First Blabber Business

blabber business

blabber businessThe beginning

To begin with, First Blabber Business and The Point System came to be because we had to find a way to be fair. All our lives we tried to be fair. Whether it was cleaning our room, holding a baby, or going on the bread delivery route with our mama, we tried to make things fair. There were six of us, ten years separating the oldest from the youngest. Mama was busy with her bread business and maintaining a house by herself. She expected us to find a way to figure out fairness by ourselves. We did. This was our way.

The Point System = Fairness

We also developed a Point System to help us take turns when no one wanted the responsibility.  There came a time when we grew tired of going on the route with Mama. It was more fun to stay home and read or play. We came up with a system for that, too. Tuesday’s route, the shorter day, was one point. Friday’s route, the longer day, was two points. We kept track of our points. If no one wanted to go along on the route, whoever had the least points accumulated had to go. No point in arguing either, because it was marked down for all to see. If you wanted to be free a certain week, you accumulated points earlier so you were guaranteed more points than the others and thus would be free to do what you wanted to do.

The Business was all about being fair, and being FIRST. In some ways, one could consider it selfish. In other ways, the BUSINESS was about learning to be fair and to not squabble about always being first – and learning to take turns.

Granted, we weren’t so concerned about making certain things were fair to our siblings. We just want things to be fair for us. So we came up with our systems. Of course, when you’re one of the younger ones, the chances of things being fair are slim to none.  The older ones had a way of manipulating things in their favor.  I’m sure they would argue they had to bear the brunt of the work, but I’m the one writing this story. Anyhow, we took what we got. Amazingly, we survived.

First “Rubber” Business

*Rubbering involved listening in on a phone conversation (sometimes without the other person knowing). In the days when there were party lines, a person could “rubber” in on his neighbor’s conversation unbeknownst to the parties on the phone. [Yes, we were guilty of that one.] We think this term came from the word rubberneck – “one who cranes his neck in curiosity; one who tries to discover what does not concern him.” 2   There were two phones in our house: one in the dining room and one in Mama’s bedroom. If she was on the phone in her bedroom, the person who had First Rubber Business got to listen in to the conversation on the dining room phone first when older siblings away from home called long-distance.  Phone calls were short, because you paid by the minute to talk long-distance. One did not want to miss out on a conversation, so having First Rubber Business was important.

First Baby Business

When we knew children were coming to our home to be babysat (and there were many because we begged for children to babysit), whoever had First Baby Business got to hold the baby first. It worked. There was not a one of us who didn’t want to get to hold that baby first, and we finagled any way we could to be first to hold, so First Baby Business made it work. Mama even set the timer on the kitchen stove so everyone got a fair turn and time in holding a baby. Everyone got their turn, but it was sooooo important to be the first to hold that baby!

First on the Bus

When we walked the half-mile out the lane and up main street in town to the bus, whoever said First on the Bus got to get on the bus first. I mean, it was really important to be the first one on the bus, wasn’t it? Back in the day when we all went to the same school and rode the same bus, it seemed especially important. We usually had our “seats” where we sat, so why it mattered who got on first is beyond me. It surely was important then.

I suppose it gave us something to talk about and something to do when we trudged the 1/4 mile out the lane and up through town to get on the bus. As our older sisters moved to other buses to go to high school, First on the Bus phased out because it no longer seemed important.

First Blabber Business

First Blabber Business simply meant that when there was a secret to tell, an announcement to be made, whoever had FBB that day got to be the one to tell. No one, but no one, dared tell if the one with FBB wanted to tell. Why we chose the word blabber, I’ll never know. There certainly were less derogatory terms we could have used. Back then, it didn’t matter that the real definition  of blabber is: to talk foolishly, mindlessly, or excessively.  To us, when you got to blabber, you got to be the one to tell. Who cared what it was called when you got to tell!

There were a few rules. The deal started over at the end of the day. Midnight, to be precise. Whoever was up at that wee hour of the morning called First Blabber Business.  Except, there was a time we were upstairs playing late into the night. Our mother, asleep in her room downstairs, had no clue as to our shenanigans. I noticed the clock just as it struck midnight. I waited a moment to be certain it was after midnight, and announced, “First Blabber Business!” to which one of my sisters (who shall remain nameless) said, “I already thought it, so I get First Blabber Business. She did, too, because she was older.

blabber
photo by Meher Jitendra

First Blabber Business covers it all

When someone had a baby, announced an engagement, when somebody died or there was an accident, whoever had First Blabber Business got to be the one to tell.  Anything sad or happy, silly or frightful was yours to tell when you had  First Blabber Business.

