Tuesday, August 24, 2010

She Knows!

Fang gets such a big kick out of asking the grands questions and waiting for the answers. He recently asked our Dickerson grandson: Where was Moses when the lights went out? It took him a minute or two, but he gave the answer. A week later when he and his sister were in the back room bouncing on the bed while Paw Paw watched, the boy asked his little sister: Where was Moses when the lights went out? Paw Paw pointed out that she might not KNOW who Moses was. Looking at Paw Paw with one of those subtle but pointed smiles the grand said: She knows who Moses is.

That started a discussion between Fang and me about how many kids actually know who Moses is, but it was time to go to sleep, so we left that discussion for another day and just chuckled over the kids and some of the things that they have said that tickle us. For instance, about this time last year the little girl had finished her first day of kindergarten. Her mother told her that she needed to go into her room and choose the clothes she would be wearing the next day. The child's astonished question was: You mean I have to go back?

Having read some of the news today, I was encouraged to know that the trapped miners in Chile can see some hope of leaving that mine alive. These men need all the help that the nation and world can provide to free them from a certain and slow death in the depths of blackness. One of the first things they asked for was toothbrushes. One can only imagine what weeks without a toothbrush could do. But one thing sent down to them other than food was 33 extra strong mag lights so that each man could see what was around him. Being without sufficient food is one thing, but being deep in darkness could certainly send a person over the bend in a hurry.

Now, I have a point to mentioning those miners. They were making their living down in the bowels of the earth, and that was probably the only employment available to them or they would not have been in such an unsafe place. Still, they had a choice about leaving the sunlight and becoming restricted to a dark place. Some women in this world do not have the luxury of that choice. They are no more than slaves or chattel of little value, and their darkness is the burka or burqa, that all encompassing garment that becomes a walking tent when a woman must wear it.

In some countries--Israel and France--wearing the burka has been totally discouraged or outlawed. The French refuse to allow anyone to use public transportation who is wearing a burka--probably because either a man or woman would be unrecognizable and could easily conceal explosives or firearms under the garment. Only the ultra orthodox in the Jewish community would have their women wear the burka, and the rabbis in Israel discourage such a restriction on women and consider its use a type of sexual deviancy.

Other countries refuse to allow the garments to be worn in any school or university, but some countries have just slowly begun the elimination of the garments, including parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The problem with a burka is as symbolic as it is a reality. If a woman has no identity, she has no meaning as a person. This same attitude prevailed in America for centuries concerning the black people and the American Indians. Unseen as individuals, these people had no rights or value to those who "conquered" this land. What was stolen from them included more than land or liberty, but their very identities. How can one have hope in life if one has no name, no place, no value?

Women have not always been appreciated in America--lacking the right to vote or even own property for many years. But men in the United States had something to guide them that had nothing to do with hiding their women in tents or behind veils. Just as our grandson said, they knew who Moses was.

Monday, August 16, 2010

August in Texas

Somehow all the miserable critters that live in Texas manage to hide out under rocks or near a cooler spot during August. About the only plant that does well in this heat has to be the stinging nettle--otherwise known as bull nettle. If the reaction to bull nettle could ever be bottled, the army would have a biological weapon worth billions. Anyone hit by bull nettle would spend at least most of every day scratching and being too miserable to be dangerous. Maybe if it were used as a weapon, bull nettle would also find its way into medicine to offset some of the reactions in the human body to things like arthritis, Crohn's disease, Lupus, and such. After all, nothing causes such a reaction in the immune system the way the chemicals in bull nettles do.

Our month of August calls for all the crazy folks to come out in droves to try to ride their bicycles in the Wichita Falls Hotter N Hell One Hundred bike race. Exercise is wonderful--just like work, but I could watch folks work a lot easier than I could watch thousands of bicycles rolling around with those sweating riders huffing and puffing and just asking for heat stroke. Any time the temperature gets over 100 degrees, it is time to slow down and drink something while sitting in the shade--NOT ride hell bent for leather in the sun!

August is also a good month for salads and sandwiches and easy no-cook food. Or if our bellies just have to have hot food, it is a good month for grilling stuff outside in the shade. This weekend we had corn-on-the-cob grilled by our oldest son. The sliced roast made decent little steaks that cooked quickly, but the grandson informed me that the meat was a bit salty. I used lots of tenderizer and some seasoned salt, so I guess that was more than he liked. Just wait until he starts cooking!

Having the oldest son and his two children here for the weekend was just pure pleasure. Lance handled a couple of tasks that needed to be done and that the "old folks" found a bit daunting. But mostly, we just enjoyed having our family here for the visit. Fang truly gets a kick out of those kids and watching cartoons has become his second best activity. And of course, Harley B just thinks that the kids are here for his enjoyment. Every time one of them would put down a water bottle, he would look at it, look at us to ask permission, and then take off with the water bottle. It is beyond me why a water bottle is such good fun for a dog.

While the kids were here, we filled up the pool about half way and they splashed everyone and everything in sight. The dog did not offer to swim with them this time, however. He had his bath the day before they got here, so maybe he thought enough was enough. Besides, it was too hot to even enjoy the pool.

Mother always said enjoy the time you have and don't wish your life away, but doggone if I don't wish that August heat would go away much sooner than it will. Looking forward to a bit of chill in the air....