[I usually draft and edit my posts with a good degree of care, but this one is pretty much off-the-cuff, freestyle.]
A photo of Bud Light cans in a post from a Christian blogger? Bear with me, friends. This post is not about drinking beer.
I must confess that I had “some” interest in the recent controversy surrounding Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light beer, the #1 selling beer in the United States. During college basketball’s “March Madness” tournament, Bud Light’s VP of marketing decided to shake things up and go “cutting-edge woke” by featuring a “trans-woman” named Dylan Mulvaney (photo left) in a Bud Light advertisement. Bud Light’s good ol’ boy customers were not amused and a nationwide boycott quickly ensued. Sales of Bud Light plummeted like a rock. Said marketing executive was subsequently forced to take a “leave of absence.”
A couple of weeks after Bud Light’s self-inflicted fiasco, I was watching the first game of my New York Knicks’ best-of-seven series with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA playoffs and the MSG cable channel repeatedly played a new commercial from Amazon Prime. The scenario begins with a distraught teenage girl (the actress is actually 30YO) sitting at home contemplating her growing mustache (photo right). She attempts to wax it off, but ends up with goo all over the place. She then observes images of mustachioed Eddie Murphy (actor) and Frida Kahlo (female Mexican artist), and a bobble-head of mustachioed Freddie Mercury (S&G singer, d. 1991). Feeling “affirmed,” the girl then places an order with Amazon Prime for a flaming-yellow leather jacket similar to Mercury’s and subsequently sashays into her private high school homeroom, grooving (an understatement) to the beat of Mercury’s “Cool Cat” and proudly flying her “freak flag” ‘tache at the very top of her flag pole. What is the message conveyed by this commercial? I’m sure many viewers were scratching their heads. The commercial challenges traditional gender norms/conventions albeit in a more subtle fashion than the Bud Light spot. I noticed MSG didn’t play the Amazon commercial at all during the next game.
I make the above observations with some interest and some disinterest. These commercials were unimaginable 50 years ago when I was in high school. Society is in freefall. These two cases are just recent examples. I realize you’re all being inundated by this aggressive propaganda (unless you’re living in a cave). We will be increasingly assaulted by these gender-bending messages and will be expected to conform to social engineering mandates from governmental and private institutions. This is going to continue and accelerate. After being constantly bombarded with this stuff, the general public will become inured and eventually won’t raise an eyebrow.
What would Jesus Christ say? What would He do? Jesus didn’t get enmeshed in “culture battles,” but He did preach damnation for sin. He also preached repentance, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Him, the Savior, alone. Both trans-genders and self-righteous good ol’ boys need Jesus. Christian, our stability is not based upon this world, but rather our stability is based upon Jesus Christ and His ability.
Postscript 1: I don’t know what was more disturbing, faux-fem Mulvaney hawking beer or bleary-eyed and foul-mouthed Kid Rock shooting up six-packs of Bud Light with an automatic assault rifle?
Postscript 2: My reference to Bud Light above is not a blanket endorsement for consuming alcohol, although I am one of those square-peg Christians who enjoys a cold beer (not watery Bud Light) after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.
Postscript 3: Christians have attempted to launch many boycotts over the years with sketchy results. But good ol’ boy beer drinkers? They mean business.
I regularly write down ideas on my blog planning sheet that I don’t ever get around to developing into full-blown posts, so every so often I need to clean out my Odds & Ends in-basket.
Our labradoodle dog, Gracie (photo above), is now 15.5 years old and has slowed down quite a bit in the past six-months. She’s increasingly confused about “bathroom protocol.” When we let her outside to go, she’ll just stand there for several minutes doing nothing. We’ll then let her in and she’ll proceed to relieve herself on the floor. We had to buy diapers for her.
