Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 31, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
-Saturday, July 31, 1971 THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Margaret Luckhurst Hot on the trail of a skimmer The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY IT'S funny how we get into things sometimes. I have never been especially interest- ed in collecting early Cana- diana for myself although I have friends who root around junk shops and bazaars look- ing for mason jars, butter crocks, and the like. But re- cently when my husband went on one of those diets where ev- erytliing has to be measured and weighed with an exactness which in itself kills the ap- petite, I expressed the desire for a good old fashioned skim- mer. "What's a my husband wanted to know. "Well, it's a kind of flat seive, made of aluminum or something, and it has little slots all across it. Mother used one years ago to skim the cream off the milk. A skim- mer is just what we need to lift the grease off of gravy and soups." "Let's buy was my hus- band's sensible they shouldn't be hard to get." But the hardware store man had never heard of a skim- mer. "I've been in the busi- ness for 30 he said somewhat loftily as if I were making the whole thing up. "Why I've never even HEARD of skimmers, and certainly if there had been such an article we'd have carried them. Yes- sir, we always carry a full line of kitchen utensils so why don't you buy a slotted spoon Feeling as if I should be gowned in calico and shod in high button boots I meekly bought a slotted spoon, and we slunk out of the store. But the slotted spoon didn't work which I felt was retribu- tion against the high-handed hardware store man. The grease slipped through the slots because they were too far apart. "Why don't I just give up eating gravies and my husband stated, but by this time I was darned if I wasn't going to find a skimmer some- where. There were still lots of household uses for them I rea- soned, so they must still be manufactured. I wrote my sister and ask- ed her if she remembered what had happened to moth- er's old skimmer, and in due course she replied asking what old skimmer did I mean that funny flat black hat moth- er used to wear when she played the organ for funerals, and if so why on earth would I want that, even for an old- fashioned, fashion show? I replied no, it was that funny flat thing with the holes in it we used to slum off cream with and I needed it to take off the grease from Bill's gravies and soups. She mote back and said wasn't it good Bill was finally going on a diet and he'd best not eat any gravy at all. She enclosed a little booklet of low-cal recipes and p.s'd her letter by saying she couldn't recall the skimmer at all, but she'd ask her sister-in-law who lived on a farm if she had one Apparently t h e sister-in-law never threw anything out and they had a barn full of old broken furniture including a player piano which my sister would give the crrth for. In a couple of weeks I heard from the sister-in-law. She said she knows she has a skimmer somewhere out in the barn but do you think she could lay her hand on it? She was sure it was there about fifteen years ago because when their middle boy was bora he had to have skimmed milk and she used the skimmer at that time, etc. etc. She ended by saying she'd write her uncle in the cast who had one of the largest col- lections of early Canadian milking supplies in the nation. He might be able to give me some help. Yes, the uncle wrote a few days later, he had a skimmer in mint condition but. it was his only one and he couldn't let it go for less than about and if I really was interested in it he'd let me have it on easy terms. I thanked uncle but de- clined his offer and as my hus- band was beginning to show a slight weight loss my interest in skimmers began to wane. However it was revived again when a neighbor came running in one evening to ask if I'd ever got thr.f ;kimmer I was taoking for and if not why didn't I go to the farm auction being held out near Fort Mac- leod. She'd had a look at the articles being sold and there was this funny thing in Hie kitchen stuff which she was sure must be a skimmer and she'd said to herself, "now I know Margaret wants some- thing like that to take the fat off the gravy and her hus- so she thought she'd just run in and let me know. I thanked her without much enthusiasm and said yes, I guess we'd go have a look. There were a lot of people who were obviously collectors at the auction, and for Cana- diana, it was a dandy. A big table out on the lawn was clut- tered with a weird assortment of kitchen utensils from by- gone days, but people were having difficulty identifying them. "I wonder what this thing is, inquired a little woman who said she'd come all the way down from Cal- gary to buy a churn to plant her aspidistra in. One young matron said she thought it must be a nutmeg grater, another said it was likely for fanning Hie fire and another said she guessed it must be part of an old sewing machine. Only I was certain, and I wasn't telling. My bid got the along with a pair of hand- made s o c k-stretchers, two stove shakers, a package of bodkins and a handleless roll- ing pin just what I always wanted. However I had the skimmer. "What are all these funny looking asked my hvs- band, the city boy, as he poked about my purchases. I explained them all, demon- strating their uses, and for some reason he took a fancy to the shakers. "What do you use them for he asked. "Shaking down the ashes in the kitchen I said, "they come in very handy when you need them just like skimmers." Well that was the beginning. Now we both poke around farm auctions, second hand stores and antique shops. He has his eye out for shakers of various shapes and designs if he's lucky, be able to accumulate quite a collec- tion. As for me, I've been caught up with collecting too, but if I could only make up my rind what I v.'ant! Homemade sock stretchers? No even 'ien all decal'ed up they aren't awfully inspiring. Bod- kins? Well no they're not all that unusual. maybe, although their scarcity is discouraging. However, who knows, some