Friday, August 15, 2014

Way Back When I Was Really Young

The previous post included things from the Old Days which were when my first baby was little, or not long before. This one has stuff that I remember from my childhood. At least I don't expect my kids to recall these things because "they just happened." At least I have some awareness that these are from times long-enough-ago that they're in the history books as .... well, ... history.

The milk was delivered to the milk-box sitting by our front door. The milk wagon was pulled by a horse -- the only horse-drawn vehicle I saw in town. When I was learning to walk to kindergarten by myself, I had to watch out so that I didn't step in horse poop when I crossed the street. And I loved it that the milkman put reindeer-antlers on his horse for the week or so before Christmas.

When we dialed a phone number, the phone actually had a dial.

We didn't have to check our Halloween candy before eating it to see that it was safe.

Children walked to a neighborhood school. Buses were for the kids who lived in the country. We went home for lunch too. Only the bussed kids were stuck at school during the lunch break.

The new-fangled ratings system for movies included G, M, R, and X. That's it.

McDonalds ran commercials touting that you could buy a hamburger, fries, and beverage, and still get change back from your dollar.

We sang Christmas carols (and a dreidel song) for the Christmas program (not "holiday program") at the public school.

Getting "only one cavity" at each semi-annual dentist appointment was considered a rousing success for dental care.

Bouncy children were not given Ritalin.

We played cowboys and Indians. Nobody ever heard of "native Americans."

Arcades had pinball machines. There were no joysticks or video games of any sort.

People dressed up for church, and women did not wear pants to church.

Cameras had flashbulbs. Bulbs. Y'know, the round things. Each bulb had one flash and then was finished. And getting your film developed in an hour was unheard of. It was a week or more.

Whole houses then cost less than a car now. Less even than most used cars do now.

Cars then were washed up and old by the time they had 60,000 miles on them.

Kids could go biking all over town and the countryside, riding around for hours on end, and parents didn't have to worry about whether they'd be accosted by strangers.

The bank and the liquor store gave lollipops to the kids who came in with their moms to buy dad's weekly allotment of beer.

Television was in black and white. No color.

Very few people had dishwashers. There was no such thing as a microwave.

"Negro" was a recently outdated word. The new term was "black."

The old people remembered Russia being a country, but we youngsters were up-to-date enough to know that the proper name had become USSR.

Lutherans had one hymnal. For a bunch of different synods. And we used it. No "song books."

People didn't use credit cards. The few credit cards that existed were used for limited purposes, such as a card for gasoline only.

Diapers were made of cloth, and people used pins to hold them onto the baby's tuschie.

Kids pretended to smoke our candy cigarettes and candy cigars.

There were three television networks. It was free. No cable. Just rabbit ears or the big antenna on the roof.

Some cars had seat belts, but they were seldom used. There was no such thing as bike helmets.

In a similar vein, there was no such thing as fire-retardant clothing.

"Ms." hadn't been invented yet.

At the playground, swings had chains that were 10-12' long or more, and slides were so high that it was fun even for the grown-ups to slide down. And you had to wear long pants to the park in August so that you didn't burn your legs on the metal slide.

People thought formula was the right way to feed a baby.

Mom washed our clothes in a wringer-washer and hung them on the line to dry.

Almost all my friends had stay-at-home moms.

It wasn't considered abuse if kids were spanked and had their mouths washed out with soap.

Gas ran about 30-some cents a gallon. When there was a "gas war" in town, prices could even get as low as 19 cents.

Nobody was allowed to pump their own gas. When you drove in for a fill-up, the attendant checked your oil, checked your tire pressure, washed your windows, and who-knows-what-all else.

The word "their" was a plural pronoun and only a plural pronoun. Now --as in the previous comment-- it's also used as a singular pronoun when we don't want to be "sexist" by using "he" or "she."

Only the poor, impoverished, neglected children were sent to preschool.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Way Back When I Was Young

I was always fascinated with "how things used to be." It kinda sorta freaks me out that some things are now seen as the Old Days that were normal when I was already grown up.

There was no such things as music videos or MTV.

A whole floor of a building was dedicated to the computer. The idea of a computer that would sit on your desk was just coming in as a new-fangled idea. Certainly no iPads or Smartphones.

Food at the grocery store was not sealed. You could just unscrew a lid of a medicine bottle or a food jar and have access to the contents of the bottle. No child-proof lids either.

We didn't know yet that Darth Vader was Luke's father.

The new, high-tech video games that had just been invented were Pong, Pac-man, and Space Invaders.

Even if you had no health insurance, you could pay for the doctor and hospital when your child was born. Our bill for our first baby was $800.

Only the fussbudget worry-wart parents made their kids wear bike helmets.

We had fire drills and tornado drills at school, but never lock-down drills. There weren't murders in school.

What's the Moral of the Story?

So Jesus walks on the water out to the storm-tossed boat and the terrified disciples (Matt 14). With Jesus' consent and invitation, Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk to Jesus.  For a bit.  Then he sank. 

