Monday, February 28, 2011

The Methodist Church of Today....

Like a straw that finally breaks the camel's back, it hit me last night as Cindy and I conversed over dinner.  Do you know that, for several years now, our church has encouraged membership by allowing new members to join in the church office---not in front of the congregation? 

This is astounding.  This is one symptom of many that the Methodist church is in trouble.  Do you know that this church, with such a proud heritage, has seen its national membership fall to a level on a par with its membership during the 1940s?  This, while the U. S. population has increased by well over 100% in the same time frame.

Our church---and many other Methodist churches---is now so desperate for membership that it does not require an appearance in front of the congregation by prospective new members.  Apparently, standing in front of fellow Christians for two minutes and saying "I will" and "I do" is just way too intimidating for a whole lot of folks.

My questions are these: 

---I know the church is a "business" and needs members, but what kind of members do you have when they are afraid to proclaim their faith in front of others? 

---Does it matter that members of the church not know when someone has joined?

---What does this policy of "sneaking in the back door" say about our individual committments to our faith?

This policy galls me.  It is a horrible thing.  Apparently the church feels that it is important to get members any way it can, and making it "easy" is the way to go to achieve that.

The church is wrong (refer to the abysmal membership growth numbers above).  The reason the church is dying is BECAUSE of this kind of approach.  The church needs to stand for something, and needs for its members to stand for something.

The Muslim faith has exploded in growth.  Agree with Muslims or disagree with them; the fact is that they KNOW what they believe  and practice it and proclaim it loudly.  We could all learn from their example in this regard.

To be fair, it is not just the Methodist church that is declining---basically, all "main-line" Protestant denominations are on the wane.  And there are many reasons for that---but this business of joining the church on the sly is too much.

Contrast this with the fervor of the early disciples:

---Apostle Paul...beheaded
---Judas...suicide by hanging
---James, son of Alphaeus...stoned to death
---James, son of Zebedee...beheaded
---John...died of old age
---Thomas...killed by impalement
---Simon the Zealot (Jude)...died of old age

We know from various sources ( such as Paul's letters and Pliny's letters to Trajan) that all these Christians needed to do to avoid a horrible execution was to denounce their Christian faith.

And now you can join the church by sneaking in the back door, without even a public proclamation of your loyalty and belief.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

But Have You Tried It?

The other day I was with a group of friends and we were discussing books we have read.  I mentioned that I had read "The Shack" by William P.Young.  I said I liked it and that I had learned from it.

One of my friends stated that he didn't like the book and didn't agree with some of the ideas put forth by the author.  I asked him what ideas he disagreed with.

"Well", he said, "I didn't actually read the book.  Our preacher said that he did not approve of it, so I know I wouldn't like it or approve of it, either."

I paused to let that sink in a few seconds.  This was certainly not the first time I had faced such shallow thinking, but it always catches me a little bit by surprise.

Me:  If you haven't read the book, how can you say you don't like it based on what someone else said?

Him:  I always agree with my preacher.

I came away from this exchange feeling disappointed in my friend's ability to think and reason on his own.  But, as I say, like most of us, I have run into this pattern of behavior before.  You really cannot reason, discuss or debate with anyone who simply has their mind made up with no substance behind their reasoning.

The same thing often happens when the topic of conversation is movies.  While I believe that it is impossible for me to discuss or pass judgement on a movie I have not actually seen, others do not seem to share that feeling.  This is frustrating.  Often, a person will simply state, "I read the reviews of the movie, so I know it is not good."

When I think back on the times I read movie reviews and then saw the movie, I have to say that I completely disagreed with at least half of all the reviews that I have read. 

And how about when the subject of food is discussed?  Without question, men are the worst when it comes to being closed-minded on this.  Generally speaking, most men eat about four things only:  meat, potatoes (must be either mashed, baked, french fried, hashed or chips---no scalloped potatoes or any other fancy schmancy version), corn-on-the-cob, and sweets of various kinds. 

