This will date me back to the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there were no microwaves or electronic devices and people actually had to cook and have face-to-face conversations, but it does …
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This will date me back to the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there were no microwaves or electronic devices and people actually had to cook and have face-to-face conversations, but it does make a point.
In 1953, American pop singer Kitty Kallen released a recording entitled “Little Things Mean a Lot.” It was aimed at letting lovers know little things, as the lyrics say — “blow me a kiss from across the room, say I look nice when I’m not, touch my hair as you pass my chair, little things mean a lot” — go a long way toward making the big things happen.
That’s a good little thing but there are also little things that can have a detrimental effect on life. For instance, there’s the old story about a long-ago kingdom waging war against its major rival. Things weren’t going too well for the home team when the commanding officer dispatched a soldier on horseback to call for reinforcements to come immediately, if not sooner.
The story goes on to note what happened after the rider left and a nail came out of one of his steed’s horseshoe and the rider didn’t make it back to the reserve troops in time. “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost — all for the want of a nail.”
Most of us these days don’t have much to do with horseshoes and nails but there are countless little things that have a big impact on our lives. And if you’ve been outdoors for at least 19 minutes the past few days, you no doubt have noticed one of them, except for me it’s not just a little thing. And maybe for you, too.
Most things are yellow these days. Outdoor furniture. Your car or truck. Sidewalks and stairs and steps. Things on the screen porch. The dog, if he lies still for five minutes.
It’s pollen time in North Carolina, a season which should be added to the four we already have. And here’s the deal: it can be good — and is — and it can be bad — and is.
It hasn’t been revealed to me why God, in His creation wisdom, deemed that trees and bushes and plants and flowers would reproduce and grow the way they do. I don’t know why birds and bees are such an integral part of each spring’s return to foliage and growth. Well, actually I do know why — that’s the way things were created; I just don’t know why that seemed to be the best way for those things to happen.
And, truthfully, I’m glad we have renewal from winter’s dormant stage. It’s soon going to be time for good things like tomatoes and blackberries, which go into my favorite of all desserts — blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. The blackberries. Not the tomatoes. They don’t go into cobbler, although they’re pretty tasty with fresh bread and Duke’s mayonnaise.
The only problem — and it’s a big one for me and maybe you — is that while the pollen is flying about, spurred on by the breezes of the season, it doesn’t all wind up on other plants or even your car. Some of it winds up in my nose and sinus cavities and throat and some winds up in my eyes behind my contacts. Have you ever seen a picture of what a grain of pollen looks like? Imagine a microscopic sweetgum ball with all its prickly points. Then imagine that in your eyes.
Fortunately, the season is a relatively brief one and when coupled with an occasional shower — the rain kind, not the Saturday night kind — it passes on and eventually we’re left with the beauty of nature.
It seems to me there’s a lesson for us folks in that. As we move through life, there are opportunities for little things, good little things ... an encouraging word, a handshake (if you’re not afraid of it), maybe a fist bump, a pat on the shoulder, a helping hand along the way. But there’s also the opposite opportunities that some folks seem inclined to do — fussing, grumbling, knocking someone, complaining. And the results of either — or both — will bloom soon enough.
Just remember this: there’s only about a foot of difference between a pat on the shoulder and a kick in the seat of the pants but the results are miles apart.
Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.