Hands

The tools of our soul . . .

Our hands are tools we use every moment of our day, and, no matter how large or trifling the task, our hands do what;s neededro.

Yes, I know,the mind gives birth to what we accomplish, but it’s our hands,  tools we seldom even give a thought to, that do the work.   Unacknowledged,  but from the most delicate stroke of an artist, to knocking down some unneeded wall, to  the almost thoughtless act of scratching an obscure itch . . . we turn to our hands to get the jobs done.

The first hands I was aware of were my father’s.  Basically they were well formed, but a life-time of carpentering, plus the   manual labor that came with a farm,  and  its fields, and animals, had toughened the skin and nails until they were rougher than none other I ever saw.

Yet, Dad’s  hands were sensitive.  I remember him  gently feeling the edges of a piece of wood to see if it needed more smoothing.  Saw his hands follow the grain of  wood to make certain he had maximized its beauty, and it was then that I became aware of the beauty of polished wood . . .  and of the hands holding it.

I didn’t know how he could feel any roughness,  but Dad’s  work proved me wrong for his work would rival  the best of  today’s fine wares. I recall seeing him, almost without thinking, reach out to gently touch some fine piece of furniture.  I sensed it then, and  could not have named the feeling, but now know, that his touch was a caress.  Yes, worn or not, his hands were  the sensitive, sensual hands of an artist.

And  then I remember Gram’s hands.  I heard her once say, that when she wanted a job done well, she had to ‘get her hands into it’.    And I see  that dear woman’s hands with nary a fumble, go from stove, to fridg, sink, counter, and table to serve the meal she had prepared.  Each movement sharp, clean and precise.

And perhaps most vivid of all, because it seemed so ‘out of character’,  was when she used their ancient Remington  typewriter, But, incongruous as it seems,  she sat at their dining room table, and  with her two ‘pointer’ fingers, completed  her husband’s, (Gramp’s), weekly reports to be mailed to the Smelter’s N.Y.C. office.

My husband’s hands were far more beautiful as a man’s than mine as a woman’s.  I had seen those same hands on his father, and then on one of our sons and knew that the genes ran straight and true.

When our son, J.R. still a teen, reached across the dinner table,   I, for one moment  thought it was the father, not the son reaching out.  Yeah, hands follow the blood line as any other feature.

I watched young Michael’s  hands, of a later generation.  They had lost their baby shape, yet, I knew his hands would be replicas of Gram’s. And  I smile, for though Gram is now long gone, I am reminded of her as I watch Mike, her grandson, reach out with a gesture in the same delicate manner.  Hands that seem to never be meant for menial tasks, yet Gram did many such a chore and I’m sure Michael now does the same.

Then there was Stan G. whose supple fingers brought the keys of his piano to life in a way that. even in memory, brings goose bumps to my skin. And, in a different manner,  I watched Bob Prince, down at the old Murray Printing Company, where, swiftly and surely, he, with his hands,  put togeher a full-page  ad for Allied Development (6400 So. State, remember?) in the manner it was  it was then done.

Oh, and the hands of Brad, my husband; Spencer, my brother; and Bill, one of my sons; as they each, in their time. made their fingers bring life to the dots and dashes of their Morse Code Keys.  Yes, only a changing  jumble ot clicks and pauses  to the untrained ear, but also into a clear sound track to the knowing  ones.

I  see  the magic of my Carol’s hands as she makes beauty from thread and a crochet hook, and recall John Nuslein’s hands  as  he bent over his cello and pulled one’s heart strings with the beauty of hands and music.

Yes, I watch  hands . . . and pray God that, someday, when we will all meet and perform beloved chores in another of His   Rooms,  that  the Heavenly Music will still need talented hands to make it possible.  Please God, what joy, what joy,  what joy.

The Ten Commandments plus One

Nothing new under the sun.  Except for Me . . .

It’s too late to call these Resolutions, but these words are too good to wait for a year, and so  while I’m no expert on Life, but after we live a while, we find that whatever our life is, it has been of our own making. And that if we don’t like what our life is, that we, and no one else, can change it.  We define the events that come to us, or those events will define us. Shiver, shiver, shiver.

