Acquisition is our Problem #2

Yesterday’s Trade Day at Summerville had to set a record for the most people I have EVER seen set up and selling. TONS of people! The problem was that there were NOT nearly as many people buying! Dealers were buying from each other…but the number of people coming in to just buy things was VERY low. Dealers had piles and piles of “STUFF” on their tables…a lot of it very similar in nature. It’s the American curse. We have bought and bought things which we “thought” we just had to have and now, when people are out of jobs, low on money, can’t get loans, etc., they are having to sell this unnecessary “stuff” to try and get some money. Problem is, that of all the things which people brought to sell, 90% of it probably went back home with them. There are “thrift” stores popping up all over the place to sell the “stuff” that people finally get tired of hauling around themselves and trying to sell. There are “estate” and yard sales by the dozens every weekend during the “good weather” months. All this leads me to conclude that there is something very basic and fundamental wrong in this country. We have succumbed to the dogma of “consumerism” with the TV blaring out at us to continually “buy this and buy that” newest product until we really believe we cannot do without what they are telling us we need. We have reached a very dangerous crossroad in America where something basic must change if we are to survive as a country. Americans must attend to their NEEDS and NOT their WANTS. It will cause a shift in the way things are done, not only in the manufacturing sector of the country, but possibly even in the way this country if actually governed. Will we do it? Probably not. We will probably all just continue to drag our “stuff” we don’t want to the flea markets, or have a yard sale, or default on our storage building rentals and let the “storage wars” guys buy it out. That might be the easiest and best idea…at least then it would be THEIR problem!

Things my Daddy Taught Me

Things my Daddy tried to teach me:

1. If you are going to do something do it right.

2. Everybody is created equal, nobody is better than anybody else.

3. Don’t waste food or mess your new shoes up.

Things my Daddy used to say:

1. (6 a.m. on school days) “Hit the deck, Hit the deck”

2. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out!

3. “You missed a spot, right there”

4. “Sometimes you don’t have enough sense to get in out of the rain.”

5. “Huh?” (After 40 years of working in a Cotton mill)

There’s so much more. So many memories. My Dad was a funny guy in both senses of the word. He was a different man altogether in his older years than in his prime. A kinder, gentler, and more loving man took the place of the one who was more driven to prove his worth to other people who had doubted his abilities. He said “I love you” more often and always had the most tender spots for his grandchildren and greatgrand’s.

He was as good a Dad as I could have asked for, and more than I deserved in some ways.

Our Problem is Acquisition

America has a big problem with stuff. I realize this a lot after looking around on weekends and seeing hundreds of yard sales, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays at Trade day, where hundreds of people bring tons of stuff week after week. We have grown to be a country where a lot of emphasis is put on stuff, and how much of it you have.

I really think the most important things in life are our spiritual and mental welfare and our interaction with our family. Then, the things we really need are few. I don’t mean that people should all become some sort of super minimalists…there is no harm in having things that make our lives comfortable or easier.

The real trick is to not be fooled into making acquisition a way of life. I know this truth not just from observation, but from living it. I have acquired WAY too much “stuff” in my life and it’s a regretful thing. I have only just lately come to the realization that most of these acquisitions need to be severely reduced. I’ll assure you that the “getting rid of” part is a lot harder than the acquisition part!

Sorry to say, but my kids may end up having to deal with part of the mess. I apologize in advance to them for that.

The Brain

The BRAIN….a writing from 2004

(Warning…this is rather long….read if you have time!)

I wonder, what is the first memory that anybody can remember? Its funny how that works isn’t it. But, that’s my question for tonight. What’s your first memory? That will eventually lead me to my other question.

See, the reason it interests me is that I often wonder if everyone else’s brain functions about the same as mine. Most of my childhood memories are rather fuzzy around the edges. Do you know what I mean? They are sort of like trying to look at something right after you have just woke up, and still have a ton of “sleep” in your eyes. Or maybe it’s like trying to remember a dream that you had the night before, during which you woke up. The dream is really clear when you first wake up, so if you EVER want to remember it well you should take the advice of dream specialists and write it down right then. If not, it’s going to be fuzzy in the morning. Fuzzy around the edges, just like those earliest memories. Sometimes I wonder if some of my memories are not really dreams. Is that possible? I think it might be. As we go through life, and we live through so many different things, it may just be that some of our more vivid dreams get mixed up in our brain with reality. That would be a hoot wouldn’t it?

Well for starters, the very first thing I remember is having to go potty really, really bad. We lived in a house back in 1953, when I was three years old that was originally a duplex that had been turned into a regular house. I remember that it confused me, because both sides of the house seemed to be the same, except the living room furniture was in one side and the bedroom furniture in the other. I remember thinking that the rooms were the same and that when I blinked my eyes, or went to sleep (especially if I got carried from one side to the other during that time) that the furniture was rearranging itself! Strange, no? But, back to pottying. I had to go really, really bad, and nobody was around to “direct” me to the correct place, so down went the pants and… can guess the rest. The part I remember the most, was getting my rear end tanned by my Pop! I never, ever did that again!

