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Recently while sitting at our dining area table, my wife and I were reminiscing about our years of growing up. As you get older, you tend to reflect back a lot to days gone by. I call them: Do you remember moments. We are both in our 70s and have a lot of years we can reflect on.
To set the stage a bit, my parents were married during the early days of WW 2, I appeared shortly there after. By 1946 they had separated. Fortunately for me, they were both from the same town on the Jersey side of Philadelphia. Ferry boats were still in use back then, transporting folks over the Delaware River. I would get to see my father every week as well as my fraternal grandparents. There were not a lot of large gatherings at their dinner table. The table was in the kitchen up against a wall and made of metal. Two meals each week never varied. Friday nights was always Oyster Stew or fish, (Yuk.) Saturday meals were always Hot Dogs and Baked Beans, (Toot-Toot.)
My parents were young when married. When the war started, my father was already in the Army. He spent time in the Philippines, and I’m thinking once he came home, the glowing flame of a youthful romance was no longer there. Neither parent ever spoke of negatives about the other. I was fortunate that I was equally shared and held accountable for my actions by both, neither parent would ever put down the other.
My mother and I would share a second-floor apartment in the home of my maternal Great-grandparents. My father would move back into the same bedroom he was raised in with his parents. We were separated by railroad tracks and less than a mile. I would spend a lot of time at both homes. Also, one block away was my maternal grandparents and an aunt. I was loved, spoiled, and watched over by caring relatives.
My wife grew up less than an hour away in Wilmington, Delaware, 36 miles as the crow flies. She was #4 of 5 children whose parents stayed together forever. She had three older brothers and a younger sister. Most of her family’s relatives were in NE Pennsylvania; the family would spend a lot of time visiting that neck of the woods. In her life also, the Dining Room Table would be the gathering place in Wilmington as well as Freeland, PA. Neighbors would constantly drop in at the Wilmington location. My wife remembers one family in particular that timed their visit at dinner time, quite frequently in fact. Not wanting to be rude, they were always invited to stay, and they did. Yes sir E. Bob, “back in the day,” I like to say.
There were not a whole lot of electronic diversions back in the late 40s, early 50s. TV was just getting going and we didn’t have one. I do remember going next door to see Howdy Doody at 5:00 pm. That show came on the air in 1947 and ran until 1960. The folks who allowed me to watch the show would ultimately be the parents of my step-father when my mother remarried. On occasion, I would carry my dinner over with me and watch the show at the dining room table. Looking back, this was a strange place to have a TV by today’s standards. I might add that this home was a strict Methodist facility. Once my mother married their son, Methodist standards took hold. No card playing or sports or rowdiness on Sundays, ever.
Here’s a look back at Granny W’s old-time dining table . This was the table at my maternal grandmother’s home. This home was a Lutheran home. That dining room table would host holiday meals for many years as well as other celebratory events. I can remember having to sit around and listen to whatever it was old people talked about back then. I vividly recall the Truman – Dewey presidential race being discussed. That was November 3,1948, and I was not yet six years of age. Truman won in an upset, by the way. All the newspapers reported Dewey the winner. Yep folks there was even fake news at the time. Many a card game, money on the table, cigar smoke in the air was the norm during a lot of get gatherings.
That Granny “W” could cook, and the aroma of the evening meal would hit you in the face the minute you walked into the house. She had a big part in raising me. Her dining room table was quite large. It had substantial sculpted legs with Gargoyles or something similer on them. Over the table was a chandelier encircled with gold-threaded fringe. Our children still remember being scolded for flicking that fringe. So I’m thinking, does that mean children were always on the fringe while the adults conversed?
The atmosphere at this table was much more jovial than the Methodist table. Many Aunts and Uncles would be in attendance. My grandmother would always have some Mogen David wine in the cupboard. For the men, it was Schmidt’s of Philadelphia beer. What a contrast between the two tables. I’m thinking about the difference between Lutherans and Methodists. I’m sure that’s politically incorrect in this day and age. I’ll call this the happy table and the other the stuffy table.