  1. Take time to work.   Each day you have 24 hours to use, two hands that need something to do, and ‘work’ is the answer to each. We all need the satisfaction of a job well done, and ever since Eleanor Roosevelt set the example, even every First Lady has done volunteer work. And our tired bodies sleep better at night, knowing “Today I saw a need and tried to help.”
  1. Take time to play. It is the secret of youth and while youth in years cannot remain, youth in spirit is ageless. The old, familiar words still ring true. “There are ‘old’ young people, and there are ‘young’ old people.” Take your pick.
  1. Take time to read. The wisdom and humor of people from all ages and climes are in books, free of charge, on any library shelf. Oh, read, read, take time to read, for a life’s pathway without books can be sterile and empty. What a difference a book makes.
  1. Take time to think. The Mind is a Power source and the power I speak of is the power to master and control our own lives. Milton knew all about that back in 1666, when he said: ‘The Mind can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven”.
  1. Take time to worship. The pathway to inner joy, doesn’t mean just sitting bored on some church bench, although it can happen there. It can happen any place and no matter what task you are doing, take time to remember that Adam, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, et al, had no fancy clothes or buildings for worship. In times of labor, play, relaxing, or in a crowd, no one will know what your mind is doing. Worship.
  1. Take time to make friends. There is no life as barren as one so full of busy-ness that no time is found for friendship. Lover, spouse and ‘significant’ other, often come and go, but friends are friends before, during and after such changes. Make friends and don’t let them get lost. Ever.
  1. Take time to love. It is the most sacred sacrament life can offer, and if you limit your love life to the sexual aspect, you’re missing a lot. There are  other kinds of love, and marriages flounder unless young love develops into deeper realms. Marriage without sex would be sterile  and boring, but marriage for sex only is doomed from the start.
  1. Take time to laugh. It is Balm of Gilead for life’s burdens. A great big hearty laugh that rocks the room is so healing it relaxes places you didn’t know were tense.
  1. Take time to dream. Dreams lift you to the stars, and don’t ever apologize for your dreams. Because every accomplishment on earth, from going to the moon, to writing a sonnet, began with ‘just a dream’. Ah, yes, take time to dream.
  1. Take time to plan. It is the secret seed for all the rest. You know the adage, one found on many a refrigerator door, or bathroom mirror, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
  1. Turn Off the D= = = = TV. Its hypnotic with unending fake laughter, people giggling and trying to persuade you to buy something, or discussing subjects they know nothing about. Foolishness by the hour, obviously doing anything just to fill those 24 hours a day, day after day, and ends up with at least 22 hours of pure trash that no one wants or needs.   Turn it Off and find out what you think. And don’t let your kids grow up thinking TV is the answer to all life’s questions.

Yes. All are good, and some are easy and some aren’t, and the ones that will be ‘a piece of cake’ for you , will probably be the ones that broke my back. And while they might not make a new person of you, they’ll make the most of the kind of person you already are. Be happy.  And isn’t it great that the choice can be ours? Especially that curse of today that can be cured quickly by simply pressing one button. The OFF one to Television. It’s all our choice.

 

My Secret Dreams

You tell me yours, but I won’t tell you mine . . .

And so we dream. Every night you have your dreams and every night I have mine.

We joke about them and often our first words at the office the next day are,   ” My gosh, I had the craziest, (weirdest, saddest, wildest, sexiest, puzzling, etc.) dream last night’ and then we go and tell about them.

Once you begin in understanding the meaning of your dreams, however, you stop broadcasting them to the world, for it’s much the same as disrobing in public.  Indeed, you learn to share them only with someone you trust implicitly, or you save them in your dream notebook so you can later ponder them in the silence of your own heart.

Because our dreams . . . the experts tell . . . are of the unconscious part of a person, trying its best to communicate with the conscious part of the person. My dreams are the wiser part of Me, talking to the more foolish part of me. Your dreams are the wiser part of YOU talking to the more foolish part of you. And not to be taken lightly.

The Native Americans say, “Cherish your dreams for they are the children of your Soul, the blueprint of both your achievements and you deepest hopes.” They (the dreams) are trying to tell us what is missing or out of balance, in our daily lives. Dreams seek to put balance and harmony into our lives.

If my life . . . I am taught . . . is too free, undisciplined and unstructured, then my dreams will be structured, disciplined and with restrictions. And vice-versa.

If my life is restricted and hemmed in by laws and customs. then in my dreams, I will be free. Free and untrammeled as any bird and I will fly and dance far and wide. See, our dreams seek balance.

Our dreams also reflect the culture and thinking of the era we happen to live in. Freud dipped deeply into the dream’s life and came up with the theory that almost all (95%) of dreams were concerned with sex.