Moral #1:  If you have faith, you can walk on water.  Be like Peter.  Be daring.  Be bold.  Do the impossible.

"Moral" #2:  We try to be bold, but in reality we sink.  Even though we only have itty-bitty teeny-tiny faith (vs 31), Jesus is faithful to His promise, and He rescues us and keeps us safe.

"Moral" #2 is so much more comforting than Moral #1.  And it fits what happened in the story so much better than Moral #1.  So why is Moral #1 touted more often?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Come to Me

Story about Jesus walking on the water (Matt 14).  The disciples think He's a ghost.  Jesus says, "I am.  Do not be afraid."  He's not just telling them to chill out because, oh, it's just Him, their friend and teacher.  He's using for Himself the name announced to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3).  And Peter responds with that name: "If You are, tell me to come to You."  Jesus says, "Come." 

Interesting.  When Moses was wandering around Sinai/Horeb with his flock o' sheep, he saw the bush burning.  The Angel of the Lord (God) called to Moses.  But when Moses headed over that direction, the Lord said, "Do not draw near this place ... for it is holy ground."

Come, Peter.
Don't come, Moses.

Is it the incarnation which makes the difference?

Come unto Me, all you who are 
weary and heavy-laden, and I
will give you rest.  (Matt 11)

In Christ Jesus 
you who once were far off 
have been brought near 
by the blood of Christ.  (Eph 2)

Decidedly NOT Up-to-Date

Our house looks like a 50-yr-old house.  This does not disturb me.  It is a 50-yr-old house.  I could invest time and money to make my house really spiffy.  Or I could save that time, energy, and money, and continue to live in a "sufficient home" instead of a "marvelous home."

(Pssst -- sometimes it might be hard to tell the difference between lazy and content.)

Oodles of friends yesterday pointed out the momastery article Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt.  I see why: it's perfect.  Even when we hide from advertising, even when we eschew trendiness, we're still assaulted by the lusts and desires to have more. That's what salesmen are for.  That's what advertising executives are for.  And sometimes even our friends push us toward discontent and coveting.

The momastery author was offered pointers on how to update her kitchen.  After some self-doubts, after some consideration that she maybe should indeed unshabbify her kitchen, she realized something.  She has a refrigerator that works.  And is full.  While some parents worry about their children being malnourished.
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD.  Healthy food ...  When this food runs out, I'll just jump in my car to get more.  It's ludicrous, really.  It's like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning.

She goes on to talk about how we don't have to hike miles to bring back a bucket of decent water.  It's at our fingertips.  Not only that, but we use clean drinking water to wash our dirty feet.  And we have microwaves.  And coffee pots. The article is a fun-to-read piece on what's important and what's not.

I have a washer and dryer.  At gut-level I can't fathom how much work it would take to launder clothing without our machines.  My mind theoretically understands the process: make lye from ashes, make soap from lye and fat, chop wood, haul water, make fire, boil water, wash clothes by hand, rinse clothes by hand, line dry.  Oh.  That's all?  I wash clothes by turning a couple of knobs.

And plumbing.  I love hot-water heaters and indoor plumbing!

When our house goes on the market someday, it will be outdated.  The only people who'll be interested are those who want to flip it ... or those (like me) who feel comfy in an old house.  But hey, no sense updating a house now for the sake of selling it decades down the road.  By then, it will be outdated again. 

Maybe I'm content.
More likely, I'm lazy.
But either way, I don't have to deal with kitchen and bathroom renovations.
And that's worth a big hooray!

Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:

Monday, August 11, 2014


Andrew, Olivia, Katie, and the kids came over Saturday afternoon to hang out.  We cooked many batches of homemade French fries; I wanted to use up any potatoes from the garden which looked blemished so that the rest of them would store well.

Then Katie took Zoe to pick up her new glasses.  It sounds like the child still needs to get used to them; the world looks completely different for her.
Gary, Maggie, Katie, and the kids had gone to "Heritage Days" on Saturday morning. On Sunday afternoon Gary and Maggie visited again with some friends from church. Katie said the fake-surgery on the battlefield was portrayed so well that she felt a little sick to her stomach.

Gary said that the girls especially enjoyed the tent with old-timey games.

I was struggling with headache over the weekend.  I didn't get much accomplished (other than French fries) on Saturday.  Sunday I tried to order photos from Shutterfly and it just wouldn't work for me.  Not a good first impression of their website!  Eventually I hit the couch and spent the rest of the day watching television to make myself rest.

We found two good movies.  On the same day.  Hooray!  "Breaking Away" is set in the late 70's in Bloomington, Indiana.  Nice story about the relationship between the townies and the college kids.  The other movie was about Queen Victoria after her husband died: "Mrs Brown." 

Poison-ivy rash is worse again today. I think I'm going to have to clean the couch AGAIN. Seriously?  How long is it going to take to solve this?