I would spend many hours at this table listening, trying to picture places and events that were talked about. When I was sent off to bed, I would listen to more stories at the keyhole in the door. Often talk would center around my great-grandfather, and the time he traveled with a Wild West show in the early 1900s. He was a Gun-Smith and kept the show’s weapons functioning. I could really close my eyes and place myself in those days of old. High-O-Siver, away! My grandmothers brother was often in attendance and would tell stories about his life as an Engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad. I often would dream of riding the rails in the Caboose.
Yes, back in the day there were many things other than electronics to keep a boys mind imagining. I sure did like playing Cowboys and Indians. Thanks to that dining room table, I could place myself in the moment.
Semper Fi theRooster
Growing up in the South of New Jersey, Exit # 3 of the NJ Tpk. was my geographical reference point. I was quite familiar with the Jersey Devil. The below is from https://weirdnj.com/
The Jersey Devil
While this one is not a “ghost” story, the tale of the Jersey Devil has withstood the test of time—and for good reason. Stories of the winged beast are truly terrifying. But who or what is the Jersey Devil? According to Weird NJ, the infamous creature haunting the Pine Barrens is the child of Mother Leeds, a Pines resident who conceived her thirteenth child in 1735. At the time, Leeds had no idea how she could care for (let alone afford) another kid and so, in exasperation, she raised her hands to the heavens and proclaimed “Let this one be a devil!” Leeds got her wish. Moments after birth, her healthy baby boy grew horns and claws and bat-like wings. Legend has it the “devil” then killed his mother before attacking onlookers.
This remembrance should have been posted before or on Halloween, once again, however, Life got in the way.
One thought going back many years ago, in the mid-fifties I’d say, is the following:
There were train tracks going through our town back then. These tracks ran the breadth of South Jersey from Camden to Atlantic City, with many spurs running from them in north and south directions. One such spur even went to the north into the Pine Barrens.
On this day I was walking the tracks with a few friends in early fall. Just days prior, it had been reported that a murder had occurred in the area around Chatsworth, a town that is kind of the Capitol of the Pine Barrens.
One of the three or four of us began talking about the incident as we headed back home from Hadden Heights. The sun was setting to our front, and the early fall darkness was setting in. Someone even mentioned the killer could have hopped a freight out of the Barrens. I remember all of our imaginations running a bit on the wild side.
As you come into Audubon, there is a lean-to built to protect commuter passengers in foul weather. Someone surmised that the killer from Chatsworth could be holed out in there. To this day, I can remember passing that lean-to very quickly. Dinner and the safety of home were calling.
Whenever I return to that town of my youth and pass that intersection, E. Atlantic and Chestnut streets, I can still remember that fall day.
I hope you all got a lot of candy and had a fun Halloween.
Throughout my life, I’ve lived in quite a few places. South Jersey was my home for the first eighteen years. In case you don’t know, everyone in New Jersey lives near an Exit, that Exit is off either the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. Some folks way up north will quote an exit off I-80 which runs E to W from the George Washington Bridge to the Delaware Water Gap bridge at the Pennsylvania line.
So, after that bit of geography, the better part of my early years was spent close to exits #3 & #5 just off the NJ Tpk. And Exit # 4A off the Garden State Pkwy. Thanks to the United States Marine Corps, while stationed at the Earle Ammunition Depot in Colts Neck, NJ, I also lived a short distance off Exit #8 of NJ Tpk.
After graduation from high school, the Marine Corps moved me about to assignments in South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, DC, New Jersey, Japan, and California.
I married my wife of 54 years while in the Marine Corps and upon discharge we resided in northern Maryland for a year before moving to Connecticut and ultimately a career with the Ct State Police, retiring in 1988.
Upon retirement, the little woman wanted to relocate to the northern Maine coast. As for me, I was looking to travel south to the Gulf Coast of Florida. We wound up compromising and found the Delmarva Peninsula and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
We were Yankees no longer, we now live below the Mason – Dixon line and are Southerners. There is a lot on conjecture as to the exact placement of those markers. Some folks locally say Mardella Springs has an original marker, others will tell you Delmar is the line of demarcation. In either case, we’re about 20 some miles south of that infamous line.
So, for the past 31 years, we’ve lived as Southerners. During that time, we’ve met some characters along the way. For this story, I’m calling the featured character Charlie.
