 15 people.
I always enjoyed having some left over the next day to eat with a turkey sandwich or just by itself.
I got lazy as I got older, and made a “lazy cook’s recipe.” It is not as good but is a whole lot easier. JUNE’S CRANBERRY SALAD
1 3-oz. package of raspberry (or cranberry , if you can find it) Jell-O
1 3-oz. package of orange Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 can jellied cranberry sauce (with whole cranberries)
1 small can of crushed pineapple (about a cup)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 red apple (chop with peeling)
2 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin dissolved in
1/2 cup water
This is a fast, easy, smaller version of the first cranberry salad recipe. It makes an 8”x11” Pyrex dish full of salad.
Both recipes are in my cookbook, Common Sense Cooking (for the Cook on the Run), which is still selling fairly well as shower gifts. I tell people that if you can cook it is a funny book. If you can’t cook, it is a survival guide!
If you need a copy, my address is June B. Rice, 901 Blankenbaker Pky. #2114, Louisville, KY 40243. The price is still $5.00, but I have to put 4 $.48 stamps on it, so I have to charge $2.00 to mail it. It is still a bargain at $7.00, as there are lots of wonderful recipes that I collected from wonderful cooks over a lifetime of going to pot-luck dinners!
If you make either of these recipes, I would like to hear your verdict. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Blessings!
Many women that I know say that going to Wal-Mart is a chore their husbands prefer not to do. My husband in no different. When I tell him that I have to “go get a few things,” he rolls his eyes and sighs.
“We just went there yesterday!” he mutters.
“No.” I tell him, “It was the day before yesterday. Besides, I forgot to get lunch meat.”
Now it is I who sighs, even as I agree that yes, I will get his favorite sandwich meat. I myself do not like bologna, will only eat it in a pinch, but I buy it for Walter. At least once a day, in between meals, he will make a sandwich of this old, tried and true favorite. I’d just as soon do without.
But the need to buy some of his favorite pick-me-up is as good an excuse as any for going to Wal-Mart. Not that I need an excuse. I just go, for whatever and for any reason, and who knows! Maybe I will discover something I just can’t do without.
I admit though, that in addition to all these things, I love going to Wally World for one of its other fringe benefits. For I am a people watcher, and what better place is there to indulge in this personal pleasure than to be where so many people are apt to be.
I love People Watching, like to say a “good morning”, a “how do you do” to those I know, or even to those that I might have met for the first time. It always helps that in any of the reasons I use to go to Wal-Mart, Walter adjusts.
He grumbles a bit, but once we are inside the store, he always positions himself in one of the special ‘husband seating areas’ where he will see more people than I do as I wander up and down the aisles.
“Did you see Jack and Helen Davis?” he will ask when I rejoin him. I tell him no, I didn’t. Nor do I see others that he mentions. However, though I regretfully have missed some of those he’d seen, I nevertheless will have taken time to talk to those I do meet.
Like the Wal-Mart Greeters. I find those people very personable; enjoy having a few moments of conversation with them. One day last week it was Cora who was first to be seen as you came through those big front doors.
Now. Almost anyone who goes to Wal-Mart has a speaking acquaintance with Cora, who has been working there more years than she might want to admit. She is one of those who, like a jack-of-all-trades, can do many of the tasks that are necessary for such a place to function.
That day, as I talked for a few moments to Cora, a woman standing nearby asked: “Are you that lady who writes in the paper?”
“Yes, I am.” I answered.
“I really enjoy what you do, never miss reading it.” this person told me. I think I responded that I was glad she enjoyed it.
Then because my mind was focused on finding those items which had been my reason for coming that day, I was not as receptive to this lady as I should have been. Then by the time my perceptions kicked in, telling me that I should at least have asked her name, might have shone more appreciation, she had walked away.
“Wait!” I called out. As it happened, I was riding one of those motorized carts which are such a blessing to me as I shop. So spinning around in a U-turn, I tried to overtake her. All this time I had continued to call; “Wait a moment, please!”
Unfortunately, fast as my riding cart was, it was not fast enough for me to ever catch up, so I lost her. Now, whenever I replay this encounter in my mind, I always come out a loser. Priorities.
That day I allowed a very self serving agenda to cause me not to respond to a woman who might have become my new best friend.
It reminds me that people should always be more important than shopping lists.