Category Archives: ROADS SCHOLAR

Stories and experiences as we travel … around town, the nation, and the globe.

I Remember: “Free Air”

Hi Friends:

I remember when every Gas Station had an air hose … sometimes, it was between the gas pumps, and sometimes it was near (or just inside) the “Service Bay.”

Come to think of it … I remember Gas Stations … Real Gas Stations, where they would pump your gas, check your oil, and clean your windshields.
Just thinking about the term “Gas Station” brings back a lot of different “I Remember” categories.

I remember the saying that, “When gas was 25cents a gallon, they’d pump your gas, check your oil, clean your windshield, and you’d always get something free like a dish or a glass, or something free … Then, when gas got to be a dollar a gallon, they did none of this.”

Here’s another:
Yes … I remember … when gas was 1.00.
If you really want to get crazy … I remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon …

I remember when Daddy would stop and get gas, and he would never mention how much gas he wanted, by dollar amount, but by gallons. He’d say, “Give me 5 gallons.”

We don’t have a “Service Station” within driving distance, and, frankly, I don’t even know where the closest “Gas Station” is.

I remember, as time went by, in different towns I’ve lived in, that there was always one “Gas Station” in town. Where you could get gas, get air for your tires, and, they even would have an active Service Bay, with “Mechanic on Duty.” Often, this was where you would take your car to get it repaired, and it was the only place where you trusted the mechanic, because you knew him … maybe, even went to the same Church.

Gradually, one-by-one, these Gas Stations, where they would pump your gas for you, disappeared. Replaced by “Convenience Stores.” For a long while, these “Convenience Stores” offered “Free Air” to go with their gasoline.

I remember when there would be only one place left in town where they would pump your gas for you. Remember always pumping your own gas, even though they would do it for you?
I remember driving up, getting out, raising my hand in greeting, with an “I’ll get it” to let them know you knew how to do it.

I remember when you actually had to learn how to pump your own gas … how to operate a gas pump … when these things were new …
I remember when the “Self-Serve” or “Self-Service” signs were used.

Change happens gradually … even in the gasoline business.
I remember when many Gas Stations offered two distinct sets of gas pumps:
Full Service.
Self-Service.

I can remember, even then, going to the “Full Service” section, and pumping the gas myself.
It never seemed to bother me, then, that the “Full Service” gas cost more. If a gas pump was available, I’d spend an extra 30 cents to not have to wait in line.

I can also remember when ladies, in particular, didn’t like to pump their own gas. So, this helped keep these stations stay in business as long as they did.

I remember the “Mechanic on Duty” signs.
I remember the “Full Service” signs.
I remember when the Gas Station didn’t have coolers, or groceries. Maybe a couple of candy bars and chips, up at the counter (which was always dirty). They would only have a Coke machine, and that was it.

I remember the “hose” that stretched across the parking lot, running across the pumps … that, when you drove over it … it would make a bell ring … to alert the owner that someone was at the pump?
Remember that?

Ok … yes, I even remember, it was always something you had to do, when you were on your bicycle … you would have to, as least once … run over that hose … make that bell ring … maybe … and, of course, I would never do this … of course … but, you would, maybe, run over that hose a second time … or more … whatever it took to make the man come outside to see “who’s there.” The trick was to be gone as fast as you could pedal … before you got screamed at …

Riding your bicycle to “the store” was always a thrill … we would seem so “grown up” … and, we would always get air in our tires. At the very least, we would always stop at the air hose to check our tires.

I guess tires … and cars … have gotten so much better that we don’t need “Service Stations” anymore. I know that there are still “Full Service” stations left, but not as many.

I remember “Re-Treads.”
Just thought I’d throw that in.
I remember “Used Tires.”
I don’t even know if these are available anymore, but there was always that one place in town where you could buy “Used Tires.”

Which would account for, sooner rather than later … needing that “Free Air.”

I remember when Daddy always carried a “Tire Pump” in the trunk of the car.
They were always red.
I remember when all tires had tubes.

I remember when there was this new kind of tire … I didn’t understand it at the time … but, they came out with something called “Tubeless” Tires.

I remember when, along with the tire pump … you always carried a “Tube Repair Kit,” which always included at least one “Tube Patch.” Remember the shape of the can? The “sandpaper-like” top of the can? Remember the glue?

