Well, this past week we've all been to China. We've learned to pronounce once again those old names of cities we used to see on the maps of our grade school geographies Hangchow, Shanghai, Peking. And other names such as Chou En Lai, Mao Tse Tung and Chou Chu Chei, and the like. We did everything but eat with chop-sticks at the Peking Banquet. We watched our President walk the Great China Wall and chitchat with little fat-cheeked Oriental tots. But when he arrived home, the first thing the President did was to tell us we saw more of China in our living rooms, by way of Tel-Star, than he had, being there.
The week before, it was the fighting between the religious factions of Northern Ireland. And the week prior to that we were skiing and bob-sledding down the icy slopes of the mountains of northern Japan. It was all so interesting, so absorbing made possible by American Tel-Star that one could barely get his home work done. It seems that almost every night, every week, the big channels have some spectacular, or a dozen of them all lined up to occupy our personal time.
Just this last Sunday we saw an hour show, entitled, 'Time And The City', sponsored by the American Baptist Hour. It was one of the most interesting, informative and religiously-enriching documentaries we have ever viewed, depicting the history and archeology of the seven Christian Churches the Apostle John wrote to, concerning his vision on the Island of Patmos, as related in Revelations.
'If John had ignored God's mission for him, what might have happened to the early Christian Church in Asia Minor?', summed up the narrator in conclusion.
How many times human nature overlooks the Diving Plan for the trivial. Yet mere living seems to be wrapped up in the trivia of human frailty. So much so, in fact, that, if we are going to continue living our own lives, we will someday soon have to come to grips with that big electric eye in our parlors and know when to shut it off so we can attend to our own living. Otherwise we are rapidly becoming mere digits of the big ABC, CBS, NBC monoliths-reduced to mere alphabet soup, too pre-occupied with the Boob Tube to visit, go to church, read the Bible or take an interest in the schools and our children.
Little did any thresherman in days of yore ever dream he'd see his own President walk on the Great Wall of China, or skiers skiing down the icy crags of Japan, Americans walking on the Moon and dust storms swirling around the craters of the planet Mars right in his living room. Now our scientists are sending a space ship to Jupiter, a journey of twenty-two months and millions of miles. Who knows, we may unravel the mysteries of the Great Red Spot which our most powerful telescopes have been observing on the largest planet in our solar system.
What a day we are living in, fraught with unspeakable wonders! Yet we live in danger of losing our own souls because of it. We are sacrificing the humanities of neighborliness, personal culture, the adventure of living our own lives before the altar of the one-eyed monster that dominates the decor of our living rooms. Gone is the old upright piano around which folks used to gather, to play and sing the homey songs of yesteryear. Gone are the regular visits of the Sunday School Class that brightened our lives with singing, playing games, munching pop corn and fall apples. Where are the kids, lying on the front room floor working on their next day's school lessons? Junior no longer practices his weekly piano lesson on the parlor grand, or sister Kate the violin which used to enrich the family ties. Instead, kids recite word-perfect the dizzy commercial repeated over and over ad nauseum while every member of the household draws up their favorite chair for another NBC Special. Another evening is gone. The world seems closer, yet larger, and every individual human a little smaller.
That is one reason so many go to the steam engine reunions each summer. To get away from it all. To revive the lost humanities, the friendships and neighborliness we all have missed so much. Men get old engines and work on them to make them run like new again, while others come to watch and hear and yell at the engineer.
Come to think of it, I guess that's why I collect a few old phonographs an old Victrola, a Columbia, and Edison. And since our last writing, I have come into possession of a tall C-250 Chippendale, right around the corner from where we live, which was known as the Official Laboratory Model of the old Edison Factories. I remember seeing only one other of these models, and that was when I was a little boy. I looked around for a long while before finding one. But no sooner had I gotten it than a fellow wrote from Iowa that he had one and would sell it. What quirks life plays on us mortals!
I invited our neighbor boy in to look and listen to it. I played one of the big thick discs, and the tones were as natural as life. How the deaf Mr. Edison discovered the secrets of getting natural tone out of a wooden box, long before Victrola and others, I'll never fathom. But he did. The neighbor boy began looking around at the back and sides of the big, tall Edison which towered higher than he.
'Where does it plug in?' he asked, rather stunned, when he discovered I cranked it instead.
I like the old phonographs as contrasted to the radio and T-V. First of all, I can choose my own music as I want it. Second, I have to get up off my fanny and change records and crank it which offers the double benefit of exercising my pounds off and making me earn my pleasure. Best of all, NBC isn't telling me what I have to look at and listen to. And when it's silent, it's as beautiful and dignified to merely look at as the lines of any steam engine I've ever seen. Let's face it. The old boys knew how to make things well, to work and last. No plastics hereon pre-fab junk to fall apart. What radio or T-V did modern man ever fabricate to last as long and play as perfectly now as the day it came from the factory sixty years ago?
Before the 33 rpm records came into vogue, I used to derive much enjoyment playing a big Victor Orthophonic I purchased second-hand for only twenty dollars. I practically got a musical education from the fine artists on that wonderful old phonograph. But I loaned it to my older brother, and, after he had passed on, I discovered, to my sadness, he had removed all the innards, using the cabinet for storage.
