|Home||Archives||February 26, 2014|
My Two Cents
by Stephen Scalf
What All We Take For Granted
Korea, where both our sons are living right now, is 14 hours ahead of us. So when Max sends us his weekly e-mail at 9:30 on Monday morning, it is 11:30 on Sunday night here in Kentucky.
I had left my cell phone's volume turned up, so when the e-mail came in this past Sunday, the phone chirped a notification tone that woke me up.
Excited to read Max's e-mail, I sat up, opened the e-mail folder, and read, "Just got online if anyone is there."
For the next 15 minutes Max and I were able to e-mail back and forth. It was WONDERFUL.
And I used that word, wonderful, on purpose, because although this might not seem like such a big deal to this younger generation, the ability to send messages immediately to someone on the opposite side of the planet still fills me with wonder. It almost seems magical.
But because e-mail and Internet access are now so widely available, we often take that convenience for granted.
As I thought about the changes and advances we have seen in our times, I recalled an experience from my own two-year, church mission to Germany.
When I was assigned to the city of Essen, I lived in a small apartment in an altbau building, or older construction, which means is it was built without indoor plumbing or heat.
At one point they had knocked down the outer wall in the stairwell and built in toilets half a flight down - and without heat - so in the winter we had to pour salt in the bowl and the tank to keep it from freezing. Nothing like ice-cold porcelain to wake you up in the morning.
The apartment didn't have a shower or a bath. Instead, there was a 6 liter water heater over the tiny kitchen sink. The only way to stay clean was to take "bird baths."
Several months later when I was transferred to a newer apartment in a different city, I remember going into the bathroom, turning the handle, and seeing steaming hot water coming out of the faucet. I was amazed. I was full of wonder. I had grown so used to not having hot running water that I had forgotten what it was like.
Because we wanted our kids to grow up appreciating the modern conveniences we tend to take for granted, when they were younger Cindy and I would often tell them about what life was like for us growing up.
We'd tell them how computers hadn't been invented yet, and when four-function calculators (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) were first sold, they cost over $100 and ate through 9V batteries like no tomorrow.
We'd tell them about TVs before the transistor age, that when you turned the set on, you'd get this white bulls eye on the screen and it took about 30 seconds for the tubes to warm up enough for a picture to appear. And then we only had three channels but no remote control. You had to manually tune in the station and fiddle with the rabbit ear antennaes to get a clear picture. (Remember all those tricks we'd try with aluminum foil to try to get a better picture?)
We didn't have video games. We played outside, instead. And we had chores upon chores to keep us busy.
The kids would listen to us with their mouths hanging open in disbelief, as if they were asking, "How did you ever survive?"
We must have exaggerated things a little, because one time when our oldest was in 1st or 2nd grade, she asked my wife, "What was it like for you in the olden days before they had cars, and everyone travelled by horse and buggy?"
I wonder sometimes how most of us would do if those times were to come around again if gasoline and electricity become too expensive and we have to revert to the old ways.
We live in a world so full of comforts and conveniences that many of the poor among us enjoy a higher standard of living than our grandparents experienced, and who were probably considered middle-class at the time.
Don't get me wrong! I'm not saying we should get rid of these conveniences. I enjoy having them as much as the next person.
I'm just saying that we shouldn't get so wrapped up in immediately answering every text and phone call, or getting the latest and greatest gadgets that we forget to stand back in awe of it all, and to be full of wonder.
And that's my two cents,
Sharing a Smile
by Tom Metcalfe
When you think of the name “Buck”, who comes to mind? Buck Rogers? Buck Owens? Pearl Buck? Maybe you are thinking of our local celebrity and good guy, Buck Watkins?
Buck is an interesting name. I have heard someone called that, most of my life, no matter where I have lived. Let’s look at the word and its many suggested meanings.
Buck - the male of some antlered animals, especially the fallow deer, roe deer, reindeer, and antelopes.
Buck - oppose or resist.
Buck -lowest of a particular rank.
