NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

Story told to me by Audrey.

Audrey was in the fifth grade living in Charlotte, NC with her brother Curtis and Mom Grace. The year was probably 1937 or 38. She and her two year older brother decided they want to go to Rockingham (Cordova) to visit their grandmother and uncle Horace and aunt Nora. They had a couple of slight problems: they didn’t have any money and they didn’t have permission to go. Being creative and great problem solvers they decided that they would hitchhike their way to Cordova, to save money (which they had none), and Curtis had come up with a plan to obtain some.

Aunt Grace had been recently ill and Curtis reasoned that if he took the empty prescription bottle to the local neighbor store that Grace had an account with he could tell a yarn about his mom needing her medicine and they were broke. The store owner bought the story and advanced them 72 cents to purchase the medicine at the drug store. Flush with some spending money and their wide eyed innocence they headed off on their adventure.

They traveled all evening and made it to a small town just before getting to Wadesboro and found a family that offered to share supper with them. During the meal they dodged answering the natural questions that flowed from the adults as to what these youngsters were up to and how come they were on the road. Finally they were given some blankets to make a pallet to sleep on for the night. The next morning Audrey and Curtis awoke to a couple of police officers who weren’t buying their answers. Audrey ultimately gave it up and told them who their mother was and where they were from.

The officers were able to contact Aunt Grace and advised her to come pick them up. Grace had her own slight problem-she didn’t own a car. She got a neighbor to drive her down. Audrey said that was one beautiful sight to see when she spied the car. She knew it was her momma coming to get her. She said Curtis wasn’t near as happy. She was so happy to be riding home in the rumble seat she didn’t worry about the consequences of her and Curtis’ adventure. Children will always be children, I’m thankful nothing bad happened to my cousins and the knowledge that some of the stuff I got into as a child had a precedent.

WEIRD

weird

I don’t usually remember dreams, at least I don’t think I remember dreams.  Those that I don’t remember I have to take on faith that I’ve had.  Occasionally one stays with me as I awake, maybe due to the fact I’m in the process of waking.

I’m closing in on the early seventies-not the era, but the age. I dreamed that at my age I had to take my Piedmont transcript to an unknown university to continue my studies.  I couldn’t find a name for it anywhere.  I was in a dormitory with youth running around stripping the place of items as they seemed to  be leaving campus.  I took an ice tray or the Ice bin from an ice maker-why I don’t know.  I end up in an office building looking for the registrar and run into one of my old high school students, who was still the same age as when I taught her.  She wanted to know what I was doing there.  while explaining to her that I was going to finish my studies I noticed another of my old students sitting on the floor and called her by name.  The first student informed me she had to have helped the second student do everything because the second student didn’t know how to do even the simplest of task.

The first student told me she would take me to the registrar so that I could go to class and she led me to an elevator.  She punched the button (I don’t remember if it was the up or down), but as I awoke we were standing in front of the elevator for 30 minutes, and I think as I gained full conscientiousness the door began to open.

No, I hadn’t taken any drugs or drank alcohol. It was just a weird dream.

So for those of you who believe that dreams have meanings I’m dying to hear your interpretation of my dream and its meaning.

During the dream I had the students’ names, but I have now forgotten them.

LET THEM EAT CAKE


I made the mistake of purchasing a Kindle Book called “American Hunger” by Eli Saslow. I’m reading it very slowly, I don’t want to misconstrue anything that this gentleman is saying. Up to this point he is just relaying information and his observations of people in the U.S. and their battle against hunger. He seems to be purposely avoiding making judgments or offering solutions…I think he just wants us to think about the issue of hunger in America.

If that was his purpose he has succeeded with me. Questions that have been floating around in my mind for years are popping up after reading just a little of this book…that’s why it was a mistake to purchase it. Questions like, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”; “What do I owe others?”; “What is the proper involvement of government in feeding the hunger?”; “How much can the government afford in meeting basic needs of her citizens?”; “How do you get people off welfare?”; “Is another’s bad life choices my responsibility?”; “When are good intentions, bad policy?”; “When is bad policy good?”; “Is there a such thing as punishing foolishness without hurting the innocent or can you help the innocent without opening yourself to abuse?”; “Can any local agency, local government, local church, meet the needs of the hungry in this country?” Perhaps the biggest question of all, “Why is there hunger in America?”

