Digging deeper into the pile of organizational pain my parents left me…from God-only-knows-how-many ancient relatives…I found a series of plastic baggies holding postcards with dead people, bluebirds, Santa Claus, pixies, and random bridges…
My grandfather, who lived in a time period when big, bound dictionaries were as valuable as a starter-yacht, purchased a set of dictionaries from a traveling salesman. This effusive little man- not my grandfather, who was not little- instructed my grandfather that two payments would suffice.
When the first volume arrived, it instantly became the heaviest book in the house. How heavy was it? It could kill a mouse, a squirrel, or a peaceful moment in one swift, declining drop. At 1,344 pages, from “a” to “pocket veto,” it was a treasure, albeit outside the cedar treasure chest.
My grandfather, following his education, had a passion for knowledge, and taught himself engineering to help him advance in his career. But, he would have rather been a sailor or a ship’s captain, on account of his love of the sea and of a good boat. When he was on his boat, he would fish, and become less studious, and become disgusted with himself, because, after all, he’d paid all that money…and not a little…for the most extensive dictionary volumes one could buy.
My father grew up with the two volume The New Century Dictionary…and a large set of encyclopedias….as the main sources of information outside of the wit and wisdom of the Seanachai, the storytellers in the family. They might have had a way with history, and the encyclopedias may not have measured up in some cases, but the dictionary stood as the final say for spelling…and though increasingly dated as the decades passed, a first source for the more eclectic vocabulary that my grandfather acquired.
This two-set volume from 1927 has passed on to me, as the caretaker of a now-dated work of reference and amusement. It contains fine phrases and explanations from the Roaring Twenties that may not be the best source for the Terrible Twenties….I mean the 2020s.
Glancing through the New Century, one finds many words not in vogue in the second decade of the 21st Century.
But, for the character of the 1920s, the books are a gas, a sensation, a talk-of-the-town. Here you’ll find all the dirt on “frippery” and how “tawdry” it was…essentially silly…as “she who wore a hat wore a statement of absurdity.”
A sanitorium was a good place, not a place for mindless ninnies. Pennies from Heaven were a good thing, a penny for your thoughts had no attachment to financial value, and references to the appearance of a “bluebird” was a happy occasion. Conversely, one sang “Bye bye” to a blackbird.
The pages are adorned with drawings of a “barb” (a linen covering for the throat and breast), a whelk, and examples of 15th century gorgets. Every page contains at least one, and as many as four, artistic details. The finery is remarkable, particularly considering the low-tech methods used in publishing said pages.
Although the collecting of old books has faded in popularity as the screen has taken over the common world, an antiquated book can be a great substitute for the mindlessly predictable entertainment from the programmed screen world and the equally predictable “print” world via screen. Like the new Century Dictionary, it can be light reading while waiting for your dinner to cook, or your mail to arrive, or for the children to come home from school.
One of the blog-world’s more interesting bloggers here on WordPress.com is L.A. from “Waking Up On The Wrong Side of 50.” She is today engaging in a reflective blogging style that requires one to post Ten things about “my day,” both good and bad. This simple habit must surely be one way to catalogue our life stories in a way that does not necessarily require us to tell our life in daily stories (which is probably what my tendency would be, actually). Call it cathartic, call it anecdotal, but…without further ado, I shall attempt to explore the ten most interesting and nauseating things that happened today, January 7th, 2023…
I got out of bed. Accomplishment # 1.
I brushed my teeth. All of them. I left the toothbrush in the bathroom so that I did not venture forth brushing other people’s teeth today.
After eating an expansive sausage-egg-bacon-cheese “mess” for breakfast, I drove around a town square looking at Christmas decorations in the town whereChristmas lives yet another day…
A local Save-A-Lot was having a two day sale. The sign said “Friday and Saturday.” I thought it might be important to go inside and see if they could sell Sunday and Monday instead. They couldn’t. Strangely enough, all items for sale were identified with giant black and yellow signs hanging from the ceiling…and, that seemed alarming like…
…the DG sign beckoned, with it’s beautiful black and yellow sign, but I drove past it, reminding myself that life was about more than filling my face …and your face…with little swiss chocolates.
I bought a furnace filter at the hardware store. I saw a peanut butter chocolate pie behind the counter. No one was eating it. Two teenagers with acne stood watch over it. That pie would not have survived in my teenage years….
