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Stuart Neiman Cartoon: Texas Snake

Posted February 24, 2021

By Stuart Neiman

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Don’t be a ‘Sharent,’ Karen


A Joint Column

Posted February 22, 2021

By Michael DeWitt, Jr. and Mae Frances Bing

Translating the urban dictionary into a language even old geezers can understand.

When we began this column we had a noble purpose: to bridge the gap between generations, the sexes, and the races, and find some common ground. Yet our language, the very thing that is supposed to unite us, continues to be a hurdle in communication between the young/cool and the older/out of touch, especially when it comes to modern slang.

So as a public service, we have taken many of today’s most popular slang words and attempted to translate them into terms that young and old alike can relate to. In other words, we tried to “break it down” for you geezers. And by geezers, we mean pretty much everyone who grew up before the age of PlayStation and iTunes, apparently. Enjoy.

Periodt

Hip Young Definition: A word used at the end of a sentence, meant to add emphasis to a point that has been made, as in: “When Jessica accused me of stealing her wallet, I told her I hadn’t touched her dusty little wallet. Periodt!”

Geezer Definition: Something you hope your wife gets soon, because you don’t want any more brats running around, but no matter what your wife says you dang sure ain’t getting a vasectomy!

Amirite

HD: A phrase that means, “Am I right?” Often used when you want someone to agree with you.

GD: Isn’t that one of the many medications you have to take each morning?

Bye, Felicia

HD: A cold way of dismissing someone annoying, petty, or not worth your time, as in “I don’t have time for your drama today. Bye, Felicia!”

GD: When you tell someone named Felicia goodbye. What else could it mean?

Clap Back

HD: To respond strongly to another person’s comment or criticism, as in “Ashley tried to embarrass Nancy, but Nancy wasn’t having that. She clapped back at her, and it was hilarious.”

GD: My wife slapped me on the buttocks when I got out the shower, and my fat rear end clapped back at her for five minutes. I have got to lose some weight!”

Fire

HD: Something great or awesome. Ex: “That new song is so fire!”

GD: What happens every morning after chili night, Indian food night, Mexican night, Cajun night, etc. We will spare the details.

Throwing shade

HD: To disrespect or ridicule someone, as in “That was so wrong what Melissa said about Kim’s wig. She threw shade and Kim didn’t even realize it!”

GD: As when the spouse comments on your weight: “If that beer gut gets any bigger, it will be throwing shade at the beach!”

Drip

HD: Refers to a person’s sense of style or fashion, as in “Kim’s outfit looks so nice. She got the drip!

GD: Please refer to the previous post about Fire.

Flex

HD: A way of saying someone is showing off, as in “I like his suit, but he didn’t have to flex so hard to impress us.”

GD: Something a geezer has to do for five minutes after getting out of the recliner, off the toilet, etc.

Lit

HD: Amazing, exciting, or excellent, as in “That concert was so lit!”

GD: Intoxicated or drunk, as in “I was so lit at that party that I kissed my own wife and called her beautiful.”

Lowkey

HD: Meaning you liked or did something secretly, modestly, or quietly, as in “I’m not going to lie, I lowkey liked that food even though it had a weird texture.”

GD: What you hoped that flatulence in church was going to be, but it turned out to be highkey and drowned out the choir. Often happens on a “Fire” morning.

Salty

HD: To be bitter, mad, or upset, as in “Jenny didn’t make the cheerleading squad, and she is a little salty about it.”

GD: Every food you like, as in “I can’t eat that because of my high blood pressure, too salty.”

Techlash

HD: A strong negative reaction against the largest tech companies, or their employees or products.

GD: What happens every time old Dad buys a fancy new fishing rod.

Karen

HD: A woman who acts too entitled or more demanding than the norm; also the one who calls the police over trivial matters or asks to speak to the manager every time something doesn’t go her way.

GD: That annoying woman at the doctor’s office who keeps calling you about getting that prostate exam and that colonoscopy, but you plan on putting it off as long as possible, right along with tha vasectomy.

