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Something Old, Something New...


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


When Clara and I married years ago, she was insistent that she live up to the old adage that goes “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”.  She had to borrow a couple of the items to complete the list.  I never thought about it very much until lately.  I began to wonder where does this rhyming wedding tradition come from, and what does it mean?  A little research provided me with the following information that might be of interest to you.

 

This tradition derives from an Old English rhyme dating back to around 1883. The full rhyme is as follows:

 

Something Olde,
Something New,
Something Borrowed,
Something Blue,
A Sixpence in Your Shoe.

 

The rhyme names five good-luck objects meant to bring prosperity to the bride who carries them on her wedding day.  But, how could these items bring good luck?

 

“Something old” – Back in the olden days including “something old” was a sure way to ward off the Evil Eye and protect any future children the couple might have.  The Evil Eye was thought to cause infertility in the bride. But more generally, “something old” represents continuity.  Contemporary couples use this as a chance to wear a sentimental piece of jewelry, or an item of clothing belonging to an older relative.

 

“Something new” – This offers optimism for the future. The couple is about to enter into a new chapter in life, so walking into marriage with “something new” makes total sense. It can be anything, including the wedding dress, veil, jewelry, or shoes.  It could be a gift from someone else, or the result of a treat-yourself moment.

 

“Something borrowed” – This one is supposed to bring the couple good luck. By borrowing something from a happily married friend, the bride is ensured a little of their good fortune rubs off on her.  Superstition urged the bride to borrow the undergarments of a female friend with a happy marriage and healthy kids for a touch of good luck as you say your “I dos”.

“Something blue” – The color blue stands for love, purity, and fidelity – three key qualities for a solid marriage.  The traditional “blue” was often a blue garter worn beneath the bride’s white dress.  Of course, the bride could address this item by sprinkling blue clematis into the bouquet, pick out a gorgeous pair of blue pumps, or find a powder-blue bow tie, or use blue ribbon to tie her invitations together, just because she feels like it.

 

“The sixpence” – This was a silver British coin. It was a symbol of prosperity or acted as a ward against evil done by frustrated suitors.  This superstition is known since 1883 when it was attributed to the English county of Lancashire.  The usual effect on the bride of the Evil Eye is to render her barren.  Both the “sixpence” and the “something borrowed” are devices to baffle the Evil Eye. 

 

So, there you have them, but do not stress over them.  They are not meant to dictate your wedding style, or inspire a hunt for the perfect “somethings”.  They are usually small tokens of love that your mother, sister, other relatives, or attendants will give you at the eleventh hour.

And now, of course, this sweet tradition extends far beyond trinkets for the bride.  The groom can sport a blue tie, or borrow their grandfather’s cuff links.  Bridesmaids can wear blue and act as the bride’s “something blue”.  Now days most anything goes – you name it.

So, there you have the meaning of this old wedding rhyme. If any of you readers are planning a wedding in the near future, you might do well to include all these items in your plans.  You surely don’t want the “Evil Eye” after you because you didn’t.

 

 


“SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW….”

BY

NEAL MURPHY
PO BOX 511
San Augustine, Texas 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Email: humptydumpty1940@gmail.com

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THE  HOT MIX  JOB


 

 


In 1959, shortly after my marriage, Roy Crowe hired me to work with the Texas Highway Department.  I had completed three years of college, so I assume that Mr. Crowe felt I had enough “learning” to be trained as a draftsman.  Mr. Jesse Price had his hands full trying to teach me the finer aspects of calculating the amount of steel and concrete for a bridge, or a culvert.  Plotting curves always gave me trouble.

 

One summer the state let a contract to have Highway 96 from San Augustine to the Shelby County line resurfaced with hot mix.  As I recall, the contractor was from Waco, Texas.  Little did I know how involved I, a lowly draftsman, would be involved with this project.

The state required continuous inspection of the hot mix itself, as well as its installation.  Suddenly, I became one of those inspectors.  Mr. Crowe set up an inspection station on the location of the hot mix plant, about eight miles north of San Augustine.  I had never even seen hot mix, much less checked the finished product from its source.

Grady Arbuckle and I were assigned to the little shack on the plant premises.  Grady had prior experience with hot mix and was the chief inspector.  I was the gopher.

Early in the morning dump trucks waited in line to receive their load of hot mix to transport to the paving site.  Apparently the truckers were paid for each load which increased their desire to get in as many loads per day as possible.  My job was to spot check the hot mix to make sure the temperature was just right.  I was given a large thermometer along with the authority to stop any loaded truck and check it.

 

The hot material had to be within a temperature range as it left the plant.  I would stop a truck, stick the thermometer down into the hot mix, then read the results.  Most of the time there was not a problem.  However, several times it was too hot, or perhaps too cold, and the load had to be dumped, much to the chagrin of the trucker, who then had to get back in line.
Several times a day I collected a bucket full of hot mix off a truck, and took it to the shack. Grady would then perform several tests on the contents.  I recall a machine that pressed the mix into a compact cylinder about three inches in height.  It was then immersed in water in order to check its “specific gravity”.  I never knew for sure what that meant, but it seemed very important to the job.  I took notes of the results for the permanent record.