I did laundry, then forgot to wash dishes…then ate a prepackaged dinner. Excitement.
I watched two…or three…episodes of Doc Martin alone. Pathetic.
I spent an hour and a half on the phone with my sister. See called me just before I called her.
I brushed my teeth again.
Well, I did it. Not a very exciting day, but you’ll have that. Mama never told me there would be multiple days like this in winter. Saturdays are just not too exciting.
walking past reflecting window panes, i don’t recognize the man in the sheep herder’s hat walking beside me. he’s graying and has a beard and could have stepped out of an 1800’s photo. he certainly does not look like he belongs here.
i turn the corner into the downtown parking lot- one of too few for this town of 12,000- and lose the gaunter figure.
fall feels like winter and a pall of pelting weather fogs my glasses. the car has equally special problems, though she is, thankfully, not premenstrual- but, she fogs her windshield when i push her button.
while i am waiting for her to de-thaw, my mind wanders back to the conversation i had not twenty minutes before with an older couple from my own town who just happened to be in the same restaurant. he was telling me about her health issues, she was telling me about his home hospital rounds. between them, they co-survived her heart conditions and he learned enough to cook from the back of a box.
“i thought i recognized you,” he said, squinting.
funny, i did not recognize myself. not in the mirror this morning.
my spirit man does not feel the age, but my mind does. i have little interest in the more attractive females walking by. but the souvlaki makes my mouth water as i spread a healthy dose of feta over the spicy lamb.
they have a conversation, but not really with me. somewhere in it, i have a bit part, like a supporting actor with an aside now and then.
the feta is calling…but they aren’t leaving…
back out in the cold, i glance at the store windows. someone is soon following me. i race back to the car and start the engine. in the rearview mirror, the cars move away and i see an opening in the weather. winter is not here yet.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, andwhere thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Is your heart focused on thematerial,or is it focused on the spiritual?
…the word that sums up the essence of what has spread across the globe- the opposite of faith, love, and hope. The one who speaks fear over the airwaves, over people, over nations, does not love, does not care, does not have your best interests. they cannot be trusted. they will not speak truth. they will not speak life. they will speak lies to perpetuate fear.
fear, despair, and hate hang like spiritual walls around those who isolate themselves because they have bought the lies of fear. there is no room for unselfish, untainted love. there is no room for hope because fear has erased all certainty. there is no room for faith because they have bought into the material while being blinded by the dark spiritual.
Perfect love casts out all fear.
In an imperfect world, there is only one source for perfect love. It is a spiritual love, a force that cannot be contained by the walls of fear.
and those who have dismissed fear, who have chosen to trust in that perfect Love, have God’s worldview. they have chosen, they have pledged allegiance, to a Kingdom that overcomes fear, just as the light overcomes darkness in any room.while the fearful spend their days resigned to a future that progressively deteriorates, those who have God’s worldvieware at peace. no matter what dark forces wreak havoc, fear has a short lifespan in light of eternity.
Because if we are in Christ…
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.
the most shocking sense about the death of another is the finality of it. it is total absence, with no scents nor sounds. Once there was a presence, now there is no substance. and like a an old pressed flower, it fades, though the pages against which it has rested may have an imprint, left upon another, even when it is gone.
we know you were here, and our memories do not betray us. though they gray with the age of time, the imprint remains within us, even if it is muddied a bit by a dreary rain. we may even forget the face, until we have to glance at a photograph to bring clarity to that muddied imprint.
we who remain behind grapple with a transition that took no amount of time, as they passed from material to another realm, while we remain gaping at the shell, dumbstruck by the lack of movement…
some may find solace in knowing that there is no warmth remaining.
some may find solace in leaving no expression left inside.
and some may find solace in choosing to remain inconsolable, as if the one who died was solely responsible for leaving those who remained.
they are gone. we are here. how we incorporate that finality into the fabric of our hearts is our journey. it is not really their memorial, they have no need for it. it is ours.
the past two years have been needlessly negative. if you choose to write, read, or listen to material that leads you to a state of obsessive reclusiveness, as a covidian, you should probably read someone else’s blog, because i will not share in your desire to spread fear.