Our Son’s Return
This handsome guy above, our youngest son, began serving in the Air Force in March 2001 at the age of 22. For the past 22 years, he’s been stationed all over the world, including Italy, Germany, England, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, New York, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida. One of the most interesting assignments he had was installing communication cabling in the White House, including cable in the ceiling above the Oval Office. He’s retiring from the Air Force in a couple of days and will be moving back with Mom and Dad until he gets himself re-established. We’re happy to have him back. We didn’t see much of him during his long Air Force stint, maybe once every two-years, on-average. I honestly didn’t think he’d move back to the Western New York tundra after living in warm climes for so long.
Me and Fred Mertz
When I was a kid I used to enjoy watching reruns of the “I Love Lucy” television show. I noted that the Ricardos’ friend, neighbor, and landlord, Fred Mertz (photo left), sported a night cap on his bald noggin. Well, I’m not quite as bald as Fred, but it’s pretty thin on top. My wife turns the heat down at night so when I got up in the early morning at 4:30 to 5AM, I slipped on a thick winter hat. That was a bit much for indoors, so my wife ordered me a night cap similar to what Fred used to wear. Man, it’s the best. After I wake up, I immediately put on my Fred cap and wool shirt-jacket (photo right), make a cup of hot java, sit down on the couch with a blanket on my lap, and open my laptop. Ahhhh. What a way to start the day! Good morning, Lord! Actor William Frawley (d. 1966) played the Fred Mertz character from 1951 to 1957. He looked beyond-ancient to me when I watched the show as a kid, but I now see he was my current age at the time.
Over the years, I had accumulated six large plastic bins full of “memorabilia” and my wife has been nagging me to sort through it all. Mind you, my wife has numerous bins, shelves, and closets FULL of tchotchke and clothes throughout the house, but for some reason my six bins neatly arranged in a corner of the basement greatly annoyed her. Well, being retired, I finally went through the memorabilia and reduced the number of bins from six to three. I had hung onto all kinds of things, as if I was going to open a “Tom Museum” someday. The bulk of the stuff consisted of materials from college. I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology’s evening college from 1977 to 1980 and from 1997 until I finally graduated in 2000 and kept everything, including every semester course catalog. What was I thinking by keeping all of that stuff?
Blogging a Part-Time Job
I love reading and writing. My blog is a personal ministry, a chance to connect with like-minded believers, and also a creative outlet. I don’t know how much time I spend blogging each week, but it’s not insignificant. p.s. What’s with the obtrusive new advertising at WordPress? Sheesh! Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain seeing as the platform is still free.
Finney Burned Over
Evangelist Charles Finney (above) was quite famous for his revivals in Rochester and Western and Central New York in the 1830s during the Second Great Awakening. It was Finney who first labeled the area as the “Burned Over District.” There had been so much religious fervor and revivalism in the region that Finney doubted whether it could sustain any more, hence the “burned over” label. I’m not a fan of Finney who preached a Wesleyan/Holiness type of evangelicalism.
Popular “evangelical” YouTuber, Cameron Bertuzzi (photo left), caused a minor stir this past Fall when he converted to Roman Catholicism. After I heard the “news,” I listened to a back-dated video (recorded May 10, 2022) of evangelical apologist, James R. White (photo right), trying to convince Bertuzzi of the errors of RC-ism (see here). Bertuzzi had presented himself as an evangelical apologist, but in reality he was a guy with a YouTube channel whose guests did most of the talking. His knowledge of the Bible and church history wasn’t all that deep, as James R. White revealed. Bertuzzi never genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone or he wouldn’t have opted for the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. No genuine believer would/could choose spiritual chains over spiritual freedom in Christ.
I retired on October 31 after working for 48 years. It’s “strange” having to work for soooooo long and then suddenly stopping and receiving a monthly Social Security check from the government. Don’t get me wrong, I love not having to go into work every week. My last job was physically demanding and definitely not something I pine about. But retirement is an abrupt change and does require some major re-adjusting. There are some retirees who have trouble acclimating to the new circumstances and who develop retirement depression.
Defunct Occupationsand Things
Speaking of working, I worked at Eastman Kodak from 1976 until 2019 when I was unceremoniously laid-off, which led to a year of unemployment and job searching and then two years at my final job at L3Harris Technologies. Kodak was a booming business when I started, with 60,000 employees in the Greater Rochester area. The changeover from analog to digital technology brought the once-industrial giant to its knees. From the information I could find, it seems there’s only around 1000 Rochesterians working at Kodak currently.
