Leave Room

Working the cryptogram today, I came across this quote:

“If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water’s edge” — Napoleon Hill

I was forty years old, but every time I walked into my mother’s house, I felt like I was ten. She remembered all my childhood shortcomings and transgressions. It seemed that I would never be free of them.

It didn’t feel like she could acknowledge that I was truly an adult, that I might have knowledge and expertise in some areas that could be of assistance to her.  She was friendly and loving, but not really my friend.

Over the years, that situation eventually changed, and we became very good friends. We traveled together and enjoyed one another immensely. But it was not an easy transition. It was difficult for me to quit feeling like a child. And it was difficult for her to see me as an adult – essentially an equal. And when it came to taking advice, she took it from people in her age group, even though I had professional training and knowledge in that field.

This is true on many levels.  From time to time, someone will do something that has negative impact on our lives. It may be deliberate, or it may be totally accidental. But the effect is negative, and we tend to remember those incidents for a very long time.

We remember the person as the one who hurt us. We can exacerbate that incident by concentrating on the negative effects. Or we can mitigate the effects of the incident by forgiving and letting go.

Letting go of the memory sometimes works against us because we have forgotten that the person was untrustworthy, and we can be hurt again.

But it also allows for that person to grow and change. I was not the same person at forty that I was at ten. None of us is. We all grow and change to some degree or another.

Jesus says:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  ~~  2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

Seeing the faults and shortcomings of others is easy.

But don’t let us set them in concrete. Let’s leave room for others to grow and change.



From My Back Porch – Part 8

My back porch was not idle very long after the newly weds were transferred. Our next tenant was military personnel, a Lieutenant and his wife and their dog. He was stationed at the army base a few miles west of us.

His wife was a very beautiful girl. We got along well together, our visiting of course was done inside our quarters, for there was not much room for more than four people at a time in the apartment.

The dog was coal black and she always cleaned his feet before bringing him in from the daily walk on a leash with her. Otherwise he was in the porch most of the time. He was so well behaved one never knew he was around. In the evening they would take him out on the back lawn and all three would play ball. Blackie really enjoyed these romps.  We  would sometimes watch these games and really enjoyed watching. I am not too much for having animals in the house, but Blackie never did any harm inside, and they kept him so clean there was never any odor in the apartment.

La Delia had beautiful blond hair and always went dressed, ready for going out or any thing. It almost put me to shame the way I have to dress. I cannot do yard work or laundry in a spick and span house dress. I’ve got to really have on work clothes. Some women can work and look like they have just emerged from the proverbial band box, but not me.

La Delia spent a lot of her time with me. And the evenings that the Lieutenant would be at home, they would have a game of bridge with us or maybe a session of table tapping. which prove to be a prime source of fun.

Tim, the Lieutenant, got the biggest kick out of it. When he would get certain answers from the table, he would jump up and run around the table laughing and saying “Just wait til I tell the boys at the base about this. Will we have fun!” I hope they did, for it was not too long before their turn came to move.

I still can’t see through levitation anyway and I don’t understand it. I was a very strong skeptic until I had played all sides of the table.  My good neighbor is a firm believer in the truths of the table’s answers, and I must admit that it hit the nail on the head enough times to make me wonder if there is really some occult power that sees all and knows things that the other two players can’t possibly know.

These things come to memory as I sit with my coffee in my back porch.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, more than half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Date is 1960-something.

** WWII was a time when people sought all kinds of reassurances – including a revival of spiritualism of which table tapping is a part. It was used as a parlor game, easy, cheap and diversionary. All one needed was four chairs, a card table and some friends with questions. You could pass an entire evening without spending any money or using any ration coupons. Sometimes the answers from the table were accurate enough to have you questioning whether there was a force on “the other side” that knew all and told all.

In fact, God is the one who knows all. But Satan is a master counterfeiter. He can and does mimic God in enough ways to fool those who are not firmly grounded in the Word.  The occult is real, it simply isn’t the real truth. Having been a part of some of those sessions as a child, I had to work through recognizing the occult for what it was.


All the questions that made a difference in those sessions were rooted in fear. Fear is a lie of the enemy. It doesn’t come from God. But the war played on our fears and people grasped at straws.  I’m grateful that we grew beyond those years.

My Back Porch

Some folks have their Shang-ri-la.

Thoreau had his Walden Pond.

But I have my back porch.

How I love to sit in my back porch in the early morning drinking my one cup of coffee. It seems to be all the breakfast that I need since I am gown older.  And especially after a night of thundershowers, such as we had last night, before I have the coffee, there is the chore of resetting the electric clocks that always lose time when there is a lot of lightening.

Each one has a personality of its own. There is the ornate leaf one in the dining room that has to be lifted down from its hook to get at the resetting button on the back. Why I did not look into that problem when I was buying I’ll never know, for the clock is an awkward thing to handle alone.

The one in the kitchen – now that one is a dilly. I have to hunt up a pair of pliers every time it rains in order to pull down on its resetting stem.

The radio clock is easy to correct, but the bedroom clock is another matter. You wind it each night, and it gains twenty minutes in every twelve hours. So I’d say that I am a pretty good clock watcher.

Back to the back porch. Now, I am ready to settle down with the coffee.

The porch is really a glassed in two rooms now, but it is always referred to as the back porch. I open the window on the south end and the larger one on the west side, which make it almost like being out doors.

I can see several homes of my friends across the streets in two directions, and sometimes I get to enjoy the aroma of their breakfast coffee and the frying bacon.

I see my lawn and all the large shade trees on this side of the yard that ring me in – almost like the young sleeping beauty – except I am no longer young. And I am wide awake.

Most of the fine trees are elms and have grown such heavy foliage that the yard is in perpetual shade. They will have to have a drastic trimming some day.

From the back porch I can see the red buds and the flowering crab, the pear tree and the walnut tree so straight and tall with limbs straight out, just right for a swing, if there is ever a need for one again.

The golden delicious apple tree that was Dad’s pride and joy is dead. He would be terribly disappointed if he were still here.

The trees add so much freshness to the morning air, and it’s an ever recurring joy to watch the birds going about their business, singing and happy.

The silver poplar that I just had to have a few years ago like the others has grown apace and has proven to be a pest. Unlike the others that only need trimming, this one has to be killed. It’s roots are running all over the yard, sending up young trees. We are painting the tree with something that is supposed to kill roots and all because I was told they would ruin the sewer line.  So I am sacrificing a beautiful tree in the interest of modern necessity.

My back porch is now a lovely place to be. Its light walls and floor, green matchstick drapes, white wrought iron fern stands, TV table and chair make it quite comfortable. It was not always thus.

And thereby hangs a tale.

This essay was written by my grandmother, Lucile Ann Bigler, probably half a century ago. It was found, undated, in a small box of her manuscripts.  Probable date is 1960-something.