I remember that having “Free Air” was a “selling point” for a gas station or convenience store.
I used to always buy used tires … so … knowing where you could get air for your tires was a necessity.
I never dreamed you would, one day, have to pay for air.
But, then, I never dreamed that, one day, we would buy water.

Anyway, those gas stations and convenience would always have a big sign … like they were so proud of it … the sign, and air, would always be off to the side … I guess to handle the rush of folks waiting to avail themselves of this service … the sign would proudly proclaim:
“FREE AIR.”

If you know me, then you could see this:
I would love to park near the “Free Air” Sign, get out, and then go stand near the “Free Air” sign. I would make an exaggerated, big deal of it. I’d stand there … beside the sign … and, just breathe … in exaggerated motions, arms flailing in and out, chest heaving … your get the idea, and, proudly demonstrate for the passersby (and interested on-lookers), the fact that I was enjoying the “Free Air” that was advertised to be available … at that exact spot.
“Hey … over here … there is free air!!!”

Maybe this had something to do with why they don’t offer “Free Air” anymore.

At least, here in my town … “If you want air … you’ll have to pay for it …”

Here, you have to pay 1.50 for the air … for “Five Minutes of Air.” Seems like just last year, it was only 75 cents. Don’t get me wrong: I am thankful for this air … even if I have to pay for it. If you’ve got a tire going flat … how about the ‘ol slow leak … it’s a real bargain …
This machine even takes a credit card!
Even has a “chip reader!”

I have learned to get my money’s worth by taking the stems off the tire valves before I put the money in.
What a genius idea:
How do they make these machines to run out … while you are in the middle of filling up the fourth tire? It never seems to fail.

Which leads me to a quote I uttered recently, while I was making sure all the tires on my truck were properly inflated. This is a “must-do” after the Winter, when all the tires have been exposed to the cold concrete of the garage, or just being outside in the daytime.

Remember when “Make sure all the tires are properly inflated” was at the top of the list for trip preparation? I guess it still is.

Anyway, I was on my knees, filling up the tires, when a friend of mine, came out of the convenience store where the “Air Machine” is. We talked for a moment, and, from out of the blue, one of “those quotes” just came out.
As he was laughing at me (I’m sure he has an air compressor or air tank) for having to pay for the air … It just came out:

“I remember when the air in this Country used to be free.”

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

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Looking Back at Winter (Through the Rear-View Mirror): Blue Lights and Badge of Blessing

Hi Friends:

We’ll never forget the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We had days, in a row, where the temperature didn’t make it over zero. I mean we had day-time highs of -4. As it always does, when you’re in the middle of these, it just seems like it’s never going to end.

One of those days, when the high temperature was well below zero, and the wind was really whipping … I had a flat tire. Not in the driveway or garage. That would have been too easy. I was on the way home. It was in a 25 mile-an-hour zone, and I felt the tire go flat … that jerking motion of the steering wheel, and then I could hear it. Anyone who has driven with a flat time knows that sound … I was only a half-mile or so away from the Tire Company where I had bought the tires, so I tried to make it. I tried. It didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t going to make it without losing the tire. In no time, the rim was scraping the ice and sand covered pavement. Anyone who has heard that sound has also felt that helpless feeling that the only place you’re going to make it to, is the side of the road. Yet … and you know what I mean … it was -4, the wind was 40 miles an hour, and, well, being stranded on the side of the road just didn’t seem like an option … I had to try to make it to the Tire Company! Even if it meant pulling in on “all rim.”

Well … the tire and rim was making a terrible noise … and, that’s when I saw the Blue Lights in my rear-view mirror. It was our City Police! I wasn’t going to make it to the Tire Company! Never mind what I said!
It turned out to be a great blessing. The Policeman was one of the nicest, kindest men I’ve ever met. For safety reasons, he had pulled me over. Here’s what he did:
In the freezing, freezing cold, he asked me if I had a jack, and we’d try to change the tire. We found the jack. Those of you who have a truck know about the jack. It’s placed underneath the back seat (a club cab) in a compartment. And, you’re right: They must place the jack and accessories in that small compartment … and then build the truck around it. Tight fit! Don’t worry, I wasn’t able to put it back correctly, either! As an old-time, independent do-it-yourselfer, I was ashamed of the fact that I had to look in the Owner’s Manual to even find out where the jack was. Good ’ol AAA! I must have known at one time, when I first read the manual, but that was a while ago, and I’ve got AAA! Anyway, part of the jack handle is used to “uncrank” the spare time from its holding cell, underneath the truck bed. It’s not really a “holding cell,” just chains, to slowly let down the tire, as you twist the jack handle around and around.