The One I follow spread unselfish love, not fear. He dealt in reality, not in a fantasy world where facts are meaningless and feelings are equal with “your own little reality world.” Life is so much more tiring having to listen to windbags whine about Doomsday over a plague with a 99% survival rate….you’d think we were living in the 13th century dealing with the Bubonic Plague.
i am done with the control freaks who cover their faces like repressed slaves
i am done with the losers who bow down to the godless medi-elite and hang on every word they say as they constantly change their minds every week
i am done with the soviet-era propaganda visible everywhere
no more negative. no more fear. no more lies.
i choose love, which has no room for fear. i choose life, which has no room for destruction. i choose freedom, which has no room for slavery.
it’s fun to watch the neighborhood outside my window this morning. not because i am having fun, but because none of us is having fun. at least yesterday i was able to clear the driveway. today, i cannot stand up in the driveway.
the world looks like an ice planet, everything below eight feet from the ground covered in a glazing of ice. forget about trying to get anywhere, nobody is going anywhere….except for the snow plow. after several attempts, the street looks like what a two-year old trying to ice his birthday cake- icing everywhere, and nothing makes any sense.
our power is on, in this backward part of the American states, so at least we are not dependent on wind generators that were destined to freeze up in such a storm. At least I can watch reruns of the Red Green Show and learn a few handyman tricks to keep the ice from invading my house. But, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have to suffer because of someone’s short-sightedness.
my own common sense took a hit earlier when i tried to navigate the path to the shed and found myself skating….on the forecheck…against the unseen enemy. Like a Newfie at a time zone conference, I felt something was drastically off. Looking down, the ice that was there yesterday was underneath a sheathing of today’s ice. the ice from three days ago melted and now formed a new ice border, like a rink, on either side of my driveway. Sure, we could suit up and play a game of ice hockey, if we had any skates, but none of us olde guys around here could keep our sticks on the ice…
so, if you are stuck inside too, and you are bored, you might ask the Lord for a reprieve from this endless winter Hallmark movie, so we can get outside and get something done. And, if you’re up in the Land of Perpetual Snow and Ice and you want some more of this stuff….so your rink is really nice, you can ask the Lord to send it up there. I’m sure we won’t miss it. So, go on. Already. Please.Pretty please.
there’s a boatload of argument about pineapple in this world- for some it is a nasty, overly sweet tropical disaster waiting to stick between your teeth and cause your blood sugar to spike, for others it is the best friend of your delightful little duodenum, that funnel where all the food goes down on the way to AdventureLand. Pineapple contains bromelain, which is a word I often misspell or mispronounce, especially when suddenly and without warning, my mind starts thinking in French. The duodenum loves bromelain because it helps break down the Chicken Korma from that Chef Tandoori meal you ate that tasted more like the container than real curry. The duodenum adores bromelain after you gorged yourself on chips, french onion dip, and coca cola at 1 o’clock in the morning while watching Godzilla Versus The Swamp Monster.But, the duodenum absolutely jumps for joy whenbromelain rushes to the scene of that kitchen nightmare heading down your long and winding road…rushing through your body on a one-way ticket to the toilet bowl…
Bromelain seems like a really good idea for those of us who like to have a clean colon. As you know, a clean colon is a happy colon. But while bromelain can be found in pineapple, eating pineapple everyday can be detrimental for those more intestinally-challenged among us. This is why a bottle of bromelain tablets from the health food/natural food/holistic food establishment can provide the bromelain our body wants…and needs…to fend off the gurgles within, and provide one’s inner workings with a beneficial healing agent.
Back in the day, when papaya was cheaper here, my primary source of bromelain came from a diet rich in this wonderful fruit. But, not being in a region where it grew, my habit became a bit pricey when other people finally discovered papaya, and suddenly, people were cutting up little chunks, and sticking them in fruit salads…so, pineapple became the cheaper alternative.
Now I am not, nor have ever been, a doctor, but I have lived enough decades that I can get a senior discount from an 18 year old in the drive thru who thinks I am a “really old man.” That being said, I believe you will find sage advice in combating digestive discomfort by employing the use of bromelain tablets or eating a healthy regimen of pineapple and/or papaya. I have found this beneficial in combating the gurgles and bloating associated with eating items the intestines consider foreign objects. In my travels, I have consumed many of these adventurous foods with less destruction than before my bromelain regimen.