I have read in the past that there is enough food produced on this planet to offer a diet of 2700 calories to every person on her. The problem isn’t production, but distribution. In America it would seem to be economics and ideology. And people go hungry. People get locked into welfare, living off the largess of others-and I don’t accept this as being right. But it is reality. How do we change this reality. We reward those who need our help by increasing their aid when they continue to make bad life choices and cripple those who make decisions and choices to better themselves by taking away helps that could support them until those choices bear fruit. It isn’t just our nation’s citizens that are supported by welfare, but much of our economy, and not just food service, but housing and medical industries are propped up by our country’s welfare programs. If we do away completely with welfare I strongly believe the recession of 2008 will look like a cake walk.

No one wants to hear it, but education is the first line in the battle to decrease welfare and just importantly the need to have jobs available that give a living wage to those who strive to improve their lives. My father tells of the time he had to knock snow off the wood stove in his house for his grandmother to cook breakfast for the family. At the time he didn’t think anything of it, it was all he knew and that was what everyone in his circle contented with. It was education that taught him their was a better way to live. But it was industry paying a living wage that allowed him and his family to live better. Pride is a learned thing, so is acceptance.

Marie Antointte is reported to have told her subjects let them eat cake. I pray that we Americans can move past that and offer real helps to meet each others needs.

Rambling Thoughts

I was preveiwing a book by Ruth Graham, Billy’s late wife, titled the

Prodicals and Those Who Love Them.

  I’ve only read the preface and the section on Augustine, but I’m impressed with her writing style and the substance of what she has written.

She relates a story of a youth who denouces his father’s faith at the supper table and the father’s response.  She also quotes C. S. Lewis, “…. “Lost” as C. S. Lewis put it, “in the invincible ignornce of his intellect.”  The father respones with, ” Son This is your freedom, your terrible freedom.”  This story pricked my conscience.  I like to think that I think and don’t just accept things, especially things of faith because of tradition or by the experience of others.

It would seem almost a pardox that as a believer I’m to study to prepare myself as a workman that need not be ashamed, while at the same time I’m to operate by faith (the substance of things hoped for, but not seen).  No doubt Ruth’s thrust in writing this book is to give hope to those whose loved ones have spurned their life style, but it also speaks to the concept of free will and choice.

Scholars much brighter than I have studyed and puzzled over the question of free will and the doctrine of “election”.  In the end none of their arguments completely answer the divide between what those two words (works?) mean.  I am a Baptist.  That is a simple statement, but it wrought with tremendous conflicts and history.

I am aligned with the Southern Baptist, which follows some Calvinist doctrine, some Armenian doctrine, and blends in Lutheran and Anglican doctrine…a kind of pick and choose smorgaborgh of teachings.  I have friends that argue that only the chosen will be delivered and receive life in Christ.  I see their argument, but have a hard time accepting that the God of my heart would provide sufficiency for all, then allow it to affect only those He has picked.  That doesn’t even begin to question the  why “Free Will”?  Or what purpose it plays in the eternal?  I have friends who believe that the life given through Christ can be forfeit.  That one can, like the prodical, go into a distant land, but unlike him not return.  This flys in the face of what I preceive as truth…we are sealed by the Spirit of God when we become believers.  Who can break God’s seal?

It is a shameful thing that one of the reasons that there is a “Southern Baptist Conference” (denomination) is there was a break with the “General Baptist” over slavery.  Granted that the conference has finally acknownledged its flawed beginning, it still stings.  The warning is plain to me…be careful that your theology isn’t based on your culture.  We still face racial inequalities and prejudices today within our denomination (not just ours), and they are more subtle and prevasive than those of even 50 years ago.

I once again reflect on Lewis’s quote, “…in the invincible ignorance of his intellect.”   I realize that I ramble, that I am free thinking, allowing my mind to travel where it will, and I’m not coming to any new conclusions or decisions.  At best I’m revealing to myself the invincible ignorance of my own intellect.

MORNING


I got up this morning and turned on my electric kettle to heat water to use in my brand new French press. I went out and picked up the morning paper, came back in and spooned the coffee into the press and added the boiling water. Sitting at the kitchen table sipping a great cup of coffee, I decided to go sit outside in the cool of the morning.