At least, that’s how it goes in the manual. As we said, the spare tire isn’t really covered, under there. It’s completely exposed to the elements of rain, ice, snow, salt, and more rain, ice, snow and salt. What condition do you think the chains and pulley were in? I guess … if you kept your truck in a garage … and, only drove it in 100% dry conditions … not even allowing exposure to dew … this idea of putting the spare under there, uncovered, is a good idea. But, that would be the only way that could be a good idea. Needless to say, the spare tire wouldn’t budge. The Policeman tried multiple times (he had some really good gloves) to get it to drop, but it just wouldn’t. At first, we’d go back to the manual, making sure we were doing it correctly, but it wouldn’t budge. The Policeman said it was probably rusted, and would probably have to be “torched” out. Of course, he was right, and, when I did get the truck towed in, they had to use a torch to remove the spare tire. The chains had all rusted out, and the tire was, literally, welded to the underneath of the truck bed.

So, we couldn’t change the tire, and I would have to call AAA to get the truck towed. The Officer gave me a ride home. I got to ride in the front seat! Near the heater! I will never forget this act of kindness from our local Police Department. I thought of the tremendous responsibility Police Officers have. See, this Police Officer, in a way, was like we as Christians are. We represent our faith, and for those who “run into us” along the way, to them, we represent all Christians. This particular Police Officer was not only an example of our local Police, but an example, to me, of all Police Officers. He was so nice, so caring, and so willing to do everything he could to help me. Yes … he was doing his job (a job, by the way, a lot of us are unwilling to do) … by pulling me over, as I was definitely a safety hazard. But, once he stepped out of his Cruiser, he became much more. Much, much more. As, he did much, much more than “his call of duty.” It’s so easy to say he is a credit to his job, his profession, and our city. Well, if it’s so easy to say … why haven’t I written that letter to the Police Chief? It’s long time I did. As the writer of “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” in which I write of so many blessings we enjoy every day, and, so often take for granted … have I just discovered another blessing we so easily take for granted? I know that, on this day, this one Police Officer, in below-zero temperatures and a howling wind, would not leave me stranded … would not leave me “out there alone.” Without hesitation, he asked me where the jack was. Without hesitation, he worked and worked, in that brutal weather, trying to get that spare tire down. Without hesitation, he gave me a ride home, and let me sit up front. Near the heater. Without hesitation, he asked if there was anything else I needed.

The only thing I needed, on that day, at that time, was to thank him.

Which I did, and, am attempting to do now. Again, to me, he exemplified not just our local Policemen, but all Police Officers.

As I think back to that cold, miserable day … Ok, I’ll say it, because it’s true … as I look back, I am reminded of something else I am grateful for … something that I don’t thank God for, enough. It’s something that I heard a Christian Brother say as part of a testimony: “I’m not the man I want to be, or am going to be, but I thank God that I’m not the man I used to be.” That’s powerful, and something else I think we take for granted so many times. I’m so glad, so thankful, that when he pulled me over, “I had nothing to hide.” That, alone, is a great feeling, And, a tremendous blessing. Again, think about that statement just a moment. How God has done a great work in us, to change us. Perhaps never is that more evident than when we are dealing with Police Officers. And … I’ll say it … When they are dealing with us. It’s just different, in such a great way. Again, allow me to let that sink in for a moment. God changes us for our benefit, so our lives will be better. And, ready for this … think about it … it makes their life better, too! Think about that.

How many times have we seen on a television show (or maybe even thought ourselves), the person who gets pulled over says something like, “Why are you bothering me, instead of trying to catch criminals?” Let’s just say that, on this day, I am so glad that this Police Officer was right behind me, stopping me, and, yes, blessing me, instead of … being anywhere else.

Often, when I write, I use the term “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

I’ve battled with whether I should mention the Officer’s name. I’m a private person, and I don’t wish to invade anyone else’s privacy. I believe it’s the right thing to do, in this case, to mention, at least the last name of this “Blessing with a Badge.” A man who reminded me that, just as he represents, to me, all Police Officers, that we as Christians also represent “all of us,” a “Royal Priesthood,” at any given time we deal with others. There is that saying that “we may be the only Jesus someone may see.” If we meet a Police Officer, that, too, in a similar way, may be the only Police Officer we may ever meet, and, we may base our whole opinion of the entire “group” just on that one Police Officer. In one case … shall we say this one “cold” case … I’m ok with that. Here goes:

The Police Officer’s last name, who reminded me of my own walk … his last name was:
Priest.

