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Milli Gilbaugh

The hit list grows

Food for Thought

Since the new cars first came on the market in late summer, there’s been one new car commercial that has become increasingly annoying. It concerns a car with sensors that will cause an automatic braking system to kick in if an obstacle is too close, thus avoiding, or at least minimizing, an accident. While I admire the technology, I abhor the grammar. To be specific; a voice asks, “Imagine you could predict an accident before it happens?”

A thousand and one uses for pumpkins

Food for Thought

Don’t worry, I’m not going to actually list that many ways to use pumpkins. There may not be that many– on the other hand, there may be considerably more, but I fall asleep about time my list gets up into the late teens. This time of year, when supermarket parking lots are overflowing with those big orange orbs and all their pink, white, green, red and brown cousins, and every farmers’ market and farmer’s child has a sign out front advertising bargain prices for them, I wonder just what happens to all of them, once Halloween and Thanksgiving are over and forgotten.

The last place you look

Food for Thought

When asked if I had any photos of my old friend Norma who died, I thought, with dismay, about the jumble of snapshots that clutter up my desk, the bottom drawer of my dresser, a box under my bed, that small wooden chest on the bookshelf, and an old suitcase in the furnace room. There are a few more places that might yield something, too, that tin box on the top shelf of the linen closet, and a fat envelope of assorted precious junk I once slipped under the place mats and tablecloths in the dining room hutch. It’d take me weeks to go through all that.

The world turns

Food for Thought

About three weeks ago, I woke up one morning to find my whole world had shifted over into fall. That process isn’t usually so abrupt, but this year it hit like a two-by-four on the side of my head. Wow. Summer was over. When I was a kid, the seasons somehow managed to creep up on me when I wasn’t paying much attention. For instance, spring seemed to linger until sometime around the Fourth of July, and winter didn’t set in until the first really serious snowfall– Christmas not withstanding.

Dancing and dreaming

food for thought

As I switched off yet another black and white rerun of Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, I asked myself why I ended up watching that and Lawrence Welk on nearly every Saturday evening. The answer is obvious, I suppose. Unless you’re a big sports fan or get some sort of satisfaction from watching people (people who are even more out of shape than you are) tempt fate and coronaries by running up the side of a mountain, you haven’t much choice.

Room for improvement

Food for Thought

I belong to three organizations that are made up of some very talented and creative people. In all three instances, I feel flattered to be accepted as an equal and I have great respect for the opinions they share about the things we create, both individually and as a group. One group (the one with the broadest scope) consists of professional women writers, artists and composers of music. As a writer and artist, I feel pretty much at home among the others, even though their talents often seem unattainable compared to the things that I am able to come up with.

The more things change

Food for Thought

...the more they stay the same. Even though I was in junior high when people in Iowa first got television in their homes, I didn’t see much of it until I was in my early 20s. We lived in Knoxville. The closest broadcasting station was in Ames. Reception in Knoxville was poor and some people put up tall, expensive towers for their antennas and still had to often settle for shadowy pictures wavering through the snow and static-punctuated sound that faded in and out. Dad decreed that he would wait until reception was good enough that it would be a pleasure to watch rather than a frustration.

What’s in a name?

Food for Thought

I’ve always thought it interesting that things without names seem to be somehow more fascinating, mysterious, or just plain scary than things that have names. Names serve a variety of functions: some are descriptive, such as, waterfall, fireplace, sweet corn, football field. Those give us an image of the thing and explain its use. Most names, of course are simply nouns that provide basic information but can cover a wide range of similar ideas. These are things like teacher, vehicle, building, toy and moisture.

Looking for the answer

Food for Thought

Some time ago, a friend was telling about the request she made for her 55th birthday. In lieu of cards or gifts, she asked her friends and relatives to celebrate her double nickels by doing five good deeds and praying for five other people. She said it made her feel good to think of all those kind actions and loving thoughts going out among so many people at her behest.

The world of make-believe

food for thought

As I was surfing my way through the dearth of summer television choices one Saturday evening not long ago, I came upon an old black and white Lawrence Welk program that had been taped in the 1960s. A wholesome-looking young couple was dancing and singing a love song about how nice it was to be holding each other close, feeling safe and cherished, while they danced. And, for some reason, that song took me right back to the late 1940s and early 1950s when I was a daydreaming, romantic teenager myself.

The invisible They

Food for Thought

All my life I’ve been mystified by the knowledge and expertise of that enigmatic, all-knowing being known as They. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. They say teenagers need more sleep than adults because their bodies are growing and changing so fast. They say it is better to give than to receive. They seem to have an answer for everything and we seldom question their authority. Yet, nobody ever says just who They are. Why do we put so much faith in someone nobody seems to actually know personally?

The last day of school

Food for Thought

In the 1940s, when I was in elementary school, we looked forward to that final day of classes with more than a small bit of trepidation. The reason for this anxiety was the question of whether or not we had passed. Would we be going on to the next grade level, or would we be forced to face the shame of having failed and being required to repeat this entire school year? We would know the answer to that fearful question by the end of this short, final day of school, but for now there were other matters to take care of.