Men, in particular, do not want to try anything outside their comfort zone.  No vegetables or fruits.  Interestingly, if you ask these narrow thinkers if they have ever even tried any foods outside meat and spuds, they usually say no.  Haven't tried it and don't intend to.

My mom had a rule for my brother and me when we were growing up.  Whatever she served for dinner, we at least had to take one good bite of it before we said we didn't like it.  That's probably the main reason I like just about any food that exists.... except beets and cous cous, of course.

But, my point here is that it's difficult for me to understand the rampant pattern of behavior where so many people have their minds made up on subjects they have never experienced.  

What are your thoughts on this?

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Favorite Obituary

A few weeks back, I posted a blog on obituaries.  I find them to be fascinating.  Last night, I asked myself what obituary I have read over the years is my favorite. I didn't have to think very long.  The following obit, which was published by an unknown author, has made me laugh out loud every time I have read it.  I hope you enjoy it.
                                  Pillsbury Doughboy

Please join me in remembering a great icon.  Veteran Pillsbury spokesperson, The Pillsbury Doughboy, died yesterday of a severe yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes to the belly.  He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a slightly greased coffin.  Dozens of celebrities turned out, including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, Captain Crunch and many others.

The graveside was piled high with flours as long-time friend, Aunt Jemima, delivered the eulogy, describing Doughboy as a man who "never knew how much he was kneaded".

Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with many turnovers.  He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.  Despite being a little flaky at times, even as a crusty old man, he was still considered a roll model for millions.

Toward the end it was thought he'd rise once agan, but he was no tart.

Doughboy is survived by his second wife, Play Dough.  They have two children and one in the oven.  The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.


---The Pillsbury Doughboy is an advertising icon, created by Rudy Perz of the Leo Burnett ad agency in 1965

---The Doughboy was originally named "Poppin' Fresh"

---The Doughboy has appeared in over 600 commercials, and is the mascot of the Pillsbury Company

---A few of the prominent funeral service attendees are pictured below:
Aunt Jemima
Mrs Butterworth
The California Raisins
Captain Crunch
Betty Crocker

Thursday, February 24, 2011

But For the Grace of God.......

John and I were roommates for one year in college.  We were sophomores, and we shared a passion for folk music.  Our favorite group was The Kingston Trio. 

John had a girlfriend in Charlotte, NC, and when he found out that the Trio was going to perform there, he asked her to get us tickets.  Were we ever excited! 

On the appointed Saturday of the concert, the two of us drove up to Charlotte from our college in Greenville, SC (a distance of about 100 miles) in John's beat-up Ford Falcon.  We immediately started looking for a cheap motel room.  That accomplished, we then made our way to the concert, where we were mesmerized by the great Kingston Trio. 

The concert ended around 11:00, and we were ready for bed.  As we drove the unfamiliar streets of Charlotte in the dark, obviously lost as we searched for our motel unsuccessfully, we decided to consult a map that I had. 

While John drove the streets in the dark, I turned on the inside light of his car.  The light inside the car blinded him, but he told me it was OK, that he could still see well enough.  Bad mistake.

At the corner of 7th and Hawthorne, John ran a red stop light and T-boned a Yellow Cab at 40 MPH.  The impact of that collision propelled us into another lane, where we were struck broadside by another Yellow Cab coming in the opposite direction (What are the odds of hitting TWO Yellow Cabs going in opposite directions at one intersection?)

My head went through the windshield a split second before my body was ejected from the vehicle (Cars did not have seat belts back then).  I don't remember the crash at all.  The first thing I remembered was a foggy, ethereal, floating sensation of bare consciousness.  I didn't know what had happened.  Then a numb sensation in my brain, followed by a warm, salty, sticky wetness drooling from my mouth and eye.  Slowly I began to regain consciousness. 

My thoughts began to form---Been in a wreck......thrown from the car......blood all over me......I can't let myself die here like this!!!!

