My New Calculator!

A wooden sign post with three different signs on it.

😊 In 1974, I purchased a small, handheld, calculator from Sears for $100. It was black, with white keys, and was “cutting edge†at the time. I worked in the Payroll Department of a major shipyard and we paid a lot of employees.  There were only two huge desktop calculators available, so we had to stand in a long line every day if we wanted to use them.

To save time, most of us used paper and pencil to do our calculations. One day, I proudly walked in with a Sears “hand size†calculator and started to work. The office was abuzz about this little gadget.   They wondered if it could possibly be giving me the correct answers?  After all, it weighed about 10 ounces, versus the two large office machines that weighed at least 10 pounds each.

In short order, my boss was standing at my desk and in a loud voice, firmly said, “Tommy, surely you’re not going to use that little things to do your job? “I assured him I would check my work against the large machines to make sure it was correct.

Needless to say, at the end of the day, everyone was impressed and almost everyone inquired about it. Because of the hefty $100 price tag I was the only one with such a device for many years.

Last week, I found that small calculator sitting, all by itself, in a bookcase I seldom use. It is approximately 40 years old, and I’m thinking, “Does this thing still work?†So, I haul it out to my work bench and commence to take it apart, removing the original batteries with the hope they have not corroded everything inside. Finally, I get them out and head to Radio Shack. I couldn’t fine an exact match, so I had to hack the replacement batteries into the very small place the originals occupied.

To my surprise, the thing fired up and worked. All of a sudden, my mind wanders back and I’m setting at my desk in 1974 with coworkers gathered around me, in awe of this marvelous piece of technology.  Today, I carry around a credit card size calculator that requires no batteries and is powered by the sun. I think all of us have “aha†memories like this. If you would like to share yours with me, please do so.

😊 My wife and I traveled to Williamsburg the other day to a very large antique store. She was there a while back and spotted this old, weathered, bird house with a big black weather vane sitting on top of it. Anyway, she decided she just had to have it, so off we go to bring it home. Needless to say, it needs some work (done by me of course) and has to be installed on a pole in the yard. I’ll get to it soon.

😊 Mary (Uncle KD’s wife), her son Duke, and I spread KD’s ashes last week at the place he loved the most (the local Little League Baseball Field). It was a small act of kindness performed in his memory. Mary let me keep a some of his ashes.  I have l have them in a thumb size bottle setting on my desk. My  mother-inlaw (Gladys) thinks it odd that I would do such a thing. I surely hope not. I prefer to think this insures that I will never forget him.  I have another one on my desk. I knew George Mitchell for 47 years.  He and I had many engaging conversations. That’s why some of his ashes are always close by.  I must say his death did not hurt like KD’s, but I still enjoy thinking about old George.

😊 It is time to fertilize the yard and put out the stuff that kills crabgrass. Everything I read about yard maintenance says that I should fertilize my grass every three months (during the fall and winter). Sometimes, I think the stuff that kills the weeds doesn’t work very well, but I do it anyway. I guess I assume that if I stop using it my whole world will be consumed by weeds and choke out my entire existence. I don’t know why I feel that way. I know people that do very little work, and they seem to suffer no ill effects from their lack of interest. I worry about the runoff of the fertilizer into our local stream, but the choice seems clear to me: fertilize until the weeds die and the grass looks strong and green! So, in a few weeks I will be out there with my trusty spreader, doing what the weed and feed bag has instructed me to do. I wonder if anyone still performs exorcisms?

I received a birthday card from a very special friend and would like to share it with you:
“Sometimes we may not realize that everything we do touches, not only our lives, but others too. A little touch of thoughtfulness that shows someone you care creates a bit of happiness for both of you to share. And every time you offer someone a gentle hand, or a kind word, it brings joy to all.† What a wonderful thought.  Little things always make me happy. Isn’t it amazing how some people can say things so eloquently?

😊 We watched the NY Giants win the Superbowl last night. Mary came over and watched it with us. Jerilyn provided some wonderful food to eat and as the game progressed we cheered for the Giants each step of the way (Jerilyn is from NY). This Superbowl thing seems to have become a cultural phenomenon. Millions around the globe tune in to watch the game and the half-time entertainment, including commercials.  What a fun way to share an event with so many of earth’s inhabitants.

I hope this missive finds you and your loved ones safe and happy.