The neighborhood was quiet, no traffic, just the sound of the birds singing at the top of their lungs-rejoicing in the beginning of a new day. The smoothness of the coffee went down a little easier as I listened to this concert of nature’s sounds. I was reading Ps. 66, and reflecting on how little I understand the mind of the God I serve. How He uses the afflictions of life to draw us closer to the understanding of how great He is; how much He truly loves us; how blessed we are to be a part of this creation. The psalmnist sang of how he would fulfill his vows made in his affliction, speaks to the maturing integrity of the man. And the coffee tasted good.

A sparrow sat on the basketball goal my son used as a teenager, it’s amazing how much sound came from such a small source. My hearing isn’t what it use to be. Sounds aren’t as clear as when I was young, but it seems that as I age I want to hear that which I took for granted in my youth. This morning I praised the Lord along with this little fellow…I too enjoyed the morning dew…the gentle breeze…the light touch of God’s Spirit on my soul. Life on this sphere is fleeting, but this morning my soul was content.

Last night I took Odie for his evening walk and I heard a snort that I recognized from a couple of years ago. I looked around and finally spotted its source. A doe was standing still and quiet about 50 yards into the woods along the road we were walking. She was aware that I was aware of her presence and she watched me with a wary eye as she walked further into the woods. My heart soared, it has been a year since I’ve seen a deer in these woods, and it was strange that I heard her snort from that distance. When we are quiet and open it’s astonishing what God can say…even to the hearing impaired.

SOUNDS OF THE FOREST

I went for a walk today, actually it ended up being a hike.  I went to the Thornburgh Farm, which has become part of the Uwharrie National Forest. It was hot when I pulled into the parking area just off Lasitter Mill Road.  I cracked the windows of my car about an inch, checked my hiking supplies (two apples, pint bottle of water, 1 liter waterbottle, and an oatmeal snack bar), and got my camera.  I really didn’t think I would walk all that far, but it’s always best to take water with you on these kinda adventures.

Mosyed on to the old home place, it was built the same year the church I attend was begun, 1855.  The view out across the Uwharries was grande.  Bet it’s even better in the fall and early winter.  Took a few shots with my camera and starting walking down to the creek, at least I think it was a creek it may have been a branch.  The trail was called “the Robbins Branch trail”.  It was really wide for a branch, I’m guessing it was Hannah’s Creek.  If I do this again I’ll go to Troy and pick up a trail map at the rancher station.

When I got to the water I met two men and a young boy who had fishing gear and some panning supplies.  They had been panning for gold.  As I walked on up the trail I looked down and saw another couple sitting at a bend in the creek panning for gold.  Most folks probably don’t know, but North Carolina was the home of the first gold rush in this country and Randolph county had its own gold mine.  It can be found on the Birkhead trail.  We traded waves of the hand and I kept on walking.

The trail followed the creek for a short distance, but it climbed and began to move away from the water as I walked deeper into the wilderness.  “Wilderness” may sound like too strong a word to describ the area, but it seems every year someone gets lost in the Pisgah National Forest of which the Uwharrie is a part.  The trail is marked very well and there is little danger of getting lost as long as you stay on the marked trail.  The farther I get from the creek the more I begin to hear it.

The first is the buzz of a misquito, then the breeze moving in the top of the trees.  I hear the birds chirping and singing as I walk.  The heavy sound of my own breathing is the only human sound I hear as I continue to climb.  There is the rustle of leaves as lizards sprint away from my approach.  The thought crosses my mind that I’m not hearing any man made sounds, not even distant aircraft.  At this thought I begin to strain to hear a car, a plane, anything that I could contribute to a man.  By straining I started to hear a rumble that sounded like white noise, but it wasn’t man made.  I relaxed and the rumble left and for the rest of the walk I only heard the sounds of the forest except once there was a distant jet, but even it was muted.

For two hours I walked the trail and didn’t see a soul.  When I reached four miles I looked up and saw a middle aged woman walking toward me and I spoke, “Hey there is someone else out here”  She replied, ” not many out today”.  She didn’t slow down.     I thought she must be in really good shape to maintain that pace on the trail.  Little did I know she had just started her hike.  Shortly I came to another parking area.     I  still don’t have a clue as to where I was.  I really do need to get a map.