Many other occupations/companies/industries have been rocked by changing technology and social trends. Below are some things and occupations that were standard when I was younger that have either greatly declined or been eliminated altogether:
Gas station attendant (photo above)
Dictionaries and thesauruses
Blockbuster and VCRs
Home stereo systems, including 8-track, cassette, and CD players
Television repair shops, tube televisions, tv vacuum tube testers, tv antennas
Grocery store stamps – green, yellow, plaid
Landline telephones, telephone operators, switchboard operators, phone booths, party lines
Computer punch cards
Daisy wheel printers
Daily newspapers and newspaper classified ads
Roller skating rinks
Kirby vacuum salesmen
Fuller brush salesmen
Smudge pots aka “highway torches” used to warn oncoming traffic of road maintenance at night.
Toll booth attendants
Five and dime stores (Woolworth’s and Neisner’s)
Time cards for work check-in, check-out
Calling a business or service phone number and immediately speaking to a live person
Customer service representatives based in the United States
Children going to school and not getting shot
Gender based on biology
Men marrying women, women marrying men
Libraries without “Drag Queen Story Hour”
What are some occupations or things from the past that you can remember that have gone by the wayside?
The sands of this world are shifting at an ever increasing rate, but the Lord is our Rock and sure Foundation.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8
In January of 2022, I published a post noting the significant drop in views/hits for excatholic4christ from the previous year, from 70.7K views in 2020 down to 44.9K views in 2021, a 37 percent drop. That was after 6 years of significant growth. The decline continued into 2022, the year ending with 37.6K views. So in the space of two years my views have declined a whopping 47 percent. That’s obviously very significant (see chart above).
Following last year’s post, a fellow Christian blogger (who is no longer active at WordPress) criticized me for noting my blog stats, as if Christians were supposed to be above such concerns. Well, I’m guessing the vast majority of us write and publish posts with the intent and hope of reaching people with our message. Few of us use WordPress strictly as a private, personal journal.
My post output has remained pretty steady over the years – 2414 total posts in 7.5 years = 322 posts/year average. Most of the blog’s views, by far, come from anonymous internet hits rather than from fellow WordPress bloggers. But newer posts definitely don’t get the internet churn that older posts did and still do. So why the steep drop? My discernment subject matter is admittedly “controversial,” but how then to explain the steady rise in views my first six years? I’m not a conspiracy monger or an IT expert, but I believe internet search engines and social media platforms are currently working hard to filter out what they consider “hate speech.” The EU has already passed legislation requiring IT companies and social media platforms to clamp down on “hate speech” and I imagine the U.S. will be following suit, while social media platforms are already taking “pro-active” steps. I certainly don’t consider my posts to be “hate speech.” I’m presenting the Biblical view on Roman Catholicism and on deviant social movements. There’s no hate in any of my posts. But in this era of undiscerning “tolerance,” “plurality,” “inclusiveness,” and “relativism,” a Biblical view IS increasingly viewed as “hate speech.”
I began this blog in 2015 mainly with the intent of warning Catholics and evangelicals about the heterodoxy of the RCC and I will continue to do so, falling stats or rising stats. “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29. A sincere thanks to all of my friends and encouragers here at WordPress.
I’ve been meaning to write this particular post for a very long time, but just couldn’t seem to get around to putting pen to paper…ur, I mean fingers to keyboard.
Some of my Christian blogger friends here at WordPress may be disappointed or concerned that I occasionally post about “secular” topics. I began this blog back in 2015 with the intent of writing strictly about theological topics, mostly dealing with the errors of Roman Catholicism and the dangers of evangelical ecumenism with Rome. The Lord put that desire in my heart and I perceived it to be a ministry and still do.