Buck – slang for a dollar.
Buck - an impetuous, dashing, or spirited man or youth.
Buck – a vaulting horse.
Buck - a vertical jump performed by a horse, with the head lowered, back arched, and back legs thrown out behind.
Buck - an oxford shoe made of buckskin.
I became interested in this story because of a recent story on NPR about Buck Owens. I confirmed what I heard by looking at some internet biography sites.
It seems that Buck Owens name was actually Alvis Edgar Owens, JR. when he was born in Sherman, Texas, in 1929. "'Buck' was a donkey on the Owens farm," Rich Kienzle wrote in the biography About Buck, "When Alvis Jr. was three or four years old, he walked into the house and announced that his name also was "Buck." That was fine with the family, and the boy's name was Buck from then on.”
Most of us are familiar with Buck Rogers the fictional character who first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories. Maybe, like me, you didn’t remember that the character was first called Anthony Rogers. (I don’t know why it was changed from Anthony to Buck.) Later Buck Rogers was made into a daily newspaper comic strip. Still later, Buck made it on the radio, television, and the movies.
Pearl S. Buck was an American writer and winner of a Pulitzer Prize for her 1932 novel The Good Earth. In 1938 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for her rich and truly epic descriptions” of peasant life in China.
Finally, there is our friend Gerald “Buck” Watkins. Gerald recently was recognized by the Carlisle-Nicholas County Chamber of Commerce as the Citizen of the Year. Gerald told me that he became “Buck” because of his friendship, when he was a child, with a neighbor man named “Buck” Letton, who lived on Lower Jackstown Road.
I don’t think any of these folks received their name because of any of the definitions of the word, “buck.” By the way, you might want to check out the book, Buck ‘Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens by Randy Poe and Buck Owens.
Last week’s question: The last year that McGuffey Readers were published and used is: A. 1896, B. 1912, C. 1960, D. still today = The answer is “D”
This week’s trivia question: How did Buck Owens come up with the song lyrics to “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail?”
And On That Note...
by Ross Haney
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
Take my hand.
Lead me on,
Help me stand.
I am tired,
I am weak,
I am worn.
Through the storm, Through the night,
Lead me on
To the light.
Take my hand
Lead me home.
- Thomas Dorsey
When I think about the end of life, and moving on, I think about the hymn, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” Our choir sings this spiritual at every funeral the church hosts, and at every visit to the Johnson Mathers Nursing Home here in Carlisle. The song lyrics and harmonies of this piece are beautiful beyond compare. The lyrics speak of the Lord guiding us into our afterlife in Heaven with him.
He had recently been put in the nursing home, and we were going to perform for the church service that day, so I decided to invite my great uncle Bill Tolliver for worship in the main living room. Of course, I was greeted by that big smile; he was happy to attend, and one of his nurses made sure he was there on time. In our repertoire was “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” and at that time, even though I had already sang it at two funerals, the meaning behind these well-thought-out lyrics never hit me until more recently.
On the night of Saturday, Feb. 22, I received the message that my great uncle Bill Tolliver had passed away, and the lyrics to that hymn became clear.
When we are ready to leave this world, and have lived our life through, we are tired, and want to move on to live with the Lord. We reach out for him to take us to the victory land - We have lived all we can, and want to be relieved of our pain and suffering on this earth.
Though I didn’t know him as best as some, I knew Bill Tolliver as an honest and caring man, who had a family that loved him dearly. I will miss my occasional visits with him, that warm smile, and that sense of warmth and comfort that he brought to all around him. Looking back, I think he was a man that knew the joys of life on Earth: love, happiness, triumph, and contentment. He was ready to make his journey to see what was around the other corner, and go on to a better place than this.
And on that note, I’ll leave you!
The Carlisle Courier
115 S. Locust St
(around the corner from Deposit Bank)
P.O. Box 206
Carlisle, KY 40311
Tel: 859-289-8899 Fax: 859-289-8890