Saturday, January 20, 2007

Clever Lads

Our sons, pictured here with their cousin David at Thanksgiving, had an expression that allowed them to claim that they were finished eating their nourishing if not tasty meal. The expression was “I ate a lot.” They also developed a clever subterfuge to convince their parents that the statement was indeed true. The child using the ploy would spread the food into a thin layer on the plate. With the shininess of the plate showing through the food, sometimes a parent might be convinced that the food had been tasted. Okay, okay, we adults were not so much fooled by the food trick, but charmed by those sweet faces saying, “I ate a lot.”

The fact that we did not force the boys to clean their plates must not have been especially harmful. Today, one son is 6’, and the other is 6’5”.

What happened to you as a child if you did not eat your Brussel sprouts, your liver, your asparagus, your oyster stew, or other foods that you personally found distasteful? I remember sitting in front of a plate of liver until 10:00 PM. Ewww liver...YUCK. Team member Gawilli of Back in the Day reminisces about one of her childhood experiences with eating in her post on January 20, 2007.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pay It Forward

My mom, Laura Gray Thompson, the lady with the slightly risqué sense of humor, also had a heart of gold. She was forever doing a good deed for someone with trouble or someone in trouble. Although our family could not afford an automobile, I remember when I was very young that we sent clothes to an impoverished family in The Netherlands. In the late 1950’s, she had a baby shower for an unwed mother, who had financial difficulties. Sadly in those days, an unwed mother was not readily accepted by the greater society. I remember another time that Laura volunteered to feed a traveling group of prisoners that included armed robbers and murderers. (These villains were part of a motivational program to encourage youth to live honest lives.) Furthermore, my mother befriended a young woman that was hospitalized for a number of years as a criminally insane patient.

When the unwed mother told my mom that she could never repay my mother’s kindness, my mother responded that the young woman might be able to do a good deed for someone else in the future and that was good enough for my mom. My mother did not really expect repayment.

The grand idea of paying it forward was popularized by the book titled, Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and then in a movie with the same title. However, I think that the quote is an old one dating back to science fiction author, Robert Heinlein in his book, Between Planets. But maybe, this is an ancient idea supported by many cultures and many world religions as stated in The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Matthew 7:12. Maybe Laura did not actually say the words “pay it forward”, but she lived the concept and that is what counts.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What's that, mom?

Mom: It's a layover to catch meddlers, and you're the first one caught.
Me: No, really. What is it?

Mom: I told you. It's a layover to catch meddlers, and you're the first one caught.
Me: Ok. But what is a layover, and what do you do with it?

Mom: You use it to catch meddlers.
Me: I know. But then what are meddlers?

Mom: Well, you're the first one caught. Does that help?
Me: Aw, come on mom...

It never really mattered what it was to me, or my mom. Once it got started we both carried it on with gusto. I thought until recently that this was a game that only we knew how to play. Thanks to Google, I have found that children have been befuddled by this expression for as long ago as 1890 in the Eastern and Southern states. I also found out that a layover is a trap for bears; the pit I saw in the old movies that was covered with branches. I, of course, was the meddler; fiddling around in my mother's business.

When I was taking pictures for this post, Willi picked up the long wooden tool in the first picture and asked, "What is this?"

Of course you know what I said!