Towards the end of 2016, I began to get the itch to also occasionally publish posts about “secular” topics. Would that be okay? In the restrictive, independent fundamental Baptist culture I started out in as a new Christian four decades ago, it would definitely NOT have been okay. In that legalistic, cultish culture, interest in most “secular” activities or entertainments was a sign of worldliness Everyone at church conformed to the lock-step, group-pleasing, “Stepford Wife,” misrepresentation of themself as someone who was myopically focused strictly on “spiritual things” with no “secular” hobbies or interests. We all knew we were being phonies, but we all played along. The pastor had a keen interest in martial arts and Kung Fu action movies, but that was somehow considered to be okay (still scratching my head over that one).
With my fundamentalism experience many years behind me, I thought it would be honest and helpful for other Christians to occasionally write about my “secular” interests and hobbies. Well, God is sovereign over all, even over my “secular” recreations. So in 2016, I began to occasionally publish posts about “secular” topics along with my theological output. Over the years, there have been posts about film director, Elia Kazan, the Byrds, sports, comic books, food, yardwork, etc. In many of those “secular” posts I have been able to turn attention back to the Lord. Again, He is sovereign over all. “Secular” artists like Elia Kazan and David Crosby explored the foibles of mankind. They had many questions, but, of course, no answers. But on my journey to salvation in Jesus Christ, the Lord used the deep ponderings of “secular” artists to lead me to Him.
Many months ago, the Cave to the Cross podcast guys reviewed Scott Christensen’s book, “What About Evil,” in which the author expounded upon, among other things, the “meta-narrative.” The Bible is THE meta-narrative, the ultimate story of good vs. evil. The literature and entertainment arts of humankind are comprised of millions of good vs. evil minor-narratives. Go to any Barnes and Noble or movieplex and you’ll see it yourself. People are captivated by stories of good triumphing over evil. All of these minor-narratives point to the Biblical meta-narrative of God’s ultimate triumph over evil through Jesus Christ.
Are we to live as cloistered Roman Catholic monks, with every moment of the day strictly devoted to prayer, Bible reading, and painfully ascetic deprivations? Nope, we are to be “in the world, but not of the world” (not a Biblical quote, but garnered from Scripture, i.e., John 17:14-16). It’s okay to have “secular” interests and hobbies with the mindset that everything we think, say, and do should ultimately bring glory to God. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31. That’s going to be different for each Christian as the Holy Spirit leads, but lets not be phony, sanctimonious, ascète fundamentalists looking down our noses at others.
I regularly accumulate a number of “Odds and Ends” ideas for the blog that I never get around to developing into full-blown posts. That process seems to be accelerating now that I’m retired. My ideas inbox is getting full, so it’s time to clean house and present another edition of Odds & Ends.
The Wells Fargo Wagon
Does anyone remember “The Music Man,” the 1962 musical starring Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, and the very young Ron “Opie” Howard? I was never much of a fan of musicals, but even at 6-years-old, I thought Shirley Jones was swell. One particular memory from the film that has stuck with me over the years was the “Wells Fargo Wagon” song (see here). Well, we all know that the Wells Fargo wagon has since been replaced by the beloved Amazon delivery truck. It occurs to me that the anticipation of receiving some material item is often more pleasurable than actually acquiring it. “For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – Luke 12:15
The daily newspaper: Going, going, …
The daily newspaper is a threatened species. Rochester used to have morning and afternoon newspapers, but now it’s down to just the morning Democrat and Chronicle newspaper and it’s a pretty slim version of its former self. I was a regular subscriber to the paper for years and years, but stopped maybe five years ago because of the rising price. After I retired, I re-subscribed to the paper and I’m enjoying it, but I realize its days are numbered. In our digital age, the daily newspaper is an anachronism. The D&C recently announced it’s laying off 108 employees and transferring its printing operation to faraway Rockaway, New Jersey, 300 miles away, meaning the paper’s limited reporting will be even less timely.