I struggled to my feet, very unsteady.  By now, a crowd was forming.  We had crashed in front of a bar, and the patrons poured (pardon the pun) outside to investigate the loud collision.  People ran to help me.  An ambulance arrived.  The police cordoned off the intersection.  I was taken to the hospital where I was told I had a concussion and informed that only by God's grace was I still alive.  Hundreds of tiny bits of windshield glass covered my body.  My scalp had to be vaccuumed.  My right eye suffered a large cut just below my eyebrow and I was stitched up. 


---John was not even scratched in the wreck
---John's Ford Falcon and both Yellow Cabs were totaled
---One of the Yellow Cabs was transporting a pregnant passenger and she was injured, but baby and mother eventually were fine
---The next morning, John and I went to see his totaled car in the police lot where it had been taken.  It was a crumpled mess, with a hole in the windshield where my head had struck it.  Dozens of blond (mine) hairs were imbedded in the cracked glass
---A police officer was kind enough to pay John's fine for him and transport us to our motel.  He told John that if he did not get reimbursed, he knew where to find him.  John wasted no time in making sure the officer was repaid
---The next day, our fraternity brothers came to pick us up and drove us back to school
---I have never forgotten this terrible incident, and I often wonder why God kept someone like me alive when so many others have perished in similar incidents.  I hope I have not disappointed Him too much.  Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My Fraternity Group Picture From 1963.  I Am The Handsome One At Bottom Right.  Ha.
The year was 1963, and I was a freshman at Furman University in Greenville, SC.   I decided to join a fraternity.  I was recruited heavily by one frat in particular---Pi Kappa Phi, or "Star and Lamp", as the school referred to it at the time.

Above is a picture of our group from 1963.  I am at the bottom right.  Handsome, no?  Ha.

To be accepted into this fraternity, the new pledges were required to court favor with the upperclassmen in the club.  This meant there was a lot of running errands for them.  Typically, these errands involved going to get food for them in the evening.  College guys generally eat a helluva lot of food---mostly hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and sweets---not to mention everybody's favorite, beer.

Also, I was asked on many occasions to see to it that their beds be made up in the mornings, and little things like that.

After a couple of months of this harrassment, there was an evening of torture and belittlement.  If we got through that ordeal all right, we became full-fledged members of the fraternity.

I recall our night of torture very vividly.  Three of us were taken under cover of darkness to a private place atop Paris Mountain, which towers over the campus.  There, around a campfire, we were forced to be paddled. Then, we were stripped down to our underwear and forced to do things like dance and act stupidly for the upperclassmen we were entertaining.  The final (and VERY painful) indignity was when we had to submit to having wintergreen squirted on our private parts.  I never hurt so much in my life.  We howled in pain.
Paris Mountain, Next to the Furman Campus, Was the Site of a Major Harassment
You may be asking yourself, "Why would these guys submit to going through that in order to join a club?"  Believe me, that is an excellent question.

Then, around midnight, in our underwear, we were set loose to find our way back to campus as best we could.  Fortunately, before we were seen in our skivvies by the general public and hauled off to the jailhouse, one of the upperclassmen (Earl Prevost---his name is misspelled in the picture) took pity on us and picked us up in his car and drove us back to our dormitory.  

It was a lot of fun being a member of that group for four years.  I am in semi contact with only one person now from the club---Harold Reed (bottom left).  Sure would like to know what happened to the other guys.  I do know that John Howland died about 10 years ago, but the others I have lost track of.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Put Your Thinkin' Cap On.......

I Just About Got 'er Done
When I was growing up, my mom and dad would sit together on the sofa in the evenings after dinner and work the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper.  They would take turns writing---mom would hold the pencil one day and dad the next.  The one not doing the writing would call out the clues.  Dad would always have his arm around mom.  It looked quite cozy to a child like me at the time.
Not Quite Finished!
Fast forward to age 24.  I had not ever had time to try to work a crossword puzzle before that age.  I decided to sit down one fine Sunday afternoon and knock one out.  I certainly did not expect to have any problems whatsoever in working it.