I decided to turn around and head back to the farm.  The sounds of the forest were still with me.  As a child I use to love and play in the woods near my home.  I would often spend my free time on the branches and at the creek that ran by the mill village where I was raised.  In my heart I always feel closer to God when I’m in the woods by myself.  Listening to the quietness of wind and screams of insects.  Even my thoughts are heard here.

On the walk back I run into to two groups walking out to the parking area I had come upon.  As they quickly passed I once again was left alone to hear the sounds of the forest.  I stepped on a dried twig on the trail and it snapped like a rifle shot.  It kind of startled me.  It was the quiet that allowed me to hear.  

My pace going back was faster, I thought I was still a mile or two away from the farm when I came to the creek.  It was a nice surprise.  I was really tired and I was about out of water.  The apples had been eatten and I was looking forward to sitting in my air-conditioned Buick on the ride back home.  That last quarter mile up from the creek was tough going, but I made it.  

The ride home was uneventful, but my legs were stiff by  the time I got home, and I was hot and sweaty. I sat down for a few minute before heading off to take a cool shower.  The water felt good, and my body began to cool down.  That’s when I saw him-a tick had attached himself to my left knee.  Further examination and I found two more attached to my legs.  Since then I found one more, but he wasn’t attached.  

I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed the sounds of the forest.

Rehab

Tomorrow marks the twenty-eighth day since my left knee replacement surgery. This journey has not been an easy one; although most say I’m doing good in my recovery. I can walk without assistance from support devices (walkers, canes), I can drive (if I can fold into the driver seat), I only take OTC pain relievers (usually only once a day), but I must admit I’m frustrated in my recovery. It is taking longer than I desire to feel normal; it is much harder to regain flexibility in my knee than I thought it would; it has been four weeks since I’ve been able to comfortably sleep all night in my bed.

My body has been a blessing to me, the Lord gave me a good one that has weathered well at all the things that I’ve thrown at it. While I’ve steered it into episodes that allowed for physical pain before, this assumptive surgery (in my mind) to correct future pain and injury has been a revelation to what living with physical pain is. I’ve broken bones, pulled ligaments, had sprains, even had a couple of prior surgeries, but none of that compares to the physical discomfort that this particular surgery has subjected me to. Was this surgery necessary? Ultimately it was going to happen if I hoped to remain mobile; I am (was bone on bone, no cartilage in knee joint) positive that the knee was unstable and was becoming more painful on a regular basis. So yes, the surgery was necessary, just a matter of timing.

I have had physical therapy beginning in the first week post surgery. The stated goal of my home therapist was to achieve a flex in the knee of 90°s. Who would have thought that angle would be so hard to make? We did achieve that by week two, and that ended the at home physical therapy. Now begins the out-patient therapy at the rehabilitation center, for the past two weeks I’ve gone and been subjected to stretches, movements, and exercises to flex and strengthen my left knee. I’m being asked to do things that before the surgery were easy and done with little exertion. Now I sweat with effort to do these simple task, and yes it hurts to do them. I don’t like the pain , but it is acceptable if progress is being made, and progress is being made; just not at the level I had hoped. My current therapist has a stated goal of flexing my left knee to 120°s. While I can now comfortably flex the knee to 90°, I’m no where close to 120°, thus my frustration.

Anytime we have an injury we tend to favor the injury. We try not to stress the injury or do anything that would cause the injury to hurt more than it already does. But physical therapy challenges this concept, it requires movement and controlled stress to the injury to regain use of the injured part. It isn’t easy, it isn’t pleasant, but it is necessary. When I started this journey and decided to have the surgery I thought my recovery would be accomplished in a matter of a couple of weeks…foolish. I now see months (hopefully less than 3) in my recovery.

For those of you considering this type of surgery once you have it you’re committed to some very uncomfortable weeks of rehabilitation.

THE MACHINE

Today is day six of recovery from a total left knee replacement surgery. It has been an interesting week filled with miscommunication, missed opportunities, self-discovery, and rediscovery.

