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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, May 14 2001

Procedural notes

You'll notice that today's mailing has a somewhat altered look. I can't describe it because I'm not sure how altered it will look until we all receive it. But the sad news is that for our purposes another list server has bitten the dust. After only weeks after leaving Microsoft's Listbot because it couldn't accommodate the size of our posts, to join Topica, now Topica has announced the same kind of policy change. If you hadn't been affected by the downturn in the Internet economy before now, those of you on this list have now seen at least one of its effects.

The only recourse is to maintain our own list and send the Jonal/Postcards out ourselves, even though the robot features of Listbot and Topica made that easier on me. Still, we're only 130 members and it has been growing only slowly, so it shouldn't be a task I can't keep up with. End of procedural note.

Another "surrogate mom"

Before leaving last week's topic, mothers and motherhood, I want to share a little memoir about another "surrogate" mother besides the one already published about my "Aunt Tommy."

Probably every young man who's gone to live in a boarding house has some stories to tell, but none of mine are cause of regret, humiliation, or embarrassment. When I left Nanty Glo and the Journal to become managing editor of the international weekly Christian Beacon at age 23, I was invited to live in the large house owned by a widow in the New Jersey church whose pastor was my employer. Mrs. Elsie Langley was a generous and gregarious 50-something mother of two grown sons of her own (close to my own age), one of whom was married and living in a nearby town and the other was a scholarly undergraduate at a New England college.

Being very green but considering myself quite sophisticated (I had been a teen columnist for five years and a local newspaper editor already, after all), I wasn't quite sure what to make of Mrs. Langley and no doubt I was affected by stories I'd heard from my father's generation and my older brothers about their landladies. But Mrs. Langley was a fine Christian woman who was enterprising enough to take a couple of boarders into her home and without apology tried to play the mother role for them in absentia.

Besides myself, a since lifelong close friend whom I met there was Larry Miller, who was heading the national effort to influence Congress to pass a prayer-and-Bible-reading-in-public-schools amendment to counter the then-recent Supreme Court decision ending the longstanding practice in states including Pennsylvania, and an elderly lady in advanced stages of senility. Miss Lay, the old lady, was still able to get around the house well, but never did get to know Larry or me. One of us was residing in a bedroom that housed some furniture and many books from Miss Lay's late brother, who'd been a Philadelphia-area M.D. When she would see me or Larry in the room that she thought was her brother's, she would always say in a stage whisper to Mrs. Langley, "Mrs. Langley, Mrs Langley! There's a strange man in my brother's room." Mrs. Langley always explained it to Miss Lay, but it never did get through to her. It was a condition that neither Larry nor I had seen before and we found very funny, though in fact it was more tragic than laughable.

Larry got married, back home in Indiana state, after a few months, and we've visited and kept in touch with each other ever since. I stayed on at Mrs. Langley's, at least part of the time, for another three and a half years. One part of her "generosity" was that she charged us $25 a week room and board, and if we were out over night (the "boss" was the CEO of a major resort hotel on the shore, that we often stayed in as his guest), or even if we missed a meal, she would subtract the portion of that day's board from our bill.

Even though Mrs. Langley often joked about serving in loco parentis for me, it wasn't until I finally got engaged and planned my wedding there in her church, which had since become my own and my fiance's parish, too. that I came to appreciate her as a substitute mother. She put on a wonderful wedding shower for us, entertained (at no charge) my mother when she traveled to the wedding, and even hosted a rehearsal night party for the members of the wedding party.

After moving west shortly after the wedding, we heard very little from Mrs. Langley; perhaps a Christmas card or two. I've kept in touch sporadically with her scholar son, with whom I've always shared many interests. I'm assuming she has long since gone to her "reward" (which she often referred to), but she has certainly won a permanent place in my heart. And her generosity toward people needing hospitality has greatly affected my own policy, as I've had many roomers living in my homes, off and on, ever since. Though twice widowed and living on a small limited income, Mrs. Langley was wise in budgeting and planning, often vacationing in Europe on group tours or on her own, another way she influenced me...her creativity in being able to do that early convinced me that, at least by the time I was her age, I would find a way to travel, too.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Statistics show...

Number of physicians in the United States: 700,000
Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year: 120,000
Accidental deaths per physician: 0.171 (U.S.Dept.of Health & Human Services)
Number of gun owners in the United States: 80,000,000
Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups): 1,500
Accidental deaths per gun owner: 0.0000188 (Benton County News Tribune, November 17, 1999)
Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.
"Remember—not everyone has a gun, but everyone has at least one Doctor."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Great words of wisdom. . .Modern Proverbs

The best way to get even is to forget.

Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.

God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

Sent by Zan
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