Book Review #22

Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain, making fun of Christians’ beliefs about heaven. 

The book: Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven

The author: Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The review: This is a short story written by Mark Twain, about 1868. It was not published until 1909 – 41 years later – because it was thought to insult all the Good Christians.

The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his decades-long cosmic journey to Heaven; his accidental misplacement after racing a comet; his short-lived interest in singing and playing the harp (generated by his preconceptions of heaven); and the general obsession of souls with the celebrities of Heaven such as Adam, Moses, and Elijah, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in Heaven as living celebrities are on Earth (an early parody of celebrity culture). Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of Heaven is ludicrous, and points out the incongruities of such beliefs with his characteristic adroit usage of hyperbole.

Much of the story’s description is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of Heaven. Sandy gives Stormfield, a newcomer, the description in the form of a conversational question-and-answer session. The Heaven described by him is similar to the conventional Christian Heaven, but includes a larger version of all the locations on Earth, as well as of everywhere in the universe (which mention of, albeit as a backdrop, is the last science fiction element).

All sentient life-forms travel to Heaven, often through interplanetary or interstellar space, and land at a particular gate (which are without number), which is reserved for people from that originating planet. Each newcomer must then give his name and planet of origin to a gatekeeper, who sends him in to Heaven.

Once inside, the person spends eternity living as it thinks fit, usually according to its true (sometimes undiscovered) talent. According to one of the characters, a cobbler who “has the soul of a poet in him won’t have to make shoes here,” implying that he would instead turn to poetry and achieve perfection in it.

On special occasions a procession of the greatest people in history is formed; on the occasion of Stormfield’s arrival, this includes Buddha, William Shakespeare, Homer, Mohammed, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah plus several otherwise unknown people whose talents far exceeded those of the world’s pivotal figures, but who were never famous on Earth.

As Stormfield proceeds through Heaven he learns that the conventional image of angels as winged, white-robed figures bearing haloes, harps, and palm leaves is a mere illusion generated for the benefit of humans, who mistake “figurative language” for accurate description (the wings are part of their uniforms, and not functionally wings); that all of Heaven’s denizens choose their ages, thus aligning themselves with the time of life at which they were most content; that anything desired is awarded to its seeker, if it does not violate any prohibition; that the prohibitions themselves are different from those envisioned on Earth; that each of the Earth-like regions of Heaven includes every human being who has ever lived on it; that families are not always together forever, because of decisions made by those who have died first; that white-skinned people are a minority in Heaven; that kings are not kings in Heaven (Charles II is a comedian while Henry VI has a religious book-stand), etc.

Making fun of slavery was one thing, but making fun of people’s cherished Christian beliefs was something else entirely. This book never did well, and even many Twain aficionados are not aware of it.

 

’20 A To Z Challenge – E

A To Z ChallengeLetter E

 

EEK and EGAD!! 24 hours before my self-imposed scheduled time to publish this E-post for the A To Z Challenge – I’m simultaneously composing three posts – and not one of them is this one. 😛 Unless I talked the son into mowing the lawn Sunday afternoon, you discovered a non-specific post on Monday morning, and this one moved to Wednesday.

I guess that I’ll make it about a mnemonic.
‘What’s a mnemonic, Johnny?’
A 1995, Keanu Reeves movie.

Actually, a mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. One of the dumbest and most useless mnemonics that I’ve ever found, is

EUOUAE

Euouae definition

A type of cadence in medieval music. Origin: Taken from the vowels in the hymn Gloria Patri doxology: “seculorum Amen“. Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen.

If you could/can write the Latin phrase, seculorum Amen, why would you need a reminder of the sequence of the vowels? Both the phrase, and the mnemonic, have been in use for over 500years. Only in the last 50/60 years has anyone felt the need to make it a word, and learn to pronounce it. It is the longest word in the English language with no consonants, an honor similar to being the greatest dogcatcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

Sadly, it is not an only child. Its bigger brother is

QUOMODOCUNQUIZE

A psalm or hymn cadence.

Is there something about Catholic Christianity, or religious music, which requires such ridiculous reminders??

