Saturday, January 29, 2005

More about war than ...

Living on the farm in summer was a way to find family. I learned that I didn't have to be any more than I was though my Uncle George sure seemed worried about my Mom's Catholic background. And my Aunt Mabel always wanted to know what that paper backed book was I seemed to always carry in my back pocket. I learned to drive from my cousin's husband, June, for Junior, Biggers.

One day about a week after I'd told my Uncle that I could drive and then proceeded to take out about 30 feet of fence when I popped the clutch on the pickup, June stopped by the house right after dinner, said he was on his way to plow up a field and did I want to ride along. You bet, I said and jumped up beside him on the tractor. When we got out to the field, he showed me how to hook up the double disc plow and then we started plowing a circuit around the field working counter clockwise from the inside out. After a few circuits, he motioned me to stand beside him and watch how he shifted and worked the clutch and to see where the brake was. Once more around and then he said he had another field he had to look to and would I mind finishing up what we'd started while he went and took care of it? So there I was, the tractor engine idling, the steering wheel in my hands and a field to plow. Which I did.

Later, my Aunt and Uncle were both kind of mad that I hadn't told them where I was going but that didn't seem to matter because there I was a thirteen year old boy who now knew how to drive.

That summer down toward the end of it, my cousin's husband went off to Korea and when he came back he had lost the hearing in his right ear from a bomb explosion on the air field he and his seabee buddies were building. Until then I thought war was some game me and my friends played after school. Of course, there was some benefit to the whole deal. Whenever June didn't want to listen to my endless questions anymore he'd just turn his head.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Once upon a time . . .

I used to go down to live on my Uncle's farm in the summer when we lived in Memphis. I think I thought of him, my uncle, as a father. I was 13 when I used to do this, but when my Dad was overseas in WWII we lived on the farm, my Mom, my sister and I. I was 4 then and he became quite important in my life, what with starting the day at breakfast with his sonorous bass voice intoning the daily Bible reading. And then me following him around most of the day as he fed the cows, plowed the fields, and worked the rest of the farm while fending off my constant questions about why this and how come that.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

If it looks like a Christian. . .

I once worked on a roofing crew one summer and within two days of starting our first job the crew was decided about one thing. The Christian kid had to go. It was unanimous amongst us. The kid had to go. It wasn't that he couldn't do the work, or that he had sloppy work habits. No, it was clearly his need to proselytize us and anyone else who happened by that sealed his doom.

Another time, I was auditing a psychology of sports class at SD State and we were having a guest lecturer. No less than 15 seconds after he had begun his pitch, God and his place in our sport's lives, at least ten class members, myself included, spontaneously got up and left the room.

Sometimes you just have to say by act or word, I don't want to hear the sermon. Which is why my stomach turned and my gut reaction was to turn off the tv. Boston Legal, sunday night, the subject of one case: creationism to be taught in a science class. And by dint of the we're all Christians here, the founding fathers intended us to be one nation under god, sort of reasoning that passes for liberals trying to eat their cake and be elected too, the goddam case was decided in favor of the defendant, a god-fearing superintedant that just wanted to have all sides fairly represented. Ha! See for more on this.