âš½ I spent 43 years of my life working at the local shipyard. I have been retired for 14 years and, as such things go, I have forgotten a lot about those years, but I havenâ€™t forgotten how important Fridays & Sundays were during those times.
Each Friday I would get out of bed around 6 a.m., head for the bathroom to wash my face and to shave, and then get ready for work. Friday always put an extra hop in each step because Friday nights were always fun, and Saturdays allowed me to do anything I wanted. Most of us know that the anticipation of a vacation to some far-off place is almost as good as the actual trip itself. Thatâ€™s why planning is so important: it allows you to experience the joy of anticipation and lets you double down on how enjoyable that vacation is going to be. The same applies to anticipating the weekend on Friday mornings.
Now, as a retired person, you would think I would have difficulty telling the difference between weekdays and workdays, and I admit itâ€™s not the same, but back then it was a big thing. I had two small children (a son and a daughter) and weekends let me spend more time with them. Their mother worked at Sears on Saturdays, so I got to spend a lot of alone time with them during the winter months. They felt free to ask any question. Some were frivolous, some serious, and some difficult. I recall my daughter asking me when she was twelve how many times a week did men want sex? I always tried to be truthful with my children, but that question caught me off guard. After some thought, I looked her in the eye and said, â€œSweetheart, men want sex often.â€ That wasnâ€™t good enough for her, so she rephrased her question and asked how many times a week I wanted sex. I read a study once that said men think about sex in some way at least once during every waking hour. I didnâ€™t realize it was that much, but I guess they were kinda right. I have no idea how much women think of it. Of course, those thoughts wane as we men age.
Anyway, back to my daughterâ€™s question. After a few moments, I responded, â€œSweetheart, itâ€™s not important how many times I have sex with your mother, whatâ€™s important is how much we love each other.â€ The look on her face waffled back and forth like the bubble on a carpenterâ€™s level. I explained to her that sex is an important part of love but that other things were equally as important, such as holding her motherâ€™s hand as we walked, or putting my arms around her waist as we talked with friends, or showing her every day that I loved her by being attentive. To this day, I do not know whether that information helped her in any way, but I hope it did.
Ok, back to the weekend thang (hillbilly term ðŸ˜Š). As much joy as Friday & Saturday brought me, Sunday evenings were totally different. As each hour went by, the dread of having to get up the next morning and go to work haunted me. The fun was over; it was time to go back to work and â€œbring home the baconâ€ (that term originated in 1906 and pertained mostly to boxers who were expected to win and take money home). Sure â€˜nuff, Monday morning would arrive, and I would shake off the sadness and head out the door to welcome another week filled with nothing but problems. Fulton J. Sheen famously said that â€œone becomes more interested in a job of work after the first impulse to drop it has been overcome.â€ As a teenager, I watched Bishop Sheen on TV (Life is Worth Living). He was often referred to as the first televangelist and won two Emmy Awards for Most Outstanding TV Personality. He died in 1979. I was always impressed by his knowledge and his piercing eyes. I always felt as if he were talking directly to me. Ah, the things we remember! ðŸ˜Š
âš½ I once read that what we say about others gets applied to us. Iâ€™m not so sure that I believe those words. It implies that if I say good things about you, then those good comments get applied to me as well. Hmm, I donâ€™t think so. I think the intent was that if you say bad things about someone else, then they get applied to you. The person who came up with that idea didnâ€™t think it all the way through. Of course, Iâ€™m guilty of doing the same thing, so I shouldnâ€™t complain.
âš½ My Grandma McCoy had a sister (Naomi) who had 13 children, all named after someone in the King James version of the Bible. They lived just across the Virginia border in Kentucky (45 minutes away), so as a young boy of 4 or 5, my grandparents took me with them to visit her. I was amazed at how well behaved the kids were, and it was easy to tell who was in charge (Aunt Naomi ðŸ˜Š). Those visits were utterly confusing to me, because with so many kids around I felt insignificant and believed the other kids felt the same way, except for the older ones. As I got older and moved away, I forgot about that big, wonderful family that lived down by the river in the middle of nowhere. I have heard of larger families with 15 or more children, but the most prolific mother of all time, and the one that holds the record for childbirths, is Valentina Vassilyev (Russia 1707â€“82). She gave birth to 69 children, including 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets. She was pregnant 27 times and 67 of her 69 children survived infancy. Now you would think this was the end of the story, but as it turns out, her husband, Russian farmer Feodor, fathered 6 sets of twins and 2 sets of triplets by a second woman, giving him a total of 87 children. Of course, we all know that mothering takes a lot more strength than fathering, so Iâ€™m not so much in awe of old Feodor as I am of Valentina.
I knew a family in our little coal camp whose mother, upon giving birth to her 5th child on a chilly winter morning, got out of bed in the afternoon and washed a load of clothes, and put them out on the clothesline to dry. I was amazed at that feat then, and still am to this day. I can only wonder what the neighbors thought about Valentina. I imagine there was fear on her face whenever Feodor looked at her with the gleam of passion in his eyes. Undoubtedly, tubal ligation (tying the fallopian tubes) wasnâ€™t available in the 1700s, so the poor woman was doomed to be pregnant almost all of her adult life. I assume Feodor had more grandchildren and great-grandchildren than anyone else as well. Heck, he may be responsible for a large portion of the Russian population. I have a good friend in Russia (Irina), and Iâ€™m thinking that I should ask her if she knows about old Feodorâ€™s reputation ðŸ˜Š.
Having raised two children, Iâ€™m at a loss on how you raise 87 of them. It was hard being a good parent for my two, I donâ€™t know how that happens when the number goes that high. Itâ€™s a good thing that he was a farmer, because if he had to buy all the food for his family, the Devil would always be dancing in his back pocket ðŸ˜Š. I see it now: the school principal calls Mr. Vassilyev and says, â€œsir, weâ€™re having a lot of trouble with Vladimir, could you come down to my office for a visit?â€ He scratches his head, pauses for a moment, and kindly says, â€œwho?â€
John Andrew Holmes said that â€œa child enters your home and makes so much noise for twenty years that you can hardly stand it. Then he departs, leaving the house so silent that you think you will go mad.â€