You talk about becoming frustrated!  Man!  I couldn't seem to get a single word!  My self-esteem plummeted.  How could it be that I was having so much trouble?  After all, I had a college degree and knew a good bit about a lot of things, I thought.  Ha.
There Are Still A Couple Of Words To Fill In
Looking back, of course, I now understand that if one wants to begin working crossword puzzles, one should probably not start off with the New York Times Sunday edition.  Insert smile here.

For a couple of years I worked very hard to learn how to work these puzzles.  There are tricks to the trade.  There are oft-recurring answers.  One must learn to look for the tricky, double-meanings of clues.  Some of the crossword authors are obviously deceitful people and probably should be avoided in real life.  But, lots of practice does help one's skill level.

These days, I work a crossword puzzle about five days a week or so.  I do feel like it helps keep a feeble mind like mine sharp, whatever that is.
STILL Not Finished!
Since I like gratification in a reasonable length of time, I usually don't attempt the New York Times puzzle, as that always takes me two or three sittings to complete.

Radar O'Reilly's Drink?........................NEHI
Jesus' Language?..................................Aramaic
Rod Shaped Bacteria (2 Words)..........E Coli
Deuterium, e.g. ....................................Isotope
Gerald, Jimmy, ________....................Ronald
Backspace On A PC.............................Erase
Ms.Perlman of "Cheers".......................Rhea
Beneficial Insects..................................Ladybugs

It's a lotta' fun!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Welcome To My World......

Some Unexpected Good News From Our Tax Preparers!
This morning was a busy one for Cindy and me!.....An appointment at H&R Block for my income tax filing, a visit with my eye doctor for an overdue exam, and a follow-up to be fitted for new eyeglasses.

Jennifer Got Us A Wonderful Refund
To tell you the truth, I'd rather have a root canal than suffer through the stress of getting my taxes prepared.  This year, I was pretty confident that there would be no additional tax to be paid, but then I found out that there was one outstanding issue to be resolved. 
Beauty And Brains---And What A Smile!
At the Plano/Coit Rd. office of H&R Block, we were fortunate to be helped by Jennifer.  She prepared our taxes last year, and she does great work.  After a few minutes of sweating out the final verdict, it turned out that we would be getting a significant refund!  This was unexpected good news.  Our day was starting out nicely.
Time For My Annual Eye Exam
From that office, we set sail for my eye exam.  We entered the offices of Summit Eyecare, located in the Wal-Mart complex in Plano at Coit and West Spring Creek, and were immediately greeted by Judy, the office manager.  Judy is a delight---personable, knowledgeable and efficient.  She helped get me ready for the doctor's exam.
Judy Is A Delight.  She Got Me Ready For My Eye Exam
My eye doctor is Dr Lori Tran.  I was really impressed with her skill and terrific personality.  I came out of the exam with the good news that my eyes have no serious issues.  But, Dr Tran did write me a prescription for new lenses.  I highly recommend the team of Judy and Lori for your eye health.  They made my exam a great experience.
Best Eye Doctor In Texas---Dr Lori Tran
Next, Cindy and I walked next door to the eye lens and frame store located inside the Wal-Mart.  Guess what---another wonderful experience---this time with Simon, my lens technician.  He helped me choose new frames and measured my fitting.  He explained the features of the new lens and answered my questions. 
Simon Fitted Me For New Glasses and Helped Me Choose My Frames
Simon, it turns out, holds multiple degrees and is very knowledgeable.  He also has a wonderful sense of humor and had me laughing most of the time I was there.  All in all, a terrific morning....we met some super people, got an unexpected refund on our taxes, received good news about my eye health, and ordered new glasses.
Simon Says "Hold Still!"
Don'cha' just love it when you think your day will be a bummer and it turns out to be a joy instead?

Simon Had Me Laughin' The Entire Time

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How DO You Go About Raising a Child These Days?

So there I was this morning---in the bed at 4:00 and wide awake.  As I debated whether to get up or try to go back to sleep, this old song came into my head:

         School Days
              Will Cobb and Gus Edwards, 1907

School days, school days,
Dear old golden rule days;
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic,
Taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick.
You were my queen in calico;
I was your bashful barefoot beau;
You wrote on my slate
"I love you so!"
When we were a couple of kids.

