The Paw Paw River Journal
Owning our mistakes If some guy ever tells you he never made a mistake, either he’s lying or he’s a fool. We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. And it’s never very easy to admit what we’ve done wrong, even to ourselves! We seem to have an infinite capacity for deceiving ourselves… just easier that way. But our whole philosophy is based on the idea that there are absolute truths, unbending forever ideas… shining examples. And we know they are there even if we fall short of sticking to them. Our present civilization got that from the ancient Greeks. Way back before Christ (B.C.)… several hundred years in fact, there lived a great thinker. His name was Plato. He had a teacher, or perhaps he invented him, named Socrates. Plato wrote a lot about Socrates’ ideas (or perhaps his disguised). This was in the city state of Athens, located in Greece. On his ideas down through the ages we have come to base our whole system of what is right and wrong, how to live our lives. For instance, Plato says we know what is right because somewhere there are absolute truths. We know what a chair should look like… Four legs, seat, back… because somewhere there exists the perfect chair. It is real, and because it is real we know what it should look like. So it is with ideas. Somewhere the perfect Truth lies, and we know when what we say and do falls short of what should be. In opposition to Plato’s philosophy a group called the Sophists taught a different way all together. They were teachers and lawyers, and their aim was to show students not what was right and wrong, but how to win arguments and make money! Sound familiar? Sure, same old song today. The Sophists said that truth begins and ends with the individual and how he feels. Boy, oh, boy, does that sound familiar? So many people now feel they are the center of the universe. How did we get this way? I don’t know… At one time God and the family were the center. No longer. Is anyone steering the boat? Is anyone driving this car full of people? I don’t think God left us, I think we left God. But that’s a story for another time. Perhaps the Sophists made more of an impression on civilization for all time then we realize. We have a lot of that philosophy around now. In fact, I worried about sometime (in my own teaching) falling into that trap. I tried to teach my students there are absolute truths and show them by example. Now I don’t want to sound like a goody-two shoes… Remember, I said nobody’s perfect! If I could use a personal example, I know I’m a better person for my association with the woman in my life for all these years now. She has always chosen for us a better way, a more humane way to live our lives. I know where it came from… It came from her mom, Minnie Kling. Oh, I learned a lot from her dad too. And my folks taught me the difference between right and wrong at an early age. Around the corner and down the road from their farm lived in elderly lady, Grandma Taylor, she was a friendly old body and had been alone for many years. Mom Kling said one day to Marion and her sister, Dolores, when they were little girls, “Grandma Taylor just loves to make elderberry jam… Why don’t you go out and pick a pan full from the wild bush and take them down to her.” The girls did, and Marion remembers how tickled that elderly lady was. She had them sit at the big dining room table and gave them each a sugar cookie with a raisin in the center. Marion has never forgotten it. Well, that was Mom Kling’s style. And it has survived with the way Marion wants us to live our lives. Not a bad thing, and as I said, her influence has made me better than I might have been otherwise. When I was younger I was not quite so introspective. Somehow from this end of the line things look different. When I look back on life, I can remember vividly things that happened… And I think to myself, I wish I had known more then. But as the Persian poet Omar Khayyam said, “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on. Nor all your piety nor all your wit can lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.” So, Sports Fans, what is already written in the great book of life is there for all time. If we could only remember that when we’re young, we might not make some of the mistakes that all of us have made. There is another factor now… People are posting things that go into that great cloud forever. Some young people have put things online that will embarrass them horribly… how about later on when they apply for a job? “Experience keeps a dear (expensive) school, but fools will learn in no other and scarcely in that.” How much of a fool are we being as we weave more threads into the golden tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River?
Watervliet District Library News Book a Social Work Intern! Starting Oct. 1, thanks to an LSTA grant through the Niles Library, the Watervliet Library will have a shared intern. The intern can help library patrons with questions or problems they may have with on-line applications, unemployment or housing. Children’s Programs Oct. – Apr. Sensory Bin Blast on the second Tuesday every month, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. for 0 to 5 year-olds and families. Story Hours on Wednesdays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. and Thursdays 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Picture books, crafts and fun designed to inspire the love of reading for ages 3 – 5. Make-it Monday: Oct. 8, 4-5 p.m. Hands-on craft projects and games for K thru 6th graders second Monday of every month. Oct 8 – Candy Corn Catapult Lego Club: Oct 2, 4-5 p.m. Held on the first Tuesday of the month. Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesday 6 – 6:30 p.m. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.
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, October 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. This is a multimedia presentation with over 150 photos, and examines Twain’s personal diary that provides interesting comments about the St. Clair Flats and sites along the way to Mackinac Island and other parts of Michigan. 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. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma Library activity.