 

Since it was rather lonely in the crude shack, I took an old radio to listen to music while working, sort of like “whistling while you work”.  I could only receive two AM stations, Center and Nacogdoches.  Both featured country-western music.  Buddy Pratt, who was driving a dump truck, chided me several times for listening to that kind of music.  “But, Buddy,” I explained, “that’s the only kind of music I can get here.  I will be careful and not let it affect me in a bad way.”  Buddy went on to become a pastor, and I still don’t really like C/W music.

On several occasions I was assigned to walk alongside the steaming hot mix laying machine, again to check the temperature of the mix.  That made for a long, tiring day, however I was rewarded one day by finding a half dollar on the side of the road.

 

After several months the job was finished.  It was the custom for the contractor to give gifts to the state inspectors which usually was a bottle of whiskey or bourbon.  The contractor, Mr. Probost, gave me, instead, a leather bound Bible.  I have that Bible to this day, and every time I pick it up I recall the hot mix job which earned it for me.

 

“THE  HOT MIX  JOB”

BY: NEAL  MURPHY
P.O. BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972
936-275-9033
sugarbear@netdot.com

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So, you are left-handed.


 

 

About 10% of the population is left-handed.  Our daughter is left-handed even though both of her parents are right-handed.  So, what happened?  Is being born with the dominant hand being the left one blamed on genetics?

 

Lefties have had a tough time over the centuries overcoming their “handicap”.  Beginning at the time of the Industrial Revolution, workers needed to operate complex machines that were almost certainly designed with right-handers in mind.  This would make the leftie appear less capable and clumsier.

 

During this period schools invariably forced the left-handed student to learn to write with their right hand.  They were learning to write with a dip pen which right-handers could smoothly drag across paper from left to right, but this would not work as well if a leftie was dragging his hand over the wet ink.

 

Over the centuries left-handed people have been considered unlucky or even malicious for their difference by the right-handed majority.  Throughout history, being left-handed was considered negative.  The Latin adjective sinister means “left” as well as “unlucky”.

 

There are many negative connotations associated with the phrase “left-handed”: clumsy, awkward, unlucky, insincere, sinister, malicious, and so on.  A “left-handed compliment” is considered one that is unflattering.  Even Black Magic is sometimes referred to as the “left-hand path”.

 

But now, in the new era of reasoning, there have been discovered several weird advantages of being left-handed.  So, all you south-paws out there can appreciate the following surprising facts:

 

First, lefties make up only about 10% of the population, but studies find that individuals who are left-handed score higher when it comes to creativity, imagination, day dreaming, and intuition.  They are also better at rhythm and visualization.


Second, they are in some good company.  Benjamin Franklin and Henry Ford are listed as left-handed, along with four of the last five U.S. presidents.  England’s Prince William is a lefty.  Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Renoir made the list as well.

 

Thirdly, left-handed stroke victims reportedly recover faster.  It is believed that it’s due to the left-handed people having to strengthen both sides of their brain to succeed in a right-handed world.  Because many lefties are better at using their non-dominant hand, it is less difficult for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain.

 

Fourth, left-handers may have the edge in competitions where opponents face each other, such as tennis, baseball, and boxing.  This may be due to the fact that left-handers have more opportunity to practice against right-handed opposition.

 

Fifth, the word is that left-handed college graduates go on to become 26 percent richer than right-handed students. In addition, four of the five original designers of the Macintosh (Apple) computer are listed as lefties.

 

Sixth, there are stores devoted to selling practical and novelty items to left-handed people.  Online shops offer everything from left-handed mugs and kitchen sets, to school and office supplies, clothing, and “backwards” watches and clocks.

 

According to myth, giving a toast with your left hand is the same as placing a curse on the person you are saluting.  When Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, depictions showed her as being left-handed, in order to appear more evil.  Left-handers were also harshly discriminated against during the 18th and 19th centuries, and it was often “beaten out” of them.

But all you lefties have something to look forward to.  Every August 13th is declared “International Left-Hander’s Day”.  It was founded in 1990 by the “Left-Hander’s Club”, an annual event when left-handers everywhere can celebrate their left-handedness.  Thousands of left-handed people in today’s society have to adapt to use right handed tools and objects. The festivities include left-v-right sports matches, a left-handed tea party, and pubs using left-handed corkscrews, and playing games with the left hand only.

 

I understand that now days school teachers do not force lefties to learn to write with their right hand, but allow the students to use whichever hand is more comfortable.  I think that is good progress.  Being left-handed appears to have some advantages as mentioned above.  I will have to consult my left-handed daughter about this.

 

 

“SO, YOU’RE LEFT-HANDED”


BY: NEAL MURPHY

P.O. BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TEXAS 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Web: www.etexasbook.com


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