Sunday, August 23, 2015

Change Happens

I took an unexpected trip to North Dakota Friday, delivering parts my son had been working on: and enjoying a few hours with family there, including our granddaughter.

On the way out, I stopped off at Fergus Falls for gas: and discovered that Debbie's Home Style Kitchen isn't there any more. That's what it looked like, back in 2010.

I found a partial explanation on a Fargo, North Dakota, station's website:
"Longtime family restaurant Debbie’s Home Style Kitchen in Fergus Falls closing after 23 years"
WDAY (June 10, 2014)

"...Owners Debbie and Bob Proudfoot fired up the kitchen after moving here with their two children.

"Debbie says they've enjoyed many years of serving the community traditional home-cooked meals....

"...But she says, it's time to move on.

"Their kids are grown - they now have kids of their own....

"...Debbie's Kitchen's last day will be Sunday, June 15th."
I'll miss the place, although my family weren't 'regulars.' Not long after Debbie's Kitchen opened in 1991, we began stopping in when returning from North Dakota, and passing Fergus Falls near a meal time. We hadn't been there in more than a year, and now never will.

Some online reviews indicate that some folks didn't like the food: which I can believe. Debbie's Home Style Kitchen served food that folks here in the Upper Midwest are more likely to enjoy.

However, it sounds like the Proudfoots (Proudfeet??) made a good choice. My wife and I are at around that age: and change happens.

What Socrates Said


Although I talked about Socrates yesterday and Friday, A Catholic Citizen in America hasn't become a 'Socrates every day' blog. (August 22, 2015; August 21, 2015)

One more quote shouldn't hurt, though:
"I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet in law ought any man use every way of escaping death. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death, if a man is willing to say or do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs deeper than death."(Socrates, from "Apology," Plato's account of the trial of Socrates (Translated by Benjamin Jowett))
Small wonder the Athenian establishment sentenced him to death.

'Kids These Days!'


Now, something Socrates didn't say. It's actually a bowdlerized version of lines 961–985 of "The Clouds," Aristophanes' comedy: spoken by a satiric version of Socrates. (August 22, 2015)

Amsterdam's mayor, Gijsbert van Hall, apparently quoted the lines from "The Clouds" following a street demonstration in 1966.

The New York Times ran a story quoting the mayor's quote of "Socrates" April 3, 1966, on page 16: and the quote-of-a-paraphrased-satire entered American culture. (Wikipedia, Bartleby.com)
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
(Socrates didn't say this)
I'm getting to the age when I could complain about 'kids these days,' and how wonderful the 'good old days' were. But I won't. My memory's too good.

Back in 'the good old days,' some American families were a bit like the Cleavers in "Leave It to Beaver:" sane, sensible, and not obsessively climbing the economic ladder. But others — too many, I think — gave their kids everything money could buy, and little else.

My parents were comparatively sane and sensible, which may be why I thought buying stuff you don't need with money you don't have to impress folks you don't like made no sense at all. Come to think of it, I probably heard that from my father.

Nostalgia and Diaper Changing Tables


I was in my teens during the 1960s, one of 'those crazy kids' who thought America and the world could do better. I still do.

A half-century later, I occasionally indulge in nostalgia: like a detour through Fargo yesterday, on my way back from North Dakota. It was mostly to avoid road construction, partly to see what University Avenue looks like now.

It's not the same as I remember: particularly near major Interstate interchanges,where almost nothing is as it was when I was a teen and young adult.

That's okay. Change happens.

Some of the changes are invisible from the road, of course. Diaper changing tables, for example, aren't exactly new: but having them in the men's restroom?! That would been unthinkable in my 'good old days.'

Men simply did not associate with babies in public. That was 'woman's work,' not something a 'regular guy' would do.

Some of the changes my generation worked for didn't go as well as I'd hoped: but I do not miss the days when 'she's smart as a man' was supposed to be a compliment. (April 12, 2015; August 29, 2014)

Some Things Don't Change


Some folks, Christian and otherwise, seem convinced that Christianity is all about clinging to a bygone way of life. Details vary, but I suspect that for many, the 'good old days' were a particular middle-class American subculture's lifestyle, from about 1945 to 1956.

If I thought we had a perfect society in 1950s or 1860s America, or 11th century Europe, I'd want comics suppressed, bustles back in fashion, or the re-union of England, Demark, Norway, and part of today's Sweden. (July 5, 2015)

Like I said, I indulge in nostalgia occasionally. But the 'good old days' aren't coming back. Change happens, and this isn't the 20th, 19th, or 11th century any more.

Some things don't change, though. These were good ideas two millennia back, still are, and will be when Emperor Guangwu, Bhoja, and Trygve Lie seem roughly contemporary:
How we apply those principles changes, depending on where and how we live. (September 7, 2014)

The Church doesn't try cramming everyone into one cultural or political mold.

We are, however, expected to work toward having political systems and cultural norms which respect the "legitimate good of the communities" and "fundamental rights of persons." (Catechism, 24, 814, 1901, 1957)

By keeping what is good, changing what is not, and passing along what we've learned: we will continue to make mistakes, but I think we can also build a better world.

More of my take on:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Missing a word: "seem convinced that Christianity is all about clinging a bygone way of life."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Got it. Found and fixed, Brigid. Thanks.

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