Thursday, June 30, 2011

Telephony

  I am not old enough to remember using an operator to make a local call.  My earliest memories of telephones was being on a 'party line'.  That is where you actually shared the telephone line with another person or persons.  You still had your own phone number, but only one of the users could be on it at a time (in theory).  Each user had their own unique ring and only answered the phone when they heard their ring.  It might be a long ring, pause, and another long ring.  Or two short rings, pause, and two short rings again.  The disadvantage was only being able to use the phone when no one else was on it, and, of course, the most obvious was the lack of privacy.
  Back then, all phones were the clickety dial phone.  The big difference between then and now was the fact that there was only ONE phone for the entire home.  Can you imagine?  Often times it was on the kitchen wall, but sometimes in the living room.  It was normal to have your phone number begin with a word.  I guess it was suppose to help you remember it, I dunno.  They were always cutesy, homey words like Idlewood.  So the number would be the first two letters of the word and then the rest of the number, such as ID9-1597.
  My grandmother had a red phone in the hallway.  Red phones were uncommon, black being the standard.  As I had mentioned before, we have fourteen phones in the house, three wired, eight cordless and three cellular.  In some circles I am considered mad.  Maybe a Shrink would say that I am trying to overcompensate for a one phone childhood.
  Today, utility poles or underground conduits carry most telephone circuits in large cables with many conductors inside.  These are giving way to fiber optic cables.  In the early days, the circuits were carried individually over many unsightly wires strung between numerous glass insulators.
  I recently conceded to upgrading my cellular phone to a 'smart' phone.  I think they are called 'smart' phones because the cellular industry is smart enough to create a way for people to want one.  Once I become accustomed to it and learn all, or at least some, of its features, I will probably not be able to live without it.  The question is, do I need all that information always readily available at my fingertips, or would I rather wish for the days when I listened for my unique ring in my one phone house?

Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three - and paradise is when you have none. - Doug Larson

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

  Mothers are the greatest driving force in the world.  They are the ones that have the greatest influence on shaping minds and fostering hearts and souls.  However, I like to think that Fathers run a close second!
  Yesterday was Father's Day, and I was fortunate and happy to receive calls from all six of my children.  It was great to have chats with them.  They are all far away and are always missed.  Of course the topic in Church on Father's Day was fathers, both heavenly and earthly and I couldn't help but choke up a bit, listening to the speakers talk about their dads.  It brought back a lot of memories of my kids as they were growing up.  Even more so, with a baby looking at me over the shoulder of her mom sitting in front of me.  When at the distant end, it seemed like their childhood years would go on for a long time, but looking back from this end, it went by very quickly.

My Kiddos

  I had the privilege to watch the birth of all my children, and no matter what your beliefs are, you cannot help but find birth a miraculous event.  I am sure someone must have said to me "don't take your eyes off them, because they grow up very fast", and they really do.  In retrospect, I wish, like many others have I am sure, that I wasn't so busy.  With age comes wisdom and we come to these conclusions so we can say "don't take your eyes off them, because they grow up very fast".

  Often, I think about my own father and, as I have mentioned before, wish I knew him better and that we had more time to spend together.  We treasure the moments we have given us and remember the quality of the time and not the quantity.
  It is great being a dad and the promotion that goes with it of being a grandfather.  Of my six kids, five of them are boys and three of them are dads.  I hope they will all feel the joys of Fatherhood as I have.

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry. - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The End Of The Innocence

  I apologise for always falling back on music as a form of expression.  You have to admit that, along with mathematics, it is another universal language.  And besides, I can talk about and listen to the songs I enjoy!
  Don Henley, a former member of The Eagles, collaborated with Bruce Hornsby and the song that resulted was The End Of The Innocence in 1989.  In the past, I said I would always be apolitical in my blog entries, so I know I am pushing the envelope a little, in that regard, when I say that this song has a profundity that makes a statement about the world we live in.  That being said, it can still be interpreted in different ways.  But you be the judge and click on the song title above to listen to the music and follow along with the verses below.

Remember when the days were long

And rolled beneath a deep blue sky?
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by

When happily ever after fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly


Aah, but I know a place where we can go
That's still untouched by men
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass waves in the wind


And you can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense but this is the end

This is the end of the innocence

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king

Armchair warriors often fail
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie


Aah, but I know a place where we can go
And wash away this sin
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass waves in the wind


Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense but this is the end

This is the end of the innocence


Who knows how long this will last
Now we've come so far, so fast
But somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us

I need to remember this
So baby, give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say goodbye

Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense, this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Monday, June 6, 2011

Friendship

  I received the following story in an email, today.  I think it has a great message... 

  When I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.  His name was Kyle.  It looked like he was carrying all of his books.  I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?  He must really be a nerd.'  I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. 
  As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.  They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.  His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him...  He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his face.  My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.  As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.  They really should get lives.'  He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!'  There was a big smile on his face.  It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.  
  I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.  As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.  He said he had gone to private school before now.  I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.  We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. 
  He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.  I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends and he said yes.  We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. 
  Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.  I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!'  He just laughed and handed me half the books. 
  Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.  When we were seniors we began to think about college.  Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.  I knew that we would always be friends and that the miles would never be a problem.  He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship. 
  Kyle was valedictorian of our class and  had to prepare a speech for graduation.  I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.  Graduation day, I saw Kyle and he looked great.  He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.  He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.  He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.  I could see that he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!'  He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled....  ' Thanks,' he said. 
  As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began...  'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.  Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends....  I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.  I am going to tell you a story.'  I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met.  He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.  He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.  He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.  'Thankfully, I was saved.  My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'  I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.  I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.  Not until that moment did I realize it's depth. 
  Never underestimate the power of your actions because with one small gesture you can change a person's life, for better or for worse.

Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. - Aristotle