And he was right . . . for his day and  age . . . for you see, when he did his exploration of dreams, the world was an inhibited place to be.   Sex was not spoken of.  It was a no-no. restricted, Unmentionable, and most certainly ‘not nice.’ So. quite naturally, his clients, in such a locked-in- atmosphere, had dreams of freedom, sexuality and sensuality.

But along about the 1960’s, the era of the Baby Boomers, therapists tell us, our dreams again began to change. Dramatically. The world as a whole, was living with a lack of discipline never before experienced in the modern world. And our dreams???

Yes, yes, yes. They told of balance, balance, balance And even today, our dreams are, as a whole, becoming more and more disciplined.

Home, picket fence, garden, man and wife, children at play. The old idea of family and cottage with no divorce or retinue of lovers. No drugs, no partying. Structure is what the basic dream of today points toward. Balance, for when the pendulum swings too far our dreams tell us it’s time to pull it back.

The experts tell us to look at our dreams carefully, for they are all in symbols, and have no printed  sub-titles.  They are to be pondered and thought through deeply. silently and privately..

Keep a notebook by your bedside and in the moment of waking from a dream,  quickly make note of the important parts, and in the morning, the details will fall into place.

And if you have a partner you can share   your life journey with, take turns being the sleeper (dreamer) and the one charting the course. The waking one watches the sleeper’s eyes, and when the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) period occurs,  the sleeper is immediately wakened and the dream related.  It’s a sure-fire way to catch your dream but a trusted person must be found. REM is the clue to when a sleeper is dreaming. Always

But remember, your dream’s symbols are explicit. Terribly explicit. Surprisingly explicit. Horribly explicit. So when you decide to figure out what you are trying to tell yourself, don’t hide half the dream as being not ‘nice’. Don’t laugh about it and say,  “I’d never do that”. Look closely, because some part of you would do exactly what your dream is trying to show   you,

Get yourself a good dream book and begin to listen to yourself.  It’s doing the best that part of  you  can do,  to bring balance into your life. It’s sorta fun as well as one great big eye opener. And a helper, too.   I rely upon “The Dream Book” by Betty Bethards. You’ll get a good bargain at AMAZON on the Internet,  Get a copy and find out what the wiser part of YOU is trying  to tell the   ‘other’ part  of YOU.    Give it half a chance.

 

 

“I Love You”

Three small words we all long to hear, yet, those same words are three of the most dangerous ever, ever, ever spoken.  And also . . . the most innocent.

Children prattle them, mothers croon them, women have lied for them and men have died for them. You have said them. Careers have been dashed by them. Kingdoms toppled.

All because someone whispered (or failed to say) that fatal phrase of “I love you.”

We all think we know what they mean. Yet they can mean, “I pledge you my undying devotion and want to spend the rest of my life with you.” While another one doing the whispering might just be saying, “You’re a real sexy gal, why don’t we spend the night together?”.

What a difference, but I bet we’ve all stumbled and cried over them, before we wise up to their thousands of meanings and learn to protect ourselves from getting hurt too badly.

First, there’s Eros love, where those words mean, “Hey, you’re alright, let’s spend the night/weekend/year/or who knows how long together.” That, my dearies, is when Cupid is at work and thank heavens, for without Cupid, there’d be no next generation.

But to complicate life, there’s Brotherly-Motherly love, which has not a smidgen of sex attached. But you’d better be certain, that when you say, “I love you” in a brotherly way, that your opposite one knows what you mean, for your partner might be in ‘the Cupid’ mood and you’re going to be in trouble. Trouble with a Capitol T.

And, vise versa, you’re in for a shock if Cupid is in your driver’s seat and your current partner loves you dearly, but in a wonderful brotherly manner. Back up, my loves, and fast. So, we better take a moment and ask yourself (him or her) just exactly what is being said.

Are you saying you’re ‘crazy’ about me? That you like me? That you like my tight fitting Levis? That you like to talk to me? Or is it, ‘The Big One’ and you really LOVE me”.

Sheesh! Me thinks we’d better either re-write the dictionary or start using new words.  Like for instance, I read where some innocent woman testified in court, as she sued for financial support for her child, born without marriage . . . ‘but he said he loved me.’

Poor Soul. I imagine even the judge smiled, for the man being sued, had probably also told several other women the same thing. As his mother, best friend, favorite wine, guru, and so on and on.

