|Rose and Harry Bruhn|
My Mothers parents came to America from Germany. My Grandma was from the Catholic faith and my Grandfather's family was Lutheran. After they got married Grandma joined Grandpas Lutheran church, but she was always Catholic in her heart. When I was a young girl, my Grandparents lived in Blaisdell, ND and then later in Palermo, ND. Grandpa Harry had been gassed in the war and was also a long time, “roll your own” King Edwards(in the red tin can) tobacco smoker. He was left with COPD, and could hardly walk towards the end of his life. He had a cane that had a fold out seat on it to sit down and rest. Day after day, he sat in his arm chair at the end of the table, and made rings out of quarters, beads out of paper, marble boards and peg games for all his Grandchildren.
My Grandma, who wasn’t very warm and fuzzy (neither were really), buried herself in God and what we as people were doing and what was pleasing to God. Her green plastic couch was covered in rugs, the local Minot Daily newspapers from the past few days, her worn Bible, and all her religious magazines. She struggled with depression and her faith kept her going. On the back of the couch proudly sat her pillows she got from Earl in the service, and over on the buffet her clock from Lawrence when he was in the “service”. Gilbert too served in the armed forces. They were so proud of those boys. She subscribed to the Plain Truth magazine, and donated money to Oral Roberts ministries. She loved Oral Roberts, a television evangelist/ who sometimes healed people right on TV! Her tattered, underlined, fragile, Bible had almost as many side notes a dictionary. Rosary beads with a cross on the end of them were always close by. Privately Grandma still said all the Catholic prayers, touching each bead as she went. Fervently Grandma swore we were living in the end times, and that was in the late sixties and early seventies, so I wonder if that’s something old people do… get paranoid about the world we are in, and think it must be the end times. Or has something shifted?
Besides all the school shootings, and the Boston marathon bombing this past weekend, all of which are incomprehensible, many people just seem to be volatile and unstable! Being polite and kind is practically non existent. We were in Minneapolis over the weekend. We took a shuttle back and forth from the hotel to the mall for three days. In the evening especially, it was cold and lots of us were waiting to get on the shuttle. People were so rude, and all about themselves! The first night I had the stroller and of course in the middle of a stampede for the bus, I got nervous and forgot how to fold it up, as I really haven’t used Sydney’s stroller that much. I held up the line for a minute trying to fold it so the driver wouldn’t have to figure it out. One young lady bellered out, “this is why I don’t have children”. I didn’t justify her with an answer and this part has taken me years but… it went off my back like water on a duck. I try not to let peoples ignorance soak into my skin. I just thought, and thank God you don’t because you have no patience, and let it go.
The next night my sister was really loaded down with shopping, bags because she was carrying the bags for all of us. I had the baby, Syd had the stroller this time( yep not doing that again) and Tiffany had our cupcakes from the winners of Cupcake Wars that we were going to try when we got back to the hotel. One of Kathy’s bags brushed a man sitting on a bench ( there was a day he would have offered to let her sit with all the bags), but instead he said, “excuse me your bag is touching me”! We looked at each other and thought, Oh gee, hope you aren’t injured! The bus ride back that night was a beautiful experience and I mean that. The driver had grown up in Southwest Europe and was so fun to listen too. In the passenger seat the rider was the drivers polar opposite. He was the most negative man you could ever meet. The negative man started out by bragging about how he’d never married and therefore hadn’t divorced so was still, “pretty well off”. The driver told about traveling to India and how the people there are trying to be like us westerners and have cell phones, cars etc. which is making for more chaos in an already overpopulated society because now there are cars mixed in with the bikes, and rickshaws and pedestrians. The negative passenger went on with how cold its been on this, his first winter spent up north in years, and that people have to be nuts to live here! The nice driver came back with its been cold all over…India, Europe. The whole ride was back and forth from a positive thinking man to a negative one. Definitely an eye opener about how you can choose to look at the same world.
The last night catching the shuttle, stroller in tow again, except it was all folded up already. I set it against the door and we were all getting on. Kathy said to the driver, “oh and we have a stroller here too” . The driver reached in front of her to get it right then, forcing Kathy to take a step back and people were crowding her so badly to get on the bus that there was barely any room to back up. A lady in the crowd says loudly to surrounding people, “look out you’re going to get backed over”! Kathy turned back and said, we’ll then don’t stand so close to me! Later it was still bothering Kathy that she had responded angrily! We all tried to reassure her she didn’t say anything wrong. Her statement was true, why have to tell somebody to back up? Everybody is going to get on the bus or the driver will come back…it's that simple!
Before that when Syd and I were getting on the plane in PHX, this couple was constantly trying to jump the line. The airline calls you on in an order of your ticket. We were gate checking the stroller which meant Sydney would wheel it all the way to the door of the plane, but then would have to stop, take Easton in his car seat out, fold the stroller up, give it to the attendant, pick up the baby in the car seat and get on the plane. Ten or twelve people were already bunched up at the plane door anyway so no one was walking right on the plane. When Syd turned to fold up the stroller this same couple actually started stepping over Easton sitting in his car seat on the floor. My hands were full with the diaper bag and my purse. Sydney turned into a mother BEAR and angrily said, “stay back and wait a minute”! They stopped and stared at her like, oh you mean we can’t just step over your car seat WITH A BABY IN IT?! Gez, people!
I’m serious, either I have inherited my Grandmas thinking, or Satan is closer than he’s ever been. You see extreme kindness that you now wonder if you can even trust, because of all the extreme violence. A lot of people seem to be walking around about to snap, and I personally believe it is because they are void of having learned any moral compass. A compass that only comes from learning about God, and having parents that make your values about what kind of person you are deep inside, rather than a title, and how much money you make. We need to put away the push to get to the top and arrive in first place, no matter what it takes to accomplish that. Something’s amiss in the world, I wish I knew exactly what... and what to do about it. I try to remind myself there are many different cultures here in America now, so it may not be only manners but cultural differences. I don't have the answers, but God help us figure it out, we need him now more than ever.