In time, whoever had FBB also carried the title of everything else in all the businesses. When you had FBB you also had First Baby Business, First Rubber Business,  and First on the Bus.

News that most families heard on the national television we heard only on the radio, for our home had no television. The day JFK was assassinated, my sisters and I raced across the yard arguing with each other which one of us had FBB. Each of us wanted to be the first one to tell. Imagine our chagrin when the door slammed behind us as we entered the house to discover that (of course) everyone already knew. I was eight years old and I still remember that argument as we ran across the yard. We argued about who had First Blabber Business running across that lawn, and I’m certain I thought I did because I wanted to be the one to tell.

Fair and Square

I don’t recall our mama having an opinion about  First Blabber Business. She allowed us to work out our own solution for time management and fairness. If none of us came complaining to her, she was fine with our solution. We learned to divvy our turns by developing this system. In time, First Blabber Business ended on its own. We outgrew it, I suppose. For the time, it worked for us. We had a problem, and we found a solution that worked.  We didn’t need an adult to help us figure it out because we were capable of finding a solution on our own. I suppose that is one of the reasons why First Blabber Business worked – it was an great idea that worked. It solved the problem, and we could claim it as our own.

 

Pinterest First Blabber Business

 

1 Family Jaunt of Memories by the Floyd J. Miller Family, Lulu Online Printing, June 2009, p.448.

2 Ibid. p. 454.

The Secret Place

secret place

secret place A secret place for things.

My mother had a secret place, a place where she hid things, in her bureau drawers underneath unmentionables. She also slid important papers under the dresser scarves on top of the furniture in her bedroom. We knew better than to snoop, but sometimes we did anyhow. She knew where everything was, and kept everything in its place. There was no need to search when she knew exactly where it was. She used to tell us, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” That’s why she knew when someone had been in her drawers, because things got moved out of place.
There are many secret places. Some of us have a secret place we use to hide things we don’t want others to find. In various eras of time, there were secret rooms and secret passages. Sometimes there were secret tunnels. All of them were places that many others knew nothing about. Those places provided safety, refuge, or escape.

In ancient times, towers and castles were built high on a hill or a mountain. Protection from enemies and a view for miles was accomplished by these places. Towers built high and lofty provided security within the walls. The Towers served as a place for watching for danger and a place where one was kept safe.

secret placeThe Secret Place

Psalm 91 tells us about the Secret Place where we can hide and abide. It’s the place with the Most High.

You know what I’ve discovered about this secret place? It’s with me everywhere I go. I don’t need to squirrel away in my recliner or a corner of a room to get in this place. In fact, I don’t need to sequester myself in my bedroom, away from everyone else to be in this Secret Place. I can hide in it any time. This secret place is a place of rest even when storms are around me. I can rest in the whirlwind.

In the book ,The House in the Sky, a reporter is held captive for years. She survives emotionally and mentally by focusing, not on what is happening to her, but on her “house in the sky”, a place to which she “escapes” to survive. I learned something from reading this book. Her place of refuge and lifestyle was totally different from mine. Yet the lessons I learned from her perspective and outlook help me in finding my refuge in Christ. For this author, finding refuge became mind over matter. That’s how it needs to be with us. We can find refuge in the middle of turmoil, unrest, and fear. We do this by taking our minds to that place of Refuge. Everything we say and do stems from what takes place first in our minds.

secret placeOur refuge

No one can take our refuge from us unless we choose to allow  them. Like the air we breathe, our secret place of refuge is with us everywhere we go, if we choose to live inside that refuge.

When others notice our calm in the middle of whatever is happening in the world around us, it’s because they are drawn to that quietness and rest. As believers, we have something the rest of the world cannot claim: a refuge and respite in the middle of turmoil and strife. There’s no peace like it because it comes from being near the heart of God.

When life is more difficult than we’d ever imagined, we can go to that Secret Place and find peace. I’m so grateful.

secret place

se·cret
adjective
not known or seen or meant to be known or seen by others
noun
something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.
place
noun
1. particular position or point in space.
2. a portion of space available or designated for or being used by someone.
“they hurried to their places at the table”
verb
1.  in a particular position.
2. find a home or employment for.
abide
verb accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).
The song The Heart of God or There is a Place of Quiet Rest was written by Cleland B McAfee in 1896, after the death of his two nieces from diptheria.
You can hear the song  There is a Place of Quiet Rest by various groups:
Acapella, click here.
Kaoma, (male quartet) click here.
ToHaveHope (male octet,) click here.
AHymn a week, click here.
A group featured on SE Samonte, click here.
played by Rick Foster (guitar), click here.
played by Greg Howlet (piano), click here.