Those three words have been and can be pure tragedy. Helen of Troy told them to Paris (or was it the other way around?) and the Hellenic wars changed history. Cleopatra told them to Caesar and, when, because of the ramifications, he was killed; she whispered them with the same result, to Anthony. When he too was assassinated she took the hint, hurried out of old Rome as speedily as possible, back to her Egyptian home and in tears, ordered an asp be brought to her, and she killed herself. And left a deep scar on the old Roman and Egyptian World that still echos through the centuries. Innocent words? Think again.

Napoleon met his Waterloo, (and again changed the world) because Josephine’s last letter did NOT use those words. There was no phone or email to sooth his troubled heart, and so, in turmoil, lost his concentration toward his problems at the battle of Waterloo and that name, Waterloo is still used today for the havoc that can come from the mis-use of those three words.

So, as you can see, caution isn’t just for beginners, but also for those who’ve been around long enough to know better,  Bill Clinton would/could  have been right at Hillary’s side in her bid for the Presidency, if, yes, if he hadn’t used those three little words too often, and too many times, until he became unwanted anywhere near her campaign.  Otherwise,  his influence just might have been strong enough to have  tipped the scales and helped her attain The Presidency.

And then . . . . at the top of all forms of l love you . . .  there is Agape, spiritual love, but that is for another day . . . another time. Love a lot, but oh, ho, ho, love carefully. Eros, Brotherly, Agape. they take one’s breath away with their power, have changed many ones personal life to one of joy and bliss, but also with the wrong use, have and still can also cause changes that echo throughout personal lives, as well as the ages. Only three word, but oh, what power they have.

King Edward  8th abdicated from his English Throne and died a bitter man because he whispered those words to Wallis Warfield Simpson, and to her they had been and still were too often heard, and little heeded, and though they remained wed, ‘ tis said the union was a bitter one, and again history changed.

I love you. so sweet, so feared, so longed for, so dangerous. Be careful with them, in saying them and in heeding them. They can make you bless them forever, or to take your life into pathways you never wished to enter.

Gift Giving

Let’s make it really count this year . . .

Holidays always occasion a storm of gift giving. Expensive gifts, purchased at fashion marts of the world; cherished ones made by loving hands; and childish tokens to be treasured as long as life and memory last in the mind of the parent who received them. All are exchanged.

But, humanly, we often overlook the most wonderful gift of all, the gift of words and acts of love. We shy away from words that come from within, the true coinage of the heart. Strangely, we will sacrifice and go without to save money for a gift, yet will withhold the more precious gift that costs not one cent.

For it doesn’t take money to give of yourself. We all can give of warmth, hope and courage. We can all offer a shoulder for someone to shed a few tears, and there is not one among us who hasn’t at sometime also needed that understanding shoulder for our own tears.

We can give comfort to someone who is ill, disturbed or in sorrow. This also should be easy, for everyone—even you  and I have – – – and will probably again  be in need of love and encouragement.

These gifts may be difficult the first times you give them, for the words may be unfamiliar to your lips. But it takes so little time to pat your husband on the shoulder as he leaves for work, to tell him you understand how hard the day sometimes must be but that you love him for doing it for you and your children.

It takes so little time for a husband to put his arm around his wife and speak words of love to her. To tell her how much he loves her, the home she makes for him, the time she gives to prepare the food and to care for the children.

It’s such a little effort to phone a friend and say “I’ve been thinking of you” or send an email, or write a note, “I haven’t heard of you for so long and wondered about you.”

We even become so accustomed to our own children we forget to tell them that “No matter how much I scold you over little things, I really think you’re wonderful.”  Or to a friend, “Thanks for the many hours I’ve shared with you. Your friendship is precious to me.”

I’m reminded of all this because recently the husband of a friend suddenly died during the day.  But that very morning as he was leaving for work he turned back and said “I think I’ll take time for another cup of coffee,” and they shared a few precious, unexpected moments of quiet.

It was so un-like him, so different from his usual morning rush, that when, in just hours,  an accident took him and he never returned, she cherished these few moments like gold. “In his own way,”  she said, “he told me that morning that even though we’d had rough times, he loved me and our children.”

Now, of course, most of us leave home in the morning and very routinely return that night. But sometimes some of us don’t.  With such awareness we shouldn’t let our gift-giving be only for special occasions or limited to material things. It takes such a little time, and not one cent, to give the more precious ones.