Snuffy’s Hot Sauce vs. Sal’s Hot Sauce
In my review of Sal’s Birdland’s half-chicken dinner (see here), I recounted how Salvatore “Sal” Nalbone got the inspiration for his suburban restaurant from Harry “Snuffy” Smith, who operated soul-food chicken joints in the city going back to the 1950s. Snuffy passed away in 2008, but his sweet-spicy sauce is still being sold in some area groceries. Sal died in 2021, but his restaurant is still going strong and his sweet-spicy “sassy” sauce is also sold in Rochester groceries. Sal’s sauce is mustard-based while Snuffy’s sauce is ketchup-based, although mustard is also an ingredient. How about a very brief taste-test dual? Mmm. Both sauces are de-lish, although Sal’s sauce is sweeter and has more of a syrupy consistency. Both sauces have a nice tang. If push came to shove, I would choose Sal’s sauce over Snuffy’s, but it’s nice to be able to change it up.
Cleaning Out the Garage
Nope, that’s not our garage in the photo above, but our garage does get a bit messy and disorganized over time. Twice a year, in the early-Spring and late-Fall, I clean out the garage. I was a little late this year, and my wife got after me to clean it up before our youngest son arrived for a one-week visit. Why not just keep things picked up and organized throughout the year? This reminds me of how sin accumulates in our life and we need to take stock, repent, and get things right with the Lord.
More Rochester Meat Hot Sauces!
Speaking of hot sauces, back in August 2020 I presented a couple of posts reviewing six of Rochester’s delectable meat hot sauces (see here and here). Well, the other day I was shopping at Hegedorn’s, an independent grocery store in Webster, NY, and spotted three more locally-made meat hot sauces. From left to right: Harladay Hots Meat Sauce, Old-Fashioned Meat Sauce, and Little Johns Meat Sauce. All three are delish and somewhat similar variations of Rochester’s classic meat hot sauce. Of the three, I give the nod to Harladay Hots, which is made under the auspices of Charlie Clottin, proprietor of the Harladay Hots food cart, which can be found at 10 N. Main Street in Pittsford, NY during the warmer months.
Has anyone watched the four-episode documentary, “Hillsong: A Mega-Church Exposed”? I’ve caught bits and pieces, but need to watch the entire thing. The documentary exposes much that is horrifically wrong with the seeker, hipster, church-growth model. Shameful.
Sauce YET AGAIN???
Yup, I realize we’re already heavy on the condiments in this odds-and-ends post, BUT I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one more. On a trip to Hegedorn’s grocery several months ago, I bought a jar of LeFrois Sauce pictured above. LeFrois is a locally-made, tomato-based barbequing/simmering sauce with a deliciously-unique flavor that I first discovered at our Wegman’s grocery way back in the early-1980s. For some ridiculous reason, Wegman’s discontinued carrying LeFrois sauce, but I was delighted to spot it at Hegedorn’s years later. However, on a very recent trip to Hegedorn’s, the LeFrois sauce was gone! What happened? I did some internet sleuthing and it appears LeFrois’s manufacturer, Jets Le Frois Corporation in Brockport, N.Y., is no longer operational. No one answered the phone at Jets Le Frois when I called during business hours. Argh! It’s going to be sad when I get around to opening my last jar of LeFrois (expiration date 9/23).
I published a post two weeks ago about obeying the speed limit. See here. What prompted that was an encounter with a raving road rager that I’ll detail today.
Friday, December 2nd was a crisp, sunny day in Pittsford, N.Y. A couple of days prior, I had received a check from the investment firm that managed the employee 401K accounts for my former company that I needed to rollover to my personal IRA account. I hopped into my car and headed to the Pittsford post office to mail the check to the investment company coordinating my IRA, about a three-mile drive (see map far below).