The word is almost never used today, and definitely not outside the sphere of Church music. Somehow over the years, it acquired a secondary meaning of, to make money any way you can. The OED has no entry for quomodocunquize – to make money any way you can – but it does have one for quomodocunquizing, with a citation from Sir Thomas Urquhart in 1652: “Those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets.” — The Orthoepist. September 16, 2010 – which is a book about the pronunciation of words.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the original hymns and psalms were mendicant – concerning begging, alms, financial support and donations – ergo; making money any way they could. Folks in ‘The Good Old Days’ sure had a lot more time, to say a whole lot less. I can not imagine expending the time and energy to even remember this word, much less enunciate it.

All hail technology!  My favorite mnemonics are manufactured by Acer, Dell, or even Apple.  😀

***

Yes!! I did it. I added the last words to this post, just as the sun was rising. That means that I’ll have to leap out of bed at the crack of noon, and mow that lawn myself. I’ll see you here tomorrow…. or is that today already?? 😕

Flash Fiction #228

Foreign Food

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

FOREIGN FOOD

Eat healthy they say. You’ll live longer.
Nah…. It just seems like it.

Back in the Dark Ages – pre-Golden Arches – he’d had to satisfy his fat and carb cravings at Canadian-born Harvey’s, and A & W. Finally, Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell oozed north.

Eventually, do-gooder gastro-snobs ruined fast food. Eat Light, add a salad. Salad is a promise that real food will appear later.

Then he drove to Florida, and discovered Checkers. Ah, burger bliss! No sit-down, long before COVID – just two drive-thru cholesterol lanes. Free heart attack with every meal – but what a tasty way to go!! 😎

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – II

Love English

I’ve been reading again, everything from the Dictionary, down to the laundry label on my jeans, and tea leaves. You will run into a very strange man – but it will just be the full-length mirror in the bathroom.

For no good reason, this is another list of a few more interesting but non-common words that have wheeled through the skateboard park that is my mind.

Bookworm

asseverate – to declare earnestly or solemnly, to affirm positively

brisance – the shattering power of high explosives

cavil – a trivial and irritating objection, to raise such an objection or to find fault unnecessarily

daubery – unskillful painting or work

eristic – someone who engages in disputation, a controversialist, a troll

farouche – fierce, unsociable, shy, sullen

glabella – the flat area of bone between the eyebrows

hie – to speed, to go in haste

illation – drawing a conclusion

jussive – expressing a mild command

kerf – a cut or incision made by a saw or other instrument

lepidote – covered with scales or scaly spots

marmoreal – of or like marble

nictitate – wink

orison – a prayer

picaresque – roguish

quondam – former

redintegrate – to make whole again

scandent – climbing (like a plant)

telluric – earthly, terrestrial – see also Tellurian

univocal – having only one possible meaning, unambiguous

vulnerary – useful for healing wounds

wedeling – a series of alternating turns made at high speed, especially skiing

xeric – relating to an environment containing or characterized by little moisture
the basis for the Xerox machine, which uses dry ink

yaffle – to speak vaguely, pointlessly and at considerable length

zymosis – an infectious or contagious disease
Placed on this list 6 months ago – long before COVID19

 

What A Difference A Day Makes

calendar

Click to hear Dinah Washington sing my title song

Apparently taking a day off is not something you should do when you work for a calendar company.

Jokes about PMS are NOT funny. Period.

Two Wi-Fi antennas got married last Saturday. The reception was fantastic.

***

I called the paranoia hotline the other night.
Some guy answered and said, “How did you get this number?”

***

I challenged the number 1 to a fight. He brought his friends 3, 5, 7, and 9. The odds were against me.

***

New scientific evidence says that each beer takes 9 minutes off your life.
According to my calculations, I died sometime in September 1845

***

I didn’t mean to push all your buttons. I was just looking for Mute.

***

A fellow-blogger said that she just found out that her sister’s spirit animal is a dickdick. Being a guy, my spirit animal is just a dick. Her sister’s spirit animal is actually a Dik-Dik, but that’s just my spirit animal being a dick.

***

My life hasn’t been the same since the accident.
Co-worker; What accident?
The one where I got my finger caught in that wedding ring.

***

The wife and I had been sitting in the living room for some time. She said, “My butt’s asleep.” I said, “I know. I heard it snore three times.”

***

My wife was feeling ‘frisky’ the other day. She called down from the bedroom, “Come upstairs and make love to me.” I replied, “I can’t do both.”

***

The wife said we’d have less arguments if I wasn’t so pedantic. I replied, “I believe you mean fewer.”

***

Relationships are a lot like algebra.
Ever look at your X, and wonder Y?

