Monday, July 21, 2014
I am not a fan of television, and I abhor one particular genre of television programming - reality TV. As if, I ask myself, any of those shows depict the real lives of their characters. If this is true, I have a great deal of sympathy for these people. So why the immense popularity with reality TV? It is human nature to be drawn into other people's problems, to witness their downfalls, even to marvel at their greatest flaws. And this is nothing new.
How did Ripley's Believe It or Not come about? Why were the carnival side shows so popular a hundred years ago? We are fascinated by the dark side of humanity. Such is the premise of “The Boy at the Museum” by Tamera Lenz Muente.
An eight-year-old boy becomes an attraction at a Cincinnati museum in 1843 simply because he was born without legs. The story is told by his mother Elizabeth and by Arthur Watson, a young man desperate for a job in the big city, who gets pulled into the macabre world of the museum by becoming a sort of nanny to the boy. As any eight-year-old boy would be, Enos is just as curious about the museum as its visitors are about him.
In addition to following the antics of young Enos, we follow the stories of his mother and his caretaker Arthur. We root for them and hope that good conquers all in a place where darkness seems to prevail. Told in the first person by both Elizabeth and Arthur, at times, I became confused as to who was telling their story.
Overall, though, the author has done a great job creating an America of the past, one that we don’t usually hear about. “The Boy at the Museum” is a great story and reminds us that we haven’t come so far in 170 years.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Some people refuse to bend when someone corrects them. Eventually they will break, and there will be no one to repair the damage. Proverbs 29:1 Easy-to-Read Version
I’m reading “Years of Stone” by Beth Camp and the male protagonist is serving a seven year prison sentence. It is the 1840s and he has been shipped to Tasmania to serve out his time, so you can imagine what the conditions are like. Being the noble hero that he is, whenever he is confronted with injustice, he is compelled to fight back. But instead he controls his instinct by telling himself, “Bend, don’t break.”
When we are faced with trials, our first reaction is to react, whether that means we adamantly disagree, blatantly argue or simply dig in our heels until we get our own way. So what does it mean to bend instead? Let the other person get what they want. Do what you are told to do no matter how badly you don’t want to or even know that it isn’t the best thing to do. Turn the other cheek. Ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?”
Ask yourself “is this doing harm to another person? Does this go against my beliefs in God? Is this going to matter years from now?” Bend when you need to, just don’t break.
Lord, God, help me to make the right decisions. Give me strength to stand up when I need to and grant me peace when it is best to sit it out. Amen
Outside the prison in Ayacucho, Peru, the only prison I have been inside. Was never so relieved to walk out of a building as I was that day. It does put a whole new perspective on the importance of making the right decisions.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Here I am again sharing the streets of my home town. I didn’t walk much for this blog post. Instead I spent an hour at our little historical museum. It’s too bad that more people don’t stop in there. Many hours by long-time residents have gone into the collected memories contained in the two buildings which make up our historical museum.
“In 1998, after many years in storage, ON TARGET was donated to the Tomahawk Area Historical Society. After undergoing major restoration, as well as more time in storage, the boat finally came to its permanent location in Washington Park in 2009.”
In 1888, this building became the city’s first school building. It served as grade school, kindergarten and school district office. In 2000 it became the second historical museum, across the street from the log cabin.
“Souvenir Views ofTomahawk, Wisconsin” compiled by Dixie and Andy Zastrow.)
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Fifty-five years ago today, Paul and Margaret welcomed a second daughter into their family. Patricia Ann was chubby and cheerful, or so I’ve heard from family stories and seen in family pictures.
At the time, Pat was the youngest of the whole extended family. Her brother and sister were much older, as were the cousins who got together all the time. It didn’t take her parents long to realize that they needed to have a fourth child to raise along with Pat so that she wasn’t so spoiled.
That’s how I ended up in the picture. Or at least in these pictures.
July 1985, the day of my first wedding.
No, we hadn't planned on wearing the same style of shirt that morning.
Summer 1993, at O-Kun-De-Kun Falls in Michigan's U.P. on our way to go camping.
Don't you love my shorts. I finally threw them away just a few years ago. Scary.
Spring 1997, at The Luxor in Las Vegas
Summer 1997, camping with my kids at Amnicon State Park.
We got the camper out this weekend to clean it up to take camping later this month. I panicked over its state of decrepitness, fearing there was no way we could take it camping. I shed a few tears at the thought of losing it, got a grip, cleaned it up and told it that it had to give us a few more trips.
Happy Birthday, Pat. You bum, you will forever be 39, while I keep getting older. Someday down the road, we will be together again. And then it won’t matter how old we are.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
“One day the trees decided to choose a king to rule over them. The trees said to the olive tree, ‘You be king over us.’
“But the olive tree said, ‘My oil is used to honor gods and humans. Should I stop making my oil just to go and sway over the other trees?’
(Not an Olive Tree)
“Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’
“But the fig tree answered, ‘Should I stop making my good, sweet fruit just to go and sway over the other trees?’
“Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’
“But the vine answered, ‘My wine makes men and kings happy. Should I stop making my wine just to go and sway over the trees?’
(Yeah, I found a Vineyard)
“Finally, all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’
“But the thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to make me king over you, come and find shelter in my shade. But if you don’t want to do this, let fire come out of the thornbush. Let the fire burn even the cedar trees of Lebanon.’ Judges 9:8-15 Easy-to-Read Version
(A Thorn Bush in Africa)
What do these verses mean to you? I have my own thoughts, which I feel best to keep to myself. All I will say is that when I ran across these Bible passages a while back I was once again blown away that God came up with this stuff thousands of years ago and yet we seem to be living this out today.
Lord, help us to wisely choose who our leaders will be. Let us always remember that you are the ultimate ruler and King. Amen.
Friday, July 11, 2014
photo challenge was "portraits". I reached way back in the archives for these first pictures. They are ones I took of my daughter for her senior portrait in the fall of 2007. I took them with my Yaschica 35 mm SLR camera and had the film downloaded onto CD right away so that I could tweek the photos on the computer. I like my simple, light-weight digital camera, but sometimes I still miss my bulky ancient 35 mm.
I had this sudden realization about family portraits just this week. Whenever my kids come over I always want to get a nice picture of them (they have been over several times since this portrait was taken), and they always give me a hard time so I don't get many decent shots. It just dawned on me why this is such a big deal to me. Coz there just aren't that many pictures of me when I was growing up. My dad had his 8mm movie camera and those grainy films are the majority of the photographic record of my childhood.
My advise: take as many pictures of the family as you can, restore as many of the old pictures as you can, and save them ALL.
My mom and my sister, Pat, at my first wedding in 1985. Aren't they both beautiful?
My sister is gone now and my poor 87-year-old mom is a fraction of this size.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Finally I have my map together. The streets I walked tonight are highlighted in yellow. The ones I have already done are in green.
Since it was my writers group again tonight, I started out at the library, headed south on Railway Street, then meandered my way back to Dairy Queen. Unfortunately DQ was swamped because every Wednesday night during the summer they have “Music on the River”, which is right across the street from DQ. Even though I don’t like crowds I really need to go to one of these outdoor concerts in the Park sometime.
If I continue my zig-zagging path, I will be re-walking a lot of streets. Oh, well.Tomahawk Public Library.
Old Train Depot back in the day. It was the Sears catalog store for a long time, and before that a gift shop, the name of which escapes me.
I guess it goes without saying who this guy was.
here. I never knew.
Wagon on the north side of the Barber's Closet. There really are a lot of people in this town who want to make it look like a special place to live.