As I pondered the words to this delightful old song, I started realizing just how much things have changed in our recent history.  The term "hickory stick" in the song refers to the preferred method of disciplining at the time.  Eventually, the hickory stick gave way to paddling; and, over the past 40 years or so, it has become illegal in most school systems to employ any type of corporal punishment in schools---or even at home.

And, that got me to thinking about how impossible it would be these days to raise a child.  Not that I think corporal punishment is a wonderful thing---I don't.  But what does a parent do when the child purposefully and deliberately disobeys and becomes defiant?

We have all read stories about parents who whacked their little Johnny on the seat of the pants to get their attention, and were hauled off to the hoosegow.  We have all heard about Child Protective Services seeking to remove a child from the home of loving parents because the parents believe spanking has a place in the overall disciplining of their child.

If a child flips the parents a figurative (or literal) finger, what can be done?  If little Joanna decides she is not going to school ever again, can the parents make her go?  How?

My dad used to use his belt to get my attention.  I didn't like it, but it did get my attention when nothing else would.  Now, looking back, it seems like I was raised the right way. 

The bible is a pretty darn good book.  Proverbs 13:24 and 23:13-14 both encourage corporal punishment by use of "the rod".  Hmmm.

Many people these days consider it to be child abuse if any kind of corporal punishment is employed.  Many others consider it child abuse if any kind of discipline is used on a child.  The bible seems to indicate that it is child abuse if punishment and discipline are NOT used.


Friday, February 18, 2011

On The Move In The Dark...

A Dark Moon Plays Hide-and-Seek Behind Scudding Clouds
I was up early.  Cindy was still in the bed.  I brewed some strong java and slowly drank it down, its warmth radiating through my core.  I looked at the clock in the dimly lit room.  It was 5:30.  Still quite dark outside.  I grabbed my trusty camera and entered the rear patio area, unlatched the gate and emerged into the alley.

 The low, dark scudding clouds concealed the moon.  It was eerily quiet, except for the slight rustle of leaves in the trees.
Legacy Drive at 5:40 AM
My feet began to move---across  Quarry Chase, turning left toward Legacy.  The still dark homes stood like old tombstones in the night, concealing their inhabitants from passers-by like me.

Almost Deserted Shopping Center at 5:50 AM
My pace quickened, turning right on Legacy and pounding 1/2 mile to the big shopping center, passing the shadowy creek, turning again on Independence.  The cool, 65 degree breeze felt good against my now perspiring skin.

Someone Drove Through The Brick Wall
I saw where someone had driven through the brick wall along the roadway. 

Independence Drive At 5:58 AM
I passed the library.  I saw two other walkers and we passed like ships at sea in the night.  The elementary school stood expectantly, awaiting the dawn and the rush of children.  But for now, it was deserted.
The Pool Was Inviting at 6:12 AM, But Still Too Cold To Swim
Up the opposite direction on Quarry Chase and into the dark alley to our rear gate.  The pool looked inviting in the night, its submerged lighting beckoning, but the water is still too cold for a swim.
A Lone Lamp Signals That All Is Well---Welcome Home!
The back of our darkened home awaited my return, a lone lamp signaling that all is well. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Cindy and I were up at 5:00 this morning.  You see, we rented a movie last evening, and the only time for us to see it today was before the daily grind began.  We got our coffee and settled in to watch "Catfish".

"Catfish" is a documentary with which we can all identify.  It is a commentary on the times in which we live. 

When you receive an E-Mail from a stranger, you really do not know who that person really is.  If you become friends with a stranger on Facebook or MySpace, you do not really know who that person is. 

I enjoyed this movie/documentary very much.  It is a psychological study of our times.  Check it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bully.......

Cindy and I were talking this morning about bullying.  She said she was so traumatized by the bullies of her childhood that their full names are ingrained in her psyche, even to this day.  As we talked, it became apparent that she actually suffered relatively few bullies over the early years; but the memories linger.