Extra

HD: Trying too hard, over the top, excessive, and  maybe even a little dramatic, as in “Her outfit was so extra, just like her personality.”

GD: The type of pounds your doctor says that you have put on since the last visit, but you know that scale is faulty. Besides, the customer is always right, even at the doctor’s office, so don’t make me pull a Karen and call the manager!

I’m Dead

HD: A phrase used to indicate that one thinks something is extremely funny, as in “Sue just fell down the stairs while trying to make a TikTok video! I’m dead!”

GD: It means, “It’s my heart! There are two pills in my pocket, a baby aspirin and nitroglycerine. Stick both of them in my mouth now and call 911!”

Sharent

HD: A parent who frequently uses social media to share photos or other details about their child, often to the embarrassment of the child. Example: “We are so proud that little Timmy is an honors student in college and even has a girlfriend, considering the fact that he is 21 and had never even kissed a girl before!”

GD: Look, I’ve seen that kid eat crayons and boogers, and rub his dirty diaper on the wall, so if the child grows up halfway normal I am going to celebrate and tell everyone, okay!

And did I show you the fish my other kid caught last weekend? That thing was lit. Or was it extra? On fire?

But don’t throw fire. Throw shade.

Periodt.

Amirite?

 

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Winter’s Lush Green Carpet


Tom Poland

Posted February 22, 2021

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer
www.tompoland.net
tompol@earthlink.net

It’s an unusual plant. No flowers. No roots, but what a green velvety plant. Green moss mystifies me. When I come across it I stare. Always. Why can’t my lawn look like that? I don’t know much about moss, green moss, as it’s called, but I know this much. It likes moisture, it likes shade, and it likes old bricks. Baked red clay and soft green moss make a pretty pair. They just need a lot of time to connect.

Visit an old homesite during the cold season, for that’s when moss stands out. Moss doesn’t die back in winter. Chances are good you’ll see bricks carpeted in lush green and round green cushions appear here and there among the brown leaves of autumn.

I visited one of my favorite haunts Saturday. My mission was to see the first blooming daffodils. Didn’t see any. They have a ways to go yet thanks to what has been a cold winter. The earth felt like a sponge from the recent rains. Streams and creeks ran red and over their banks and periwinkle was green. But the moss? Fluorescent. It literally glowed. Late afternoon sun turned spore stalks radiant. They stood and peered about like thin long-necked birds or miniature meerkats. (Study the photograph and you’ll spot the runners the plant uses to spread itself.)

I’d love to have a lawn carpeted in green moss but my moss-covered rock walkways will do. My friend, Eddie Drinkard, says keeping leaves off the stones helps moss cover them. It seems to help.

Now I think of green moss as a kinder, gentler kudzu on a smaller, down-to-earth scale. It covers what it can but unlike kudzu it doesn’t kill what it blankets. No, moss likes hard surfaces and you cannot kill a brick.

Moss covered my late mom’s fountains. When she was alive I observed a spring ritual. I’d drive over across the Savannah for three days and performed spring chores. Among the chores was getting her fountains up and running. That meant clearing away fall’s leaves, turned black and rotten by winter rains. I had to clean them out thoroughly but I best not harm the moss or I’d be in trouble. She loved it.

So do I.

A pelt of green, moss seems like some kind of fur, yet like barnacles, it attaches itself to hard surfaces. I’ve been up in the mountains where streams and creeks split, braid, and stair-step around moss-covered rocks. Photographers like to use a slow shutter speed to turn rushing water into milky threads of white. The white silky water and green moss-covered rocks fashion a sort of fairyland.

Green moss. They tell me some folks use it as a rooftop. It’s friendly to the environment and absorbs water, being sponge-like. Of course the species of moss would have to be sun tolerant yet be in a moisture-rich area. Sounds like the mountains to me. I’m not sure just how a moss roof works but evidently it does.