I also remember having a pair of Easter bunnies that same year. Dad brought them home in a box, and we took them out back to eat grass and they got away from us and ran up under the car. It took Daddy forever to catch them, and I didn’t know what some of the words he was using meant, but I used one of those words later on when I rode my tricycle down the front steps. I got in BIG trouble for that!

I can’t remember what happened to those rabbits though. I think Dad probably got tired of them making a mess and got rid of them one night while the furniture was changing itself around.

Another vivid thing during that same year I believe was during the summer we would catch “lightning bugs” (fireflies to a lot of you) We would put them in a jar and I would take them to a dark place and try to use them like a flashlight! Usually, we would let them go before going in for the night, but once we forgot and I came out the next morning, and couldn’t figure out why the bugs wouldn’t light up. I didn’t realize that after being in a closed jar with no hole all night long, they were NEVER going to light up again! I never caught anymore lighting bugs after that, because I never wanted to take a chance on forgetting about them, and have them laying lifeless in the bottom of the jar the next morning.

I know that I lived the first two or three years of my life at my Grandparent’s house. My Dad didn’t get out of the Navy until 1953, so my Mom and I stayed with them. I have seen pictures of myself at that age, but try as I might, try so very hard, I cannot bring up any memories of any of those times before 1953 when we moved back to Trion, where I still live today. I wish I could remember those times. What would really be neat would be to be able to remember anything and everything that ever happened to you. To just be able to sit down and say, “Now I am going to remember December of 1956 when I was six years old, and what happened at Christmas that year!” That would be a miracle wouldn’t it? Scientists say that everything is stored right up there in that little 3 pounds of gray jelly we call our brain. That wonderful, misunderstood and not fully understood organ that runs us. I have tried everything from meditation to “commanding” my brain to remember, to closing my eyes and straining and squinting, like the Oriental guy on the program “Hero’s” does when he stops time. I still can’t make it happen! Are all of you folks like that, or is it just me!!! I would like to know, so I can claim a deficiency if I am the only one.

Memory and the brain. They really are a strange thing. I remember one time when my Grandfather was in his last year of life. He didn’t know anybody, or anything much. When we went to visit him, he would just sit around and kind of “babble” like a tape recorder randomly playing back snippets of conversation recorded over years and years of time. Nothing made much sense. He always seemed like he was glad to see us, and sad to see us go…but…things were just not perking right. My Grandma was sitting there one day and talking about one of their relatives, and Grandpa spoke up all of the sudden and said: “Loyd’s dead” My Grandma answered him back telling him how crazy he was, because she had just talked to her brother Loyd early that morning. That afternoon when we took Grandma back home, she found out that Loyd had died right around the time we were all at the Nursing home. This was sometime back in 1989 if I remember correctly.

So, the brain’s funny isn’t it. I would have bet you a million dollars that Grandpa couldn’t count to ten anymore, but somehow, someway he knew his old childhood hunting buddy had died.

Maybe not being able to recall everything that has ever happened to us is a blessing. We might NOT be able to be selective and just remember the good things. We might also HAVE to remember the bad things too. There are a LOT of those things that I would rather keep shoved back into the tiny recesses and crevasses of my mind. Yes, my mind. When all is said and done, it is what we are isn’t it? Even when Grandpa’s was taken mostly away, he was given a gift of sorts to replace what had been taken from him. I guess our spirit sort of resides there. It’s about the only part of us they can’t replace still! Shoot, you can have a ticker transplant and go right on being yourself, but a diving accident can turn you into something you would rather not think about! It makes you wonder about all those people who do have that kind of damage. Have their souls, what made them who they were, already fled the premises and just left the empty shell behind?

Well, there’s the challenge for those of you who care to take it up. Can your remember everything? What was your first memory? Would you like to be able to have total recall? When our old brain is gone, like Grandpa’s was, are we still us? I think so.

Oh by the way. Does anybody remember a Science Fiction thriller from the 50’s named “Donavan’s Brain?” It was about this guy whose brain was taken out of him while he was still alive, and put into this thing that looked all the world like a ten gallon fish aquarium! They had all kind of wires hooked up to it, and had it connected to a computer looking thing. Ol’ Donovan’s Brain could still “communicate” and eventually took over some folks, if I remember right, making ‘em do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. It was a hoot! I hope to heck they NEVER learn to do that. I hope they never learn to “store” our minds on computers either. Never able to “download” the electrical impulses from our brains onto some kind of infernal storage unit, to be put into a program so we can still communicate with the living. I don’t wanna’ be a machine. When it’s time for me to go, I want to go. I wonder, what will my LAST thought be? Whatever it is, I won’t be able to share it with any of you guys that are left behind, so I guess I better concentrate on sharing what I want to now, while I still can!!