Monday, November 30, 2015

I believe we ought to be a little worried....

          Santa Claus is coming to town! Maybe. My wife and I have seven grandchildren, and some of the older ones have been influenced by the naysayers at school, to the point that a mention of Santa by the younger ones brings on winks and rolled eyes. I knew it would happen sooner or later, although I must admit I was pulling for later, and grandchildren certainly make Christmas a lot more fun, regardless of what they believe.

            I know we don’t all believe the same things, and I know sometimes we change what we believe. Back at Millville Grade School, my old Buddy Stinky Wilmont believed he could predict the severity of the upcoming winter by the amount of black hair on a wooly worm. Of course, we all knew how silly that was. Max Hiatt up north of Mooreland was about the only guy around who could do that. But nobody said too much to Stinky about it, because it didn’t really matter what he thought, and we knew how to get ahold of Max if we needed to.

            Stinky also believed you could ward off arthritis if you carried a buckeye around in your left pants pocket. We had some buckeye trees in our woods, so I always gathered some up in the fall, both to pass out as gifts, and to make sure I always had one to carry myself. I believe it worked for 60 years or so, but here lately my knees have started aching pretty bad. I don’t believe buckeyes nowadays are as good as they used to be.

            Sometimes people worry about what some people believe more than they worry about what other people believe at other times. Most of the time I don’t worry about what other people believe, as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on me, and as long as they let me believe what I want to believe, even if they don’t believe it.

            Right now, there’s a bunch of people who are trying to get nominated so one of them can get elected to be our president. Most of them are practicing Christians, (although some may be practicing more than others), which historically is a good thing if you want to get elected. A report from Pew Research last year showed that a majority of Americans would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who doesn’t believe in God. But one of the candidates found himself on the hot seat when he stated he believed in Creationism. Apparently there is a limit on what you’re allowed to believe, even if you’re a Christian.

            Now, like I said, I don’t really worry about what people believe, as long as they leave other people alone. I do tend to worry about what they believe if they won’t leave other people alone. So far, every candidate out there believes they have some pre-existing claim to your income and property. They believe they know better than you how you should handle your retirement and your healthcare, and they believe they know better than you which people and what nations are worthy of your charity. They also believe it’s alright to use the force of government to take whatever they want and to make sure you do what they believe.

            That worries me.  

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Time and time again..............

Years ago, when I was still a kid on the farm near Millville Grade School, we raised a lot of our own food. While Mom was able to process about everything that came out of the garden or the chicken house, Dad would normally take the cows up to Willy Johnson’s packing house in Dalton where Willy would cut it up and write what it was on the white paper he wrapped around each piece. Then we would put some bushel baskets in the station wagon, and haul the meat home so Mom could arrange it in the freezer next to the hog meat that was already there.

            Dad took the hogs to the Knightstown locker plant when we had one butchered. I never knew why for sure, but I just figured Willy was busy enough butchering cows that he didn’t want to mess with hogs. Anyway, we picked up the meat from Knightstown the same as we did from Dalton, except that they put the meat in some cardboard boxes that had the name of the locker plant on it, so we didn’t have to take any bushel baskets with us. They also sent some cracklins back. Those were the pieces of hide that were left after the people at the locker plant had rendered the lard out of it and poured it into a big metal bucket. Even after they were fried and pressed, there was still enough lard left in the cracklins to seep through the sides of the brown paper bag that held them.

            As greasy as they looked, and as awful as they sounded, they were some pretty good eating, especially the crunchy ones, so we never paid much attention to Mom’s warning that if we ate too many they would make us sick. Besides, there were ten of us, so the chance that one of us would get too many was pretty slim.

            I’ve bought some stuff from stores over the years since then that claimed to be cracklins, but it didn’t have any lard leaking out of the bag, and I suspect they probably never had any lard in them to begin with. And I’m pretty sure they were never wrapped around a pig.  It’s one of those deals where, no matter what they call them, I may not know what they are, but I sure know what they aren’t.

            Speaking of cracklins, last Saturday night or Sunday morning, after I went to bed and was dreaming about them, the time changed again. I’m not sure if we went off of Daylight Savings Time or onto it, but according to my wife, we got an extra hour of sleep because of it. Hopefully it will make up for the one she told me we lost last March.

            People have a lot of different opinions about why we should or shouldn’t change time twice a year. During the Second World War it was supposed to save energy. The last time Indiana decided to do it was so it would be easier to do business with other states. I’ve never noticed that I have any more energy one way or the other, and I try to do most of my trading in Indiana anyway, so that never made much difference to me. I did read a study which claimed that while there are more car crashes after we move our clocks back an hour, there are also fewer heart attacks. Pick your poison, I guess.

            Long before people started inventing different ways to keep time, there was something called sun time. The way it worked was that when the sun was directly overhead, it 12:00 noon. When people decided it got daylight to early and dark to early, they moved the clocks forward an hour, and when they decided they wanted to sleep a little longer in the morning and play a little longer at night, they moved them forward again.  So now, even when we move our clocks back, we never really move them back where they belong.

             I know some people adjust to the time change better than others, but we’ve changed so many times I don’t know what time it really is. But I know what time it isn’t.