As for me, I’ll be content to see moss spread to more of my rock walkways. I’m not ready for a Carrabba’s-type roof yet, though it sounds lovely. What would be interesting is a brick house covered in moss entire, given its love for bricks, but those bricks are vertical. Moss likes heaps of horizontal bricks hundreds of years old in damp earth. And that means today’s brick houses must suffer abandonment, then collapse into the earth, and become ruins. Then green moss can carpet them so some curious fellow in a faraway time can pay them a visit as I did and marvel at nature’s lush green carpet, one with no roots and no flowers.


Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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Living on Purpose: Seeing the glass half-full


Dr. William Holland

Posted February 22, 2021

By Dr. William Holland

The older we are, the more we can see how the world has changed. The Bible reveals the human race is born with a corrupt nature and also has a lot to say about an evil spiritual enemy that is trying as hard as he can to influence us over to the dark-side. Whatever your political or theological views, we can agree there is much strife within our nation about what is happening and where we are headed. The interesting aspect within many people’s disagreements is how they base their opinions on what someone else has told them. Since God knows everything, the best answers to all of our problems would be to listen to him, but rarely is this mentioned.

In the midst of our worries and concerns for this country and our family’s future, God is moving and miracles are being seen all around us. Like you, I read the editorial sections and listen to what others have to say, and mostly what I gather is someone repeating over and over how bad everything is. Do we really need to be bombarded with negativity about how the world is falling apart at the seams? It would be refreshing to hear that all is not lost and we can be as bright of a light for Jesus as we choose. Perspective is a key word to consider because it allows us to discern and think carefully about what has been said. When someone relays a story, we should remember they are relaying a view of what they personally believe. For example, when we hear that no one can be trusted in our government and how society is evolving into a mass of mindless zombies, we should realize this is a “glass half empty” view. In reality, there are many kindhearted and loving individuals that are demonstrating what Christ died for them to be. This is not the hour to give up and hang our harps on the willow trees.

Each day we maneuver our way through the daily grind while trying to maintain our sanity at the same time. However, let us be reminded that if we are going to allow ourselves to be an information sponge, we should be careful how we interpret what we absorb. I’m not saying the culture does not have serious problems, but we should also not burn down the forest as a way to get rid of the poison ivy. Everyone is not evil and corrupt and neither is every member of the next generation brainwashed with humanism. No matter what is deemed politically correct, as Christians we still have a spiritual mission to accomplish as our hands fit the hammer and shovel today just as they always did. There is a huge difference between spectators that do a lot of talking and participators that spend their time and energy trying to make a positive difference.

Another word is discernment. There are so many different ideas, but we have been commanded to be sensitive enough to know what is right and wrong. Let us stop and consider the danger of being controlled with negativity. God is not confused, deceptive, a manipulator, or a liar and He cannot fail. He is perfect absolute truth, and the closer we are to Him the more we will all walk in one accord. I recently read a story about a nurse who serves in a Veteran Healthcare facility and how passionate she is about helping those who cannot help themselves. What about our first responders who risk their lives everyday trying to save others, or the many soldiers who willingly fight in combat so that we can enjoy our freedoms? Maybe instead of pointing out all the people that do not care, we could start identifying and appreciating those who do. Seeing the glass half-full is the result of embracing, learning, and demonstrating the attitude of an optimist. There have always been corrupt and despicable people but be encouraged, the darkness of sin will never overcome the eternal light of God’s compassion and mercy. Self-discipline is associated with the decision-making process within our mind as changing the way we think, transforms who we are. May we examine our convictions carefully and be willing to accept and follow God’s truth. Hope and joy are never lost for those who know and trust the Lord.