Words of love, friendship and understanding are, after all, the best both to give and to receive. Not as a formal ritual, but naturally, almost casually. So, during every one of the thirty-one days ahead, in word or in deed, tell someone you love them.

It’s in our power to make another person’s day special. Let’s do it and hope this special gift-giving will spur others to do the same. Worth a try.

The Power Of Love And Christmas

Pass it along to the kids . . .

Time folds back upon itself at Christmas and we see ourselves as once we were. My sister Bernice (Mrs. Wayne Ursenbach), is again a four-year old, lying with her head under the Christmas tree with no lights except the magic ones above her. She says ‘it was pure enchantment then and when I’ve tried it again today, it’s still magic’.

One year Santa brought her a coloring book and dozens of colored crayons and she soon became absorbed in creating a multi-colored dog. Brad, then still to become my husband, carefully told her that dogs don’t come in those colors, and Bernice still feels the frustration of that time, because she says she knew dogs weren’t those colors, but was experimenting in trying to do so, and yet didn’t know how to tell Brad. Oh, the frustrations and problems of being a child.

Another memory of my little sister, is when Brad had Santa send her a telegram, and today, a life-time later, and without pausing a moment, she word for word, repeated to me:

“Tonight when you’re asleep, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
“My sleigh I’ll stop and out I’ll pop.
“And leave some toys for you,” Signed, Santa.

My sister Fern (Mrs. Walter Scott) remembers one Christmas Eve when she and I were washing the dinner dishes, there were suddenly sleigh bells outside, and Fern says she thought it was Santa, and begged Mama to let her go to bed, but Mama insisted we finish our chore first and, what else?

The bells, no doubt were on a neighbor’s horses and Mama knew they were out Bobsleddling, but Fern again thought that Santa had passed by us, and silently worried and fretted until morning when she found that after all Santa, had come back.

Fern also recalled when we used real candles on the tree, and though Dad carefully clipped all the branches from around the candle flame, she was petrified until the flames were put out. Such was Christmas in the long ago..

Another sister, Amber (Mrs. Angus Bodine) remembers when those candles burned low, but leaving the wax still warm, Dad would take the wax and mold small animals from it. Amber remembers playing all day long with the little lambs he made for her.

She also remembers when Santa gave our brother, Spencer Ohlin (later of Richfield, Utah) a whistle and a drum. The house rang with the noise and it was only when Spencer cut a hole in the drum, to find out what made the noise, that any kind of peace once more arrived in the home. And Santa was far wiser in his choice of toys from then on, too. Such is the power of Christmas.

Spencer remembered one Christmas Eve when there was a great knocking at the door and Mama called, “Run to the bedroom and hide. Santa’s at the door.” Well, in a few years he knew it had been Grandpa Ohlin at the door, but he also remembers that was the year Santa brought him an Eskimo Sled which was large enough to be used until he was 15 or 16 years old.

He also recalls worrying how Santa could get down our small chimney . . . how Mama decorated the house with large folding strings of colored paper ropes . . . how we threaded buttered popcorn in long cords, to drape on the tree , , , and like all children of that era, the fascination yet fear of the live, flickering burning candles.

Such are the memories of Christmases that linger on when the children have become mature men and women.

When I was a child, my siblings and I still decorated at least one chair to keep alive Dad’s Swedish tradition and even today, I’ve been known to put a ribbon, bow or such, upon a chair, in silent memory of Dad. God love him.

And there are amusing ones too. Bernice as a child, for some reason loved to claim and play with Mom’s large, long wooden spoon. It was HER spoon and when mom needed it she had to find and wash it well. Well, one Christmas one of us bought Mom a nice big wooden spoon that would be HERS, . . . . and you know w hat happened. Yeah, Bernice claimed the new one and passed the old play yard one on to mom.

Oh, yes, we all experience a time warp at Christmas and no matter when or what kind of holidays they were, to us they were wonderful and are engraved forever on our minds, hearts, Soul, and fresh as if they happened just   yesterday,

Dip into your memory book this year, and some night, perhaps as you all trim the Tree, tell those tales on to your own kids, and they will remember how ‘odd’ your celebrations were. Maybe to them?????   But to you????? Treasures of your youth. Make them happy.

I Stand Where Jane Stood

I stand where Jane, Rachel and Indian women once stood,
The mountains, sky, earth and streams, are the same they saw,
 and did they dream as I dream?  Did they dreams of some  coming woman? A me?

