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Remember When

  • Heed my fatherly doughnut wisdom

    You know, fathers are always full of sage advice and catchy phrases.

    They gave it to us whether we wanted it or not.

    That comes with being the family patriarch. Just like with Uncle Sam, rank does have its privileges. I’m the one who is enjoying giving the advice, now.

    I heard my dad, the late Major Evans, say more than once, “Son, nothing comes free. There is always a price to pay.”

    That’s as true now as it was 70 years ago. I’ll prove it.

  • The devil knows my weakness

    Mrs. Sam Marks had been teaching us Bible stuff in Sunday school class for a while and I was finally starting to get the hang of some of it.

    Our latest lessons centered on the 10 Commandments. Most of ’em seem to make sense, but I was having a little trouble understanding just what “Thou shalt not covet” meant.

    “It means that we should not wish for things our friends have,” she said.

    Boy, that one was tough to swallow, especially if what you were coveting was a genuine leather cowboy holster set.

  • I'll play with girls when it's raining

    Boy, I didn’t see that one coming. I was downright blindsided by the comment.

    “You act like girls didn’t exist in your long ago ‘Remember when’ times,” a faithful reader said.

    Shucks, there were plenty of girls around when I was growing up, but I still preferred playing with Billy Pipkins.

    No, I didn’t have any sisters. As far as that goes, I was brotherless, too.

    But, that’s OK.

    I had the next worst thing; three girl first cousins.

  • Grinning Tiger likes his okra

    One thought crossed my mind when Mr. Charlie Caskey wheeled that big Ford into our driveway.

    I didn’t know why a police officer was at my house. But if I was involved, I’d probably get it as soon as Daddy gets home.

    Mr. Charlie opened the back door of the sedan and out jumped good old Tiger, my beloved bulldog.

    There was no such thing as a leash law. Nobody needed one, seeing how just about everybody in the neighborhood had a big old dog that ran loose. That’s why Mr. Charlie knew exactly where Tiger lived.

  • I caught a two for one special

    The front yards along Chesterfield Avenue were for show.

    The back yards – where stuff was stacked out of the sight – were by design.

    However, each spring, one portion of our back yards was set aside and marked off for vegetable gardens.

    And it was serious business, too. Babbit and Castello even hoed one in the cartoon that was at the old show.

    President Roosevelt was on the radio encouraging all of us to do our part by investing in a Victory Garden to reduce the pressure on the World War II food supply.

  • I want a place to hide

    I had pulled my Radio Flyer wagon all the way from Chesterfield Avenue and down White Street to the back of Parr Brothers Furniture only to be disappointed.

    I needed about one side of a cardboard refrigerator carton to finish my secret hideout, but it won’t get finished today.

    Somebody had beaten me to the treasure; the trash bin was empty as a red clay mudhole in the middle of summer.

  • Mother's Day pin still has its luster

    – Editor’s note: Due to reader requests, we are reprinting this Remember When column, which was originally published in the May 13, 2007, edition of The Lancaster News.

    Time never dulls the luster of a mother’s love. I rarely addressed my mother – the late Azalee Scott Evans – by the so-called proper name of mother.

    She was, and still remains, Mama to me.

    She passed away in 1970 at the age of 63.

  • Don't let life pass you by

    I was grateful to see warmer weather and the yellow bells and azaleas in bloom. Things were going pretty good until the telephone rang.

    Then I was shaken back into reality with the news that a close friend had passed away.

    Then almost without warning, three more unexpected deaths reduced my circle of longtime friends.

    Someone once remarked that when we pass the age of 65, we began to live on borrowed time.

    Frankly, I’m hoping that our Maker will grant me a few more years of leniency on that loan.

  • Hot coffee warms up new friend

    The question caught me by surprise.

    “Where’s your little friend?”

    I looked up to see this fella sitting on the stoop of a house in my granddaughter’s neighborhood.

    I was shocked. To be honest, not too many folks up here in Maryland speak to strangers.

    I stopped to explain that I was taking a day off from my usual great-grand baby sitting chores.

    “I sorta got the whole day to bum around,” I said.

  • I did my share of work, too

    I recently crossed paths with an old friend while going inside “the Walmarts,” where Lancaster’s movers and shakers meet these days.

    And right off the cuff, he called me a city boy.

    That was bad enough, but he didn’t stop there.

    It really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up when he said, “According to your articles in the paper, all you do is go to grammar school and build them cardboard airplanes.”