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Sundays back in the old days

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Oh, I know it wasn’t right for me to not like Sundays back in the old days.

No, when yours truly was, say, around 10 years of age, the best thing about the first day of the week was the Sunday funny papers.

That’s how we referred to the colored comic section found in the big Sunday Dallas Times Herald back then.

Sunday school and church were too boring and one had to sit still and quiet for too long at a time. Some of you may remember feeling that way, too...

And, on top of that, nothing was open on Sunday. Going to town on Sunday seemed a waste of time and nearly as boring as church to a youngster.

Can you imagine going to town on any day of the week these days and finding all the stores closed? Well, the "picture show" WAS open…if you could afford the price of admission, since an every-once-in-a-while Saturday was the normal going-to-the-show day of the week.

What are you leading up to, Simmons?

Remember the slogan going around, stating, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." Put out by the United Negro College Fund back in 1972, running to the present.

I am being reminded of this terrible waste in my travels around our county. Nothing to do with Negro College Funds, though.

A group of ladies and gentlemen traveled down to the Milford school last week to present the Bulldogs with a dose of living history, circa 1861-1865 (the period typically referred to as the American Civil War).

We set up an army tent, demonstrated period black powder long guns of the era, minus the bullets, of course. A typical soldier’s cooking area was adjacent to the military tent, however David V. (no, make that D. Vantreese) refused to Dutch Oven-cook one of his prize-winning peach or apple cobblers over the campfire.

Maybe it was because we didn’t start a fire…

The Southern lady reenactors were dressed in attractive antebellum dresses, the type fitted out with big hoops for more formal occasions. The ladies were protected from the sun by a military cotton duck "fly" (protective overhead covering).

They demonstrated the dress of the period, male and female, explaining how its manufacture was accomplished by their own hands, and of hardships suffered by families of the time due, in large part, to the Union blockade of Southern ports.

My portion of the living history had to do with American flags, especially those of the Confederate States of America and the origin of the "X" seen in so many of them. I did include one foreign flag in my program, the Scotland national flag which, interestingly, contains the same "X."

For those of you not acquainted with the beginnings of that "X," the story goes back as far as 2000 years ago and to some commercial fishermen on the Sea of Galilee who couldn’t catch fish one night.

Seems the fishermen, who eventually WERE in on the netting of a humongous amount fish that morning, due to the taking of advice from a mysterous Man walking along the shore, also learned from Him of how to fish for men. Some of you are acquainted with this Biblical history.

Anyway, this fisher, sometime later, ended up on a crucifixion cross as punishment for "fishing for men."

So as not to confuse or mislead anyone as to the why and wherefore of his hanging on a cross, tradition says this fisher of men asked to be hanged upside-down…and, further, for his cross to be pushed over to one side. The geometric shape formed by this pushing over of his typical cross changed its appearance from that of a small-letter "t" to that of an "X."

This man hung on an X-shaped cross, the brother of Peter, was the apostle Andrew. When his bones were later redistributed around the world, due to a serious political crisis, some small number of his bones ended up in Scotland. His cross is boldly displayed to this day on Scotland’s national flag and he is also their patron saint.

When the South needed a common flag for its defenders to fight under during the "Civil War," the Christian Cross of Saint Andrew, adorned with the stars of seceded Southern states, served them very well. Men of the North and South knew what the "X" stood for in those days.

Though largely receiving a bum rap these days as the flag representing slavery, its true identity is something very different…if one considers the "fishing for men" as worthy and meaningful.

My original point was referring to how too many people, supposed learned men, many with a Southern heritage, refuse to learn of our true history, of their very own ancestors’ noble motivations in that stormy era of the 1860’s. I think it’s their loss...and an open mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Thankfully, Milford’s administration, teachers and students do not fall into that category.

Neither do most of the other and many young students with whom we’ve been honored to share our living history.

But, like the closed stores on those long ago Sundays, too many of our establishment-types and politicians, evidently thinking they already know it all…or are too proud to admit they don’t, seem to be closed upstairs all week long. Too bad, for within our (and all) true history, one may discover the keys (for instance) to the why we currently find our country in such division and dire straits.

May God bless and open minds.

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