2007-02-03 / Viewpoints

Through An 'Old Timer's' Eyes

By Howard 'Mac' McDonald

As time goes by, those of us who are over the hill envy those who are just finding out what life is all about.

Yesterday I talked to my youngest grandson, who just turned 16. He told me he just came from a funeral. A boy and girl from his class had been killed in an auto accident.

I could not offer him any solace, except to say that life is a precious thing and we should never treat it lightly. If you are a Christian, then you were taught that the Lord may call you home at any time.

In church today, the minister offered up prayers, but not one prayer for the troops who have been killed this month or for their families.

No matter what the reason was for going into Afghanistan and Iraq, it has evolved into a religious conflict. That's not what we expected. Please pray for our soldiers and their families.

Being politically correct is really hard for me. There are certain words that I have been using all my life that are now considered worse than taking the Lord's name in vain. I will probably never break this bad habit.

One time when I was working in Arizona, I had to go into this suite of offices to find an electrical problem. The suite was occupied by a gospel singing group.

After about an hour of troubleshooting I found the problem. I was mumbling under my breath and the head of this group asked me, "Why are you mumbling?"

I replied, "I want to swear but I can't do it in here."

She said, "Howard, when I get that way, I just say Sacramento, California." That sounds sort of like swearing, I guess.

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of speech. I am not so sure that this is true any more. For example, if I say, "Hey you, if you don't get off the hood of my car I am going to knock your block off," the police may visit me because that is a terroristic threat. Of course if you are on the hood of my car, the charge would probably be a lot stiffer.

Sexual harassment is another sticky issue. Paying a compliment to a women by saying, "You sure look nice today," is considered sexual harassment. If you blow the horn on your car at an attractive girl or if you whistle at her, you are also guilty. I guess I am just a criminal.

February is the shortest month of the year, but it has a lot of special days. Groundhog Day is shared with the Roman Catholic Church and its Candlemas Day, where they bless the candles used in church during the rest of the year.

Then comes Valentines Day. Scholars have found Valentine notes that date back as far as the Middle Ages. If you want to really impress your Valentine, then go the flowers and candy route.

Many famous people were born in February. My favorite home run hitter, the Sultan of Swat, Babe

Ruth, was born Feb. 6,

1895. Presidents Harrison, Lincoln and Washington call this their birth month. My wise and talented mother was born Feb. 25, 1900 and on Feb. 5, 1954, my best friend Richard L. Knickerbocker was killed in a plane crash in Alaska. Knick only spent 20 years on this earth, but he left his mark.

In April 1953, Knick and I took off in a 1952 Willys sedan that Knick called the "Flying Washing Machine." I installed an extra gas tank and we could put 45 gallons in her. We had two spare tires, and we could have used more. Everywhere you looked along that road there were old tires. We left a couple, as we had six flats.

The road was all gravel, so the dust from the other cars was terrible. A couple of times we drove at 100 mph just to get ahead of the car in front of us so that he would have to eat some dust.

We drove from just outside of Detroit to Anchorage in six days. I still have the log that we kept. Before I leave this world I am going to take that drive again.

I hope we don't get as much snow as they are predicting. If we do, I will just throw another log on the fire and do one of my favorite things -- take a nap.

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