THEM versus US

When the recess bell rang on the first day of school, not one of the fifty children in my first grade classroom moved. We didn’t know what to do. Sister Donna said, “That bell is telling us that it is time for you to go outside to run and play in the fresh air. In the closet by the door, I have jump ropes and balls. When the bell rings again, you have to come back to the classroom and put the balls and jump ropes away.”

Some of my classmates knew each other, so they went out to the playground holding hands. On the playground I watched the other little girls jumping rope and talking. There was something different about some of them. I didn’t really understand what it was, though.

I felt clean and neatly dressed and this morning my hair had even been combed right after I’d gotten out of bed. However, it seemed that some of the other children were more…I didn’t have the word for it… somehow like they were ALWAYS neat and clean. One said to me, “I’m hungry. I wonder what they will serve for lunch?”

Frowning, I wondered, “Lunch?” I had never heard of a meal called, lunch. In my world there was breakfast, dinner and supper. Puzzled, I asked, “Do you mean dinner?”

Looking at me with surprise, the girl answered, “No, for lunch. Dinner is what we eat with the family in the evening.”

That was the day I learned that there were differences between farm kids and town kids. THEY ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, while farmers like US had breakfast, dinner and supper. Thinking of dinner as an evening meal was hard for me to fathom. Did Jesus have a last dinner or a last supper?

One of the things that make life interesting and enjoyable is people’s diversity. Everyone likes to do things their own way and speak in the manner they learned while growing up. As much as we are diverse in some things, we are alike in many others. Human nature has hard-wired men to behave in certain ways, just as it has hard-wired women to behave in another way.

It took a trip to Canada with my husband and uncle one fall for me to zero in on a male idiocentricity perplexing to all women. They react to stressful situations differently than women, completely, absolutely and insanely differently.

We took our boat out on a cold, overcast day. After crossing one body of water, Arnie and Bob decided that they wanted to fish in the next lake over. To me, both bodies of water looked gray and extremely cold. I thought the fish in one lake would be just as good as the fish in the next.

We had to portage to get to the next lake. Happily, there was a mechanical portage. I’d never seen a mechanical portage, so I looked forward to the experience. What it turned out to be was a large rubber conveyor belt. Our boat sat on the belt as it slowly turned up and over a strip of land between the lakes. Once the boat floated in the new waters, we took off to find a good bay for fishing.

Men never want to fish in the closest bay. It HAS to be the farthest one away. In the middle of this lake we suddenly discovered that water was leaking into the boat, up through the floor boards. We were ankle deep when Arnie stopped to see what was wrong. Sitting on the bow with my feet pulled up beneath me, I put on my life jacket and considered the icy water lapping around us for half a mile in all directions.

Bob said, “The lift must have knocked out the boat plug.”

Arnie said, “I think I have a spare.” He began to dig around in his tackle box. He found it! When he turned to lean over the back of the boat to plug the hole, he realized that the water splash-fins had to be removed first.

An eternity passed as he unscrewed the plastic shields. The boat began settling lower and lower into the water. Bob said, “We better run the boat to get as much of the water out as we can.”

Arnie turned on the engine and off we roared. We stopped again when the water was down. He leaned over the back of the boat and replaced the plug. We were safe. There would be no icy dip into the water for us that day. Suddenly Arnie and Bob began to laugh uproariously.

Sitting on the bow of the boat with my arms wrapped around my knees, I thought, “If that isn’t like men! They were just as scared as I was! Did they show it? No! Laughter is their way of blowing off their fright, while all I wanted to do is cry! That was just the difference between Them and US.






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