She asked me if I knew the names of my early tormentors.  I laughed at the question, because I had so many bullies in my life that it would be impossible to just name a few.

I think my 12---15 age range was the worst.  Unlike today, where we have laws and strict rules about bullying at school, back then we had to deal with it.  It took a couple of years, but I eventually got the hang of it.  I learned that bullies would stop bullying when someone finally taught them a lesson.  Usually this lesson was administered in the form of some kind of knock in the noggin' with a bat or some such instrument.

James D was a tormentor of mine when I was 17 years old.  He was bigger and stronger than me and delighted in slapping me around in front of my girl friend.  He stopped doing that after I came up behind him and hit him over the head with a hammer.

In later life, we will all have to face our bullies.  Bullies exist in every age group and every corner of our lives---the workplace, church (Yes, church!), in the neighborhood, in social settings, etc.  Therefore, it is important to learn to deal with them effectively immediately upon recognition.  Once they learn that you are weak and will not resist their offensive behavior, they will continue to abuse you.  Best to "nip it in the bud", as we say down south, than to allow them any early success.

A few things to always remember about bullies:

---Bullies have low self-esteem.  They seek to raise their self-esteem by putting others around them down

---Bullies thrive where others avoid them and refuse to confront them

---Bullies exist in all age groups.  There is a common misconception that children/teenagers "outgrow" bullying.  This is utterly false

In much of the world today, liberal, "enlightened" souls have constructed rule upon rule to prevent and deal with bullying.  I say this is a bad practice.  Let's deal with bullies the way God intended---by making them realize they are behaving badly and no one is going to put up with it.  That way, not only is the bully rehabilitated into society, but those who were victims can be strengthened through overcoming adversity.

What do you think?  Input, please.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Would You Tell Anyone?

Most of us have seen things in the out-of-doors that we cannot identify or completely explain.  Most of the time, when we do see something that does not fit into a readily identifiable category, it is because we did not get a really good look at it.  On those occasions, we wrestle with explanations.  Invariably, we are unable to decide with certainty just what we actually saw.

But, what if you did see something very clearly that was unexplainable?---it could be a flying object, for example, that definitely was not man-made and definitely was not any kind of natural object like a bird?  What if you got an incredibly good look at it?  What if you were bursting with enthusiasm to tell your friends what you had seen?  Would you tell them?  Why or why not?

To view Cindy's description of an unexplainable event yesterday, view her blog:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day..............Massacre

While we share feelings of affection today with those we love, there was a time in our past when sudden, brutal murder was the Valentine's Day topic.

Photo of the Actual Crime Scene, Valentine's Day, 1929
The date was February 14, 1929.  The place was Chicago's neighborhood of Lincoln Park.  The target was Bugsy Moran, who was not even present.

A crowd Gathers Outside The Crime Scene
Bugsy Moran
In short, two rival gangs vied for control of Chicago's bootleg alcohol business:  Al Capone's southside gang, and Bugsy Moran's northsiders.

Four unknown perpetrators ambushed seven members of Bugsy Moran's mob, lining them up against a brick wall and executing them with Thompson submachine guns and a shotgun.  One of the victims, Fred Gusenberg, suffered 14 bullet wounds.  Oddly, he was still alive when police arrived.  When asked who had committed the massacre, he replied, "Nobody shot me".  He died shortly afterward.

Al Capone
The killings shocked the nation, and the federal government became involved in the effort to shut down the activities of the gangs.  In effect, this massacre became the beginning of the end for the two prohibition era Chicago mobs.  Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion two years later and eventually died in prison.  Bugsy Moran's gang was so weakened that it became a shell of its former self.

No one was ever convicted of the crime.  Leading theories blamed Capone's northside gang or possibly elements of Detroit's Purple Gang, which had a relationship with Capone.

The two Thompson submachine guns used in the massacre were recovered in a raid on the bungalow of gangster Fred "Killer" Burke in late 1929.  One had a 20-round magazine and the other was fitted with a 50-round drum.  Both murder weapons are now in the possession of the Berrien County Sheriff's Department in St Joseph, Michigan.