Jane, pioneer woman, eking out a life in a cabin by the stream,
Conceiving, Carrying and Bearing her eighteen children
On this same spot.  Did she dream as I dream?  Of me?

Or was she numbed by the cruel days and nights
Of ‘making do’ with ne’er a moment to stop and just be woman?
Did she dream as I dream? Wonder?  About some future woman?

And that sweet, child-bride Rachel, alone in a family of men.
The mountains, sky, earth and stream the same, but  . . .
Did she dream as I dream? And wonder of someday wives for her sons? 

I see countless Indian women, standing where I now stand,
Seeing the same mountains, sky,  earth and stream, and ask
Did they dream?  Did they dream and wonder?  Of other women?

Now, I stand where other women have stood before me,
Circled by the same mountains, sky, earth and stream,
And I, too, dream and wonder . . . but I dream of them.  Jane, Rachel, Indians.

The eternal mountains, sky, earth and streams are the same, but
I see a highway at my door, golf course, not pasture, Ipod in every hand.
I wonder and dream . . . of the peace and quiet no longer here.

Bewildered, do the mountains, sky, earth and stream ever wonder, too?

 

Ethel Bradford
March 8, 2015

 

Grandpa Was A Moocher

Grandpa Bradford, Archibald the First, was seen almost daily at the old AS&R Plant (American Smelter & Refinery) and though not employed by the Murray Smelter, he had a one-room-office, desk, and phone there, and the only key to it was his.

He was good-naturedly called a Moocher, and in today’s lingo, a moocher is one who makes his wages off the work done by others.   And that’s exactly what Gramp’s did. He was Moocher.

Actually, he was employed by the New York offices of AS&R and roughly, this is how it worked.

Every day AS&R took samples of the ore Smelted that day, had them assayed, to reveal how much Lead, Silver, Copper, Gold, etc. was processed that day, and the results sent to the N.Y. offices. Obviously some metals were more valuable than others, and so the percentage of each metal, in the ore processed each day, would help determine the monetary worth of that day’s smelting.

I make myself unclear, but dealing with such large sums of money, AS&R trusted no one, and so the main out-of-State AS&R office, in New York, arranged to have another person, not connected with the local Smelter in any way, to independently get samples of each day’s work, have them assayed by an entirely different, but independent assayer, and then, again entirely separately, send those reports to them.

In that manner, the double reports helped keep both sides honest, for the New York office would be able to double-check every day’s reports, and so able to quickly spot any large differences.

Here in Murray, Utah, that man was Archibald Bradford. At that time, Gramps was a busy, well-known Murray man, and those at AS&R’s main office were cagey. They needed someone willing to spend a few hours each week getting their job done, but also, intelligent, good reputation, and  not apt to be open to bribery. I understand they looked around, and Grandpa, when asked, said, “Why not? ”

So, each day the Smelter was open, Gramps took samples of the ore smelted at the Murray Plant,  had his  samples assayed by a different, reputable Assayer, and then,  sent  his  report on to the main New York  AS&R Office.  In that way,  the N.Y.office had two entirely  separate reports of the ore smelted each day at their Murray Plant for comparison.

Murray was not a large town at that time and so our Gramps and the Smelter men all knew each other and so, good naturedly, the men began calling him a Moocher, and he grinned and liked it. What his actual title was I have no idea, and probably he didn’t even have one, but the name, Moocher, held and was used throughout all parts of the Smelter. He had a small private, locked room there and was free to come and go as he chose.

The work on that report could and would not be accepted by the NYC office if it had been prepared in the Smelter buildings, and so Gramps finalized his reports at the Bradford home, and of all people, it was Gram, Rachel Crozier Bradford, who filled in the blanks on those report forms, and used the Bradford’s ancient Remington typewriter.

One of my first memories of being in that old home, was on a Sunday evening and seeing Gram, on the east side of the dining room table, poking determinedly away with her two ‘pointer’ fingers on that tiny typewriter. She had the definite air of ‘Don’t even talk to me, I’m doing important work. Come back later when I’m finished.”

Today that typewriter would be a collector’s dream, but who knew? Obviously, in time it was replaced and tossed into the garbage. But I still can see that table, the dining-cloth pushed aside, and Gram seriously typing away.

Gramps then, ‘proof read’ the finished product before he signed, sealed and sent  it in the mail. For me, it became an expected routine to see Gram busy at her job of typing the Assay Report each Sunday evening after the dinner hour was over. She was serious as ‘all get out’, too. This was Smelter business.