***

My son recently went to his doctor. The doctor said, “You’re going to have to stop masturbating.” The son asked why. “So that I can examine you.”

***

The Grandson’s wife was angry at him. I said, “What did you do now?” “I remembered the car seat, the stroller and the diaper bag. She can’t understand how I forgot the baby.”

***

I’m so old, my doctor is a Paleontologist.

***

The Three Unwritten Rules Of Life

1:
2:
3:

***

A papa mole, a mama mole, and a baby mole, all live together in a little mole hole.

One day, papa mole sticks his head out of the hole, sniffs the air and said,’ Yummy! I smell maple syrup!’

The mama mole sticks her head out of the hole, sniffs the air and said, ‘Oh, Yummy! I smell honey!’

Now baby mole is trying to stick his head out of the hole to sniff the air, but can’t because the bigger moles are in the way.

This makes him whine, ‘Geez, all I can smell is…

…………………………MOL ASSES!’

***

WOW #58

 

I am the walrus…. No, wait. That was John Lennon.

philosopher

I AM THE ARCHON

And I have been since a high school history class in 1958, when we studied the Classic Greeks. The king of Sparta was killed in a battle, and his son was only 11. The law stated that he needed to be 18 before he officially succeeded his father.

Seven of the king’s closest friends and advisors formed a committee, and offered to protect and mentor the young teen until he could take over. They became ‘The Archons.’   True to their word, they trained and advised the young man for years, and when he came of age, they crowned and installed him as king.

Impressed by their wisdom and honesty, I decided that I wanted to be an Archon – a tribal elder, a senior statesman – passing along knowledge and integrity. It is a self-appointed title that I’ve held for over 60 years.

Somewhat sadly, the word/name/concept did not begin with the ancient Greeks. It actually goes back to, or beyond, the time of Gilgamesh and the Mesopotamian Empire. The original meaning was of beings that held power and positions which they were not authorized to hold.

Modern Christian Apologists have decided that these tales were about demons afflicting mankind. I have been unceremoniously dismissed by Christian debaters, because my ‘Archon’s Den’ website is obviously a home for the Devil.

Well, now that I’ve made it all about me, it’s about time that I dragged out the Word Of the Week, gave credit where it is due, and explained why.

Once upon a time, I claimed that I was ‘The Archon,’ and blogger buddy Jim replied that, of course I was, and he was the

POLEMARCH

That had me quickly scurrying for a dictionary and a history text. It turns out that, while an Archon may be a noble, a member of the aristocracy, one who makes the laws to rule a country – the POLEMARCH is a senior civilian bureaucrat, charged with the administration and enforcing of the rules.

Fasces

I hope that Jim is not dismayed when I say that the Polemarch is Fascist. Like the swastika symbol, the poor word ‘Fascist’ has suffered a reversal of fortunes and meaning, which may not be set right for another hundred years. The left-hand, reverse swastika has been the symbol of the Zuni Indians’ Sun God for centuries.

Swastika

The right-hand version, presented flat and square, instead of the diamond Nazi method, had been a good-luck symbol to the Hindu and Jain religions for millennia. It has even been accepted by various Christian sects as the cross of Saint John.

The Greek concept of the Polemarch was adopted and modified (along with so many other things) by the Romans. Administrators named Magistrates – a word, which in English, means ‘master’ – patrolled Roman cities, dispensing justice. They were accompanied by one or more assistants, bearing their badge of office, called ‘Fasces.’ (fass-case) These consisted of an axe, the blade visible and facing outward, surrounded by a sheaf of wooden rods.

Actually, only the rods were fasces, but the whole assembly soon took on the name. The axe (more than) symbolized the power of death – by beheading – capital punishment.   The wooden sticks were used to administer a beating or flogging – corporal punishment, for lesser crimes.

Instant justice, delivered hot and fresh, on the spot – today’s lawyers would be aghast at the lack of fee-producing stays and appeals. The term ‘fasces’ produced the word Fascist when Mussolini’s WWII Brown-shirts co-opted it, and the symbol, to show the government’s seizure of the right of life and death over the population.

No True Atheist

Koran

Like “No True Scotsman”, no “Real Atheists” can exist, because Nada insists that they would all kill themselves to escape the evils, ills and woes of life – among other foolish claims.