PS---check out Cindy's blog at

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Cure For, Well.........Everything!

As promised, this post will tell the story of the little amber bottle depicted in my last blog posting.  It has a fascinating story to tell. 

Valentine's Meat Juice Bottle, About 3" High
On a trip to Richmond, Virginia a few years ago, Cindy and I visited several museums and other points of interest in and around the city.  One of the sites we toured was the Valentine Museum.

The Valentines were a very prominent family in Richmond.  Perhaps the best known of this family was Edward Valentine (1838---1930).  Edward was a sculptor who is famous for his works in marble and bronze.  He designed the Robert E Lee recumbent memorial, the Stonewall Jackson memorial and the Thomas Jefferson memorial.

Edward Valentine's Marble Sculpture of Robert E Lee, Lee Chapel, Lexington, Virginia
His brother, Mann S.Valentine (1824---1892), became wealthy as a Richmond businessman by founding and managing the Valentine Meat Juice Company in Richmond.

Fits Very Nicely in the Palm of Your Hand
In 1870, an ill relative who was unable to eat caused Mann Valentine to come up with the idea of creating a meat juice product to aid in nutrition for the ill.  The idea caught on with the public; and soon, Valentine's meat juice was a popular health tonic.

Valentine's Meat Juice Was A Common Prescription
There were many testimonies from physicians touting the healing properties of the juice for practically every known ailment:  upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, general debility and more.

It'll Cure Whatever Needs Curing
Approximately 20,000 pounds of beef flesh per day were used in the production of the juice. 

Archaelogical digs around brothels have yielded many of the bottles that were cast aside after being consumed.  Prostitutes believed that the meat juice offered protection from and a cure for sexually transmitted diseases (known as "social diseases" back in the day).

A famous murder case involved a Mrs. Maybrick, who murdered her husband by poisoning his meat juice with arsenic. 

Fits Easily in Your Pocket or Purse!
Valentine's Meat Juice Company apparently went out of business sometime late in the twentieth century.  I had a hard time getting firm information on the exact date of its demise.  Suffice to say that, as knowledge of nutrition increased throughout the last century, demand for this product weakened until the company closed its doors. 

Today, we look upon the notion of meat juice as a health potion as being backward in the extreme.  But not very long ago, Valentine's meat juice was an accepted and trusted treatment by the medical community. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

(Almost) Forgotten Remnants of my Past.......

I was prowling through the recesses of my closet last night, rummaging for some long lost possession not seen in ages, when I came across a wooden bowl that had been faithfully serving as a storage receptacle in the darkness of the years.

The Old Wooden Bowl Holds Many Memories

I brought the bowl into the light of day, and from it memories of my past tumbled like sweets from a jar.

A Gold, Oversized Belt Buckle
This Small Bottle Will Be the Subject of My Next Blog
A Gold Italian Bracelet---One Of the Few Valuables in the Bowl
Chai, a Gold Medallion Given to Me Years Ago By a Jewish Friend, Is a Symbol For Life in Jewish Culture.  The Gold Chain Accompanying the Medallion Was Lost Long Ago.
My Class Ring From College
Various Coins Collected Over Time From Mexico, Canada and Europe
A collection of Collar Stays That I Used to Use When I wore Expensive Dress Shirts Every Day

Gold Cufflinks and Tie Tacks

My College Fraternity Pin
An All-Purpose Knife and Tools
A Gold Locket Given to Me By The Delightful Cindy---It contains Pictures Of Us Together
A Civil War Minie Ball That I Recovered From A Northern Alabama Union Camp Site.  Note That The Projectile is Misshapen, As it Was Undoubtedly Bent When It Struck Its Target So Many Years Ago

Another View

A Small (1" X 1 1/2") Picture Of My Mom and Dad
A Gold Money Clip Given to Me by a Friend Many Years Ago.  I Wish I Had Some Money to Put In It!
Two Gold Rings

Two Wristwatches

Each of these memories can tell you a story.......