That cold, miserable day, I was so thankful to have Officer Priest in the Hood.

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

“Double Debit Indebtedness”- Part Two

Hi Friends:

It was this past August, and Carol and I were returning from a trip to Georgia. As we traveled up Highway 93 North, we stopped at the newly remodeled/rebuilt New Hampshire Visitors Center in Hooksett. They did a great job on it, making it a combination of shopping/dining/gas stations and a New Hampshire History Museum. I spent a long time at the exhibits, and wanted to spend more time, but we wanted to get home by dark, as we have to travel through moose country on the last leg of the journey home.

As I stepped off of the curb, into the parking lot, I glanced down at the pavement … yes … always on the lookout for that penny … but, this time, I saw something much more: It was a shiny Bank Debit Card. As I reached down and picked it up (sub-consciously looking around to see if I was noticed), I saw that it was a Business Debit Card. I noted that it looked fairly new, and it was still well within the expiration date. I then took my wallet out, and placed it inside, for safe-keeping.

Here’s the first thought that I had:
I was glad that I was the one who found it.
I was glad that the owner didn’t have to worry about someone using their lost card.
I know full well, as I never carry cash and always use the same type of card for transactions, which, these days, if the amount of the debit is under a set amount, you don’t even have to sign the receipt.
As a “card-carrying” businessman myself, I know full well the possibilities, and the concern which a lost card can bring.

I thought about how long we were at the Welcome Center … I would safely guess that it was the longest period of time we’d ever spent at one of these stops. It seemed to “be arranged” that we would step off that curb at just the exact, right time. It’s hard to imagine someone seeing the card and not picking it up … regardless of motive. It must have “just been dropped” … just before we headed out.

Anyway, I am thankful, as I wrote in Part One, that I was raised to be honest. I remember, as I thought about the “coincidence” of us finding the card, how thankful I was to have been given the opportunity to bless someone we didn’t know, just by being honest.

First thing the next morning, I called the telephone number listed on the back of the card, and explained about finding the card. The Bank was in Massachusetts, and no one had called, yet, about the card being missing. Somehow, that made me more grateful to have found it. If the wrong person had found the card, and it wasn’t noticed to be missing for a while … well, I was glad I found it.

I really didn’t want to give my name or any information; I just wanted to report the card. However, there was something else that moved me to at least give my name and telephone number. I wanted whoever owned the card to know that there are still honest people in the world. You just never know how your actions, even small, may affect someone else in a positive way. I know that regardless of how I am treated by someone, or I see people who act in a negative way, how much it blesses me to see someone who was “raised right.” It encourages me to “keep on keeping on.”
So, I gave my contact information, and explained to the man at the Bank why.

Later that day, when I came back in the house from Summer chores, there was a message on the answering machine. I recognized the name from the name on the Card. He left his telephone number. Again … I thought about not calling … I really didn’t want to. It was no big deal to me, it was just something you do. Period. But, I got that same feeling about someone else knowing that there are still honest people in the world … so I called.

What are the chances? The man’s Bank was headquartered in Massachusetts, but he lived in New Hampshire. He had been traveling to spend some time with his son in college. Somehow, he noticed something about me, just from the way I talked: That I was a Christian. Then, he confirmed that, he too, was a Christian. What are the chances? In our conversation, of course, he thanked me. Right off the bat, I told him how thankful I was to have been “raised right,” and explained to him my motive for wanting him to know that, yes, there are still honest people in the world.

That was in late August. Now, it’s the Labor Day Weekend. It’s the Saturday of the Holiday, and of course, I spent the day at School. Leaving the School, I did something I hardly ever do: I stopped at the local Bank branch to take some cash out of the ATM. By the way, do you know why they call it an ATM? Because that’s where All The Money is. Anyway, as I put my card into the slot, it wouldn’t go in. I tried it again. Still wouldn’t go in. Then, I saw why:
You guessed it … there was a Debit/Credit Card left in the slop. Shiny and new … and, it was Saturday … Banks wouldn’t be open until Tuesday … Long, Holiday weekend. Yet, again, I felt that same feeling. How it was the first Saturday I had worked at School this School year. I know it was the first Saturday of the School year, but you get the idea. I hardly ever stop at this Bank’s ATM, as I don’t carry cash as a rule … even if I plan to spend it all on the next stop …

I was so glad I was “raised right.”
Raised to be honest.
And, that I was taught the difference between right and wrong.
And, yes, taught to work hard.
By the living examples of those who raised me, who were as hard-working as they were honest.
I may have strayed, but they never did.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

 

Returning Home from the “Country:” Tim McGraw and “Don’t Take the Girl”

Carol and I just returned from a trip to Georgia, which brought with it many tears, as well as laughter, and unforgettable moments. I’ll try to write on these as soon as possible. The “tears” part will take some time to get the words together …

How blessed we are.
Period.