As I approached the east end of Golf Avenue, I needed to make a right turn southbound onto Marsh Road, a two-lane road with mostly double-yellow, no-passing markings. I looked both ways on Marsh Road and saw a white car approaching southbound, but gauged that I had plenty of time if I gave my car some extra gas. I made the turn and quickly accelerated until I was traveling the posted 40MPH speed limit.* I then checked my rearview mirror and saw that the white car was about six feet from my rear bumper. I had accelerated quickly enough that I shouldn’t have impeded the white car if the driver, whom I shall call “Karen,” was obeying the speed limit. But Karen was obviously not obeying the speed limit and took great offense to my turning onto Marsh Road ahead of her. What do you do when the car behind you is dangerously close to your bumper? Yup, I tapped my brakes a couple of times, not enough to slow my car down, but enough to engage the rear brake lights. I glanced into my rearview mirror and saw that Karen was not amused. She was making a gesture with her right hand that I needn’t expound upon. There was a time when I would have matched rage with rage, but I was calmly amused by Karen’s behavior.
Well, I continued to travel down Marsh Road with Karen still dangerously close to my bumper. I soon reached a point on the road where the posted speed limit changes from 40MPH to 35MPH and I was more than happy to oblige. In fact, I purposely slowed down to a sub-limit speed of around 30MPH. I checked the rearview mirror and saw my action had the desired effect. Karen was not engaging her steering wheel at all as she delivered the aforementioned obscene gesture with both hands. A double whammy! Karen was raging! If she had a loaded pistol she would have shot me. I then slowed down to make a right turn onto four-lane Pittsford-Palmyra Road/Route 31 and Karen did the same. As she passed me she gave me a long blast of her horn and more passionate hand gestures.
Hmm. What to make of that encounter? In hindsight, I probably should have eased over towards the side of Marsh Road to allow the much-aggravated Karen to pass. I confess that I did enjoy aggravating her further by engaging the brake lights and slowing down below the speed limit. Driving is dangerous business and we obviously shouldn’t “toy” with other drivers, even when we perceive that they are in the wrong. Road rage (and rage in other circumstances) has reached epidemic proportions in society as common courtesy has devolved into a “me first” mentality. Forgive me, Lord, for countering wrongness with wrongness. I hope Karen made it to her destination safely. I wasn’t being safe by toying with raging Karen.
“One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” – Proverbs 14:16
*I drove the same route to the post office on Dec. 19 and noticed that I was previously mistaken. The posted speed limit on the entire length of Marsh Rd. is 35MPH. So I was initially going 5MPH OVER the speed limit. Despite that, Karen was still enraged and a few feet from my bumper.
A very recent “encounter” with another driver caused me to think about speed limits and road rage. This week we’ll discuss speed limits and next week, [gulp], road rage.
The Bible instructs Christians that they should be good citizens and adhere to the (godly) laws of the land.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” – Romans 13:1-2
Speed limits are mandated on public highways to promote travel safety. In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed a bill which made 55 MPH the speed limit national standard. However, big improvements have been made in highway and automobile design since then, so what was deemed the safe limit of automobile speed 48 years ago is not necessarily valid anymore.
Here in the Greater Rochester area, just about all of the expressways have a posted 55 MPH speed limit (except for designated stretches of I-390 and I-490 where the limit is 65 MPH). However, the reality is that extremely few drivers obey the 55 MPH limit. From my own observations, I would say most cars travel around 60-62 MPH on 55 MPH posted stretches.* The consensus is traffic police will allow 5-7 mph over the limit without pulling a driver over. Obviously, traffic/transportation officials are aware that most drivers exceed the speed limit, but they won’t raise the limit to the demonstrated travel speed because drivers would see that as leeway to go even faster.
How does this relate to the Christian driving a car on a posted 55 MPH speed limit highway? Is it a sin to defy the government mandated speed limit? I remember an instructor telling our driving class fifty years ago that drivers should follow the general speed of traffic. In other words, don’t go too slow and don’t go too fast relative to the other cars. A driver strictly adhering to the posted 55 MPH speed limit is going to result in other cars coming up quickly on the slower moving vehicle. There will be frustration, anger, and recklessness as drivers pass the slower car.
Perhaps in the case of the 55 MPH speed limit, breaking the law and driving with the flow of traffic is showing more regard for overall safety than a driver who scrupulously adheres to the posted (but largely ignored) speed limit.
What are your thoughts? Is it a sin to exceed the traffic speed limit?