When I was seven, a mere sixty-three years ago, I was at my grandparents home, playing. I fell off of a boat trailer we children had converted into a teeter-totter breaking both bones just above my right wrist. My uncle loaded me into his car and rushed me to a medical clinic in Cheraw, SC. An X-ray and a doctor’s examination confirmed that both bones were broken and displaced. There was going to be a sitting of the bones so that they could knit together correctly. As a seven year old what the adults were talking about meant very little to me, I was thinking of the milkshake my uncle had promised me after the doctor’s visit. To be honest I was frightened, my right arm looked funny and wouldn’t move correctly, but I don’t remember being in a lot of physical discomfort.

The doctor told my uncle the arm needed to be set and with his permission he’d get to it. I trusted my uncle and the other adults in the room to do what was best for me, besides what small child really holds power over adults when they have made up their minds on a course of action? The doctor then instructed his nurse to prepare me. I was laid down on the examination table and she walked over to cabinet to collect the needed supplies. I saw her reach up and bring down a small canister, a thing that looked like a tea strainer and she moved toward me. Up to this point I was docile and resigned to go through what ever they had planned, a milkshake had my name on it. But I knew what was in that canister…ETHER. They were going to put me to sleep. I objected and informed the nurse she wasn’t going to use ether on me.

A few months prior I had my tonsils removed and ether was the general anesthesia used during the surgery. It was to put it mildly not a pleasant experience, and since that time I have had an oppressive fear of going under general anesthesia. As a small child I had sworn unto myself to never allow ether to be used on me again for an anesthesia.

The doctor and nurse tried to hold me down, I knocked the vial out of the nurse’s hand, I screamed and fought for all my small seven year old body was worth. To them they were fighting to help me, but to me I was fighting a war of personal dignity. I won. The doctor agreed to set the arm with me fully awake, but he warned me it was going to hurt. He gently took my right arm and lifted to straighten my damaged limb, I calmed down, quit crying and patiently waited for the pain I knew was coming. a few seconds later with a snap, crackle, pop my arm was set. I didn’t cry out, shed a tear, groan or whimper. The doctor was amazed and throughout the follow up visits he called me his tough guy. I don’t remember the pain of breaking my arm or the pain from setting the bones…just the fear of them trying to put me to sleep.

I’m truly not a fan of pain or pain relievers and for the most part I’ve tried to avoid both in living my life, but sometimes that hasn’t been possible. Several years ago I was told I suffer from osteoarthritis, a disease were the cartilage is worn away from certain joints. A recent X-ray confirmed that my knees were now bone on bone with very little if any protective cartilage left in the joints. I had options, but the best one sounded like total knee replacement surgery. The decision to suffer pain up front for a more active, pain free life moving forward. My decision was easy based on that simple equation.

I entered the surgical center six days ago to have my left knee replaced. The Greensboro Surgical Center is top drawer in my opinion and I would not hesitate to use them again. As you can imagine from the previous statement the surgery went well. I was given a spinal block, a sedative, and the surgery lasted about an hour. I awoke with little or no pain, enjoyed a cup of coffee and a good lunch, napped throughout the early afternoon. There were certain benchmarks that I would have to meet if I was going to be discharged, I met them all and was discharged and back home by 5:30 p.m. The necessary prescriptions had been sent ahead to the pharmacy I use. My wife had already picked them up and I was suppose to start taking those medications as soon as I got home, and I was to take it easy for the rest of the day. The entire first day was great; I had even asked if I could safely go to an outdoor concert that was being held on Thursday. This surgery was a piece of cake.

My doctor was really on the ball, his team had a pre-op, surgical, and post-op plans in place. They took care of all the details. I was once again that little kid having the adults in the room take care of him and do what was best. The doctor had prescribed some medical devices to make life a little easier and a couple of devices to aid in physical therapy. One of those items was the Continuous passive motion device. I simply call it the machine.

THE MACHINE

This machine’s job is quite simple, it is to move your leg for you. It was to begin at 60 degrees and move toward the goal of 90 degrees of knee bend through a use of two hours three times a day. I had tried it out prior to the surgery, it was quite pleasant as it gently bent my knee, with only a twinge of pain from the arthritis. Little did I know that this machine was going to become a medieval torture device.

