The Paw Paw River Journal
Bending the rule In our life together the Chief Accountant and I have made a rule never to talk (argue) politics or religion when we are visiting with friends or family. That pact has served us well over the years. A few times it has raised my pressure within to the point I was afraid people would see steam coming out of my ears. So today if I bend one of those rules, please forgive me. I’d like to tell a little story and then discuss something with you. In the early days of World War II a troopship sailed from the U.S. for Europe with 900 GIs aboard and four chaplains. They were torpedoed in the North Atlantic by a German submarine and started to sink. The four chaplains helped troops into the lifeboats and handed out life preservers. When they ran out of preservers, the chaplains gave their own to GIs who had none. The last anyone saw of them they had linked arms and were going down with the ship as they prayed. Now that’s what I call faith and a dedication to serving humanity. Where are they now? I’m sure they are wherever the righteous go at the end of their life. And I’d like to use that little story in the foundation of what I want to talk about. We all have to believe in something beyond ourselves. Just recently I have been discussing Plato’s idea about there being an ideal, somewhere there is perfection. We know it. And we can be better… striving to approach it. So a worthwhile goal as we live our lives and rear our children is to help them be more than they would be otherwise. Whatever your religious beliefs, you should help your children have a foundation in that. They may not want to continue as you have… but at least they have something to build on. There are all different ways from very conservative to ultraliberal. Friend of mine in Grand Rapids spent his childhood in a most conservative church setting. I asked him how conservative it was he replied, “My family was so conservative they were against sex because they were afraid it would lead to dancing!” Some young friends of ours, realizing the need for their two small children to have a foundation, but being of a very liberal outlook, finally found a Unitarian church that seem to fit their needs. Eldest daughter Deb, when I told her about it said, “I could go them one better… over near Detroit we have a church that is so liberal they don’t have 10 Commandments, they have 10 suggestions!” In our own family we knew that our children would go their own way eventually. But we wanted them to have that foundation. So we took them to church… just as our parents had taken us to church until we were older and could make our own decisions. Whatever we instill in children has to be by example. Now goodness knows I am not touting our beliefs and practices for the whole world to follow. But I believe there are a few simple rules that will help. The Chief Accountant and I have always tried to sit down and eat together. And at the beginning we thank God for the food we have on our table. We have a mealtime, and we talk together… not airing grievances, or complaints. We are visiting and everyone gets a chance to talk. About what? Our adventures of the day, where we’ve been, what we’ve seen. I can remember when our kids were in school, daughter Becky brought home a friend to have dinner with us. She commented that it was so different to give thanks before we ate. She said in their house they had gotten rid of the dining room table, converting it for playing table tennis. They had a breakfast bar with stools. Whenever they ate, they got a plate full of food and just sat wherever. Over the years we have made investments, some good some bad. One time when I was having a suit fitted, the tailor remarked as he measured to take in the pants, “You don’t have very much behind there.” “No,” I said, “I lost it all in the market.” But there is one thing… the best investment we have ever made has been in our children. Admittedly we did a lot for them when they were small. We never felt they were a burden. Now that is all coming back to us when we really need it. And a special bonus is all the memories we have of our good times… vacations, parties… the fun! So, guess I bent the rule a little. I have been talking about Faith… the necessity for a belief in something beyond us. If we think there is no such thing, the rules go out the window and eventually chaos. Well, does that sound like any place we know? Is it hard to follow the rules? You bet! And people now seem to have less tolerance for waiting. We want it all! We want it right now! And our whole culture promotes that idea! I believe we need more of what those four chaplains had that I mentioned at the beginning. We know what’s right. We know what will weave more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives as we live them in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River. We just have to do it!
Coloma Library news When Mark Twain Came to Michigan The Coloma Public Library is pleased to be hosting the award winning father/son team Al and Dave Eicher, on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m. The Eichers have produced 25 television documentaries on Michigan town histories and events. They will be presenting the program “When Mark Twain Came to Michigan” which focuses on the colorful period in Samuel Clemons life when he took the name, Mark Twain and visited Michigan during his World Tour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land” by Monica Hesse. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, song and craft time. Story hour is geared towards older toddlers and preschool-aged children. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up for this free program.
Hartford Library News On Wednesday, Sept. 26 the Hartford Public Library is having “Star Wars Reads Day” from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Drop in anytime during this event for Star Wars Wii games, crafts and prizes. No registration required and the program is free. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, the library is having taco day from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Children participating will receive a free Spanish/English book. Check-out their Spanish/English children’s book section in the library. The library wishes to thank the Van Buren Great Start program for their donation of Spanish/English children’s books.
Watervliet District Library News September is Banned Books Awareness Month and Library Card Sign-Up Month. Teen Table Projects: September Do-it-yourself Distraction Jar; pick out an activity and avoid whatever you like! 3-D Printing: Sep. 20, 6:30 p.m. Philip Coulson presents an informal program featuring his printer, creations and expertise with this exciting technology. Bring your questions & curiosity and discover how it’s done! Pinteresting: Sep. 24, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Arts & crafts for grown-ups held the last Monday of the month. Sign-up required: Burlap & twine pumpkins. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m., Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m., Chair Yoga Wednesday 6 – 6:30 p.m.