And then, Sunday evening, her son, who became my husband, and I took the AS&R report to the S, L. Post Office to get it in an early mailing. There was no Air Mail then and Mr. Bradford, (and AS&R) wanted that report delivered quickly, and so it went out Sunday night, and was processed in the Post Office Box Car  of the Union Pacific RR,   Such Post Offices were then to be found on all main line Rail Systems.

So, our Gramps was a Moocher. He grinned and oft times used the title when describing himself. I think he took a lot of ribbing about his ‘job’, but he liked it, the men, their teasing, and kept on Mooching for a long, long time. Fun, isn’t it???   Gramps, of all people, a Moocher.

Thanksgiving and Abortions

On this Holiday our first thoughts are thanks for the good things God has given us, and the older and wiser (?) we become, the more we know that being born an American tops the list.  Amen.

But . . .  my mind has lately been drawn toward, (of all things) abortions. To me, it seems as if every aspect of the media is writing or speaking about that unwanted-quasi-illegal operation in such way  that  makes me wonder if the  operation has  become a required rite-of-passage for today’s young girls.

And it’s interesting to me, for the media as a whole spends millions, and talks endlessly of the need of finding the causes of cholesterol; the Big C, pneumonia, of whooping cough, measles, Muscular Distrophy, AIDS, MS and on and on and on, but the media skips even mentioning the cause of abortions. A Cause we all well know. That is, everyone knows it, with the exception of those innocents under 12, 13, 14 and so on year olds, the ones who need that knowledge the most of all.

To veer aside for a moment, I taught at the State Prison for a few years, and one of my first questions to a new group was, “What do you consider your greatest problem?” and, every person groaned and answered ‘Being down here.”

And that began the ‘jumping-off’ point for my following scheduled classes, as I tried to casually  point out that ‘being in prison’ is not their problem.  Being in Prison is the Result of some earlier Cause.  It was met with a lot of silence, but what I hoped would be a new slant on ‘why’ they were in prison. Once in a while I think a few of them heard me.

For most of them, the cause of their crimes was drugs or alcohol, and so naturally, I kept talking and slowly tried to then help them find out what the Cause was that had led them into drugs and alcohol. It’s a long journey, but there has to be a starting place. And most of them became tentatively interested in what I had to say. It was a surprise to me, but a lot of very intelligent people sometimes end up ‘down at the Point’ and those classes were both a joy and a challenge to some of them as well as to me.  And, I think, hope, pray, that I might have at least opened a door for a few of them.

It seemed like a new idea to some of them, that everything is the result of what we’ve done or didn’t do, previously. Pure ‘ cause and effect’. as we see that in our entire lives, one day builds on our actions of last one.

And so, back to abortions. Now, I’m far from being a prude, but I can’t help seeing what’s in front of me, and I also know a woman who had an abortion 45 or so years ago, (then called a ‘California operation’) but to this day, although married and the mother of children, carries invisible scars and still talks about it when she has a chance, with being alone with one who knew her both then and now.

So, my thoughts, if a girl/woman is old enough to become pregnant, she most certainly is old enough to know what Causes it, and that’s where the emphasis on the media articles regarding abortions, should be. Like all other diseases, to Find and Face the Cause, before a couple of parents are faced with a surprise pregnancy and suddenly have the choice of a quickie unwanted marriage or an abortion.

I thoroughly understand how and why parents and the young girl are shy about talking about the  cause of a pregnancy, but once their daughter is pregnant and in need of either marriage or abortion, all the explaining in the world is way, way, way too late and utterly useless anyway.

And if people want to use condoms, the Pill or any other of the various methods now available, that’s great. There should be some answer, for it’s a sad commentary upon our times that nearly 75% of area couples (right here in Utah) who are married at Masses, in Temples or other religious places, are already pregnant. And you might notice that I don’t say just the girls are pregnant, because while many men are reluctant to admit it, the man is absolutely as involved as the woman.

Today, freedom of  candidly speaking, writing, reading about sex is as open now as it could be. TV, Magazines, movies, in pictures, words, the sex act is accepted whether married or not. The old fashioned idea of ‘ not sleeping around’ is perhaps the best remedy, for it not only keeps one from getting pregnant, but forever eliminates the ‘need’ for an abortion. And as an aside, It also keeps one emotionally, physically, mentally and spritually far more healthy than living the up and down life of the opposite.