 

Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author, ordained minister, and community chaplain. Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com

 

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Living on Purpose: Resist the devil and he will flee


Dr. William Holland

Posted Feb. 15, 2021

By Dr. William Holland

Someone sent me a text the other day about all the trash talking during the Super Bowl and how it seemed to bother some of the players. As a sports fan, I’ve watched the power of words throughout the years and remember that Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan just to name a couple of athletes, also used this tactic to intimidate and frustrate the opposition. The idea is to lure someone you are battling against into listening to what you are saying in order to distract and confuse them. This attempt to rattle our competitor is associated with words such as; discredit, mock, slander, belittle, discount, diminish, taunt, and disrespect. As I thought about this, the Lord reminded me how the demonic world operates in our lives every moment as the devil is the ultimate trash talker. He is always looking to attack us with false accusations with the intention of making us miserable by damaging our self-esteem.

I’m sure that most of you have experienced times of discouragement and have willingly accepted an invitation to a pity party given in your honor. I have been there plenty of times myself and during these seasons it’s difficult to even fake a smile. Within my past struggles and failures, I am learning that my attitude and outlook about who I am has everything to do with what I believe about myself. For example, if my enemy is laughing and mocking me about my inadequacy, I’m going to struggle with guilt and it will take everything I can do to keep from drowning in a sea of depression. However, if I go to God and ask Him to reveal the reality of the situation, He can open my eyes for me to see that we all make mistakes and I can simply ask Him to forgive me. When we ask God to help us and forgive us, His truth then sets us free from the agony of judgment and criticism and we can more forward in confidence and joy. The light of God’s truth and love releases us from the bondage of deception.

An important factor in discovering why we feel discouraged is to recognize who is speaking to us and what is their intention. Christ did not come to berate us, but rather He gave His life to forgive and redeem us. He wants to bring restoration and encourages us to believe that all things are possible with Him. The dark side is completely the opposite as demonic forces are relentlessly tempting us to give up and curl up in a fetal position. This is the objective of a trash talker. In Revelation 12:10, we find that one of Satan’s titles is, “accuser of the brethren” which is associated with being a prosecutor. However, Satan has no literal authority to condemn, all he can do is incriminate and the best thing we can do is ignore him. In John chapter 8, Christ talks about how he was a murderer from the beginning and there is no truth in him. In verse 44 Jesus declares, “When the devil speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”  

Words good and bad are like seeds and we are required to take extreme caution with not only what we say but what we listen to and allow to take root in our conscience. Let us remember the enemy of our soul has literally come to steal, kill, and destroy and is most effective when he whispers his poisonous allegations. Satan will not only target us physically, but is also focused on our conscience which is directly related to our spiritual well being. If we take the bait and allow his lies to become an infection within our thinking, we are spiritually ensnared and defeated. When we realize that we are in a spiritual war and the battle is being fought within our mind, we can clearly see the vision of who we are in Christ depends on us filtering out the evil oppression and accepting the responsibility to only listen to God’s infinite truth. We can study God’s word and ask Him for stronger spiritual discernment as we are called to put on our spiritual armor and become a wise soldier for His glory. It is said, the best offense is a good defense, and we are reminded in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com

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Making Grammar Fun Again – A Book Review


Reba Campbell

Posted February 10, 2021

By Reba Campbell

“Woe is I” by Patricia T. O’Connor

Woe is I. She is going with Margaret and I. Which one is grammatically correct? The first one might sound wrong to the ear but is actually correct. The second one might sound right but isn’t.
Did you have to stop and think about this? You’re not alone.

In her national bestseller, “Woe is I,” author Patricia T. O’Connor spends 250ish easy-to-read pages tackling these and many other ticklish grammatical issues. I recently spent a rainy Saturday browsing through my collection of books about writing looking for something to re-read. This one was just too good to pass up.

Using humor, puns and clever “turns of words,” O’Connor makes even the most dedicated grammar-phobe discover topics like commas and capitalization, plurals and participles can be interesting and, yes – even fun – to read about.

The best line in the book’s introduction says “Most of us don’t know a gerund from a gerbil and don’t care, but we’d like to speak and write as though we did.” Without technical jargon or mumbo jumbo about subjunctive mood or transitive verbs, O’Connor uses clever puns and fun examples to help a reader remember simple rules that might have fallen by the wayside over the years.