Next week: Road rager on my bumper!
*In the course of writing this post, I asked my wife what she thought the average speed of traffic was on the area’s 55 MPH-posted interstates and she said 70 MPH and insisted she was correct. That number is not even close to being accurate and is an example of how some drivers do not monitor their speedometer.
I realize I’ve beaten this “retirement drum” a bit leading up to this point, but now it’s time to finally put a cap on it.
I’m writing this post on Friday, November 4th. What’s significant about that is I’ve been working weekends – Friday through Sunday, 6AM to 6:30PM – at L3Harris Technologies for the past 22 months and wasn’t able to write any weekend posts during that span. But on Monday, October 31st, I had my exit interview at L3H and officially retired, capping a 48-year work career at the age of 66.
I began working full-time in August 1974 at the tender age of 18 shortly before my wife and I got married. My 48-year work journey is summarized as follows:
1975-1976 – Pot-washer and Transporter, Highland Hospital (I had worked at HH part-time during high school)
1976-2013 – Warehouse clerk, Expeditor, Warehouse team leader, Production team leader, Quality coordinator, Supervisor, Service support associate, Eastman Kodak
2013-2019 – Service support associate, Kodak Alaris (laid off)
2019-2021 – Unemployed 15 months
2021-2022 – Warehouse clerk, L3Harris
I had a lot of great experiences in those 48 years along with a lot of challenges. The bulk of my career was spent at Eastman Kodak, which was a thriving company when I joined in 1976, but began declining in 1985 due to competition and the shift from analog to digital technology. I continued on the sinking ship for another 34 years. I was among the last wave of Kodak employees to receive tuition reimbursement and I was able to earn a B.S. in Production Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2000 as part of my promotion to supervision. But being a first-line production supervisor was a demanding, stressful, and thankless job. I was laid-off from Kodak Alaris in 2019 and unemployed for 15 months, which was a harrowing experience. I applied to many companies, but there were no takers. The job situation in Rochester and Western New York in general is very bad. When L3Harris finally reached out to me in December 2020, I was hesitant. Did I really want to start over at the age of 64.5? But my goal had been to work until age 66 and 4 months to collect my full Social Security benefit, so I ambivalently acquiesced. The job at L3H turned out to be much more physical than I had expected and it was tough for my 65-66 YO body to lift the heavy boxes and walk the 60K+ steps that were required each weekend, but I made it to the finish line. I’m grateful to L3H for the opportunity. Being let go by Kodak/Kodak Alaris 3-years short of my retirement goal had left a bitter taste. L3H allowed me to retire on my terms. I accumulated 180 vacation hours while at L3H, which will cover the next 5 weeks financially until Uncle Sam sends my first SS check mid-December.
It’s very strange to not have to go into work after 48 years of being on the employment treadmill. I realize every retiree has to make this adjustment. Family and friends ask what I’m going to do with my time and I tell them I plan on sitting on the couch for a year to recover from the physical rigors of the L3H job. I’m not entirely joking. But the falling leaves are helping to keep me busy during this transition.
Thank you, Lord, for my 48 years of employment! You allowed me to take care of my family and myself financially. I’m grateful for all of the jobs I’ve had.
Postscript: Retirement is a difficult transition for many. Some people have heart attacks due to the “stress” of suddenly having no work routine. I recall the tale of the old plow-horse that had dutifully plowed a farmer’s fields for 20 years, but had reached the point that it was no longer physically able to do it. The farmer put the horse out to pasture, but the ol’ boy began sulking and wouldn’t eat. The understanding farmer then harnessed up the old horse and allowed him to pull the unencumbered plow for a short period each day and the animal was happy.
My wife and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary two weeks ago. Above is a split-photo of us, top portion, we’re leaving Hedges Nine Mile Point Restaurant where we had our wedding reception on August 24, 1974, and below, we’re leaving our celebratory anniversary dinner at Hedges on August 24, 2022 (almost the same camera angle, several alterations to the building).
