Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lent - February 28, 2013

As published in the White River Current - Thursday February 28th, 2013

My goodness!  Here it is the last day of February and it seems like only yesterday I was watching the crystal ball descend at Times Square signifying the beginning of a new year.  Time does fly, indeed.  The next issue will mark the one year anniversary that I have been contributing these words of wisdom (?) in this publication.  Not too bad for what was intended to be a one time shot.  I don’t know when the end will come, but not yet.  Looking back at the first issue, I welcomed Tom* & Fredericka back to Calico Rock after spending the last 35 years in Germany where Tom was in the opera business.  I have given Tom* credit (maybe I should say the blame) for being my mentor in the writing of this bi-weekly brainwash.  He, in turn, writes a column on alternate weeks entitled Tom*s Tantruming –oops, I misspelled that, it should be Tenoring.  It just occurred to me that you, my loyal readers, may not have the slightest idea of what I am referring to.  I am aware that a large number of you are reading this stuff off a blog on the internet or perhaps on Facebook.  That is OK, except you are missing all the other good stuff that is in the weekly edition of this newspaper.  Besides Tom* and myself, who each contribute a column on a regular basis, Megan has returned after a sabbatical of several months with her entertaining “Musings” column.  Megan is a local girl who is a grad student at the University of Arkansas.  Also appearing regularly is Susan’s “Not So Long Ago” column which gives the readers a touch of area history.  Gone at the present time was a column by River, the canine belonging to a photographer, Darrell, who assisted in the development of those articles.  Hopefully, the column entitled “The View from Off” that was penned by Fred and Kathie, will soon return.  Another feature that is sorely missed is the outdoors column that was written by another husband-wife team, Jim and Jill, who each wrote on alternate weeks.  Add the sports reporting of Dr. Tom and the photos and recipes of Cindy –well, you can see you are only getting part of the story.  But, WAIT!  You can have it all.  Get the digital edition by contacting this newspaper at  As a bonus, you can archive past issues.  Since the digital edition is available on Wednesday night, when your hard copy reader friend makes a remark about some scandalous report that she read on Thursday morning, you can say “Oh, I already knew that.”  Before I forget, I want to apologize for going a little over my allotted space in the last offering a couple of weeks ago.  It was, you remember, Valentine’s Day, and all those love songs were spinning around in my head and, OK, I got carried away.  I usually stay away from things political or religical or otherwise even with a hint of being controversical, but I intended to call attention that the previous day was the first day of Lent, a forty week- day period preceding Easter Sunday.  In the Christian tradition, this is a time that believers are encouraged to direct their attention to the sacrifice of their Savior in a more meaningful and thoughtful manner.  Our area churches emphasize that in their Sunday morning services.  During the last week of Lent (Holy Week), all our congregations gather during the noon hour for a daily devotional time at the United Methodist church.  When we were living in Missouri, several congregations also met every Wednesday noon, alternating between churches.  As I said in an earlier column “Behold and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”  Some denominations (not ours) encourage their people to “give up” something for Lent, sort of an expression of sacrifice.  Now I don’t intend for this to be funny in any way, but when Anita and I were in the army, we had very close friends who gave up beer and movies one year and the next year it was cigarettes and something else.  I’ve thought about this a lot and decided that for them it probably was a sacrifice because, after 40 days, you know.  I hope I don’t seem judgmental because this couple was very good to us and we loved them.  Just a different culture, I suppose.  Skating on spiritually thin ice here in the Queen City, thinking about giving up lobster---oops, that was pretty tacky.  See you in two weeks, I hope.  This is Reed saying, bye, bye for now. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine - February 14, 2013

As published in the White River Current on Thursday February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day!  February 14th is traditionally one of the biggest business days in the US economy.  We used to sell several dozen heart shaped boxes of chocolates at the drug store every year, much of it in the final two hours of the business day.  We also sold penny valentines and cellophane packages of 24 or so of heart shaped cards that bore the inscription “Be My Valentine.”  Add to that the regular large cards and it made for a good day, business wise.  In later years, balloons were the thing and we would go through a tank or two of helium and kept the road hot with deliveries to the school.  Valentine’s day was about the only bright spot in a month that was noted for cold weather and influenza.  We kept at the store filling prescriptions for all these sick people.  Probably the busiest day in my memory occurred on February 13, 1985.  Brenda, who was very much pregnant, had to leave the store at about 2:00 P.M. for a doctor appointment, promising to return in a “few minutes.”  The call from the hospital came about an hour later.  She wouldn’t be back and they were admitting her because the baby was on the way.  What nerve!  Leaving her dad to fend for himself with a store full of grumpy patients.  I was never fast, always slow and deliberate, but I worked my way through all the orders, finally getting the last patient out at about 5:00 PM.  At about that time, a nurse from the convalescent home came in with several pages of orders for the residents, most of whom had the crud that had spread through that facility.  I closed and locked the front door and went to work, finishing up at about 8:30 P.M.  To add insult to injury, Ross made his entrance into the world at about 11:45 P.M.  I was sure we were going to have a valentine grandson, but it wasn’t to be.  I was mad at Brenda for a long time for going off and leaving me, but I finally got over it.  Speaking of valentine birthdays, a happy one to Cinda & Linda.  Steve & great-grand Molly have birthdays the 16th.  He will do his usual routine and pooch out his lips and pout that all the attention is going to Molly.  He even bought himself a tee-shirt that read “It’s my birthday, too.”  My dad used to do the same thing because he was born on December 24th when everyone was focused on Christmas presents.  Look up the origin of President’s Day and check out the action of Congress on the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill of 1968.  Disgusting!  I probably should be nicer to February because my mother was born on the 24th, also that the CP Church was created on February 4th as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe February is not so bad after all.  It certainly hasn’t been bad this year.  Several days in the 60’s and low 70’s.  Daffodils are in bloom and trees are beginning to bud, an indication that Spring is just around the corner.  But this is the time to sing love songs.  The great songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart wrote a beautiful ballad in 1937 entitled “My Funny Valentine” that was a part of the Broadway musical, “Babes In Arms.”  Recorded by many performers, the lyrics go like this:  My funny Valentine, Sweet comic Valentine, You make me smile with my heart.  Your looks are laughable, Unphotographable, Yet, you’re my favorite work of art.  Is your figure less than Greek; Is your mouth a little weak, when you open it to speak are you smart?  But don’t change a hair for me, Not if you care for me, Stay, little Valentine, Stay!  Each day is Valentine’s day.   A lot of super love songs were written in the 30’s and 40’s.  The favorite of Anita and I  is Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Night and Day.”  This song was written by prolific writer Cole Porter who penned both the music and the lyrics to his productions.  And there were many other outstanding expressions of love that were put to music several decades ago such as the one that I played at the wedding of Ben & Crystal back in early January:  If you were the only girl in the world and I were the only boy, nothing else would matter in the world today, we could go on loving in the same old way.  A Garden of Eden just made for two, with nothing to mar our joy.  I would say such wonderful things to you, there would be such wonderful things to do, if you were the only girl in the world and I were the only boy.  Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.  I love you.  Just humming the old songs and remembering I have to run down to the drug store and pick up a box of sugar-free chocolates.  So long from the Queen City.  This is Reed saying bye for now.