I still have the lovely full-length cabinet, with its many memories. The big, flat lid always let down very slowly by means of double air-check valves. I did manage to salvage the fine electric motor that ran the turntable. All the rest of the big Orthophonic was a- cousticnon-electrically amplified. But its big speaker, reaching from the floor to the top of the cabinet, made you feel you were right in the concert hall. If only I could find a similar speaker and parts from another model, just like it, I would try and rebuild my big Orthophonic phonograph. Or if some reader would happen to have a similar model for sale, I would appreciate hearing about it, if not too far away.
Anyway, I have this one more phonograph to go either repair my present cabinet, or buy another and then my collection stops.
Did I say earlier that we humans are preoccupied with trivia? Yes and I am one of the most guilty. This I feel more keenly each evening as, before retiring, I read a chapter or two of the Bible. How man's real mission in life should be that of helping his neighbor and every creature he comes in contact with to a better life. Sometimes, instead of the Bible, I read Halley's Handbook of the Bible. Mr. Henry H. Halley was one of the great interpreters of the Bible, having compiled a little compact volume for easy carrying and handling. And he continued his work till he was well up into his nineties. Last night, not being able to find my Bible handy, I read the Halley account of the crucifixion. Mr. Halley possessed a very effective insight into the background of the Bible. For instance, he relates how Jesus was tied to a post, in a stooping fashion, and lashed with leather thongs with tips of metal in them, till the back became a bloody mass. Often prisoners died with such floggings. On the cross He endured Hell, that we might be saved from going there. His own closest followers stood afar off, thinking that since he was going to die, the Kingdom He preached about was going to come to an early end. Only the one thief, hanging on a similar cross at His side, repented, and seemed to believe enough in His Kingdom to ask Him, 'Lord, when you come into your Kingdom, remember me.'
To him Jesus replied, 'I say unto you, today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.'
A repentant thief, in his last gasping breath, became more faithful a Christian than those who had followed closely in His own personal ministry. What miracles the Christian Faith can perform. God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. Dying for our sins, He took yet another sinner with Him to heaven.
And speaking of helping our fellow men, I want to repeat the benefits of taking Wheat Germ for strengthening the heart. More and more the evidence is piling up how Wheat Germ can rebuild the heart. Get a bottle of Wheat Germ capsules, at almost any drug store, and take a couple each morning. It's only a natural food, not a medicine. You need no prescription. Men used to not have the heart trouble they now have since we've been eating white flour with the Wheat Germ taken out. Now it's our worst killer in America.
Also acquire the habit of taking a couple teaspoons of granular Lecithin at each meal. It's delicious, melts in the mouth, has a grainy, wheat-like flavor, is made of soy bean, and helps clear cholesterol out of the blood vessels. It also is good for clearing the mind and memory, a benefit to the entire body. You can get Lecithin (granular form) at almost all drug stores and Health Food Stores. Just look around and inquire. You'll find it.
Blackstrap Molasses (not refined) is a great health food. You can mix it with many foods, but I take mine with a little water. It has many beneficial minerals, and is also a great help in arthritis. Health Food Stores have it. Elevators use it in livestock feed. We ought to think as much about our own health as we do our livestock. Take a tablespoon or two each day.
By all means, if you want a lift of good feeling in life, get a bottle of Brewers Yeast tablets. Take four at each mealtime. Don't use Baker's Yeast. That's not so good for you. You can get Brewers Yeast at many drug stores now. More people have come to demand health foods, and the drug stores are now beginning to stock some now that people are becoming more health-food conscious instead of taking so much laboratory medicine.
Always give Nature time to heal. She works slowly. And remember, you didn't get the way you are overnight either. That took plenty of time, too-living the wrong way.
Here of late I've been taking some long walks each night before retiring. It's like discovering new life all over again. I started out walking only a few blocks say six or eight, then ten. Each night I lengthened the trek, and now I walk about twenty or more blocks at a time. Walking is considered to be the best all-around exercise we can indulge in. For years I have devised mechanical means for re-aligning my spine from an injury received as a boy. It became so serious that, when I was only in my twenties, I was able to get out of bed in the morning only by using my shoulder and arm muscles. The bottom portion of my body was in such pain I could barely move. For the last few years, I have left off using my 'back stretcher', after it had accomplished its main objective of re-aligning my spine. Now I have even tapered off with the five-hundred or more body-twisting exercises each evening, and get my main exercise from walking. Walking is not only less boring than routine exercises in one place, but I am finding that it tones up all the muscles of the body, and the last remaining effects of my old sacroiliac trouble have all but disappeared, including the hemorrhoids which usually plague such cases.
Learn to walk all over again! We Americans always hop into a car to travel to the next block. Let's take a lesson from our new China friends. They ride bicycles instead of cars. That's great exercise and fun too. But walking beats them all. It gives poise, stamina, and helps strengthen a weak back, as well as stimulates the entire circulatory system. But keep at it, each evening. If you do much walking in the daytime, your neighbors will phone the asylum. Do it at night. You can think better, too. And each night you'll get a little better, till in a few weeks you won't think it's the same person doing it.
Let's help the body help itself. Good natural food supplements, good exercise.
And now here's one. For the last couple years I actually thought I was going deaf in my left ear. I found it difficult listening to my Edison music and conversation. Several weeks ago I began massaging the left side of my neck. The hearing came back. Now it's here to stay. Try massaging thoroughly the side of your neck, beneath the affected ear. Many times people think they're going deaf in one ear, when it's only stoppage in the Eustachian tubes. Massage the throat deeply and firmly. It won't cost you any more that way. And you don't need a drug store prescription to do it!