My wife and I married when we were both…gulp…eighteen years old. Over the following 48 years we’ve had much joy together, including the arrivals of our two sons and three grandchildren. We also both accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior in 1983. Praise God! We’ve shared nine different homes together, each earned college degrees, and had both rewards and disappointments with our jobs.
There’s also been many trials and challenges in our marriage, including divorcing in 2001, but reuniting the following year. Praise God again!
The saying goes that opposites attract and that’s the case with my wife and I. She’s emotional/effusive/enthusiastic and I’m stoic. She’s impulsive while I’m cautious. She’s a spender and I’m a saver. She’s a talker while I’m much more introspective. My wife tends towards excess, while I lean towards (sometimes rigid) restraint. Etc., etc., etc. At times we’re a great team, complementing one another and covering all of the bases with our disparate personalities. However, at other times the differences have led to frustration and friction. But after 48 years, I still love my wife.
Marriage is not always easy. Marriage takes regular…er…make that ongoing work and sacrifice. Many Christian couples present a rosy posy facade at church and in the company of other believers, but don’t get along behind closed doors. Some sources report that 30% of Christian married couples divorce. Surely a sizable percentage of those 70% who remain married aren’t happily married.
My regular prayer is that I will be a better husband to my wife. Married person, I encourage you to strive, with God’s great grace, to be a better spouse to your partner, also. Encourage. Respect. Forgive. Repeat.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. – Ephesians 5:22-33
If you’re older than 60, you might remember the big controversy that took place when then-presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, was interviewed in the November 1976 issue of Playboy1 magazine. I was twenty-years-old at the time and still a member of the Roman Catholic church. While in Catholic high-school, I had ditched my comic book collection for used Playboys bought at the Clinton Bookshop in downtown Rochester. I viewed Playboy as harmless “entertainment” as did all of my Catholic buddies. My wife and I married in 1974, but I still sneaked a peek at a Playboy every now-and-then. What red-blooded male didn’t?
In the Playboy interview, Carter intimated that he was a born-again Christian2 (he had openly declared he was a born-again Christian elsewhere) and confessed with regret that he “looked on a lot of women with lust.”
Well, my Catholic family and friends thought Jimmy was a bit of a fool. What was all of this “born-again” mumbo-jumbo? I remember scoffing with my friends about whether a person could crawl back inside their mother in order to be born again. Unbeknownst to me, 1st-century Judean religious leader, Nicodemus, had questioned Jesus Christ about this very thing in John 3:
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – John 3:3-8
But we were Roman Catholics and had never read the Bible and weren’t at all familiar with the passage. Not only was Carter a fool for claiming he was “born-again,” but he was also a fool for admitting he lusted after women. Why, of course he did! Every red-blooded man lusted after women, but don’t make a mockery of yourself by admitting to it! And if Jimmy was one of those sanctimonious born-again-ers who took their religion so seriously, why did he agree to be interviewed by Playboy magazine? Jimmy shared the November issue with 25YO “playmate” model, Patti McGuire3 (above photo, left), who appeared sans covering in several photos. Even I knew a so-called born-again-er shouldn’t be appearing in Playboy.
Much of the public scoffed at Jimmy’s PR blunder, but he still managed to beat bumbling GOP incumbent, Gerald Ford, in the 1976 presidential election.
Seven years after Jimmy’s celebrated gaffe, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone and also became one of those born-again-ers. I’m not sure how much the Carter controversy affected my journey to the Lord, if at all, but I do remember noting the irony of having previously scoffed at Carter’s profession of being born-again. Jimmy Carter obviously thought he was doing the right thing by agreeing to be interviewed by Playboy. He did present the Gospel in a roundabout way.
1Time ran out on archetype “playboy,” Hugh M. Hefner, publisher of Playboy magazine. He died in 2017.
2Yes, I certainly do realize Jimmy Carter is part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and its “progressive evangelicalism.” I do not endorse Carter’s theology.
3Patti McGuire married professional tennis player, Jimmy Connors, in 1979, and she’s now 70 years old. Youth and appearance are fleeting commodities. What do people have when they’re gone?
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30