Margaret Anne Thomas
Several things have happened to me lately to cause me to sit back, ponder, and reflect on my feelings. My most current reflection is that lawnmowers and garden hoses do not play well with one another. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to really grasp the error of my ways, for it is a problem that I have dealt with for a number of years. It’s not like this is something that has just presented itself overnight.
For many years my neighbor was on call for just such occurrences. I don’t know how many times I have had him come over, flip the mower on its side, and undo my hose from the thingy under the mower deck. I have always used my mowing time as “me time” when I can just mow and think, or at times when I got the hose, not think! But, you know, a blank mind isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a thing of beauty, because a blank mind is a clean canvas ready for new images and refreshing spells from the rat-race of the constant jumble in my head.
I don’t know about your head, but mine carries some pretty heady (pun intended) thoughts. Sometimes I have really heavy thoughts, but that’s usually when I’ve had dessert. At other times, my thoughts turn very dark and black. That’s usually when it’s dark outside and the lights are off inside. And upon other occasions, my thoughts are just fluffy and spacey, you know, when the most ridiculous things cross your mind.
Have you ever wondered why you can’t just hit reverse on a shredder? In the olden days, people wondered if the light was still on in the refrigerator when you shut the door, or if a tree fell in the forest was there any noise. Those, however, were concerns from years ago. We have drastically moved forward in our thinking these days. I still do not understand how the words on a fax leave my house and wind up somewhere else. Really, that is just amazing.
My husband and I sent our first fax for an important business deal all the way to Atlanta, GA. After we received the “fax sent” confirmation, we looked at one another, shook our heads, and I reached for the phone to call and see if they had received it!
Nowadays, we have text messages flying at the speed of light, and we all know those don’t work well, because only a few of the letters in a word make it through cyberspace! Thank you becomes ty. Ty? That’s my son’s name for goodness sakes, why would people keep reaching out to him? He doesn’t even know all of these people. I don’t get it!
I remember when a very good friend of mine who was an English teacher was so utterly beside himself back in the 70s when the names of people who made movies and t.v. shows were written in all lower-case letters. He could foretell at that exact moment where English grammar was going, and it was straight down the kitchen sink! He was a preacher also, so he would never have said it was going straight to hell, but, being a little warped myself, I got his drift! I was a brand new teacher at the time, and I just knew that what he said was the gospel.
Now, here we are, text messages with only a few letters. It’s no wonder many older people say, “Oh, I don’t do text messages!” Of course they don’t! They know how to spell whole words, but they can’t type all of them because of the arthritis in their hands! We find it much simpler to pick up the phone and chat.
Then, there are all of those ringtones one can put on the phone to liven up an incoming call. However, there is nothing like being in a very quiet place, like church, and hearing a foghorn or some lively jingle rinnnggggging through the place. Have you ever watched everyone looking around to discover who the fool was who left his/her phone on? It’s really funny unless it’s you!
If you have gotten confused, I was really pondering on how the lawnmower ate my garden hose before I digressed. Sad to say, but my lawnmower left here in the lawnmower ambulance, hanging its mowing blades in shame as it was hauled off for emergency surgery. Prayers please.
The second reflection I have been pondering is the fact that the gas grill will always run out of gas at the most inopportune time. You know, sometimes you think about a particular meal for several days, planning it, gathering the groceries, and choosing the perfect selection of meat to grill. Is it too fat? Is it too lean? Is it an 8 oz., or is it gonna be a 12 oz.? Does it have the right amount of marbling? Is it the right thickness to give the best juicy taste and not be too dry? Why, there’s a whole lot of planning and thinking that goes into the perfect… hamburger, of course!
Nonetheless, just when you have your mouth all puckered that you can almost taste your creation, the flame goes pffffttt! And, you’re out of luck. Oh my! It wouldn’t have mattered if a monsoon was coming and the trees were bent to the ground from the blast of the wind, you would have used that grill. You would have fought Mother Nature tooth and toenail, but one simply cannot fight a dead gas grill!
So, what do you do when that happens? Why, you pull out your phone, and type a very long, perfectly spelled and grammatically correct text to all of your neighbors asking if you might just come over to their house and grill your hamburgers! Some of your more tech savvy neighbors might reply to your text with some of those funny emojis that are on every phone these days. One in particular looks like a Hershey’s kiss, but I believe its intent is more of the barnyard variety. Anyhow, you take your plate of burgers, your umbrella, your raincoat, your galoshes, and your spatula back to the old frying pan on the stove mumbling and grumbling all the way.
The last reflection that has been worming its way around my mind is why people change? We recently had our 50th high school class reunion, and it wasn’t as if we needed walkers to navigate our way around the venue but we did need a facial recognition system at the door. You know, one like the FBI and Homeland Security uses to identify people. You would not believe how some of those people have changed!
I have not changed one iota! I have the same face looking at me in the mirror every morning and every night. But, some of those other folks have really gotten old! One of our classmates made a very astute observation. He noted that we were the Class of ‘68, and most of us would be 68 this year. I really felt sad for all of those who have already reached that plateau! It must really hurt! I however, have until December, so I’m still a young chick! As long as there is Maybelline, and hair color, this girl is good to go!
Back to my reflections on the reunion, though. It’s funny how you can put on the same music that was popular with us back in 1968, and if you looked around, you noticed quite a number of toe tappers and leg bouncers in the room. There certainly was rhythm flowing all around the Farm at Fiery Gizzard. I think the best part though, was all of the shouts of joy as blank faces became clear with recognition. With any class, there is always a class clown, and ours was front and center in all of the mischief. Memories were shared from table to table, and for one brief second, we were teenagers once again, free from stress, oblivious to pain and sorrow, eager to relive a more carefree time of our lives. Football players, band members, and cheerleaders once again wore their uniforms in that special corner of their minds. FFA boys and Home Ec girls filled the room, while others thought of chemistry class shenanigans.
Favorite teachers who had encouraged us were held dear in our hearts while we recognized just how far we, as a class, had traveled throughout 50 years.
The number of professions we represented was plentiful. There were teachers, nurses, farmers, secretaries, artists, writers, construction workers, business owners, a hospital administrator, a Superintendent of Education, a doctor, contractors, preachers, a martial arts black belt, and a plethora of other occupations, never forgetting the most important ones of mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and these days the all-encompassing role of caregivers to spouses and elderly parents.
Our lives were built on a strong foundation at G.C.H.S. Apart from one another, we have expanded our lives through our own families, teaching them the lessons shared with us in our homes. Beyond all of our accomplishments, however, one thing stands out among the Class of ‘68, and that is the number of people who have chosen to follow Christ. As a class, our foundation is far more than academics and sports. It is evident in each person I met at the reunion that God leads us and we follow. What a gift we as the Class of ‘68 have been given! Not only do we have very real friendships that have surpassed the span of time, but we also have a brother/sister relationship in Christ. Not only will the Class of ‘68 meet for another reunion, but there will be that very special gathering in the clouds that we will also share!
To my classmates, it was so good to see all of you, and it will be even better when we meet at that final reunion!