Everyone with the above exceptions of children, knows what the ’cause’ is, and after an abortion the two will be forever be trying to forget that there would be a child . . . a person . . . living a life, the same as they are, if they had only remembered, when their hormones had started jumping, to take a deep breath, and in some way, taken control of the Cause and the Remedy would never have had to even been considered.

I’m not trying to campaign for no sex outside of marriage, but abortions aren’t the answer. They’re only a terribly painful, life-changing way out of a situation that no one wanted in the first place.

Have a warm comfortable Thanksgiving and TYG many times over that not a one of the above words on abortion touched you. See you next week.

A Routine Lifesaver

We all hate schedules, and yet, dang it, everyone, no matter how young or not-so-young. has a routine for their days.

To begin with, a newborn infant immediately has a schedule of food, sleep and bath, and which during all of childhood gently but constantly changes, and before long, schooling arrives, then jobs begin, and before we know it, adult Life itself sets in and we have become so ‘routined’ that we ask, “When will I ever get a little Free Time?”

But, unconsciously we like it, for after the freedom of a day or week’s vacation, we snuggle back into our routine with a comfy ‘home again’ feeling. And so it goes, until e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y Retirement, enters our mind, and when it actually becomes real, after the first month or so of ‘no routine’, we not only miss, but need having something to do with our days.

The smart ones see this coming and begin exploring hobbies that, long ago, had been set aside for lack of time. Or we recall some skill we always wanted to learn, such as wood work, a new language, plumbing, farming, writing. We all have long-buried ‘itches’ and finally know that retirement is when they can blossom. At last we have the time to do what we want, not must do. Nice.

I once took some Buddhist classes and found those old Zen Teachers were wise, wise, wise. Their thoughts are from a thousand or more years ago, but they knew about human nature, and that life was life wherever   or whenever lived. Among much else, those classes told me of the absolute necessity of a daily routine to use, and to revise as changes come. And, we were reassured, changes would come.

It was stressed to keep it simple, for our days can’t be, or should never be, ‘carbon-copies’ . Can’t be, because, the phone rings and right then, our day can change, or unexpected company comes, an illness or accident happens, you get a headache, and so on, But, the need of a pattern for our days, was still stressed, for like it or not, that’s how life is. Always changing, and after the shock of small, large, joyous or heartbreaking ones, we adjust, flow with life and this adjustment happens mainly because we have a firm foundation, our routine to fall back upon.

So, the good Teachers advised a written Routine, and mine fits nicely on one side of a type sheet, kept in my computer where it’s easily up-dated, and so can print out a few when needed. I then keep them in a loose-leaf where I can make notes for coming days, and refer to what went on a week or two ago if wanted.

On one side of the sheet I have a list of what I plan to put into this ‘machine I call Ethel’, to keep it ready and fit to accomplish what I plan to do with it. This list includes all Medications, plus Vitamins and such, And if I can get those Vitamins from Food or a Capsule, matters not, Just Get Them into my Machine. And this means keeping track of my cups of water, too

And inasmuch as each item, when done, is crossed OFF, there’s no more wondering if I did or didn’t take that pill. It’s there on the sheet.

On the To-Do side, I list my Meditation, or prayer time, plus exercise, tidying the house from yesterday’s leftovers, making phone calls or email that’s needed. Appointments made, walking forward AND backwards, shopping trips needed, etc., bathing, proper care of the body, taking care of daily garbage, my meals, massage and so on.

These lists use about half of the sheet but they will vary as time goes on, but include my writing, which to me is both my work and joy. And I tell myself how much time is spent with that writing and what it is about. I keep track of what and when I eat . . . and if I might feel unwell, I can look back to see if it was something I ate . . . or didn’t eat.

I include walking . . . forward and backward (no fooling, keep that skill, for it helps keep your balance in good condition)  Yes, and the care of toe and fingernails. Be as picky as you choose, and if some of the actions are   on a weekly or daily schedule, just the same, put them dpwn and keep track. .

Keep your daily sheet where you see it often during the day, and it will not only be a reminder to you to walk, exercise, or meditate, because, for myself, if I feel lost, or moody, I turn to my daily routine and see what I might not have done for that day, and right then and there I go and do it, But any way,  it’s usually either writing or meditation I turn to. But choose your own, and you’ll find your mood will change. Just like that. The technique wouldn’t have lasted through the ages if hadn’t worked,  then or now, and speedily, too.

Sure worth a try.