I say….
No ‘real Atheist’ would be fool enough to claim that it is impossible for God to exist. Only a few are arrogant enough to even insist that He does not exist. What Atheists have evidence of, is that your particular delusional description and definition of God does not, and can not, exist. The proof of that are the continued skeptical denials in the comments to your heated claims.

Thanks dear! I sincerely appreciate your reply and it got me curious. So what is the atheists’ conceptualization of God? And what’s the solid scientific evidence of such conceptualization? (P.S.: I did not actually present a description of God … but let’s assume I did anyway)

That’s it, Nada; push those goalposts back another 10 yards. Begin with the baseless assumption that they have one, and then demand not only a description, but scientific proof for something that Atheists don’t even believe exists.

I hesitate to speak for others, but I’ll try to explain Atheists’ conceptualization of God. It is very much like their conceptualization of Bigfoot, but with less hair; like fairies, without their tiny wings, much like their concept of leprechauns, but without the pot of gold.

It very much resembles the inside of a whiskey bottle, after you’ve drunk all the booze. There’s nothing there, but it distorts your perceptions, and makes you feel good.

I have heard, literally, hundreds of similar-but-different descriptions of God. Is yours like that of ‘Good Christians’, Catholic or Protestant? Does it resemble the Yahweh of Orthodox Jews? Does it agree with the Allah of observant Muslims? Heard all those and still don’t believe them. Is it like Joseph Smith’s, or L. Ron Hubbard’s, or even worse, Heaven’s Gate??! All sizzle – no steak! All claim – no proof!

If you have a definition which varies significantly from any of these, I would be most interested to hear it, likely entertained, and probably amused. 😳

So you’re saying that for atheists there’s a notion of a potentially existing God but it is also a mythical non-describable being that created all of this??!! Is that it? That’s what you prefer to and find logical to believe?
Please don’t misunderstand me for making fun, I’m genuinely bewildered

To sum up my thought: I find it incredibly bewildering that an atheist is willing to believe anything, any theory unproven yet, any ridiculous illogical argument for the non-existence of a proper All knowing Creator , but vehemently opposed to the possibility of a Creator.. it’s almost like they hate the idea with a vengeance despite all the good that may result from such a proposal, even if it was a myth that people chose to believe.

I too am genuinely bewildered. It must be all the unfounded assumptions, the sweeping claims and questions, and your tendency to put words in other people’s mouths. You ask about what Atheists think/do/feel/believe, as if they are all one cohesive bloc. There are as many opinions, as there are Atheists. The only thing that they all agree on, is that they have never been presented with a description of a God, potential or real, that they find believable. They do not find it logical, and their preference has nothing to do with it. No, I don’t ‘say that’, nor does any other real Atheist.

I am bewildered that you disapprove of Atheists supposedly believing unproven, “illogical” scientific arguments, but believe the idea of a personal God on blind faith. You don’t seem to understand the difference between the active pursuit of proof of the non-existence of God, (which can’t be done) and the passive lack of belief of claims that He does.

There are some few, usually not ‘Real Atheists’, but failed Christians, who desperately claim that He does not exist. Many Real Atheists that I know, would welcome His existence, and would have the honesty to accept Him. I mean, Who Wouldn’t? I would! – Salvation?? – Forgiveness?? – Heaven?? – Eternal Life?? There’s just that little sticking point of no real proof. The loudest of the Christian Apologists not only do not provide it, but, if you’d read my Dec. 11/19 30 Day Challenge, you’d see that some of them offer theories so crazy illogical, that disbelief is almost mandatory. 🙄

You expect me to believe that a universe that I even cannot see all of, let alone imagine its boundaries and content exists just like that… by itself.. no beginning… no instigating force… no management?

On a percentage basis, there are as many arrogant, deluded Atheists, as there are Theists. I don’t make any of the above claims. I don’t expect you to believe anything! I stated that my mind was open to evidence, and the chance of change. You clearly stated that I would not change your mind. For a self-avowed Science-lover, you seem disturbingly ill-informed. Your glass-of-water analogy shows that you don’t understand the concept of nascent properties.

Time and Space are inextricably interwound. Time only began when the hyper-dense singularity blossomed to become the Universe. Before that, it existed in a timeless, spaceless “place” where all happenings occurred simultaneously. Therefore, it could be infinitely old, yet have been ‘created’ yesterday.

