Babies are family too


Ever since Dave became a grandpa, he has been positively ebullient about children and babies, and never passes up an opportunity to goo-goo in the sometimes startled face of a tyke in a grocery cart or a car seat.

I keep an eye on him, lest a young mother misreads his approach. He’s harmless, I want to say, and soon Mama relaxes and enjoys the attention paid her priceless treasure. And usually the tot responds with a gurgle.

Baby-watching is a pastime that can be carried out in church as well. We all adore the baby being baptized, remembering when his or her mother was carried to this very font, reveling in the sense of family the sacrament invokes.

They are our children, even if we can’t even name the parents. The pastor parades the newly minted Christian around the church for all of us to admire and, of course, a chorus of oohs and ahs fills the nave.

Last Sunday we extended family members got a good laugh to go with our sense of divine foster grandparenting. (Epiphany of the day: Dave likes sitting up front because he can satisfy his pleasure of watching an occasional Baptism and the children’s sermon.)

Spring break had reduced attendance somewhat and only a few children marched up for the children’s sermon. Most were 7- to 10-year-olds, but there weren’t many present. Some kids think they’re too old for a children’s story besides.

Nonetheless, the pastor had their attention when he mentioned that his daughter told him that she and a friend had baked brownies, and offered him one from a plate covered with aluminum foil.

And when the pastor picked up a plate covered with aluminum foil and began to open it to the children, one more youngster could be heard tearing up the carpet in his haste to join the little group. He was maybe 4, and was wearing a golfer’s cap. He plunged into the circle between two taller children and stood there with a look on his face that said, “I was coming up. I’m just a little late.”

“That’s all right,” Pastor said, and in the midst of what had become a very tight circle of friends, began pulling the wrapping off the plate. The quickest of the bunch extended fingers to take a brownie – but what they got was a piece of brown paper with an E on it.

Looks of disappointment replaced the anticipation on their eager faces. “What’s the matter?” the pastor said. “They’re brown E’s, aren’t they?”

The grace of the guy was such that the kids were soon laughing along with the congregation, and no one seemed seriously wounded by the April Fool’s joke. I sure wished I could see the miniature golfer’s face when the trap was sprung, but he must have turned to go back to his parents via another aisle.

No animals were injured in the preparation or testing of this product, as the saying goes, and I bet a certain little Bobbie Jones will reconsider his weekly trip to the altar for the children’s sermon.

I may already have shared some small town newspaper archives with you. What little filing I do has frayed apart and I don’t seem to have a filing plan at all. Some of these may have already appeared.

Feb. 21, 1884

The guests at the Commercial Hotel have the pleasure of writing their letters on a new advertising desk, of unique and handsome workmanship.
Charley Hitchcock and Charley Wells commenced the week on Monday pugnaciously and brought up at the mayor’s office, where they were fined $2 each and costs.

A street vampire was on our streets last Saturday, running a soap lottery where you buy 2 cents worth of soap for a quarter, and if enough soap is bought, somebody gets a $5.00 bill. The fact that the best Headlight coal oil being available at the city bakery, not the hardware or livery stable, struck me as rather odd. Also, Mr. Scott’s profession peaked my interest.

February 18, 1886

J.H. Morse, Esq., has employed a stenographer — Miss Louise V. Dietrich of the Oswego (NY) Photographic Institute. Any persons who desire copying done upon a type-writing machine can have it done satisfactorily by her.

The city well which is being put in for the waterworks will undoubtedly find an ample supply of water. At a depth of some 30’ a strong vein of water was reached and Messrs Trimble and Grayson, the contractors, were obligated to get a steam pump to get the water out fast enough to work.

Write me with hints that would simplify my alleged filing system: