SOUR BERRIES, GOLD STRIPS, AND TOILET PAPER ROLLS
The “lesson” today began with a curmudgeonly encounter with sour berries, two gold strips, and a toilet paper roll.
Lesson # 1 – “New” doesn’t always mean better.
In fact, in this benighted century, “new” almost always means worse. Or greatly diminished.
“New” ways of doing things, “new tricks,” almost always means cutting corners, cutting quality — and caring more for the Bottom Line than for people.
My first encounter with the “new” came in the form of many, many pints of berries, raspberries and strawberries. Good price. Good for juicing and freezing in little cups.
I did it. I did all the work. Then I tasted the juice. Ick! Sour, tasteless berry juice. I know berries grow in the summer . . . but if they sell them now in the winter, doesn’t that mean they’ve come from warmer climates? Southern places? Greenhouses? Aren’t they still berries?
It’s “new” to be able to buy berries out of season . . . but what are these? Maybe the “new” way of growing doesn’t give the berries the ability to include their natural sugar.
The second encounter was with the gold strips.
I was putting away Christmas cards – and envelopes – and was delighted to see a couple envelopes made with a heavy gold lining, like the “good” cards we used to send to special people.
Only the gold lining didn’t go all the way through.
Just two little strips on the back and front, inside the envelope, to make it look like the envelope was just as elegant as they always used to be.
Not a really big deal, I guess, but the “little girl” in me felt tricked by this “new” way of saving money. I felt a little sadness at this diminution of quality.
Yeah . . . the “new” toilet paper rolls. The cardboard roll at the right is a sad reminder that the size and thickness of these rolls has also decreased — to the point that my old patterns for using toilet paper rolls in crafts: Brownies, Girl Scouts, first-grade classroom art projects, and those silly little crocheted dress forms that you make to put on a little girl’s bedspread . . . You can’t use these smaller, flimsier imitation rolls in those patterns . . .
And how about having NO rolls at all (like the white thing on the left)? Doesn’t work quite as well as they’d like us to believe.
To those people who thought up these “new” ideas: TREES ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE!!!! Making paper products employs American workers of many skills!! Paper companies produce something of worth and add value to our economy. Don’t be afraid to use paper — it adds; it doesn’t waste anything! (Of course, I’m not speaking about thoughtless “wastefulness.”)
Am I being a curmudgeon? Maybe. But sometimes I wonder, how much lower do we have to let the quality of everyday things get? Paying a little bit more for smaller quantities. Buttons and seams that come unthreaded . . . . “Newspapers that have one-tenth of the words newspapers are expected to have. We’ve all had these “encounters.” What will we see ten years down the road?
Lesson # 2 –
Yes, this is about Epiphany – the entire season of Epiphany, the one that has been diminished by the modern “new-improved” version of the Church.
Wherever you find Christendom today, you’ll observe that today is an important day on the Liturgical Calendar. It is the Octave of Epiphany. That is, the Church (the real, actual Church), has given us eight days to learn, relearn, and more deeply learn the lessons of Epiphany.
After all, only a child would want to look at the Three Wise Men and then quickly move on to “something else.” There is much more to Epiphany to the adult mind — and we need at least an octave of days to consider it all.
I didn’t write about the three main points of epiphany this year. Many others have done so, and I wasn’t physically able to do so. But just to point out, though, the three events that Epiphany offers us are
- The visitation of the Wise Men
- The changing of water into wine at Cana
- The baptism of Jesus
All three events demonstrate to us some aspect of the divinity of Jesus, who was presented to us at the very beginning of the Gospels. All three events have significant meaning for our eternal life, in the next world.
I’m not writing about those events, however; I’m just calling attention to a diminished and weakened presentation of the Gospel story which obscures the splendor and majesty of Jesus, the Son of God. You can’t squish a whole octave into one Sunday morning sermon on the day of Epiphany.
The “new” way of having just one day of Epiphany is not a better way! So much we no longer know!!! So much quality slipping through our hands.
The burden of the effort is on us to recover . . . quality.