We are so blessed to have many readers from all over the world. I try to never forget that our friends are located “everywhere.” When we feature a video, we always remember that many in our “audience” have never been exposed to certain artists, or maybe even types of music, like, maybe Southern Gospel, or Country music. This is true “both at home and abroad.”

There is one “common denominator” with every video, or artist, we’ve shared. The same rule applies to a video, or a writing, we share:
If it blesses us, it will bless others.

I’d like to share a video with you which … well … may fall into each of these categories for many of you. I’ve had this “on file” for a while, and, maybe, since I have just had a “refresher course” on the true meaning of “family,” it seems like a good time to share this one.

This is Tim McGraw, and his recording of “Don’t Take the Girl.”

“Don’t Take the Girl” is a song written by Craig Martin and Larry W. Johnson. It was released in March 1994 as the second single from his album “Not a Moment Too Soon.” The song was McGraw’s fifth single overall, and his first number-one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. It reached number one on the Canadian country charts as well, and it was also a successful pop song, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was McGraw’s second music video. It was directed by Sherman Halsey.

Samuel Timothy “Tim” McGraw has been married to singer Faith Hill since 1996, and is the son of the late baseball player Tug McGraw. I was a fan of Tug McGraw’s, and, just a couple of days ago, when I was having a conversation about Tim McGraw … I called him, “Tug.” Couldn’t help it … I was a big fan of his father …

Tim McGraw’s “Soul2Soul II Tour” with Faith Hill is the highest grossing tour in country music history, and one of the top 5 among all genres of music.

One final note before I go to the video, and, I share this in honor of Carol, and all our friends of Italian heritage:
In acknowledgement of Tim McGraw’s grandfather’s Italian heritage, Tim McGraw was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in 2004, receiving the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music during the Foundation’s 29th Anniversary Gala.

Yeah!!!!!!!

The last several days, as we traveled, I have tuned the radio up and down, and was excited to hear both Gospel and Country … sorry … had to tune away from some Country songs … been guests at two great Country Concerts (front row!), and, well, realized how much I loved live “Country” music … and, missed it …

It had been so long since I heard the names:
Jimmy Johnson
Tommy Thompson
My best friend Bo

And, phrase and lines like:
“Someday you’ll change your mind”
“Picture show”
“Johnny hits his knees and
Then he prayed”
Here’s Tim McGraw and the official video of “Don’t Take the Girl”

 

Keeping Up With John Adams/Thomas Jefferson/The Stone Library/ Just “Keeping Up” (Remembering July 4th, 1826)

I can’t believe I used that title …

I have always considered John Adams to be the most under-rated President we’ve had, if I may use that term.
And … Abigail Adams … incredible …
When I think of people “ahead of their time,” I always place Abigail at the top of the list.

One of the great thrills Carol and I have had is the opportunity to visit the John Adams birthplace, on Franklin Street in Quincy, Massachusetts. On the same property is the birthplace of John Quincy Adams, their son, and 6th United States President. I also consider John Quincy Adams the most intelligent President we’ve had, with his learning and ability to speak so many languages.

We have visited “Peacefield,” the home and farm purchased in 1787 by John Adams, and lived in by their son, as well. It is also lovingly called “The Old House.” What a thrill to visit “the Library out back.” What a thrill to step into that Library! The Library! The Stone Library, built in 1873, contains more than 12,000 books that belonged to the family.

Here is an excerpt from the Will of John Quincy Adams, dated January 18, 1847:

“I give and bequesth my library of books, my manuscript books and papers, and those of my father, and all of my family pictures…to my son, Charles Francis Adams, trusting that his mother shall at all times have the use of any of the books in the library at her discretions; and I recommend to my said son…to cause a building to be erected, made fire-proof, in which to keep the said library, books, documents, and manuscripts safe…and I especially recommend …that he will, as far as may be in his power, keep them together as one library…”

Take it from someone who just spent, on Saturday, during what others call “Summer Vacation,” seven hours working inside a High School Library … If you get a chance to see “The Stone Library” …

Carol and I also have visited the crypt, underneath the church, which is the final resting place of John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Charlotte Adams. There just aren’t words to describe what it was like, being there. Standing there. I can still feel it.
It was a trip, made with our Pastor and his Wife, which we will never forget. The images just won’t leave.
I’m grateful for that.

This is another one of those great trips we’ve taken, and is “on the list” to share photos. We often get requests from friends who have joined us on some of these trips, who keep asking us, “When are you going to put together the video” or slide show, etc. Or, “When are you going to send us the pictures?” Even on trips when we’ve left the United States, we haven’t “gotten around yet” to sharing the stories or pictures from these trips. We usually don’t mention our trips publicly, but, on occasion, I’ll slip up and say something like, “Yeah, I remember seeing something like that in South America” or something, which is always met with something like, “I didn’t know you went to …”

One day … we’ll get around to it, I’m sure.
I always feel like I should be talking/sharing about something else besides us.

So, we’ll try to do better with sharing. If it’s any indication, this trip to the Adams Homestead … with our Pastor and Wife … was something like 12 years ago … or, longer …

I still consider the book “John Adams,” by David McCullough, the best biography I have read. David McCullough won the Pulitzer Prize for this (I was an early advocate) and for his book on Harry Truman. I must also mention in this writing how much I enjoyed his “1776” book. His descriptions of individuals knows no equal. I still vividly recall, from his book on John Adams, his physical descriptions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I read the book, and wrote the excerpt below, well over 10 years ago. It is never “my time,” but “the time” to write or share, so, here now, is the excerpt I wrote over a decade ago:

On this day in early July, the week of our July 4th, I think back to reading this from the book on John Adams:

“That John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had died on the same day, and that it was, of all days, the Fourth of July, could not be seen as a mere coincidence.
‘It was a visible and palpable manifestation of Divine favor,’ wrote John Quincy Adams, in his diary that night, expressing what was felt and would be said again and again, everywhere the news spread.

In the weeks and months that followed, eulogies to Adams and Jefferson were delivered in all parts of the country and largely in the spirit that their departure should not be seen as a mournful event. They had lived to see the expanded greatness and consolidated strength of a pure republic. They had died amid the hosannas and grateful benedictions of a numerous happy and joyful people. And, on the nation’s 50th birthday. Which, said Daniel Webster in a speech in Boston, was proof from on high that our country and its benefactors are objects of His care. Webster’s eulogy, delivered at Faniel Hall, on August 2nd, lasted two hours.”

I just remembered … we’re flying out early Monday morning … to spend several days in the Deep South … I haven’t finished writing about our last trip there … several years ago …

Blessings,
Ted and Carol

P.S. Following 12 years of bitter silence caused by their disagreement over the role of the new federal government, these two old friends managed to reestablish the discourse of their younger years spent in Philadelphia, where they both served in the Continental Congress, and Paris, where they served together as ambassadors to France. In 1812, Benjamin Rush, a Patriot and physician from Philadelphia, initiated a renewed correspondence and reconciliation between his two friends and ex-presidents. The correspondence continued until Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that all three friends had signed in 1776.

 

Maine Memories: Cling Peaches and Bar “Harboring” Bible Study

It was one of those moments we never thought we would see … or hear.

Carol and I were traveling through the Maine coastline, trying to get in as many communities and lighthouses as possible in a few days’ time. We fell in love with Camden, Maine, and stood speechless as we experienced one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Pemaquid Point Light, in Bristol, Maine.

While we decided not to visit the area of Bar Harbor, Maine, wanting to devote several days there on a future trip (because it is the “Gateway to Acadia”), we spent much time in Boothbay Harbor. While there, in Boothbay Harbor, we just had to stop at a particular local restaurant … yes … based strictly upon the name … we just had to stop … as we stepped into “McSeagull’s Restaurant” … I remember thinking, as I read the sign overhead, “Eat, Drink & Flounder – Just for the Halibut!” … I thought, “You can’t make this stuff up” …

Not sure if I should mention one of the differences between restaurants in New England and other places … maybe things have changed, but, in New England, almost all restaurants are accompanied by the words “and Pub.” I remember, growing up in the South, that where you bought groceries, or where you ate, depended upon whether they served or sold alcohol or not. I can remember thinking, “Yes, but where do you buy your gas?” This is in reference to the only places open to buy gas were convenience stores, which sold more “stuff” behind the counter than just gasoline … Maybe that’s changed, as I can’t think of a grocery store “up here” that doesn’t at least sell beer. Restaurants the same. I know that in New Testament times, reading about Paul’s travels, for example, the word “tavern” is used. Why? Because these were the only businesses which were open. Often, as you travel, off-season, this is the same way in these United States.

