That evening after church, I had dinner with a pastor and his family in which there are three school teachers--I imagine they sometimes consider themselves to be babysitters—or prison wardens! And the pastor is an RN, so I got to share my experiences with nurses in Udaipur and in Salt Lake City. I didn't get into the blood-test subject, so I didn't include nurses in St Louis, Lufkin, Pokhara and Bangkok. All of these occupations are wonders for an insatiably curious person.
A lady suggests, ‘I love your little rambles, you know that brother Stan? I would love it if you wrote a book! And one day I still want to visit you…maybe when I get my RN's license’—yes, she’ll be able to do good with that.
A man says, ‘I am a retired (due to disability) RN. I had planned on doing some nursing/missions work in third world countries, but my wife's health took a downturn.’
Later, I drove through Rolla, Missouri. Rolla is the seat of Satanic weather. Last December, while I traveled east, just east of Rolla was massive ice on I-44, causing accidents and making me miss my destination by a day, and only the kind offices of John and Wanell Marrs-Jones gave me a place to sleep that night. And then in late April, while I traveled south, just west of Rolla was massive rain, causing floods and buckling the tarmac on I-44. Then in May, my map app (the English wife I told you about earlier) warned me that there was trouble, so I chose a more westerly route. So this means the interstate highway to the west AND east of Rolla is re-enacting and appropriating to itself the song (by Johnny Mathis or whoever) 'if that's not loving me, then God didn't make those little green apples and it don't [please excuse their bad grammar--I'm an English major and it makes me cringe] rain in Indianapolis in the summer time' (other verse: 'snow in Minneapolis in the winter time'). Missouri is too far north to have mild winters, too far south to have mild summers, gets the worst of both--hence the state name, Misery. The northern part of the state is more like Iowa, the southern part of the state is more like Arkansas, and Rolla (even though more south than north) is apparently trying to be the weather capital, the meteorological bellwether, the cataclysmic-catastrophic, crescendo-climax, temperamental temperature shown by mercurial mercury Satanic seat of the state. And some wonderful people live there and put up with all this! If they can't drive east or west, they're like Job in the Bible book of the same name, saying, 'I go forward and I can't see him; backward, and I can't perceive him'. Living with a very grumpy Mother Nature acting so demonically, they're like the church of Pergamum in the book of Revelation, from which book, apparently, Rolla gets its inspiration for its weather. As Inspector LaStrade would say, 'Amazing!' Or as Spock would say, 'Fascinating'. Or as Billy Cole's Thai bus driver friend would say, 'Incredible!', probably expecting, as Missouri's residents might, too, a tsunami next.
The next Monday and Tuesday, I visited two elderly ladies who recently lost their husbands—Sharon Rosa of Mountain View and Faye Scissom of Mountain Home. Both of them are outstanding people very skilled—Sharon Rosa in Bibliology and horsemanship and Faye Scissom in violin and fiddle (she also studied Japanese, but of course I'd not know a skilled from an unskilled person in that language). I appreciate people who pursue excellence and use it for God's glory and Jesus Christ's Kingdom's extension.
Recent rains have rendered Missouri and Arkansas especially vividly green and beautiful. While driving four hours in Arkansas, I noticed town names—I love the mountains, so I naturally love Mountain Home and Mountain View and Summit. I did not gesture in Flippin, speak in Yellville, or eat in Toad's Suck.
I friend says I should have dropped by Mansfield, Mo: ‘Beautiful little town known for Laura Ingles Wilder, the lady who wrote the Little House on the Prairie Books’.
Another friend, living in Colorado, says, ‘You love the mountains? You should come or move to Colorado-THE Rocky Mountain State, where real mountains are.’
While buying gasoline, I saw a sign and so asked a local yokel: 'I notice that sign says "Canadian nightcrawlers". Are they related to Canadian pub crawlers?' He said, 'Probably.'
While driving another three hours in Arkansas, I noticed town names again, this time reminding me of mythology: there's a Mt Ida, which is also of course the mountain near Troy re Trojan War (see Iliad). There's a Woden, who is also the head god of Norse mythology. And here I thought Arkansas was in the Bible Belt—who knew the town-namers were in some cases such pagans? But very literate pagans, of course.
At another church, the song leader was channelling the Happy Goodmans, singing 'He Set Me Free' and 'Give Up and Let Jesus Take Over', both very much in their style.
At another event, on the first day they included hymns and song of considerable meaning—I was happy at the musical taste and theology in the first, and the theology in the second. On the second day, they repeated songs from the previous and--horror of horrors--included 'Trading My Sorrows' not sung the way the songwriter wrote it (which is fine), but with the long-repeated 'Yes, Lord' bridge, which:
a. reminds me of 'Hubba Hubba Yes' cheer from the comic strip 'Foxtrot'
b. is a wide-open invitation to application of the comment about '2.38' songs--songs with two words sung thirty-eight times.
This all means that we had descended from instead of remaining at the heights to which we rose on the previous afternoon. (This is obviously from the perspective of a person who likes songs with meaning and without a lot of repetition). I very much liked the event for the people I met.
While in Arkansas, I also visited Fort Smith National Historic Site, asked many questions of the rangers there. It is the first site I’ve seen with this strong a legal emphasis (due to Judge Parker's famous court there). I think the designers of the exhibit did a good job of anticipating and answering questions people might have. There's some repetition--some items discussed in the restored courtroom are also discussed in the jail exhibit (both on the second floor). It's interesting that, back then, people had some of the same disputes as now, for instance:
1. the judge of the lower court (in this case, Parker) unhappy with a higher court's overturning his judgment on what he feels are technicalities that bypass basic justice
2. the judges of the higher court feeling that the judge of the lower court is 'leading the jury' or admitting faulty evidence
3. convicts obtaining pardons, sometimes repeatedly, and returning to a life of crime.
A dear friend, retired professor, very scholarly, is making headway toward a translation of the entire New Testament, already has done most of it. Very happy for him and for everyone when eventually it is published.
One friend observes that one-person translations often speak more to the heart than committee translations do. He’s right. In the early twentieth century, James Moffatt’s translation had this very moving style. During World War II and after, J.B. Phillips’ New Testament in Modern English resonated with youth, including with my mother, who read this later in life as well. In the late 1960s and onward, Kenneth Taylor’s Living Bible spoke to many hearts. More recently, Eugene Peterson’s Message has had this impact. A one-person translation often speaks in the vocabulary and touches the spirit of a particular time and culture, and for that time, persuades people that God’s Word is real, living and active.