April 2004 No. 2

 

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HEAVILIN HERALD
CARTHAGE, MO AND MEMPHIS, TN
 
I have been pondering how I can communicate to each of you the culture adjustment we have been going through over the past few weeks.
As residents of California for nearly thirty-eight years, transplants from the Midwest, I am beginning to realize we have experienced a gradual mindset change. The world has certainly changed in our lifetime, i.e. morals, worship styles, religious tolerance, political standards, economic standards, entertainment expectations, and  racial positions, but I began to think that every place in this country was like California.
Recently Glen and I visited Precious Moments Park. We attended the Fountain of the Angels program in which Christian music, pictures, and positions are presented with no apology. I looked around, wondering how many people would get up and walk out or if we would meet protesters as we walked out. Not a person moved. We visited the Precious Moments Chapel which is filled with stained glass pictures depicting stories of the Old and New Testament, and spotted no dissenters.
 

We had the joy of meeting a tour guide who stated her husband had died ten years earlier and that she and her husband had become friends with Sam Butcher, the creator of Precious Moments figurines. As we introduced ourselves to Joette, she shared that the book, Roses In December had been of great comfort to her. That always makes me feel good to know that little book just keeps on truckin'.
And at the same time we were told that public servants such as police and fire persons in our little town of Redlands, CA are being asked to remove the cross from their sleeve patches because someone is threatening to take the city to court for the mixing of church and state. The cross has been included in the city logo forever to represent all of the churches that have played a part in the city's history.
While in Carthage, we entered an antique store, followed others to the back of the store, paid the $5 each for our tickets, and entered a large room in which we found rows of chairs. We had a choice of styles of chairs; kitchen, padded, overstuffed, wooden, rocking, or folding. The room looked like a storage room in an abandoned barn.

 

The memorabilia that wasn't good enough to sell in the antique store became a piece of decor for the back room. In front was a very make shift stage. A piece of muslin rigged to a pulley served as a curtain. Nothing matched, including the performers outfits.  When the curtain was pulled back, our applause welcomed the performers, The Tri-County Connection, and an hour or so later,

 

The Black Mountain Boys, two hours of great blue grass and gospel music....all for $5. Once again, the thing that impressed me was that each group included Christian music and no one seemed to mind; in fact, they seemed to appreciate it and even to expect it. The musicians were there, not for the huge salaries; we calculated they possibly earned $25 each, but they were there because they loved to sing. We are learning to enjoy a much simpler life in many ways.
On the other side, I have observed that denominational barriers infrequently exist in California.  All of a sudden I am hearing people judge churches by their theological positions such as pre-trib, post- trib, mid-trib, baptism by sprinkling or immersion. I must admit those issues had become so insignificant to me that my only denomination/theological division had become evangelical or liberal. My thinker still works that way.
I have also noticed racial prejudice and segregation are alive and well the further south and east we go. Living in California has enabled me to be quite color blind, and I am grateful.
As I have entered Midwestern restaurants, I have so longed for California where we never have to be asked, "Smoking or nonsmoking?" Why is it that the smoking section always seems to begin just over the partial wall from where you are sitting?
I feel as though we are traveling through many foreign countries. Each state has its own standards, beliefs, traditions, and in many ways its own language.
As we arrived in Memphis we revisited my favorite place....Graceland!

 

Elvis wasn't home, but we went in any way. What fun! The tour is much improved since my last visit with hand held recorders so that each visitor can walk through at their own pace.
We stayed at Tom Sawyer's RV park right on the Mississippi River.

 

I saw many barges, but Tom's raft never came by. The next day our friends Vicki and Wally Swanson joined us as we visited the Mud Island River walk, a scale model of the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf. Then we had lunch on Beale Street.

 

Wednesday we visited the National Civil Rights Museum and guess what we saw?  A picketer, protesting the Civil Rights Museum!!!
That evening we attended an Andre' Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra concert. Andre' entertained the audience in his wonderful European fashion. Instead of the obligatory one piece encore, he performed at least six encore numbers.
One of the things we are noticing is even though the news is reporting an unemployment crisis, we see "Help Wanted" signs in nearly every town we enter.
And the best news is we are paying about $1.55 for gas!

 
Marilyn Heavilin
author of Roses In December

 

 

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This pagewas last updated 4/13/04 ęCopyright 2002-2004 Marilyn Willett Heavilin