Anyway, here we were, in Boothbay Harbor, at McSeagull’s, not in the “bar” area, but, certainly within sight and sound of the bar … as this was the only part of the restaurant which was open … as we heard something we never thought we would hear …

The date was November 6, 1971.
It was episode # 7, in the second season, of “All in the Family.”
This was the 20th episode of the series, and it was titled, “Edith’s Accident.”
The story was by Tom and Helen August, and the teleplay was written by Michael Ross and Bernie West.

Yes … “All in the Family.” To this day, one of our favorite shows. Somehow … that seems like a confession … I mention often that we don’t watch network television, but still watch the “old” shows on an “oldies” TV channel we get.

“Are you actually saying that you watch “All in the Family”?
Yes.

The show didn’t take place in today’s time. It took place in another time. A time we lived in, grew up in. And, shows like this take me back to those times. Hey … we love to watch “Sanford and Son” also … I think about this: People I know, who watch “All in the Family,” also love to watch “Sanford and Son.”
Interesting.
I remember when, on Friday night, we’d watch “The Brady Bunch,” then “The Partridge Family,” then “Sanford and Son,” then “Chico and the Man.” That’s a lineup, don’t you think? A common theme? Family. Have things changed? Changed on Friday nights? Think about it.

I remember my Mom laughing … laughing … I would be laying on the floor, in front of the television (black and white, of course), and Mama would be on the couch, behind me, and underneath the painting of Jesus praying in the Garden … laughing … and, on rare occasions, Daddy would come in … and, laugh … join in the laughter … I remember … I remember …

Yeah … I still remember that …

The “All in the Family” episode is entitled, “Edith’s Accident.” Edith, who doesn’t drive, or own a car, has a car accident. It is one of the most memorable episodes in TV history. Has there ever been a better cast? We all know their names. We all know the relationships.

This episode is also known by two words. Just two words:
“Cling Peaches.”

Edith has an accident, as a can of cling peaches … in heavy syrup … is propelled … into the hood of a car … Who owns the car? A Priest. Father Majeski, played by Barnard Hughes. Archie doesn’t trust Father Majeski, thinking he is taking advantage of Edith. In fact, he thinks Father Majeski is a fake … not really a Priest at all … Archie thinks the best way to catch this fraud is by tape-recording the meeting with Father Majeski:
Here’s the conversation:
Michael Stivic: “Archie, you’re violating his rights under the First Amendment.”
Archie Bunker: “Whose side are you on anyhow, huh? Look at me, I know I got a lot going against me, I’m white, I’m Protestant, I’m hard-working. Can’t you find one lousy amendment to protect me?”

Here’s the deal: Archie, to trick Father Majeski into proving he is a fake, comes up with a test to prove the Father’s legitimacy, by having Father Majeski quote a passage from the Bible.
I must paraphrase, but Archie introduces the test this way:

“Father Majeski, there, I was wondering if you could clear up a little bit of an argument we were having down at Kelsey’s Bar … we were discussing the Bible … it sometimes comes up between beers …”

Of course, Father Majeski answers the challenge, and quotes the Scripture in question …

Father Majeski has this exchange before leaving the house:
Father Majeski: “Go from the presence of the foolish man when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”
Archie Bunker: “What does that mean?”
Father Majeski: “It means don’t waste your time arguing with an idiot!”

As part of one of the most memorable episodes in one of the most memorable series in television history, it was the “test” of Father Majeski which brings the most laughter to Carol and me. It is a favorite part of one of the favorite episodes of one of our favorite programs … I must admit that one of the reasons I can’t directly quote from this episode is that we have, literally, worn out the CD on which the episode appears. The whole program is just so funny, and it has become a personal joke between Carol and me, this “test.” We have watched this episode so many times, and it cracks us up every time. As with a lot of the comedy in this series … it’s funny because it is just so unreal, right???

Or, is it funny because it is so real?
I think we just discovered the reason for this show’s success.