One of the best chapters of the book reminds readers that writing is all about the reader, not the writer. She notes that a revered tradition dating back to Greek orators teaches if you don’t know what you’re talking about, “ratchet up the level of difficulty and no one else will ever know.” A good writer, on the other hand, can express ideas clearly and concisely without engaging the reader in a mental workout.

In this easy read, O’Connor takes on common errors in spelling, usage and punctuation. An entire chapter is devoted to ridding writing of overused clichés (although she admits some clichés can be used sparingly in the right context). New to this second edition I recently re-read is a chapter about email communication and electronic communication etiquette.

While some strict grammarians would beg to differ in her approach, O’Connor also takes on some rules she says should no longer see the light of day. Tricky issues such as split infinitives, double negatives and starting a sentence with “but” would all be laid to rest if O’Connor had her way.

As she notes, “Sometimes an ancient prohibition becomes outdated, or it may turn out that a musty convention was never really a rule at all.” Just beware that some strict editors – and picky readers – might not find is so easy to lay aside some of these rules, so tread lightly when invoking O’Connor’s “tombstone” list of outdated rules.

After re-reading this book in a week-end, I was curious about whether my second edition had been updated. Thanks to a quick Google search, I learned it has now been released in a fourth edition. Can’t wait to dive into O’Connor’s take on lots of 21st century conundrums such as the use of “they” and “their” in place of “he/she” and “him/her.” These are the things that keep a word nerd up at night!

So grammar and punctuation fun? In this book, the answer is yes. Who’d have thunk?

Reba Hull Campbell started her career working on Capitol Hill in 1983. After 35 years working in politics, communications, government and non-profits, she retired in 2019 and is currently teaching, consulting and writing. Read her other work at Random Connect Points.

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Stuart Neiman Cartoon: Cartoon Headline

Posted February 10, 2021

By Stuart Neiman

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A Natural Motown Mystery-Miracle


Tom Poland

Posted February 10, 2021

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer
www.tompoland.net
tompol@earthlink.net

If you think this story is about Berry Gordy’s 1960’s record label that gave us “Baby Love,” “My Girl,” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” you’re wrong. It’s about the wheeled products Motor City has long shipped to the land of kudzu, magnolias, and mint juleps, which by the way I’ve never had.

“Last night I went to sleep in Detroit City?” Remember that line from Bobby Bare’s 1964 country music song about making cars, “I Wanna Go Home?” Well, MoTown’s cars and trucks sleep down South, and some will never go home. Wherever I go, I see old trucks and cars discarded, abandoned, forgotten, and in one way or another relegated to a lifetime of immobility, rust, and dry-rotting tires.

A patch of grass beneath a tree? A shed fallen into disuse? Well, those places offer assisted death centers to what was once someone’s pride and joy. Thos old drivers are gone now, and somewhere they creep along a back road in the sky. So, who’s left to speak for their old trucks and cars? I am. I love these once-upon-a-time essential conveyances that rust beneath sheds and barns. They rust in fields and front yards. They rust in weedy parking lots and no one seems to take interest in them. No one restores them, fixes them, as we say down here, or bothers to take them to the junkyard for scrap. They’re banished to the Old Vehicle Rust Home.

And so they reign as landmarks and curiosities for those who find them mysteriously beautiful, like a woman with a slight scar on her cheek, a flaw accentuating her beauty. You just don’t get a mysterious feeling when you see a new truck sitting beneath a shed. It still has life. But, and this is pivotal, just how long can an old car or truck sit without someone towing it away? Long enough for a tree to grow through it?

The answer sits before you. I find this old truck and its oak engine miraculous. An acorn ended up beneath the engine compartment. Somehow it germinated, and somehow enough sunlight made it through the metal carnage left from a ripped-out engine to make it grow. Rains fell into the hood-absent opening and water dripped down sheet metal and more so the little oak could drink a bit.