Charlie lived in on a small wooded plot in a small trailer just off the main road that ran from Allen to Trinity, MD. This was not a terribly long stretch of road, only 3 1/2 miles to the old Trinity Church cemetery near our present home. Every Christmas and Easter someone comes by and places plastic flowers on two or three of the grave markers.
It’s been told that Charlie, back in the day, as they say down here, once was a store owner. Some kind of malady occurred in his life that caused him to give up the store and live a life of solitude., thus the trailer in the woods.
Charlie could often be found in the local country store sitting on an old wooden milk carton under a big fan. Charlie would be talking about the past with the store’s proprietor for the better part of a morning or afternoon, especially in the summer. You would always know when Charlie was there, his dog Brownie would be lying outside awaiting his return. Inside the store, lying about somewhere, was the resident Collie, Chief. He was the companion of the store owner and resident historian, who we shall call Butch.
When we first moved to Allen, since named Eden by the Federal Government and Postal people, there was no trash pickup or mail delivery. The post office was part of that general store and the Post Master or Mistress as in this case just happened to be Butch’s mother and he most often referred to as “Mother.” She went by a slew of names depending on who she was referring to her at the time. I always called her “Yes, Ma’am.”
Often while depositing trash at the “Transfer Station” one might run into Charlie. Growing up in New Jersey, we called them “Dumps” and would always make a “Dump Run” when making a deposit. I guess down here I just made a transfer, stuff to be used by someone else, I guess.
At times Charlie could be found conversing with the manager of the Dump, his name was Slim. Slim was there from opening to closing, watching over the three dumpsters, two for household trash, one for metal. There was no recycling back in those days, just household trash and NO construction materials were allowed. You were in big trouble should you transfer building Materials. Those had to go to the big Dump in Salisbury where you were weighed and had to pay a fee.
Often times, Charlie’s dog Brownie could be found in one of the dumpsters, looking for some munchies he was. You always had to examine before making a drop into the bin. There was a rare occasion when Charlie himself could be found in a dumpster. More than once this writer had to hold up the throw of a bag into the bin for fear of injuring a dog, stray cat or Charlie himself.
I would spend a lot of time chatting with Slim and Charlie from time to time. Slim was always up to date on what was biting on the hook in the local waters. With no Barber Shop in town, the Dump would often be a place to keep up with the local goings on, along with the Post Office and General Store of course. That old store made the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
At one point in the past, old Charlie showed up at the Dump with a second dog. This dog was also brown. I asked Charlie what the dog’s name was, Charlie responded, “Brownie II.” How simple and appropriate I thought.
As time passed, Charlie appeared one day at the Dump, and the elder Brownie was not with him. I asked where the old dog was, and Charlie responded, “dead.” I wondered what happened? I asked Charlie and he replied, “Metalosis.” Not familiar with the term I asked, what is Metalosis? Charlie kinda chuckled and said, “The metal in the bumper of the car that struck him, what done it.
Life, South of the Mason Dixon Line, with the Rooster.
How did you sleep last night? How do you usually sleep? We all can answer these questions through personal experiences we have each evening. Some of us have done the rotating shifts in our career days, remember those 11-7 days? I personally remember some 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM shifts. They seemed to screw me up more than anything.
I’m always amazed when I’m flying somewhere and I look to an aisle ahead of me and there’s a peaceful soul, eye mask on, mouth open, a bit of spittle in view and dead asleep. “Really”? Why the hell can’t I do this. I’ve been across the pond to Europe a few times, England, Ireland and, Germany, should anyone be interested. I would be willing to bet I’ve had less than one hour of sleep collectively.
I recently got a new Fitbit. I track my steps, heart rate, for messages I get a buzz alert and the message scrolls across the Fitbit face. I’m kinda old, need cheaters to read and, never find my glasses fast enough to read the message, but it’s there. The thing will tell me my active minutes during the day, remind me to move periodically and give me a calorie burn.
What I find is the neatest thing is, it can track my sleep during the night and daily activity. It tells me if I’m awake, in Rem sleep, light sleep and, deep sleep. On getting out of bed this morning, I learned I was awake eight different times during the night. Bad weather, bad bones has been my nemeses for many years. Wasweather coming through the reason?