Anyway, now, 45 years later …
45 years later …
45 years???

45 years later (we were so, so young when this episode first aired) … here we are, in a restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine … I had ordered shrimp with my Pepsi … we were at a table over to the right of the bar … and, we could hear everything at the bar … Not that we were trying to listen, but, we couldn’t help it …then … we couldn’t help but to keep listening …

On the left side of the bar, a man, originally from North Carolina (as we came to know), was sitting. He was having a conversation with a man on the right side of the bar, who, as we listened, was a “local.” They were having a discussion … over beers … about the Bible …

Carol and I were speechless … just stared at each other … knowing that we were witnessing, in person, one of the most special, personal, and most improbable conversations we’d ever be privy to. They were actually having a discussion, between beers …

They were discussing many of the “finer points” of the book of Genesis, and, I’m not making this up … it was almost chapter-by-chapter … until they got to the part about … Sodom and Gomorrah … I’m not making this up … when they got to the part about Sodom and Gomorrah … it was decided, by both parties … that “we can’t go there” … that’s an actual quote … and the discussion ended.

As I wrote earlier, “Have things changed? Think about it.”

Yet, here we were, witnessing “history,” to us. It was an incredible moment. Once Carol and I realized what was happening at the bar, we sat mesmerized … listening to every sentence, every pint … I mean point …

There are two distinct parts of the conversation I remember. The man to our left, from North Carolina, stated that he was raised a Southern Baptist. This is as direct a quote as I remember:
Yeah, I was raised a Baptist. Then, I married a Catholic girl.”
He went on to describe, in detail, how he had gone to a sort of “weekend” with his betrothed, to a church-sponsored event.
The response from the other side of the bar:
“Yeah, I did that once.”

This man from the Carolinas also spoke at length about a tradition his home town had which involved firing black powder muskets. As a fan of black powder shooting (having experience in the art), I listened intently to this, as well. He told of how, in his hometown, on the 4th of July, they fired muskets for 24 hours straight … yes, 24 hours straight …

So, that’s how “Cling Peaches” and a Bar “Harboring” a Bible study come together …

Edith’s Accident.
Cling Peaches.
Father Majeski.
45 Years Ago.

45 years ago?
We’ll never forget how these two events came together, for us, 45 years later.
I was able to find the video of the “Cling Peaches” part of the episode.
What a great cast!
What talent!
What memories … 45 years ago, and, just 2 months ago:

 

“World’s Tallest Symbol of Freedom”

Built by Acuity Insurance Company, it is located at 2800 South Taylor Drive in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the home of Acuity.

The flagpole is one of the most visible landmarks on the Interstate 43 corridor, and the flag serves as a symbol of gratitude to our country and those who defend it.

At the base of the pole is a Veterans Memorial, which features the names of every Sheboygan County veteran killed in the line of duty.

The Flagpole stands 400 feet tall, which is nearly 100 feet taller than The Statue of Liberty.
This is the tallest Flagpole in the world flying a U.S. flag.
The Flagpole weighs approximately 420,000 pounds.
The Flagpole is designed to withstand a low temperature of -42o F and wind speeds of 120mph.
Three pendulum-style tuned mass dampers reduce movement and vibration.
The pole has an 11-foot diameter at base, and tapers to a 5 1/2-foot diameter at the top.
680 cubic yards of concrete were used in its foundation.
Over 500 gallons of paint cover the pole.

About the Flag:
The 70 by 140-foot flag is the world’s largest free-flying American flag.
Each stripe is over 5 feet high.
Each star is nearly 3 feet across.
The flag covers 9,800 square feet, and weighs 340 pounds.

A couple of notes regarding the building of this Flagpole:
This was the company’s fourth attempt to build the country’s tallest flagpole.
The first was built in 2003, and was 150 feet tall. It was then expanded to 200 feet, but toppled in a winter storm. The next pole was 300 feet, and it was replaced by a 338-foot pole. In April of 2008, that Flagpole was seen swaying in the wind.
Six years later, in 2014, the 400-foot pole was built to last, and was officially dedicated on June 16, 2014.

Here’s a video look at the building of the Flagpole, and the reasons for it. As you will hear, it stands not just as a symbol of freedom, but of hope and inspiration. As one Veteran stated, and this is so true of any U.S. Flag we are privileged to see flying, “There’s nothing like the sight of that American Flag flying in the wind … it really means a lot …”

For more information, visit www.acuity.com/flag