I was taking all the prescriptions as prescribed that I had been given upon discharge, but I didn’t know that I was missing one, not just one, but as it turned out the most important one. I awoke on the second day rather early. My leg was a little more sore and swollen, but not unbearable. I saw the machine and thought I might as well get started with my rehab. A few minutes later I had successfully placed my left leg in the Machine, and I had turned the TV on to occupy my mind as it gently bent my knee. I set the machine for 60degrees and turned it on. The first couple of repetitions weren’t too bad, but I quickly realized there was going to be some pain involved with the use of the Machine. After only forty minutes I had reached the limits of my endurance, tears were streaming down my face, the pain was at an unbelievable level. There was no way I could do two hours. On top of this my G.E.R.D. had been agitated from the use of the aspirin and muscle relaxers that I had been prescribed. Day two was shaping up to be a doozy. The pain was indescribable. But I had my wife call about the indigestion, ultimately they suggested Tums. I spent the entire day in pain and discomfort. Day two ended with me awake, day three began with me not having been to sleep the entire night. Like the idiot I am I saw the Machine and decided it deserved another try. I put my leg back in that torture device and started it. I only lasted five minutes before I was once again crying, begging for mercy from the heavens. I swore I would never again expose myself to this torturous device.

Several things happened on day three. One, I had decided no more Machine; two, the surgical center called to check up on me (this was important); three, I met my at home Physical therapist for the first of six visits, and was evaluated. Extended my leg was at 5degrees and I could bend to 78degrees. the goal is 0 degrees extended and able to bend to 90degrees. I told him I would do whatever he wanted, but the Machine was done…no more.

During the call from the surgical center I let them know how pleased I had been with their service, but I had suffered greatly on day two. She related the second and third days of recovery were usually the worst, I just needed to keep on schedule with my medications. I told her I was doing that but the muscle relaxer that had been prescribed wasn’t doing much for the pain. She told it was to relax the muscle, not for pain, that’s what the hydrocodone was for. I asked what hydrocodone? It wasn’t in the medicine packet we had picked up from the drug store. She couldn’t believe that I had gone without pain medication since I left the center and that I had actually tried to use the Machine without any. She told me to call my surgeon as soon as her call ended and tell them I hadn’t received any pain medications. I did, his secretary had a hard time believing me, but she said she’d check on what happened and get right back with me. The surgeon’s office had sent a prescription for hydrocodone to my drug store, but according to the drug store my insurance had rejected the prescription due to it being over the amount (dosages) they would cover (dr, prescribed for 8 days, insurance allowed only 6). The office resent the prescription, the drug store immediately went to work on it, and forty-five minutes later I was taking hydrocodone for pain. I don’t like pain pills, but these were heaven sent; the pain eased off and I was able to doze off and on throughout the remainder of day three. Day three will be revisited at a later date with the surgeon and my pharmacist. I probably should contact the Insurance company too.

Day four I meet my new therapist she takes me through a series of exercises and at the end of her visit compares movement of my knee with the baseline her associate had established, I had moved to 88 degrees from 78 with just one session, and no machine. Were the exercises painful, yes. but nothing like the Machine. Before she left she warned me that deep bruising of the muscle had taken place during the surgery and that as time went on I could expect that bruising to become visible.

Day five I awaken to a blue leg. after finishing with the PT on day five I achieved an angle of 93 degrees.

BIG BLUE (notice it’s Duke blue)

Coming back to the Machine, I know that my use of the machine without pain blockers created a Psychological fear in my mind and now even with proper medications I can’t bring myself to use the thing. I have no intention of ever plugging that beast in again. I naturally want as much movement back in my leg as possible, but some prices are too high.

The right knee is next on the agenda, but we are going to go slow and allow the left to fully heal.

CHANGES

Changes

I was looking at a video which was talking about plastic pollution which is a worldwide phenomenon and it brought to mind some minor events that I have been witness to in my lifetime. As a bag boy in the mid-60”s, I used to work sorting glass bottles for pick-up by drink vendors and even earlier as a child I would make spending money by picking up cast-off bottles from roadside ditches and sell back to the company store for 2¢ a bottle, and having to be careful not to collect some brands that the store wouldn’t take. Later we got 5¢, a bottle. I was able to buy many a candy bar and soda pop doing this.

While a high school student I remember a group of college students coming and making a presentation at our small high school. They were science majors and they were impressive in their presentation…the one thing that stands out in my memory was an almost magic trick of them making a big plastic thing (no practical function) by mixing a few liquid item together. According to the video I was watching that thing they made is still existing somewhere on the planet.