The below web site has a great video by Matthew Walker on the secrets of sleep. The video is a short five (5) minutes long. Hey, if it helps you gain a few more hours of sleep, take a look.
As for me and the Airplane, I’ve tried everything. I’ll stick to a Bloody Mary (1), a couple of movies and a three-hour nap on landing, to take care of the Jet Lag.
Have a great day, and, sleep well tonight.
So, I’m chatting with my wife this morning, about sports and free agents. I mention the sadness in my heart learning Bryce Harper has jumped ship from Washington and is now a Philadelphia Phillies player. I suppose a 13-year offer for $330 million will entice someone to jump ship. I happen to be a transplanted Phillies fan who has been a Washington Nationals fan since they moved to our nation’s capital. They call it the City of Brotherly Love, they also Boo Santa Clause. You best produce young fellow.
Continuing with the sports news I check on the Eagles of Philadelphia, an American Football team, sorry Soccer fans. Should anyone give a Rat’s Butt, Manchester United is my Soccer Team. As for the Football Eagles, been my team since the 50’s.
My next read goes to this – “New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman said on Wednesday that the team wants Eli Manning back next season. But after Manning’s recent struggles, should the Giants go after Super Bowl champion Nick Foles?”.
NO! Yep, Nick is a Free Agent also and I’m sure will be going somewhere, but anywhere other than the N.Y. Giants. Once again a favorite sports figure is looking at big $$$$$.
The little woman looks me right in the eye, smiles and, says, “maybe I should declare Free Agency”.
Geeze, we have a house cleaner, a meal delivery service 3 days a week, a new Honda CRV in the driveway and 5 hens a laying in the coop. I also must mention her beloved Simon, our in and out 30 times a day, Canary yellow cat. What more does she desire? The guy singing with Lady GaGa I ask myself?
We’re in year 54 of this marriage, contract negotiations are under way, I just love this woman.
It’s Friday, get through this day and you’ve got all weekend to enjoy your self. Have fun, be safe and be kind. Peace my friends!
“Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold.”
― Bob Marley
From October 22 to 28 we recognize Pastoral Care Week, also known as Spiritual Care Week. As more people around the world come to recognize the importance of whole person care, we take note during this special week, now in its 32nd year, to celebrate those who provide this care through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling. These trained professionals minister to the needs of persons of all faiths or none. They provide this care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices, nursing homes and military settings throughout the world. By celebrating the week we have the opportunity to recognize the important and often unrecognized work and healing gifts of pastoral care givers, be they clergy, chaplains, or volunteers. By Eric J. Hall (Huffington Post)
Back in June of this year daughter Kathryn, ever watchful over the lives of her aging parents, sent me an email pertaining to an upcoming educational program offered at the hospital where she is employed. The course offered the opportunity for an individual to be trained in Pastoral Counseling and ultimately be a Chaplain upon successful completion. I’m guessing she thought I had too much idle time on my hands. I accepted the opportunity, filled out a lenghthy application and passed the background investigation and was accepted.
I finished the course successfully along with five other classmates and have begun walking the halls of the hospital and doing patient visitations. I am part of the Volunteer Services of the institution and am proud to be worthy of this responsibility.
During my formative years I was raised a Methodist, practiced as a Lutheran and attended a Baptist church while in the Marine Corps in Washington, DC. Fifty three years ago I married a young Catholic girl and have long been a practicing member of that faith. I’ve worshiped with Mormons, Jews and those of the Episcopal faith and attended a few Charismatic services. The rooms I enter will have a listener from many perspectives and three-quarters of a century of life experiences. Now, if these legs just hold up, I may do some good. Not quite sure what they might say when they realize a Rooster’s walking the halls.
No matter the faith, we all ask for a blessing from a higher authority when the chips are not quite falling our way. This is especially true when sickness or injury brings us inside those antiseptic walls of a hospital. An ending quote from a Chaplain that was recently carried in the Huffington Post went like this.
““We as chaplains in health care are often invited by patients and family members to stand with them in sacred spaces at sacred times in their lives. We are there with them to witness the beginnings of the lives and the ending of lives. We stand with them and support them during some of the greatest joys and some of the greatest tragedies that life brings to any person.”
