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 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.

I Am An American

The melting pot will win in the end . . .

I watched TV where a beautiful woman, who had been a ‘grandchild’ on the old Bill Crosby TV Show, was being interviewed and where, quite politely, she interrupted the Host as he introduced her, telling him that she was not an African-American as he had introduced her as being, but is an American.  The Host nodded, but was not pleased with the change.

But I see that young woman’s point of view, and agree with her. See, my father was born in Sweden and so I’m a first-born generation American, and, have never, never, ever, not even once been asked to identify myself as Swedish-American. My birth name was odd enough to warrant curiosity, (Ohlin) and when giving that name, I learned early to be ready with the spelling. Every time, but never ever once, to identify the nationality.

The law is, if you were born here, you are an American with the first breath you take. Period.   No argument. However, if you were born elsewhere, came here and completed your immigration papers, you became, as my father did, an American. Again, with no if’s, and’s or but’s. The same as so many others have done, my Dad. Carl Gustav Ohlin became .  American. With no comment or argument.

Yes, because with the exception of American Indians, everyone one of us is a descendant of immigrants.  America is a nation of immigrants.  And very recently, it’s become not only interesting, but ‘big business’ to pay someone to trace one’s lineage to find out exactly where we did come from. It’s making a good TV show.

And now, for some reason, some one is trying, again, to make a big deal of the term African-American   The majority of Blacks here in the USA have been here since before the Revolutionary War, and no one can argue that fact, for we are the ones who brought them here. They did not choose to come, but we wanted them, and Abraham Lincoln’s words of Emancipation, yes, yes, that far back, gave that race all the rights of all other American citizens. Each and everyone of them, too.

They have fought, been wounded and died in all our wars, including The Revolutionary, The Civil, and every war since then. Bar none.

My father was born in Sweden, came here as a nine-ten year old, and was never called a Swedish-American. and all others, from the Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Mexicans, all became plain, ordinary Americans and not a two-word label of identity.

I agree with the lovely young woman, whose name I do not know, and wonder why the TV host was irritated. His facial features made it obvious he came from a foreign race, and it wasn’t Indian, and he now had a good interesting job and able to make a name and fortune such as he would have had a hard time duplicating where he had come from. That’s American. It was so obvious, that I couldn’t help but wonder why he stressed the racial facts so much.

Or is he and others, for some reason I don’t understand, striving to continue that difference and identification, once known as “The Color Line,” alive? Is it to someone’s monetary advantage to keep the division alive??? Money is usually behind all such endeavors.

And, if not, it’s time we drop all labels of what we were, and concentrate on what we are and are becoming.     AMERICANS. Just as Jefferson so boldly stated, and Lincoln emphasized, that all men (humans) are created equal, and have the same rights and privileges.

It’s why people of the entire world dream of coming here. To be American. And NOT to become half breeds wearing some superimposed two-word label. To be President of the UnIted States, it goes without saying, that person must be an American.    But is President Obama going to go down in history, (as some odd-balls seem to want) with the label as being half-American.

History, that of putting Obama’s name in millions of history records and books telling of his personal biography. Let’s get it right. He is an American, born of African lineage, yes, yes, yes. But he is an American. And let’s keep our history books true to our actions. No hyphenated two word label as to his genealogy.

We thought that skirmish was over four long years ago. but now we hear the rustlings in the edges again. And if so, if we put a two-word label next to his name, then we must go back and re-label everyone of our of Presidents, for everyone of them, from first to last, is and was a descendent of Immigrants.

Just like You. And just like me. Oh, not President of the USA, but we are all immigrants. And it’s great that it is so. A fact that makes every person in the world want to be one of us. And just like us. And thank You God.