When I first became a meat cutter for Winn Dixie we used heavy cardboard meat trays to package meat and over wrapped with a plastic sheet heat sealed to protect the meat from contamination and blood (purge) leakage. The trays normally weighted between .05 and .10 lbs. each. These trays were replace by plastic (foam) in the mid-70’s. The paper trays cost close to 5¢ a piece and the foam trays had a cost of less than a penny each. The same with paper bags verses the use of plastic bags. Management naturally wanted us to push the use of plastic over paper as a means to increase the company’s profits. As a market manager I had a discussion with my supervisor about how the meat stayed fresher in the cardboard trays compared to the foam trays, he laughed and told me that didn’t matter and I might as well resign myself to using the foam. He was correct…the cardboard packaging became impossible to purchase.

Today it looks like industry once again was/is operating under the “penny wise, pound foolish” policy. To be fair many food chains now promote use of cloth bags for transport of purchases from the store to home and they are to be commended for this effort. It does amaze me how in my lifetime we have become a disposable society looking upon plastics as cheap and throw-a-way items with no real reusable use. It is one of the big changes in life style that I’ve been witness to… something small, but major in world impact.

HISTORY

almost 72 years old and I’m still learning history. One of the biggest things I’m learning about history is that most of the time what we think and what is are often two very different things. A couple of years ago I challenged myself to learn a little about my family’s history, and that led to searches to find my ancestry. To begin with I was just looking for my great great grandfather on my paternal side. Found him. Then I started searching my grandmother Coleman’s side, but that wasn’t enough so I started searching my maternal side.

I found links to names that I had heard in the past, but had meant very little to me. I also found links to family names that I had never heard. Recently I found links to the Grant family. My great great great grandfather was Jeremiah Grant his daughter married my great great grandfather, James T Hatcher. My great grandfather, James Henry Hatcher was their son, and Granddaddy Hatcher (Simeon J) was his son. If I have figured this correctly I have thirty-two different grandparents in my bloodline by just going back five generations. That’s thirty-two real historical persons that came together and made a connection that resulted in me. Thirty-two lives lived that impacted history for good or bad.

In researching my ancestry I’ve found little tidbits of their lives that make me to want to find more background of their history. I discovered that Jeremiah and his father, Malachi were expelled from North Carolina for having been found to be free men of color (mulatto). What does colored mean and could anyone in a nation and state (especially a state that claims first in liberty and first in flight) that promotes liberty so righteously exclude someone simply due to color? This sent me on a quest to find if such laws really existed in my home state.

I found that in the 1850’s there were legal codes that allowed for the expulsion of negros, people of color. The 1854 Revised Code retained six sections which prohibited these peoples from migrating into the state, re-entering the state if absent for ninety days, or from wearing or keeping a gun, Bowie knife, or other weapon without a special license. In addition the courts had tremendous powers in punishing vagrancy and apprenticing blacks. (Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900 by Paul D. Escott)

It was obvious that the privileged did not wish to give equality to those not like themselves. I read of the tempest that was created when a professor, Benjamin Hedrick, at the University of North Carolina wrote a letter to the Standard favoring the “Republican”, Freemont for president and his firing by the university for having the audacity to publicly endorse that individual. He too was run out of the state. This was before the Civil War. And these things happened before reconstruction and the establishing of Jim Crow laws that are such a shameful part of our history, but this is real history. Did or has this history impacted me? Of course it has. Maybe not directly, but the people who I’m descended from influence the way I think, evaluate, and behave. They did directly impact what position (social economic class) I was born into, and that helped form the way in which I’ve lived my life.

Today I hear the same voices my ancestor heard shouting their hatred, their superiority over other peoples based on things just as foolish as color. The arguments are the same, just dressed up a little, camouflaged by legalese, but they’re the same. No one race, one nationality is superior over another and while the screaming fearful voices may lead to exclusion of deserving peaceful people, it is my belief that ultimately true, honest history will speak that which is right.

the 1850 census list Jeremiah as being a resident of NC and a mulatto as well as his consort (wife too formal a term?) Anna Jane Grant. In the 1860 census they are found in SC and listed as white.