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15 Apr

Don’t Share Your Favorite Fishing Spot or Your Bank Card

Ed, my neighbor next door, has a problem with sharing anything that is valuable to him. Ed has told me, “Don’t disclose your good fishing spot. If you tell even one person, where the fishing is good, it won’t be yours any longer. Many will turn up there, and find all the fish that should be yours. Keep your advantages to yourself. No one needs to know where you catch your fish.” Ed tells me that a person should only share what he doesn’t want to keep, if it is no value to him any longer. He says that it is good to share your junk with other folks but very little else. It is okay, however, to share some interesting gossip or hilarious joke anytime.

Since Ed is a faithful smoker, I asked if he would give a cigarette to someone if they asked him for one. “I wouldn’t make a habit of it,” he said. “If I did give someone a cigarette it would be both the first and last one ever. Never let people borrow from you or you’ll have them pestering you all the time.” So I asked Ed, “But if someone borrows stuff and returns it quickly, wouldn’t that be okay?” His only reply was, “No.” Ed is sure that I would not let other people use my bank card, and that proves you should never let anyone borrow anything valuable, even if they are some of your favorite people. Ed is convinced that those closest to you can hurt you the most. Most would agree that it does happen that someone close to us can deliver the most hurtful blow against us.

Hope

9 Apr

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up – Then You Cannot Be Disappointed

Ed, my neighbor next door, had to rub it in. “You should never expect much. You get all excited and positive, and then things turn to sawdust on you.” For a week, Ed knew that I was really pleased with four new tires on my red Pontiac, but a problem developed with them. He saw me leave for Yorkton in the morning where one of the new tires went flat, and it could not be fixed. Much later, Ed saw me coming home down our street with my spare tire on my car, the little doughnut type. It was a long drive at less than eighty on the number ten highway from Yorkton to Melville. “Sure, had your hopes up with those tires only to find yourself running on a doughnut,” Ed said with a way too much delight.

I have to admit I’m in one of those stretches where some of us finding ourselves skidding from one minor crisis to another. First, I was preaching in a dignified way for an evening Lenten Service, and tiny microphone on my lapel clip fell off for no reason. Worse yet, the whole group of worshipers perked up like it was a blessing from heaven, when they could no longer hear me. Then I picked up a new plastic jar of Coffee-mate a day or two latter, and I knocked it off the counter. The lid came off dusting half the kitchen with white coffee-mate. My wife was away on a retreat and I had been avoiding any cleaning until nearer her return, but I was busted and forced to clean up the white dust. Then my son phoned from Saskatoon sharing that they were coming to visit in three days. They were moving to Ontario, for his wife’s new job. The crisis is that our granddaughter who spends several weeks a year with us will be far away in Ontario instead of Saskatoon.

Getting Older

31 Mar

Don’t Celebrate Your Birthday – Unless, You’re A Kid

Ed, my neighbor next door, was griping the other day about being dragged to his aunt’s ninety-third birthday celebration. He said to me, “What is it with old people like you, that you cannot quit having birthday parties?” Apparently Ed’s Aunt Hilda and her long living sisters, Helga, Harriet, Hazel and Holly are forever having birthday parties. I asked Ed if he would be happier being dragged to their funerals. His answer was his observation that, after people reach seventy-five, they start wanting birthday celebrations as if they were little kids again.

I asked Ed to have some mercy on the older crowd. I warned Ed that when a person gets older they start talking to themselves more and enjoying it less. There is an increasing need to talk at people, and you have to throw a birthday party to get your relatives to come to see you. I said to Ed that he should mark my words for he’ll find getting older is limited fun. I told him that there will come a day when your knees will buckle, and your belt won’t. Your ears could become hairier than your head. Your pipes could leak, your bones could creak, or break and your knees could go bad. You will be asleep, but others worry that you’re dead. Don’t forget old age comes to everyone.

3 Strikes

26 Mar

With Big Name Pitchers, It Should Be Three Strikes & You’re Out! 

Ed, my neighbor next door, has no patience for athletes who do not perform well. Word that the New York Yankees have made a $175 million dollar investment, in Japanese pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, has Ed both impressed and depressed. Ed is impressed that the twenty-five year old pitcher can command such a huge contract. What spoils it for Ed is the possibility that injuries or the pressure of a major league spotlight might derail the young man’s potential. Ed claims that a top pick athlete comes or goes like the hiccups. Both are often temporary situations.

According to Ed, a $175 million dollar pitcher should be unbeatable with the result of strike outs with every batter. I asked Ed if it wouldn’t get monotonous if it was always batter up and batter struck out. He ignored my question as if it was too silly to answer. So I told Ed that if the pitcher were that good at pitching, he and the catcher could handle the game, when it was the opposing team’s time to bat. They wouldn’t need any basemen, short-stops or outfielders. This just got Ed irritated and he quit talking and left.

Trust

20 Mar

Trust What You Can See & Ignore What Is Promised

Ed, my neighbor next door, saw me by my back door dismantling a bathroom cabinet a couple of days ago. He was smoking by his garage and hollered through his cigarette smoke; “If the old stuff is coming out the back door the new stuff must be coming in the front door.”

He was right in new stuff was coming in for our main floor bathroom. I told him we were rearranging bathroom cabinets and, we were going modern by replacing our old toilet with a double flush one. “Which plumber will install your toilet?” Ed asked. I told him that my wife was confident that together we could install it ourselves. My wife and our son had installed a toilet once before, and she was certain we could install another one. Ed knows that I’m not much of a handyman, and he had to say that it was good that my wife knew how to install the toilet. All I could do was nod in agreement.

Confusion

10 Mar

Too Many Choices Make the Water Dirty and Cloud Decision Making

Ed, my neighbor next door, has been bombarded with too many choices lately. He is planning for his coming seeding time. He said that it used to be that a person only had a few choices as to what he would plant, and what fertilizer and weed spray to use, if any. Now it much harder to decide what you want to plant, and how much, other costs you are willing to invest. According to Ed, life is better when you only have to pick one out of two possible choices.

It seems to me Ed is right. Life offers tremendous variety today and has gone from simple to confusing, and even on to the complicated stage. Some of us old guys grew up when there was no such thing as having it all. A roof over your head, warmth in the cold, and food to eat were enough for everyone. Clothes were not fashion statements. It was clothes to wear, second hand or hand-me-downs if they fit you. One radio and later one television were shared by everyone in the family. The phone on the wall belonged to everyone and the other folks on the party line too. Today, everyone has their own phone but which particular phone to buy out of all the possible choices. Now, more is seen as better, but it leads to confused and complicated choices for everyone from young to old.