We don’t see many miracles in life yet one of life’s small miracles sits before you. One day a sapling dared peek over radiator and fenders, sufficient cause for some do-gooder to cut it away. But that didn’t happen. Something else did. The tree became a sensation, protected by someone who just wanted to see how long a tree could reach for the sky through Motown metal.

But other mysteries exist. Did someone drive the truck over a fledgling oak and shut her down for good and later sell the engine? Or did a squirrel bury the acorn beneath the truck, sensing a place safe from rival members of the acorn-eating tribe? I’ll never know, but I know this much. Today’s trucks and cars seem ill suited for life beneath a shed, and, besides, fewer sheds stand as we leave small farms in the dust.

Your truck, your car, your pride and joy? When its days are done, I’ll wager it ends up crushed, shredded, and recycled. All that sounds efficient but it sure isn’t picturesque, and sure as the rising sun it won’t provide space for a one-tree arboretum like you see here.

Mysteries and miracles, some come together in the strangest ways, and we are all the richer for it.


Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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Living on Purpose: Then sings my soul


Dr. William Holland

Posted February 8, 2021

By Dr. William Holland

I remember as a young boy, sitting in the living room with my parents and occasionally when my grandparents would visit, we would all listen to a Billy Graham crusade on television. It was common to see my grandmother wiping her eyes with a Kleenex during the message when Cliff Barrows would lead the choir, but I also noticed how everything became quiet when George Beverly Shea would step up to the podium and begin to sing. His vocal style, was characterized by a resonant bass-baritone, and contained such a sincere and humble delivery that conveyed his passionate conviction. He did not consider himself an entertainer or a showman, but rather simply wanted to tell the world about the love of Jesus and His  salvation. When asked about his faith and service for God, he would always point toward Heaven and say, “I do it for Jesus, it’s all for His glory.”

One of eight children, his father was a Methodist minister and he sang in the church choir. In the late 1930s Mr. Shea moved to Chicago to join the radio station of the Moody Bible Institute, as a staff announcer and singer. One day in 1943 a young man knocked on the studio door. The visitor was a Wheaton College student named William Franklin Graham Jr., who had stopped by to tell him how much he loved his singing. Before long Mr. Graham, who had become a minister in Western Springs, Illinois, had recruited Mr. Shea to sing on his own religious radio program, “Songs in the Night.” From 1944 to the early 1950’s. In 1947 Mr. Shea joined the Graham team and remained until his death in 2013. When they joined forces, Mr. Shea was already a nationally known voice in Christian music, while Mr. Graham was still gaining in popularity. Their early revival meetings were often advertised with George Beverly Shea singing as the headline and Billy Graham preaching in smaller print. It is estimated that throughout his ministry, Mr. Shea sang to over 200 million as the powerful revival meetings would fill stadiums and was televised around the world. He would often laugh and say that Billy would not allow him to retire as the Bible says nothing about retiring from the Lord’s work.

As the Billy Graham crusades were so popular and still watched today, and with singing on radio programs such as “The Hour of Decision” George Shea was perhaps at one time the most widely heard gospel artist in the world. He was a recording artist with RCA and WORD and has recorded approximately 500 vocal solos on more than 70 albums. including, “In Times Like These” (1962), “Every Time I Feel The Spirit” (1972), and “The Old Rugged Cross” (1978). In 1966 he won the Grammy Award for best religious recording for the album, “Southland Favorites” with the Anita Kerr singers. He was the author of several books, including the memoir “How Sweet the Sound” (2004) and the recipient of numerous awards such as being a member of the Nashville Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2011. On a more intimate scale he sang at the prayer breakfasts of a series of United States presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George Bush Sr.