The One Thing About Las Vegas

vegas

vegas

When immoral doesn’t seem so wrong

We are an immoral, desensitized people. I don’t even know the half, nor do I want to know.

What we hear often enough, long enough and loudly enough, we will eventually end up believing as truth. What used to be considered “immoral” has changed to “okay” because so many others are doing it. Even advertisers try to make light of sin. Instead of reckoning with the consequences down the road, sin is beautified. Instead of calling it what it truly is, today’s messages offer immoral behavior as a logical and thus an acceptable alternative.

Why else does a billboard inside the Las Vegas airport have a sign like this?

vegas

To deny, in this case, is to lie. Yet, the wrong of lying is minimized by these words, “Deny, deny, deny.”

Why does this sign not say, “Lie, lie, lie.”?

If we’re honest, we know why.

This sign is one of the first things a visitor sees and one of the last he notices when he flies into and out of the Las Vegas airport.

Allow me.

Sin City

Las Vegas. Where people go to gamble, spend money, and participate in events. Where prostitution is rampant, but legitimized by using terms for harlots like “ladies of the night.”

Men who would never consider spending a night with a whore willingly enter “gentleman’s clubs”. What is there about adultery or spending a night with a female that makes it seem right when he enters a gentleman’s club instead of a whorehouse? There’s no difference except for the title, yet somehow, it doesn’t seem so wrong, now does it?

A man has sex with a female who is not his wife. It doesn’t seem so wrong when she is referred to as “a lady of the night.”  Let’s face it. She’s not a lady and he’s not a gentleman.

Airport billboards post signs that encourage men (or women) to be unfaithful to a spouse. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” one billboard proclaimed.

Vegas is touted as the “sin city” – another way to make what is wrong seem okay, or even something of which to be proud. Is it? Who wants to be a part of a sin city?

What happens in Vegas does not stay there. Even if it’s not talked about after Vegas and even if no one else knows, it stays with the person. Always, there is that conscience that troubles a person. For deep down inside, he or she knows that what happened there was wrong – or else why does he or she not want to tell the world?  Why is it even supposed to “stay in Vegas”?

Little wonder then that, inside the door of the ladies’ restroom in the Las Vegas airport is a sign encouraging girls or women who have been “bought” to get help at a hotline number.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so grateful that there are places to go for help. I’m just sad that we need to have these places. These signs tell us how sick we really are.

vegas

Embarrassment is excused with a Laugh

In our effort to hide our embarrassment, in our inability to know what to do, we laugh. It doesn’t just happen in Vegas. It happens everywhere. A husband flirts with another woman. The wife, in her uncomfortable state, acts like it doesn’t bother her, and laughs. It’s easier to do that than cry.

Girls aren’t sure how to respond to the catcalls of other guys, so they just shrug it off with a laugh. Soon we become desensitized to what is happening. It doesn’t seem so wrong. Women defend their husbands, girls defend their guys, all  in the name of “that’s just the way he is.”

Folks have been harassed and fractured to the point where they think it’s their fault and not the fault of the truly guilty party. People have become “things and possessions” instead of being viewed as a person with an eternal soul.

It’s no laughing matter and we ought not to participate in the downward spiral by pretending it’s okay when it isn’t. As believers in Christ, we should be offering light in this darkness instead of hiding behind our uncomfortable laughter.

It Happens Everywhere

Las Vegas is not the only city or the only town where infidelities and discrepancies occur. It’s just more noticeable there, for there is no attempt to deceive and hide what is happening. Rather, it’s plastered noticeably in many places and so easily noticed that soon it becomes familiar and starts to seem okay; for, after all, that’s just what happens in Vegas.

It’s not okay and the sin of Vegas is everywhere. Sin is never okay. Exploitation is wrong. Objectifying is wrong. So are fornication, adultery, and unfaithfulness.

To deny is the same as to cover up or to lie.

To laugh is saying it’s okay.

It isn’t. Sin is never okay.

Redemption is Free!

Faithfulness is a treasure which many cannot claim. Redemption can claim and restore that treasure. When we are redeemed, we return with singing to Jerusalem. And everlasting joy will be upon our heads. Every single one of us can be free, for the ground is level at the cross of Jesus.

When we are truly redeemed, Vegas will never have its hold on you – and on me.

Vegas