Saturday, July 20, 2013

Excuse me?

I pass numerous roadside advertisements, on my daily commute. One of my favorites is a large billboard that reads, "Your wife is hot. Fix her air conditioner." That's just too cute. And, I once drove up to a panhandler who held a hand-lettered sign that said, "Cereal Killer. My bowl is empty." Very clever. So, I gave him a buck.
Every day I drive by a suburban office building that displays a large, professionally lettered sign, "SMALL TENANTS WELCOME".
Excuse me? Does that mean that I, at 5 feet 3 inches, can apply, but my 6 foot husband cannot? What about my feisty friend, Shirley? She's about 4'10".  Can children rent there? Will they accept toy poodles as tenants, but not the standard breed? How about elves, leprechauns and munchkins? (Okay, the sign isn't in OZ...but it is in Kansas.)
So far, I have resisted the urge to pull over, leap out of my car and dash into the lobby. Will I be greeted by one of those life-sized posters, reminiscent of Disney Parks? "YOU MUST BE smaller THAN THE PRINCESS' MAGIC WAND TO ENTER".
I'm genuinely puzzled.
How often do we say or write something that makes perfect sense to us, but is totally confusing and misunderstood by others? The owners of that office building know exactly what type of tenants they want. But, to the passer-by, it's confusing, and slightly humorous. Words and phrases can often have double or sometimes even triple meanings. Often our words are just plain funny, but sometimes the misunderstandings can be hurtful.
Wise folks always think before they speak, or even post signs.

Gracious Lord: Teach me to hold my tongue. Help me to realize that my words can surely praise You and your children. Remind me to be thoughtful of others and to watch my mouth. You give us choices. Help us to make the right ones.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Over Troubled Waters

Because I live North of the Missouri River, and my job is South of that same river, my knowledge and appreciation of bridges is increasing daily. Twice a day, I must choose one of the five nearby bridges to complete my journey. A couple of the these bridges are located on major highways and the traffic and speeds are such that there is no significant difference between the regular roadway and the span over the river. You never even realize that you are on a bridge.
But, the one I prefer to use is a "bridge looking" bridge. It has graceful steel girders in an arching design that strikes me as quite beautiful. My favorite bridge was built in the 1950's to provide access to our smallish island-like airport, from the downtown area.  Howard Hughes' office was in a building, still sporting its Thunderbird-like designs, immediately adjacent to the southbound lanes of the bridge.
From the center most arch, you can see the dramatic curves of the Missouri and the point where the Kansas River, aka The Kaw, meets its much wider sister.  KC, Kansas, and the industrial river bottoms are to the West of the span. These views are possible because of the 45 mph speed limit and the narrowing lanes, which cause the traffic to  go very slowly across the bridge.
Today, while creeping my way over the Missouri, I noticed two large snags in the center of the river. Snags are large logs or even trees that get washed along by the river and at some point get caught on the bottom and stay lodged in one spot. Dozens of 19th century paddle wheelers were sunk when they hit river snags.
I think every one of us has had our share of snags. Nobody has smooth sailing or even easy paddling all the time. Life isn't easy. It's how we choose to deal with our snags that makes life real and meaningful.
Any day now, someone or something is going to dislodge those two snags, and we will all be better for the experience.

Lord: You never promised us a perfect existence. Guide us and lead us as we travel down life's highway. Keep our bridges strong and our pathways clear. Your steadfast love endures forever.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dust it off, brother!

Except for July, the fourth day of the month is nothing spectacular. And, unless it happens to be your payday, birthday or some other kind of anniversary, chances are, it's just another day of the month.
But the fourth of July, is Independence Day in the United States of America. We're busy celebrating with fireworks, picnics, parades and band concerts. Every year, our local newspaper prints a copy of the Declaration of Independence, on the editorial page, along with a nice colored photo of the painting, by John Trumbull, depicting the 5 member committee who drafted the document.
That photo got me thinking about (stay with me here) powdered wigs. Why were many of those men in the picture wearing powdered wigs? What is a powdered wig?
So, I did a bit of research and this is what I discovered. The word wig is a shortened form of the word, periwig. Historically, a wig was a decorative head covering made from human or animal hair. Today there are synthetic ones, but that's another story.
According to my sources, wigs were generally worn by men. Women used hair extensions and various accessories (maybe even small animals) to poof-up their hair, in the style of the era. Wig powder was made from finely ground Talcum powder and must have created a kind of dusty aura around the wearer. There are paintings, from the 17th and 18th centuries, which show residue of powder on the shoulders of gentlemen.
Powdered wigs were the style. They were "in". We can relate. Imagine our founding fathers today in backward baseball caps and sagging pants.
Men might still be wearing powdered wigs, except for a very unpopular British Tax on wig powder. Uh, didn't they have enough of a problem with that one on tea?

Creator Lord: Our independence is very precious to us. We are blessed to have freedoms and privileged to enjoy our many blessings. May we also have the sense to respect the rights of our fellow earth dwellers and to use wisely the resources that we have been given. We are ever thankful for our existence. Show us how to work for You.