Pastoral Care Overview
Through the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee, CHA looks at the changing landscape, challenges and opportunities for delivering spiritual care in new and creative ways. While pastoral care has traditionally been provided in Catholic hospitals and long-term care facilities, the shift in health care delivery to non-acute care and outpatient settings has created new opportunities for patients and residents to receive holistic care in these new settings. Many of our members are using chaplains in physician offices and ambulatory settings where patients with chronic diseases are being treated. Catholic health care is committed to providing holistic care in whatever setting care is being delivered. The need for qualified chaplains is growing.
Recognizing there is a shortage of trained, qualified chaplains in health care, CHA is committed to working collaboratively with board certifying groups to ensure there will be enough qualified chaplains to fill the needs going into the future. Many members are finding ways to use board certified chaplains with the most critically ill patients and supplement their staff though trained volunteers and local clergy. For more information about pastoral care activities, please contact Brian Smith, MS, MA, M.Div., CHA senior director of mission innovation and integration.
Back in June, daughter Kathryn sent me information about an upcoming training course at the hospital she works for, Penisula Regional Medical Center. The course was a “Basic Chaplains course,” with participants responsible for “Pastoral Care in Hospitals” upon completion.
Twenty-six years ago I also was an employee of this institution. Just one of my many hats during three-quarters of a century traveling around the sun. I have thought of volunteering at this hospital for some time. I felt it would be a way to give back for the thirty years of Cardiological Care I have received. I’ve had quite a few positive outcomes from various procedures and am a proud, five-time graduate of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program.
So I filled out the necessary paperwork for the “Basic Chaplain Course” and was quite pleased when I found out I was accepted. I looked forward to my Thursday evenings and engaging in dialogue with my fellow students and instructor. After several weeks we would meet with in-patients, explain the services offered by the “Pastoral Care Department,” and carry on dialogue with the patients under the guidance and oversight of staff chaplains.
I proudly completed that course last Thursday and look forward to starting my Volunteer Chaplain time at the hospital in the coming days. I’ve developed of late, a habit of doing a daily reading of one kind or another. Today I happened to read, An Accessible Woman: Remembering St. Teresa of Kolkata, by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB One part of that reading was as follows:
“The fruit of silence is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE. The fruit of service is PEACE. God bless you. –Mother Teresa.”
Herself and I ventured into town yesterday to receive Ashes on the first day of lent. The night prior a fine Roast Beef dinner was served to our daughter and her husband and two of our grandchildren, it was a great evening. Whenever they come around to check on the elderly we are blessed. You always splurge on Shrove Tuesday and Tuesday night was no exception.
A blogger I follow (https://madhatters.me.uk/2017/03/02/ashes-guide/) had the below chart posted on his site, it is so true and I’m sure should you have been Catholic for a number of years (50+ years for me) you’ve seen them all. I never did get ashes so many years ago back in my Methodist days. If I remember right I couldn’t play cards, get dirty or have fun on Sunday either, reverence was the way of the day back then.
The day did remind me of a time back in high school, 1961 in fact, when a group of us guys came to school late after getting ashes. We, five or six of us went to one member of the group’s house and hung out for several hours during the same time the Ash Wednesday service was going on in town. When it was time to get back to school, Father Fiddler dipped his thumb in the ash tray we had filled up and placed the sign of the cross on each heathen’s forehead. I’m thinking that must be some kind of sacrilege and someday I’ll pay for it.
Thanks Mike McVeigh for providing the venue on that day.
So now we Catholics spend forty days of suffering, giving up something we enjoy until Easter Sunday. My brother in-law Bobby gave up beer for 6 days each week of lent. Somehow it was OK to partake on Sundays. Some will give up candy, some soda and of course some will give up nothing at all. As for me, I shall give up staying home on Sundays and get my sorry ass to church.
Oh, and by the way, we never got questioned for being three hours late to school. I’m guessing I did a good job being the forehead scribe. It was a Lucky Strike we never got caught.
Several years ago I got to spend Shrove Tuesday in Munich, Germany with my son in-law Jeff and am providing the attached site for those who may be interested in The German Way and more. (https://www.german-way.com/history-and-culture/holidays-and-celebrations/fasching-and-karneval/)
What will you give up over the next forty days?