Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Humility of Chasing Technology

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

At Oakland City High School, I was class president three years. I was principal bassoonist in the band and orchestra. I was editor of the newspaper, Oak Barks. I was a cleanup-hitting first baseman. I took a pretty girl to the prom. I was elected Most Likely to Succeed. I set the all-time record on comprehensive exams [1]. I set the all-time record on the entrance exam at the Potter & Brumfield factory. [2] I rolled my jeans cuffs up two inches.

All my high school classmates remember, though, is that I once tried to catch a run-away typewriter.

It must have been our freshman year, in typing class, with Mr. [Manfred] Morrow. I had never experienced a typewriter before. These were manual Royals, with a very strong reflex. The first time I hit the “return” button, the carriage raced from left to right with great alacrity. I dove for it, ending up on the floor, and I was not just trying to get a better look at Linda Luttrull’s legs, although that was the view I had once down there.

Despite my best effort, I did not catch the carriage, since it, of course, had not come off. How was a farm boy, unused to advanced technology, who even plowed with horses instead of a tractor [3], to know about such things? In my world, if something flew fast from left to right, it came off and needed to be caught. [Remember that I played first base.]

When the class of 1955 has gathered, the class Miss Grace Robb said was more closely involved with one another emotionally than any she ever saw in her many years of teaching, that is the only story they tell, of the skinny farm boy and the run-away typewriter.

Whenever I have been tempted to think of myself too highly [4], I remember Mike and Don and Marietta and Nancy and Bob and Shirley and Hovey and Kenny and Bill and Sharon and Wally and “Rowdy Russ,” who, of course, was not rowdy at all, and the rest of my 61 classmates. One of the best things about old friends is that they keep you humble.

And when my farm-boy brain gets frustrated with my computer, and my iPad, and my dumb phone, I give thanks that at least I no longer have to chase runaway typewriters.

John Robert McFarland

1] Comprehensive exams took all of one day, covering the material of all four years of high school. My all-time record stood until James Burch turned his exam in thirty minutes later.

2] I missed only one question on the Potter & Brumfield test. That record stood until James Burch took the exam the next day. I love James Burch. He was always willing to take the pressure off me by beating any record I set. We called him “Wally,” after the Mr. Peepers character of Wally Cox.

3] We later had an old tractor, an orange Case, for which I got a “Tractor Maintenance” certificate in 4H. I keep a model of it on my book case.

4] Romans 12:3.

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where people are Yoopers, a word just now included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

You don’t have to bookmark or favorite the CIW URL to return here. Just Google Christ In Winter and it will show up at the top of the page.

I tweet, occasionally, as yooper1721.

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