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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, March 21 2001

Play, one more time

Spring has sprung, at least on the calendar. As I write this, it's about 75 degrees outside my office in California; 40 in Johnstown according to the Home Page weather watcher. (But don't worry, it will be 85 in Western Pennsylvania before it gets there in the Bay Area, if usual spring weather prevails. May always strikes me here as the equivalent of what March used to be there...winter's last hurrah.

I'm running out of ideas for play, so unless emails bring something by mid-Wednesday, our next topic will be "work," which has already been broached in this discussion and seems a natural successor.

For today, we have an emailed contribution from reader Suzanne Webb:

We made the rubber band guns you described in your first article and had a great time with them. We also did the water balloon battles all kids seem to do...but one of my happier memories is when my dad helped us make a kite with tree branches, newspaper and homemade paste with a tail torn from old sheets or a shirt...and, then, took the time to help us sail it.

I had forgotten making kites as homemade toys, though like the homemade whistles my efforts at it were hardly ever successful. And water balloon fights didn't catch up with me until college, or seminary, unless I've forgotten.

One of the most noticeable differences between our children's generation and our own years as children is the changing attitudes toward toy guns. Not only do many child development people condemn them, they have in some instances been downright dangerous as law enforcement has mistaken them for the real thing. Cap guns were in every boy's toy drawer then; I never see them now.

Another, and to-me inexplicable, change is that children don't seem to play marbles these days. There were at least two marble-playing seasons every year in my childhood, in the fall and spring. Any theories of why this has become passe?

Some questions to put on the table for the work discussion: Is there, as Joe Gordon posited several weeks back, a particular western Pennsylvania or coalfields work ethic and, if so, how does it compare with others? Do you play at work and, if so, how? Or is your work itself "play," as the old Loretta Young Show used to espouse?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Marriage Counseling

A husband and wife were at a party chatting with some friends when the subject of marriage counseling came up. "Oh, we'll never need that. My husband and I have a great relationship," the wife explained. "He was a communications major in college and I majored in theater arts. He communicates real well, and I just act like I'm listening."

Sent by John Sardell

Lenten thought

We ought to learn the virtues through practicing them, not merely through talking about them, so that by acquiring the habit of them we do not forget what is of benefit to us. "The kingdom of God," St. Paul says, "resides not in words but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20). For he who tries to discover things through actual practice will come to understand what gain or loss lies in any activity he pursues.

St. Peter of Damascus, eighth century

Quoted in the Philokalia

Lenten thoughts (i.e., pertaining to repentance and spiritual growth, from any faith-community perspective) are solicited from readers.

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