Welcome to My Work Room

For minds to think,
and hearts to love,
and hands to serve,
we thank you lord.

from the Book of
Common Prayer

THE MYSTERY OF THE TEETH...

When I sit here in the work room, in my yellow sweat shirt and goofy brown hat, I should be working. Right? Well my mind drifts to the good old days.

When I was a pre-teenager, it was the custom of my uncle Haroldís family to picnic on the Potomac river every 4th of July. I too was then living in the District of Columbia so my parents accompanied them. I had acquired a horrible set of fake Halloween teeth. They were not like the slightly misshapen teeth seen above in the recent picture of me. They were a set of grotesque uppers and lowers with teeth projecting from my mouth in all sorts of directions.

My uncle, prankster that he was, called me aside and Said: "Johnny, my friend Garland and his family are joining us here at the picnic today. You donít know Garland but when he arrives I would like to introduce you. Pretend like the teeth are your own, smile, shake hands, then go play with your friends." Uncle Harold and Garland were forever playing tricks on one another.

When Garland arrived, uncle said to him: "Garland, I donít believe you have met my nephew, John. But when you see him please donít make any remark about his teeth as he is very sensitive about them."

When I was finally introduced to Garland, I shook his hand, and smiled - slowly revealing my teeth. Garland was restrained but anyone could tell he was shocked and quite disturbed.

Later in the day he got my uncle aside and privately said to him: "Harold - for Godís sake do something about that kids teeth!"


DAD CLOSES THE OFFICE...

My father, Warren A. Morgan, nicknamed Swiney, [pronounced SWEE KNEE] was a remarkable man. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri about the time President Roosevelt was setting up his New Deal.

He accepted a position in the Department of Agriculture in Little Rock, Arkansas and quickly rose to head that office. That was years ago; he transported his family there by Model A Ford over one of Arkansasí major highways Ė both gravel roads.

My Aunt tells a story about one of his favorite peeves. It seems that frequently, on a number of days, as he tried to contact key personnel in the Washington DC office he was informed that they were unavailable because the office was closed on some kind of holiday. "Where," he asked himself, "are they coming up with all these holidays? They don't give us holidays down here in Arkansas at the drop of a hat."

One day on receiving such a message over the phone, he walked out into his Little Rock office and said to the staff: "Go home! We are having a holiday today!" The office employees cleared out. Subsequently while he was talking to his immediate superior in Washington DC he remarked. "It sure seems that the office in Washington celebrates an inordinate number of holidays. "And by the way", he added, "I sent all my people home today and closed the office." "Swiney, [SWEE KNEE], You canít do that!" "What do you mean I canít," my dad replied, "I all ready did!"


THE SHIELDING SHADOW...

When my dad was a child he made himself a cloak out of a towel and ran around as a crimefighter known as the shielding shadow.

Most crime fighters can fly - Captain Marvel and Superman can. Dad tried too. He mounted a shed, umbrella in his hand and cape on his back, and jumped. Well - some crime fighters can fly.


THE BRASS HALF BED...

During the great depression, times were bad and jobs hard to find. My mom and dad allowed a couple of my uncles to share a brass double bed in the spare bedroom. They constantly grumbled about having to share the same bed. Day in and day out they complained.

One day, while my uncles and mom were out, dad sawed the brass bed in half -- frame, springs AND mattress!

Ordinarily mom would have cried at the destruction of such a beautiful brass bed. But she and all who saw the result just laughed and laughed. Except for dad - cutting a brass bed, springs, frame, and mattress in half is hard work. It took him the better part of a day to do it.