BARE BUNS

Hamburger© 2017 Bill Murphy

When I began this blog, I vowed that I would not stoop to ranting and raving – ever! Therefore, consider the following as only an OBSERVATION – over the course of some 70+ years.

As for ‘bare buns,’ I’m not speaking of those you see everywhere on 36 inch waist individuals who insist on wearing 48 inch pants – with no belt.  I hope this fad soon goes the way of the duck tail haircut.  I’m talking about HAMBURGER BUNS.

Hamburgers have an upper and lower bun.  Back in ‘my day’ BOTH of these buns were smeared with condiments.  Yes, they really were – and at EVERY place that made burgers!

But not today.  Today, the bottom half of the bun is as naked as folks in a nudists colony.

Although I don’t agree with this short cut, I can understand the reasoning behind it.  If you’re in the business of selling burgers, sales volume means sales profits.

Lets say that you can make 100 burgers in and hour and can sell those 100 burgers in an hour.  It would not be wise to MAKE only 80 burgers per hour.  (You’d lose 20% of your profits!)  It takes time to paint that bottom bun with condiments – time that merchants today think of as wasted time.  (Who looks at the BOTTOM bun besides Bill Murphy anyway?)

So the bottom is left as naked as a newborn.

And then there is the COST of those ‘wasted’ bottom bun condiments.  The merchant POCKETS the cost of these un-used/unneeded condiments.  (Profits go up!)  The boss can now go to Hawaii this Summer!

Also, by their very nature, when you cook hamburger meat, it becomes GREASY.  Placed on top of a spread of mayo/mustard/ketchup mix, the grease has no where to go but over the side!  Drip, drip, drip. T he nude bottom bun gives the hamburger a built in grease trap.  Tasty!  Otherwise, time would be WASTED by de-greasing each patty.  And as we have seen, wasted time is wasted profits!

There you have it.  It’s all a capitalist ploy to make money, at the expense of old geezers like me who remember the good old days of a COMPLETE hamburger.

That’s not a rant.  It’s “Just the facts, ma’am” – like Sgt. Friday said.

Some ‘old fashioned’ things are good fashioned things!

 

 

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GUILTY AS CHARGED

moses-573811_640© 2018 Bill Murphy

The past few months, an issues of spiritual importance has weighed heavily on my heart.  I’ve found myself asking hard questions, and pointing fingers.

Suddenly, I find myself guilty of my own ‘sin.’

This week, our church is having a form of vacation bible school – but this is a one day affair.  Judging by the amount of effort being put into it, one would think it was a full week (or 2 weeks) event!  The props and decor, which include a life-size, hand painted, cut-out figure of Goliath – are nothing short of fabulous.

My contribution was Jonah’s whale, with a cut-out in the side revealing the (living) character dressed as Jonah – sitting inside.

There was technical difficulty, a mix-up in communications, and I received the construction parameters late, which only left a limited time for construction.  Whew… I made it!

Then, late the night before we were to leave the following afternoon for a 6.5 hour trip to Mississippi, I received a call.  The tablets of stone, the 10 commandments, were too small! Could I make new ones?  I wanted to say no… but I said yes.

My dilemma was… I had to ‘design’ these props, gather and or purchase the supplies, and then construct them – all in the time remaining to arrive in Mississippi at least by midnight the very next night.

I actually did it!  I got to work the following morning – but I took a short-cut.  I made things more comfortable for myself.

You see… the 10 commandments are a somewhat lengthy read.  That would have required quite a bit of lettering on my part.  My reasoning was that I didn’t have the time – and that this is for a CHILDREN’S program anyway.  I opted out and located kiddie-friendly versions of the 10 commandments.  Instead of: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s… mine just said, “Don’t want other’s stuff.”  We got to our Mississippi destination by 10:30.

But while on our way, it came to me… guilt.  I was guilty of the same thing which I’d been seeing in others!

For months now I’ve come to realize that we’ve come to make corporate worship far too ‘comfortable.’  And this comfort has pushed aside and thoroughly muddied our concepts of respect and reverence for what we once called… The House of God.

Folks my age remember what was called ‘Sunday clothes.’  Today, in order to welcome the weak, the poor, the huddled masses – dressing for church is a thing of the past. What’s good for Monday thru Friday – and even Saturday – is good enough for God!

And dress is only the tip of the iceberg!

But how can I call the kettle black?  Didn’t I cut a big corner?  Didn’t I save a few minutes (or hours) to make it convenient for myself?  Didn’t I put personal comfort and desires above the Holy Laws of God?  Yes, I did.  I’m guilty as charged!

P.S. I my defense, I still refuse to wear a hat inside and during a church service.  There are usually several (male) hatted heads in my laid-back place of worship.

 

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BC, AD, and PCP

telephone© 2018 Bill Murphy

In school, we learned that history was divided by the birth of Christ… BC before, AD after.  Allow me to add another time-division… PCP – Pre Cell Phone.

You’ll have to be less than 50 in age to appreciate the amazing changes that we old geezers have seen and experienced.

