Camp Meeting Time
Summer time in the South, and Sandy Point, is and was, Camp Meeting Time.
There was a time when “church” played a major role in the lives of the people in the South and, I suppose, the country. Much of the social activity of family life was centered in the goings on at the church, as it was often referred to.
We will be at the church Sunday. In the old days, Church could be an all day affair. Some churches met once a month on the First, Second, Third, or Fourth Sunday. If there happened to be five Sundays in the month, well, you caught a break and did not have to show up. The most dedicated Church People would go to another church on the fifth Sunday. Homecoming Sunday was once a year with Dinner on the Grounds to get a chance to meet old friends and family that had moved away from the area or to another church.
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Names and terms can be deceptive and especially when they have long since stopped being used in everyday language. Choppin Cotton is just such a phrase.
I don’t know today how many people have ever seen a cotton field growing and could identify one if they drove past it. It’s not very hard once the cotton bolls have opened and the field turns into one giant, we can’t say ball but maybe, sheet of cotton. But in the early plant stages when people drive through around Cordele and Unadilla and Pinehurst and Pelham and Parrott, they might have trouble distinguishing what is cotton and what is soy beans from the busy interstate. There was a time when cotton was king everywhere, but today you’ll find a variety of crops and irrigation and pesticides and herbicides along with modern machinery have changed the complexion of farming from when I followed my Grandfather around in the fields of the family farm down in Sandy Point.
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Good man! Sometimes you hear that at a ball game when a player does something very good at a very critical time. Sometimes when someone finds your wallet under the trash can that you thought was lost. “Good man!” you might say. A salesman closes the big deal and saves the month’s business. Your son gets a scholarship or simply passes 8th grade. Good Man!
Then, there is the use of that phrase to describe the kind of person someone was or is. An attempt to make known the quality of person that phase is being directed to. A phrase used to explain the nature of someone when there are no words that seem to suit.
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Sweeping the Yard
Sweeping the yard? What is that?
I dare say that there are few people under about 50 years old that have any idea about sweeping the yard. They have no point of reference, have never seen it done and certainly have never done it themselves. But it was a normal part of life in Sandy Point and the rural South in years past.
In my neighborhood, and probably yours, people spend a lot of time and money on their yards. Grass of various varieties are used to insure there is a well-groomed and plush green yard and just about every day there is a truck loaded with lawnmowers, weed eaters and edgers and blowers with their loud noises that can awaken the dead making sure that everything is perfect. Sprinkler systems spraying water across the yard to quench the thirst of the grass and flowers are using one of our most precious resources to just make grass grow so that we can cut, mow, trim and brag on a regular basis. Of course, some grass prevents erosion and serves a greater need.
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I see is something we say all the time. “Oh, yes, I see.”
We grow up learning little expressions and sayings that are perfectly natural to us and probably to those around us. There was a time when so called bad words were not used in the presence of small children because they tend to repeat the bad ones just like they do cat and dog and mommy and daddy. Often that occurs at the most possibly embarrassing moment. I don’t know if that rule is still in effect.
As a result, we sometimes do not think about the unlikely nature of the phrase we are using. Phrases like “I see”. That phrase has nothing to do with eyesight and may very well be used by a person who cannot literally see anything but has come to mean understanding or comprehension of whatever is being said or demonstrated, etc. A person may hear a speech or lecture or an explanation about string theory and simply reply, “I see.” Though, technically, they do not see but more precisely understand.
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Hot in Sandy Point
According to Wikipedia:
In 1820, English scientist and inventor Michael Faraday discovered that compressing and liquefying ammonia could chill air when the liquefied ammonia was allowed to evaporate. In 1842, Florida physician John Gorrie used compressor technology to create ice, which he used to cool air for his patients in his hospital in Apalachicola, Florida. He hoped to eventually use his ice-making machine to regulate the temperature of buildings. He even envisioned centralized air conditioning that could cool entire cities. Though his prototype leaked and performed irregularly, Gorrie was granted a patent in 1851 for his ice-making machine. His hopes for its success vanished soon afterwards when his chief financial backer died; Gorrie did not get the money he needed to develop the machine. According to his biographer, Vivian M. Sherlock, he blamed the “Ice King”, Frederic Tudor, for his failure, suspecting that Tudor had launched a smear campaign against his invention. Dr. Gorrie died impoverished in 1855, and the idea of air conditioning went away for 50 years.
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I walked out on the front stoop a few days back and looked up in the corner underneath the trim boards and saw what I thought was a new bird nest being built. I had problems there several times over the years and the birds really made a mess on the front so I have tried to prevent any more nests being constructed there. I went to get my step ladder to get up and see what was going on.
I had placed a large water bottle there to take up the space and that had worked for the past few years. When I moved it to see what was happening, I was face to face with a large wasp nest under construction. And, several angry wasps.
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On The Other Hand
For many years, our company represented a large respected manufacturer, the largest in the industry at the time, and they were headquartered in Pennsylvania Amish country. Every December, they would have a major sales convention and most years they were at their corporate offices. Sometimes they were in places like Marco Island or Boca Raton, but they had great Broadway type presentations with singers and dancers and large stage sets. They would have a theme and the one I remember most was Aquarius from Hair. It was a memorable presentation, to say the least. Only the 5th Dimension could have done better. The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
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Living and Dying
Hebrews 9:27 King James Version (KJV)
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
“Dying is not the issue…….. It’s living too long that makes for problems.”
H. Jerome Chapman 2016
No doubt, the statement above will be argued by some and denounced by others. Who would say such a thing!? The medical profession is proud when it can point to more and people who have reached a triple digit birthday.
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The Little Tractor That Could
There was a TV show in the late 60’s starring Peter Graves called Mission Impossible and the team was given instructions for top secret and extremely difficult missions on tapes that self-destructed after Mr. Phelps listened to them. If they chose to accept the missions, they were on their own and could expect no help.
Life has been like that for some people. They accepted difficult assignments and responsibilities and found they were on their own and they didn’t realize they had a choice. Such was the life of most Americans in the “good old days”. Today, if you don’t like your job or career choice, or you spouse, just change. The thinking was different once upon a time and the choices in rural America were limited.
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