The construction of your objection does not make your intent clear. Universe…. boundaries and content exists just like that The Universe is a brute fact, which must be accepted as is. It exists, and has existed, the way it does…. Because! Did you mean, ‘without an identified Creator’??

by itself.. There may have been previous Universes. Perhaps a property of that trans-dimensional space, is to occasionally shit out baby Universes. There may be an infinite number of co-temporal ‘Multiverses,’ but we can’t reach them to prove that they do, or do not, exist. Again, are you looking for a Creator?

no beginning… The ‘Beginning’ of the Universe was 13.78 Billion years ago, when the Big Bang caused the singularity to unfold, creating time and space. Before that, it was only an unrealized potential.

no management Why would it need management? The Universe possesses a number of immutable laws, which control the grand scheme. The very purpose of the variable minor details is to create change and improvement. If I plug in an electric alarm clock, it needs no management. I don’t have to reset the time each day. The Universe is not like a car, which needs to be constantly steered.

no instigating force… It is possible that an entity, existing in that non-space ‘space’ reached out a tentacle, and nudged the singularity, causing it to expand. The creature which ‘instigated’ the Universe may not have ‘created’ it. In any case, you are conflating the concept of a Creator, with a God, or in your case, Allah. Even if I specify to the existence of a being which created the Universe, I, along with many others, see no evidence of a personal God/Allah – no miracles, no answered prayers, no care or concern about what we eat, drink, think, believe, say, do, wear, or have sex with.

’20 A To Z Challenge – D

A To Z ChallengeLetter D

Death

I am the God of Hellfire and in this episode of the A to Z Challenge, I bring you

D’EATH

(deeth)
This little-known English word is almost as uncommon as the imported surname. The D’eath family originally lived in the town of Ath in Belgium. There it would have been rendered D’Ath, or De Ath, meaning from Ath. It was also occasionally an occupational name for a gatherer or seller of kindling. In this case, the name is derived from the Middle English word dethe, which in turn is derived from the Old English word dyth, which means fuel or tinder.

Families with the name D’eath might know where it came from and what it meant. The word’s other reference is to the rather sketchy occupation, whose bundles of firewood sticks known as faggots, have deteriorated into a modern insult for homosexuals. To the superstitious, this, and its similarity to the word ‘death,’ make them uneasy when they encounter it.

Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey DSO is the fictional protagonist in a series of detective novels and short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers (and their continuation by Jill Paton Walsh ). A dilettante who solves mysteries for his own amusement, Wimsey is an archetype for the British gentleman detective.

In one book, the hero investigates a suspicious fatality at a company doing sensitive government work. He poses as the man’s replacement, under the name Peter D’eath, telling the manager that he hopes it will startle the guilty party into somehow revealing himself. It was an amusing but needless literary device, because the author goes on to show that it was a prank of a mail-room teen with a slingshot – an English ‘catapult’ – which caused the man to fall down a flight of stairs.

Flash Fiction #227

Investment

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Josh’s orientation meeting at the investment firm was an eye-opener. He thought that he would be offering carefully researched stocks and bonds to willing buyers.

The Sales Manager said, “Our analysts are good, but we’re not here to make our clients rich. We’re here to collect a commission on every trade, whether they’re buying as stocks soar, or dumping when they dip. The economy works, because they believe that it works. If you sense any reluctance, turn up the volume! Give them a little song and dance. Most of them love the personal attention, and your paycheck will appreciate it.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Small Town Reality

Small Town

A recent humor post about small towns elicited some comments, questions, and not-necessarily-good memories. For those with curiosity, or defective nostalgia, here’s the real low, down.

Baskin-Robbins only has three ice cream flavors.

Corporate America has still not reached my little Canadian town. There used to be a couple of independent, Mom-and-Pop convenience stores that hand-dipped ice cream, before pre-packaged treats became available. Now they subsist by selling lottery tickets to folks dreaming about having enough money to get out.

You had to step out of the village limits in order to change your mind.

That’s a trick question. Nobody in my town changes their mind.

The nickname for the city jail is amoeba because it only has one cell.

Hah! Our town jail has two cells. One for drunken white men, and another for drunken Indians from the adjoining reservation.

McDonalds only has one Golden Arch and the nearest one is 15 miles away.

The nearest one is in the next town, 5 miles closer to the nuclear reactor, and the only source of employment left in the area.

Instead of a 7-11 they have a 3.5 – 5.5.

See ‘no corporate America’ above. 3.5 X 5.5 refers to metres – 20 by 30 feet sized convenience stores.

The New Year’s baby was born in April.

