15 December 2010

A Word to the Fellowship; And Lesser Rambling

Personal to the Fellowship

EMS1.com reports that it has been a very hard week. We lost our brother Dave Grundle, age 50, an EMT in Indiana, and an ambulance accident. Our sister Vanessa Carrillo, age 19, was critically injured in another ambulance accident on I-25 in New Mexico. Brethren, the job is as dangerous as ever it has been. Be careful out there and remember those who have fallen.

An Addendum Wherein My Ignorance is Laid Bare

My brother Born has informed me that a very short portion of the Shenandoah River does indeed run through Jefferson County, West Virginia, and that with respect to the geographical observation made about John Denver’s Almost Heaven, West Virginia, I am wrong, wrong, wrong. Born wanted to inform me lest I show my ignorance. That particular ship has long since sailed, of course.

Perhaps John Denver just could not work “Monongahela” into the rhyme scheme.
This reminds me of a curious argument that Born and I had after he ruled in a case years ago concerning whether the Mason-Dixon line extends all the way to the Ohio River or terminates at the eastern boundary of the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Yes, I know that’s a pretty esoteric subject. It’s just what we do.

A Gender Observation From the 1930s

Among my eclectic collections are books about the history of Fairmont, Marion County, and this region generally. Recently, I acquired from an eBay seller a compendium of some old sources including biographical sketches of various prominent Marion Countians of the 1930s. Among the descriptions was the following:

“Miss L. Dale Westfall - Although women in America no longer suffer from sex discrimination to any great extent in relation to their activities in the professions or in general business, the time is not so far back in our history when many and agitated discourses in the public press and elsewhere were those concerning the inferiority of female brain tissue. No doubt some of those could be resurrected from dusty shelves, but it is safe to say they will never be by the present generation of intelligent citizenship of Fairmont, West Virginia. ... Family life had been one of ample means and Miss Westfall, early showing unusual talent, had been encouraged to cherish the hope of a college career, but was orphaned at an early age, and shortly afterwards faced with the disastrous knowledge that the funds had been lost through unfortunate investments, she began to show some of those sturdy traits of character that have helped to place her far front in the business world.… Not only in association with others, where her business vision and sound judgment have contributed no largely to firm success, has Ms. Westfall earned the distinction which is hers, being termed one of the leading businesswomen in the state, but alone and individually her investments have been made with such business sagacity that the returns give her a most satisfactory income.”

I don’t know who wrote this, but I imagine that the conclusions about how open and easy local society was to gender differences in the 1930s are not all that believable to the modern ear. Perhaps it is commendable that this writer was giving it a shot 80 years ago. Perhaps not, I can picture a reaction that the writer was quite dense.

I’m working on an essay about the concept of “brotherhood” in the old sense as it should and does extend across gender lines, and I thought this passage from the 1930s was interesting.

Tidbits of a Curmudgeonly Manifesto

I don’t know how I got started on this, but I just started writing down little hobbyhorses the other evening:

Coke® or Pepsi®? Who cares? They are cola. They taste the same. Those who get all snooty about one or the other are wallowing in bargain basement elitism. We are not talking about the difference between single malt scotch and the five-dollar-a-bottle blended scotch. We’re talking about Coke®. And that includes Pepsi®. Grab a Kleenex® and have a good cry.

I make reference to God frequently and sincerely. Some people do and some people don’t. That’s the First Amendment in action. If you disapprove of my faith, I can live with that.

I do not fly or otherwise display the Confederate battle flag (the “stars and bars”) because I think it’s tacky and offensive to black folks. However, I no longer take offense automatically at those who do. Display of any flag is constitutionally protected and symbolic speech. To some, the stars and bars reflect general disaffection or regional pride. I do not suspect that those waving the stars and bars are organizing themselves into gray clad regiments which are preparing to invade Pennsylvania by way of the Emmitsburg Road.

The Gadsden flag (“don’t tread on me”) was used at the time of the American Revolution. It is a legitimate American symbol and is very easy to interpret. I do not care how many whack jobs have hijacked it as an emblem of their own agenda. To me, it symbolizes the American spirit, and I will continue to fly it.

Oh, my God. The electricity is off. Heavenly days. This means that you will have to live in the same manner people did for tens of thousands of years until sometime in the last century.

The church down the street with its loud speakers blaring hymns every day at 7 AM, noon and 7 PM is every bit as annoying as would be a mosque with the muezzin in a minaret yelling out a call to prayer five times a day. Sharing your beliefs does not give you a right to be pushy or thoughtless.

Yes, I always carry a knife in my pocket. It is not an affectation, it is a tool.

In my opinion, the person cleaning the bedpan in the hospital has more dignity than the highest-paid administrator there.

Please remember that this is but one sellers stall in the marketplace of ideas. I encourage comment, I cherish thoughtful dissent.

Pippa passes.


Anonymous said...

Provocative ramblings as usual, Roger. A (perhaps inane) thought about the "pushy" carillon din emanating from the neighborhood church: The bombardment of our senses with propaganda, etc. is inescapable these days, it seems, unless you can forage to some isolated spot in the WV hills sans cell phones, etc. But that would only be a brief respite. Even when in a congregational setting of one's own free choosing, the booming noise of claims contrary to individual sensibilities abounds, and sometimes violates holy space.

Jim N.

David said...

I am content to be quiet and sensible in my mountain retreat. Grow a little food, eat a lot of peaches and be grateful. Today I tapped a dozen sugar maples and suspect I will have a sweet year.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I have a genuine preference for Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi. Diet Pepsi tastes horrible to me. I'd rather drink store brand (and often do) than drink Diet Pepsi.

I also have a preference for Jack Daniels over Jim Beam and definitely over that nasty tasting Henry McKenna my mother drinks. She, however, insists that there's "not that much difference."