The Paw Paw River Journal
The pet cat theory When I was a kid in small town Hartford just about everybody had pets… a family dog and also a cat. These animal companions were not just for decoration. They had a function: the dog was supposed to guard the premises, and the cat was there to catch mice and other rodents that might try to sneak in. If they knew their jobs and did them right, they were valuable members of the family. Now I do not wish to alienate any cat lovers, but I could always relate better to our dog than I could the cats that my mom loved to have around. One time we had a mama cat that deserted her family… two little kittens too young to survive on their own. My mom got two little doll baby bottles and taught those kittens to drink from them. It was a sight to see them lolling about, holding those bottles in their paws and drinking their dinner. But I was much more in tune with the family dog named “Pooch.” He was friendly, mild-mannered, and I even took him to school one day for ‘show and tell’ when I was in the second grade. Pooch sat under my desk, asking only for a friendly pat on the head once in a while. But we never got to our turn. All of a sudden the fire alarm bell rang, and everybody got up to head for the exits. Pooch was so alarmed he headed for the open window (we were on the ground floor), jumped through it, landed running; and I watched helplessly as he streaked for home. Now as to my theory, I believe in our society today in many cases young children are not getting the parenting they need. I don’t mean everybody, but all too often I see families with little kids who are just there. Nobody pays much attention to them… they’re like a pet cat, nice to have around, but also kind of a nuisance. Children interfere with their parents’ lives. They will be no better than the training they get. And they will grow up to make decisions, and in a sense run our world. Just recently here at our place of residence we had a family picnic. Plentiful food and marvelous! Son Rob came for the occasion, went through the line, and got our plates. As we sat dining sumptuously, I noticed the family across from us and down a ways. On the end was the grandma, next to her the mother, next to her the daughter, and closest to us, the little boy. I could see he was the great-grandson, and he was acting out. Four generations all happily stuffing themselves except for the little kid… he didn’t want to be down on the end by himself and was sulking. Evidently his mom (the daughter) told him if he didn’t eat his hamburger he would get no dessert. He crammed his mouth full, put the remaining burger on his plate and smashed it with his fist! About that time I would have snatched him up by his heels! His mother and grandmother just went on addressing their full plates. About two tables down, another family… grandma, her daughter, a little boy and girl, and the daughter’s husband. The guy was busy getting their food arranged and helping the kids eat. They were all talking together, laughing, and just having a good time. Those two little kids were obviously enjoying themselves. They were talking with each other and to the adults. No stress… just the way a picnic should be. Now I have a little story I’d like to add here. Some friends of ours wintered in Florida right where one of the major league baseball teams does their spring training. This friend (God rest his soul) told us stories about them. He became good friends with the manager and many of the players. The manager told him the following story: he and his wife had three daughters, all married, but no grandchildren! They invited all three couples over for dinner. Before the blessing he made this little speech… “Mother and I miss the patter of little feet around the house. We want to have some grandchildren, but there are none so far. Now we are prepared to offer the first couple that has a child several thousand dollars.” Then the manager said, “Now let’s ask a blessing.” He ducked his head down, said the prayer thanking God for the bountiful food. He said when he looked up again all three couples were gone from the table!!!! Now I submit the following… these are the couples who should be having children, and I hope by this time they have. It may be just curmudgeonly old age, but I believe there is more of the first example than in former times. And I don’t know what to do about it… realizing, of course, by voicing my concerns in this column I am preaching to the choir. There have been times we all came together as a nation and got the job done. We did a magnificent job in World War II. Not so many are left to remember that, but we all won that war… the guys and gals in service, the women working in war plants, even little kids saving scrap metal. And on a smaller scale we did it again after 9-11. I thought at that time maybe we had gotten our groove back. But I’m not so sure it lasted. We will either survive as a nation, or will go down in history as a grand experiment that lasted some 200-plus years. The way people are trying to rip the fabric of our country apart, I’m not so sure anymore. I love this country that is so large… so varied in outlook. We have woven so many golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns… How could we give that up? I hope we never have to.
Watervliet District Library News September is: Banned Books Awareness Month. The library invites everyone to pick up Banned Books bling & celebrate the freedom to read with bookmarks, buttons & books! Sign up for a card or update an existing one and create a miniature paper doll to place in the We’re All Readers display. Teen Table Projects: September Do-it-yourself Distraction Jar; pick out an activity and avoid whatever you like! Make-it-Monday Second Monday of every month – monthly K-6th graders & families – hands-on craft projects & games: September 10, 4-5 p.m. – Fall Foosball. Barn Quilts: Sep. 13, 6 – 8 p.m. Make your own Barn Quilt, all materials are provided; painted boards are weatherized and framed, available for pick up 2 – 3 weeks later at the library. Fee is $35/person, sign-up is required. In Stitches Knitting Group Sep. 14, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Second Friday of every month; limited supplies are available for beginners, too! Third Monday Book Club Sep. 17, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk: Sep. – “The Recipe Box” by Viola Shipman. Call 463-6382 for questions on any Watervliet library activity.
Coloma Library News Labor Day Closings The library will be closed on Saturday, September 1 and Monday, September 3 in observance of Labor Day. The library will re-open on Tuesday, September 4. Have a great holiday! 101 Things Happened on the Mackinac Bridge On Wednesday, Sep. 11 at 6:30 p.m. the library is pleased to host Michigan Notable Author, Mike Fornes for an entertaining, and informative presentation about Michigan’s iconic five-mile span that has seen historic, tragic, and hilarious events. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, September 6 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.