With all the screwing that’s going on, some of it even by people who are married – to each other – you’d think this would happen earlier in the year. All praise free birth-control information on the internet.

The “Welcome To” and “Thanks for Visiting “signs are front and back of the same sign.

The town has a lot of long-term summer residents – rich city folks who own expensive cottages. Neither they, nor the residents, really want transient, stay-at-a-tourist-camp visitors. There is no ‘Welcome’, or ‘Thanks’ sign. It was left to the Department of Highways to identify where drivers were with a generic sign.

You have to go to the next town to find 2nd Street….

At least there’s nothing as bland as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Street in my home-town. We have a British-type, High Street, which I was born on, as well as street names like Morpeth, Anglesia, Grosvenor, Grenville, Landsdowne, Breadlebane, and Augusta.

A “Night on the Town” only takes about ten minutes.

There are bars in two hotels on High Street, a block apart. White folks drink at one. Indians drink at the other. If you drink too long at either, your ten-minute ‘Night on the Town’ could stretch to 72 hours in the appropriate comfortably-appointed jail cell.

The Subway restaurant that serves foot-long sandwiches cannot fit within the village limits.

See ‘no corporate America’ again. There is a French-fries/hamburger/ hot-dog take-out building on the highway, behind the bank. It limps through the winter months, and produces retirement income during the summer.

You do not bother using turn signals because everyone already knows where you are going.

Laid out by British surveyors, the town has good sight-lines, and broad streets. It is one of two towns in Canada with a 100 foot-wide main street – most have 66. If you do manage to cut off a local resident, they feel free to tell you where to go.

Big social events are scheduled around when the high school gym floor is being varnished.

The local Legion is big enough to handle most ‘big’ social events. The local high school was closed in 1955, because of lack of students. The couple of dozen per year are bused five miles to the 350 student ‘District’ high school.

You call a wrong number and the person who answers can give you the correct number for the person you are trying to call..

While this was once true, the internet has become a boon, since the big Don’t-Give-A-Damn epidemic hit town.

There is no point in high-school reunions because everyone knows what everyone else is doing anyway.

This is true of those too dumb to get out. The ones who leave, just tend to disappear.
“Do you remember Bob?”
“Bob who?”
“We went to school with him.”
“You mean Rob?”
“Maybe….”
“I got no idea where he went.”

School gets canceled for Provincial sporting events.

No-one in my town was good enough at any sport to qualify for Provincial meets. Senior elementary classes are sometimes bused to District events.

It was cool to date someone from a different high-school.

It had to be from the same ‘District’ high school, but at least you could date someone from a different town – or a farm girl, who could show you alternate social uses for the hay-mow in the barn.

The golf course had only three holes.

There’s a quite-nice golf course, 2 miles out of town, where the old highway wisely bypassed this social morass, a century ago. More recently, a developer included a tournament-worthy course as a perk with his new housing subdivision, on the other side of town, right next to the Indian reservation, whose residents are wisely not allowed to be members. They are both 18-hole courses. Amusingly, just 2 miles away from my current, big-city house, is a course that the city has grown out and surrounded. It is a par-3 course.

Anyone you are looking for can be found at either the Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart, over in ‘The Big City’.

I remember when I thought that it was the cultural center of the Universe, with all of 10,000 residents.

Directions are given using the one and only stop light as a reference – after they finally installed one.

Even after they redirected the highway through the town, instead of past it, the intersection with the main street was a 4-way stop until the Department of Highways insisted on a traffic light in 1955. It’s still the only one.

Weekend excitement involves a trip to the grocery store.

1955 was a year of excitement. A Canadian-based supermarket came to town to challenge 3 little independent grocery stores. While considerable excitement can be had with bananas and cucumbers, the entire town was agog when they imported coconuts.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

My Dad was a Johnny-come-lately, carpet-bagger, non-native. My Mom left in her early teens during the dirty-Thirties, and returned as an adult. None of the teachers had been inoculated, or developed a resistance to me.

The best burgers in town are at the four-lane bowling alley.

Our bowling alley had the best burgers and 8 lanes, but was an unheated summer-only, beach bowling alley, only open from the end of May, till Labor Day. The next town down had a year-round, 4-lane alley, but no lunch bar. The best burgers were next door at the owner’s A-frame, chalet diner.

Tell us about your tiny home-town…. or the unfortunate section of big city that you grew up in.