It has been a common theme over the years to write about how blessed we are to be living right now, and, frankly, to be living in the United States of America. How blessed we are to have what we have, and what freedoms we possess.
And, as always, and I’ll do it here at the first … be grateful for the brave men and women serving our Country now-and those who have served in the past-all around the globe … and, let’s not forget our dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ who are suffering incredible persecution all around that same globe … so many suffering at the hands of their own countrymen …
I was at the Post Office a couple of days ago. When I pulled into the parking lot of our local Post Office, I was so glad there were no cars in the lot … this was my second trip to mail the same package … earlier, I had waited in line while the customer in front of me “took forever” to buy postage for a small package. I waited while the Postal clerk gave them all the options, including all potential rates and times for delivery, insurance, etc. It never fails … I always get in line behind someone who either has never been to the Post Office before, or spends 15 minutes explaining what is inside the package, who it is going to, etc. We’ll all been there. Then, it appears they have never used a debit card before … it never fails, and always when I am in a hurry … Anyway, when it finally got to be my turn, the Postal clerk, who was very friendly and knowledgeable, smilingly said that, no problem … the package would be coming right back to me … In my haste to leave the house … to get to the Post Office … to “beat the rush,” I had typed in my own zip code on the label … when he tried to find the correct zip code for this town in northwest Georgia, he couldn’t find that, either. I had mis-spelled the road address … so, I was trying to mail a package to a location which didn’t exist. As I listened to the heavy sighs from the customer in line behind me … I politely, but curtly, grabbed the package, with a promise to return …
So here I am back at the Post Office. Almost celebrating that there were no other cars in the parking lot … someone pulled in a couple of spaces over … an older gentleman. Oh boy, I thought … I’ve got to beat him in there!!! I could just picture myself in line behind him … probably didn’t have the right zip code on the envelope, probably didn’t even have the right address … and for sure had nothing better to do than give his life story to the Postal clerk. I really considered trying to break the record for a quick dash to the door … I just couldn’t let him beat me in there!!! Well … being polite took over, and when we both opened our vehicle doors at just about the same time … well, I just couldn’t take the chance of knocking him over on the way to the door. I’d probably even have to get the door for him if I did hurry!!! And, since this is the Post Office, there was another door inside which leads to the lobby … Probably have to open that for him, too!
So, I just slowly opened my door, and allowed him the chance to go in first. I tried to walk slowly in, to give him the extra time I thought he would need, then noticed, from the corner of my eye, another car, pulling into the lot. So … I had to quicken the pace, lest someone else take my place in line. I was next, and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way!
How long was I in line? Well … let’s put it this way:
As I walked to the “Stand Here” sign, the older gentleman was still learning all of the options for price and delivery time of his package. And … it turns out … I don’t think he had ever used a debit card before …
The conversation continued. It may have started out with the weather we were having today, but, somehow, the conversation worked its way back to the 1800’s. Yes, the 1800’s. So, image how long that took. Anyway … on the subject of the 1800’s, the elder gentleman stated something I have heard many, many people say:
“I wish it was the 1800’s.”
There-he said it: “I wish it was the 1800’s.”
The statement just hung there, in mid-air. And, as I have often done when I’ve heard this statement (or one similar) … the wheels started turning, and I thought about how he would really feel if this, were, in fact, “the 1800’s.” And, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.
Without giving a history lesson, and it would really (think about it) depend on what part of “the 1800’s” you would go back to … but, just thinking in general about that statement … how happy would anyone be if they really … really … were immediately transported back to “the 1800’s?” As I waited patiently in line for my opportunity to be next-and beat the guy who had arrived after me-I thought about this gentleman being suddenly thrust back into “the 1800’s.”
Think about it:
How happy would he be? How great would it be to suddenly be back, to have his wish granted, that “I wish it was the 1800’s?”
So I thought about it. The only data I looked up, I just checked online. I simply did a search for:
“What was the average life expectancy of a us citizen in the 1800’s?”
The majority of information was from the mid-1800’s-on. Here is a quote from the website statista.com:
“Over the past 160 years, life expectancy (from birth) in the United States has risen from 39.4 years in 1860, to 78.9 years in 2020.”
I mentioned that this was an elderly gentleman. While I did not catch all of his life story (remember I had given him time before I arrived in line) … the first thing I would say is that, if this was “the 1800’s,” he would not even be here. That may sound cruel, and I don’t wish it to be, but … if this was “the 1800’s,” as he wished …
Then, I thought about other things … things I always think about when I hear someone wish they were in an earlier time period, and I applied it strictly to this gentleman:
First, he was physically at the Post Office.
How did he get here? It was a pretty nice, shiny car. Want to compare transportation?
How about those paved roads?
Does he have a garage?
Did he stop at a gas station?
Which leads me to think about what kind of gas mileage he gets?
Is his car air conditioned?
While there was a United States Postal Service in the 1800’s … would he be happy with the delivery time? The letter he was sending was cross-country, and would arrive in 2-3 days.
By the way … that is “guaranteed.”
I then tried to apply other scenarios, like … how about Social Security? Pensions?
I don’t know what sort of house this gentleman lived in, but would he really be happy if he had awakened in “the 1800’s?”
Chances are, he has an alarm clock … which runs on electricity …
We were in the middle of a heat wave. Yes a heat wave, and, man, it was so cool inside the Post Office. Did he have air conditioning? He certainly would not have this in “the 1800’s.”
Which would lead me to think about the upcoming Winter.
Winter in New Hampshire. I don’t even want to think about this year.
How about winter in “the 1800’s?”
Let’s see … just being truthful … upon awaking, in what was probably a comfortable bed, surrounded by electricity … at some point, he must have made a “necessary stop.” What would his flooring have been like in “the 1800’s?” How about carpet? Windows? Insulation? Roofing?
I think of “6 rooms and a bath versus 6 rooms and a path.” Even in Winter. And, at night.
We have a little portable heater in our bathroom. Does he?
Next … he might go to the refrigerator.
What would he do in “the 1800’s?”
I think about just the “milk” issue.
Plus … what is stored inside the refrigerator.
Things like milk, creamer, ketchup, mustard, “Sweet Baby Ray’s,” salad dressing, soft drinks, and the list goes on … including leftovers …
Do we even need to move to the freezer?
Think about that.
Plus … and, a major plus … what about the grocery store?
A lot of things we could mention, and I’ve just kinda “looked around” while I’m writing this, but things like medical advances, medicine in general, and insurance …
We are so blessed. Think about what we have.
And, maybe, what we, at one time, did not have.
It was just at the hardware store, yesterday, that I was in a conversation which included thoughts about today and yesterday. In which I added, “Today is the present. That’s why they call it “a present.”
By the way, this reminds me to thinks about hardware stores on my list of “being grateful for.”
While things are always changing, the anchor of our soul should never change:
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
And, remember, just before that verse, in verse 5:
… be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
P.S. How many times have we heard a lady state, after watching a “western” or a movie set during that time period … after being enthralled by the clothing of the period … that they proclaim, “I wish I was alive back then …”