I remember when our home phone number was 32246. No prefix. No area code. Think about that for a moment. In my home town of Jackson, MS –  that meant the number of telephones was limited to 99,999 telephones… which included private homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, public services… everyone!

We had only one telephone in our home… no extensions.  It was a ‘land-line,’ and all connections were made ‘physically’ over wires.  My aunt and uncle who lived across the street had a pedestal phone.  I always wanted one of those. I think they were classic, as far as telephones go.

Our telephone was located in the hallway, near the center of our home.  It sat on a small shelf, in a ‘nook’ recessed into the wall, with a flat shelf underneath which held the phone book.  There were numbers, 0 thru 9, arranged around a dial.  Each call required 5 ‘dials.‘  WHERE you talked was limited by the length of the telephone cord.

There was no such thing as recorded messages. ‘Speed dialing‘ was determined by the dexterity of your fingers.

Then came prefixes, which allowed the number of telephones within an area to increase. Our prefix was FLEETWOOD.  It was dialed as ‘FL.’  New telephones were required for this, for the addition of these alphabetical letters.

To make a long distance call, you had to call the phone company and be connected to the circuits which led out of town and to distances beyond.  There were extra charges for long distance… and it was not cheap.  You were charged by the minutes you talked.

With the advent of area codes, you no longer had to call the ‘long distance operator’ to make a long distance call.  But… the long distance calls still costs extra.

The first person I knew who had a ‘cell’ phone was my mother-in-law.  But it was not called a cell-phone.  It was called a ‘mobile phone.’  It would not fit in your pocket!  The thing came in a box about the size of two shoe boxes joined side by side.  It had a receiver to talk into and listen with, just like the telephones at home.  She had hers sitting on the ‘hump’ on the floor of her car, between the front seats.  It was next to impossible to use with the car in motion.

When wireless transmission really took off, there were not that many ‘mobile phones’ around. But there was plenty of PAGERS.  Both my wife and her sister worked for pager companies.  A pager was a small hand-held wireless device, that when your pager was called, it buzzed, and displayed the phone number you were to call.  It could also display a brief message.  But… you had to call the pager company and tell them what pager to page, and give them the number/message you wanted displayed on that pager.  Because my wife worked for the pager company, she put the pager software on our home computer… and I could page her directly!  “We’re out of milk,” I could tell her while she was on the way home.  What a time saver!

The first time this modern technology really rocked my world was in the mid 80s. Carol and I were on vacation in Maine.  We were walking down the main street of Machias, ME.  Carol noticed something in the window of shop and commented that her sister would like that.  There on the street, Carol paged Mary Ellen, describing the item.  Mary Ellen paged Carol back, and said, ‘yes,’ she wanted it.  Carol made the purchase.  From Maine to Mississippi, the deal was settled almost instantly.  That was truly amazing at the time!

And practically overnight it seemed, we had cell phones.  Gone were the days of being anchored to a wire when you made a call.  Now you could talk anywhere… outside, up a tree, under the house.  And just as suddenly, that expensive bane in the budget – LONG DISTANCE – was a thing of the past.

Today the world is at our fingertips.  ‘Back then,’ if your family didn’t have a set of encyclopedias, it required a trip to the library to learn the capital of Ireland.

But… all this miraculous ‘convenience’ has come at a terrible price.  We’ve loosing the gift of gab.  Our kids are not learning to communicate, not face to face.  Today people can hide behind a tiny screen and lash out and rip apart the lives of others.

Today we’re still chained to copper wires.  Today’s chains are the chargers – which people continue to lose – or to borrow… because they lack the responsibility to bring their own along.

When I was growing up, there was a box to be checked (hopefully) on our school report cards.  That box was: PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS.  Our kids today, sadly, are in training to lose this ability.

Oh, what were you saying?  I was reading a text.

Dipper… not the ‘big’ one.

Snuff©  2018   Bill Murphy

The only person in my family that I knew was a smoker was my Uncle Hilton, who lived across the street.  But, my maternal Grandmother, Emma Fairchild, was a dipper – a snuff dipper.

But one day, she made up her mind to quit.

I think I was pre-school at the time, or perhaps only 1st or 2nd grade.  She announced to the family the big news of snuffing out her snuff habit – and then did a very strange thing:  she asked my mother to pick up a new jar of (Garrett’s) snuff for her.

“Why?” asked my mother, “I thought you were quitting.”

Mamaw Fairchild explained that YES, she was definitely quitting the dusty habit.  However, she wanted a fresh bottle ‘just in case.’

Mom bought the bottle… the very bottle in the photo above.

Mamaw Fairchild put that new bottle of Garrett’s on the mantel… where it sat, unopened, until the day she died – many years later.

My mother saved the bottle, emptied the contents, placed a bright artificial flower bud in it, and placed that amber bottle on a shelf in our home.  Mom also removed the Garrett’s label.

This cherished story from childhood illustrates yet another reason why I hold my ancestor’s in such high esteem.  Mamaw Fairchild made up her mind, and stuck to her decision.  This little bottle is a physical reminder of her determination, to make her bad habit bite the dust!

 

 

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