Of the hundreds of hymns he sang, Mr. Shea was most closely identified with “How Great Thou Art”

that became the signature anthem of his ministry. In 1957, at a crusade in New York City, Mr. Shea, by popular demand, sang it on 108 consecutive nights. Other songs for which he was known include, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” for which he composed the music, and “The Wonder of it All” to which he wrote the lyrics and music. While having a conversation with a passenger on his way to Scotland to join Graham, Mr. Shea was asked to describe what these revival crusades were like and he replied, “I found myself at a loss for words, and finally said, if you could only see the wonder of it all.” Later that evening in his room Shea wrote the song. He often declared the crowds did not come to hear him, they came to hear Billy Graham and that his favorite part of a crusade was watching the waves of people stream forward during the altar call. Shea is quoted as saying, “The truth is, no man can ever find true peace or happiness apart from Jesus Christ.”

Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.

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The Stoves Of My Life


Tom Poland

Posted February 3, 2021

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer
www.tompoland.net
tompol@earthlink.net

Early on, my grandmothers cooked on wood-burning stoves and, later, electric ranges. Cooking with electricity. That must have seemed a marvel to them. I never, however, saw them use a kerosene oil stove. In fact, I never heard of a kerosene stove until I stumbled across the rusty remains of this old New Perfection No. 34 four-burner top. It seemed too flimsy to be a wood stove, still something inside said, “That has to be the remains of an old stove.”

And it was. Royce Grizzard of McCormick confirmed it was indeed an old kerosene oil stove. My first thought was “sounds dangerous,” and my second thought was “must have tainted the food.” I have an old kerosene lamp my daughter, Becky, gave me, and when it burns you can smell it from afar. But many a home used a New Perfection Kerosene Stove.

In the 1870s, farm kitchens used kerosene stoves as households shifted from wood or coal to oil fuel. Now it seems folks would have used them solely on screen porches or outside, but the literature says they were used inside as well. Along comes an enterprising fellow, Frank Drury who approached Henry Parsons Crowell about building and selling a “lamp stove.” A patent resulted and the Cleveland Foundry Company began building and selling the New Perfection Stove in 1888.

Around 1922, more than one had made its way down South. At the time, Americans were using over 3,000,000 Perfection kitchen stoves and ranges. Some marketing helped. “If your husband can afford a riding plow, you can afford an oil stove.”

Well, maybe not. Wood I saw, kerosene, I didn’t. My maternal grandmom cooked on a wood stove when I was a boy. My memories fade but seems it had metal plates you could remove with a detachable handle. I recall, too, her handsome, heavy cast iron black skillets. I have several of Mom’s skillets and a cast iron cornbread pan. Treasures all, they’re every bit as effective today as they were in the old days.

Seeing the remnant of that vintage kerosene stove set me to thinking and I took inventory of the stoves of my life. Mom first had an antique white stove with those coiled burners that sooner or later would warp and sit cockeyed. When she turned one on it would go from a dull gray to a cherry-red glow. Later she and dad bought one of those stoves that fit in an island, stainless steel it was, but its burners were also coils. They placed burner covers with sunflowers over them.

When I bought my house it had an electric stove. As I moved pots around, I’d discover a burner wasn’t heating at all. The contacts were loose. So, I bought a glass-top four burner Maytag. Works great but you’ve got to keep the glass spic and span.

My memory fails me yet again. For the life of me, I cannot remember what my maternal grandmother cooked on her wood stove, but I remember this. It seemed primitive, like I had gone back to the 1800s or farther back to pioneer days. It was hot but standing near it on a winter day felt wonderful. From what I’ve heard, managing the temperature of a wood stove took skill.

Folks thought they had it pretty good when kerosene stoves came along. Just imagine what they’d thought about microwaves. Now turn your imagination to high and wonder what our descendants will cook on in 2122, if there’s such a thing as 2122 or cooking. Seems George Jetson’s wife, Jane, that perky redhead, used a Dial-A-Meal that popped out a meal-in-a-pill. Maybe that’s where we’re headed. Fine. All y’all future connoisseurs have at it. I’m fine with my gas grill and Maytag glass-top, but know this: wood’s as good as ever. Sure, pit-cooked barbecue is old-fashioned, but its aroma and taste are just a tad shy of culinary heaven.


Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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