day I might ap- on the Pierre Berton show as the proud owner of the largest skimmer collection in the world. Maybe it's a goal worth going after. Beyond repair Photo of the month by Tom Willock, Milk River. Deserted homestead. Milk River Valley. Book Reviews Mrs. Brodie's put-down of a prophet "No Man Knows My His- tory: The Life of Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet; Second edition, revised and enlarged" by Fawn M. Brodie (Knopf, 499 pages, distributed by Random House o! TJN ACCEPTABLE to the Mormon community when it was first published a quarter of a century ago, Mrs. Brodie's biography of Joseph Smith will not be any more welcome in that fellowship to- day in its revised version. Nevertheless, Mrs. Brodie stands by her research and her interpretation of Joseph Smith set forth in the first edition. She says in the preface of the second edition that in succes- sive printings (the first edition went to seven printings) she tried to edit out small factual error's as they were pointed out and hopes this edition will see the elimination of almost all of them. But she adds, "I have not changed everything declared to be an error by critics, because I count many ol these criticisms subjective, interpretative, and often al- together inaccurate." Most of the significant new findings of the past 25 years are discussed in a 20-page sup- plement. Again in the preface, Mrs. Brodie says, "The text of this edition contains certain significant additions, but they are not long, and have been woven into the original in a fashion that permits the pagination to remain un- changed. A few specific details shown to be inaccurate by new discoveries have been deleted." My wife and I took note of all the changes by reading aloud alternate pages using the seventh printing of the first edition to compare with the revised version. We found that changes had been made on 36 pages in both the main body of the text and in the footnotes. The most extensive changes arc to be found on pages 23 and 24 where Jo- seph's first vision is discussed, and on page 175 where Egypt- ologists' verdicts on Joseph's alleged translation of papyri is reported. Both these subjects are taken up again in the new supplement. Most of the changes have to do with place names, dates, names of people and, in the case of footnotes, with sources. One of the plural wives of the prophet, called Mrs. Gatty in the first edition, becomes Mrs. Gulley except in the foot- notes on page 302. This name change is made in Appendix C on page 469 but the evidence of John G. Bennett at this point has to be unconvincing be- cause his listing of a Mrs. would support the old name of Gatty but not the new one of Gulley. It is regret- table also that Mrs. Brodie did not see fit to correct the attribution to Paul of some- thing Jesus said (page 299) for which she was eluded by Mor- mon critic Dr. Hugh Nibley soon after the first edition ap- peared. Mrs. Brodie presents an evo- lutionary interpretation of Jo- seph Smith. She thinks.he slip- ped into his role and then play- ed it to the hilt when he found there was no point at he could call a halt to the mas- querade begun with the story of the golden plates. This, of course, clashes head on with the Mormon view of Joseph as a prophet who received revela- tions from God. Dr. Nibley, in a pamphlet called, No Ma'am That's Not History, has taken issue with Mrs. Brodie. He thinks she has run afoul of the "law of parsi- which is "that of all ex- planations of a tiling that one must be given preference to the exclusion of all others which is the simplest." For Dr. Nibley the simplest explana- tion of Joseph Smith is that he was a pr'ophet because "no blundering, dreaming, undis- ciplined, shallow and oppor- tunistic fakir could have left behind what Joseph Smith did, both in men's hearts and on paper." That argument, however, is not too impressive. The fact is that in this secular age, su- pcrnaturalism for great num- bers of people is no longer fundamental so that the evolu- tionary interpretation of Jo- seph Smith given by Mrs. Brodie may well be the sim- plest and most plausible one. In producing her evolution- ary explanation of Joseph Smith, Mrs. Brodie shows the influences that conceivably lay behind the "bringing forth" of the Book of Mormon that launched him on his career as a prophet. There was first of all the contemporary interest in digging for treasure. It doesn't greatly matter wheth- er Joseph Smith was as much addicted to this avocation as he was accused of being since the kind of court evidence and statements about him found in Appendix A reveal a mentality of the time which would make a story about golden plates more readily believable than at present. An intense interest in the mounds which dotted the land- scape led to all sorts of specu- lation and romanticizing. Jo- seph Smith was almost cer- tainly influenced by what was being said about the mounds and their builders. The Book of Mormon was probably not a borrowing from that litera- ture although a book by Ethan Smith, View of the Hebrews, published in 1823, has been posited as the inspiration behind the book by Joseph Smith. Mrs. Brodie reports that the scholarly Mormon his- torian B. H. Roberts once made a careful and impres- sive list of parallels between the two books, "but for ob- vious reasons it was never pub- lished." (A reproduction of the parallels can now be consult- ed in a collection of material by Jerald and Sandra Tanner called, Mormonisr.i S'hadow or Another1 factor bearing on the production and acceptance of a religious work such as the Book of Mormon was the revivalism of the time. All sorts of evangelists vied for the adherence of people to their brand of Christianity. Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples of Christ, said Joseph Smith in his Book of Mormon settled all the great controversies of the period At the lime the Book of Mor- mon was being produced the whole country seethed with ant i-Masonic sentiment be- cause of the abduction of Wil- liam Morgan who was about to publish an expose of Free- masonry. Joseph Smith, ac- cording to Mrs. Brodie, intro- duced into his book "the theme of the Gadiarton band, a se- cret society whose oaths for fraternal protection were bald parallels of Masonic oalhs, and whose avowed aim was the overthrow of the democrat- ic Nephite government." A fairly recent discovery, discussed by Mrs. Brodie in her supplement, shows that Joseph Smith's claim to have translated the Book of Abra- ham from Egyptian papyri is unsupportable. The papyri from which Joseph Smith al- leged he made the translation turned up in 1967 in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dr. Nibley suggested that the Book of Abraham may have been translated from papyri not yet found. However, Jerald Tanner hi 1968 publish- ed a filmed copy of Joseph Smith's, Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, that shows the Book of Abraham was linked in the translator's mind to a portion of the papyri found in New York. Since the Book of Abraham contains the basis for the Mor- mon church's discrimination against the Negro it would seem there might now be some hope for Mormon liberals to get a change in church prac- tise. However, the questionable nature of the Book of Abraham has not been officially admit- ted and it may never be be- cause such an admission could make the Book of Mormon suspect also. It is easy to see why Mrs. Brodie would want to get out a revision of her biography of Joseph Smith. She had pic- lured him as a genial sort who while attractive in many ways, was an impostor. The finding of the papyri exposing Ihe fake claim of translation lends con- siderable weight to her inter- pretation. Although Mrs. Brodie's bio- graphy amounts to a put-down of the prophet, it is not written in a nasty way. I can appre- ciate that a Mormon would be disconcerted by the story but for anyone else it will be seen ar. a well-written and interest- ing nairative. It is capable of arousing sympathy for the man. The outrage I felt in reading the book was not for Joseph Smith but for the peo- ple who hounded him and his followers. I do not understand how people believe in his book hut now I can see why he won and retained their loyalty. DOUG WALKER. Education and society 17DUCATION is a mirror of society, the chaos in education reflecting the so- cial chaos. The custodial obligations im- posed on schools to provide for the social life of the child and indeed assume re- sponsibility for much of the rearing of him reflects the abdiction of the mother and the breakdown of the home. The problems of social justice, racial discrimination, manpower and vocational requirements, the problem of leisure, and the democratic surge of interest in the arts, all appear in the educational whirlpool with the dis- astrous result that the average high school student in New York at university entrance cannot read or write effectively. In the name of democracy intellectual quality and discipline have been sacrificed to the de- velopment of a barbarian mediocrity. On the other hand anyone who reads the massive reports and studies on education or a few score of the innumerable articles must be aware of some valuable changes in direction. Even as in society a new conscience has developed toward the grind- ing poverty, degrading working conditons, exploitation of the worker, indifference to health and social welfare, and the physical cruelty of the nineteenth century, so a new sensitivity has emerged in education. Not only are schools expected to nurture the aesthetic and cultural life, investing it with moral purpose and spiritual meaning, but to develop an awareness of the needs oi individuals, the different capacities for growth and fulfilment, realizing as the Carnegie Report states that "the child is the principal agent in his own education and mental and all children are different. When one reads of the schools of Dickens' time, of Churchill's shuddering memory of the boys sitting in fear while the screams of other little boys being flogged until the blood ran came from an adjoining room, or of medieval edu- cational system, one can sympathize thor- oughly with Charles E. Silberman in "Cris- is in The or the revolutionary Report on education in Ontario on learning as living. Such research stresses the evolu- tion of the schoolroom from a "grim and joyless" place to informality, spontaneity, and joyful acitivity. The emphasis would no longer be on docility but on creative curiosity and personality development, with a slu'ft from memorization to under- standing. This revolt from mass and tyrannical education is splendid, but, please let us have a full attitude of realism. So far from the curriculum of schools being bound in a strait jacket, the curriculum has ex- ploded in all directions to include the most trivial subjects. So far from idolizing scho- lastic ability, it has come to be regarded as something indecent. So far from author- itarianism, schools turn out children who believe everyone is entitled to his own opin- ion without the rigors of study and hard- thought. Why should a student study only what he is interested in and when he loses interest leave the subject? Is there nothing to be said for hard work, for interest de- veloped through study of a subject, for dis- ciplined attention and a rejection of the butterfly inclination which flits from one thing to another? Does anyone who knows anything about human nature not realize the downdrag of the human flesh? Are children to believe that the development of personality means a disregard for the feel- ings of others, rudeness, and dirty man- ners and habits? If education neglects the acquiring of knowledge and the discipline of reason, can it retain integrity and does it not fail in its basic task? Certain es- sential arts are only painfully acquired such as thinking logically, testing an hy- pothesis, listening and paying attention, controlling moods and inclinations, organ- izing time, thinking abstractly, understand- ing history, and memorizing poetry. Edu- cation is not possible without instruction and instruction is not possible without au- thority. Spontaneous creativity is a magi- cal catch-phrase, but every creator worth anything must be filled with the traditions and achievements of the past, whether in writing, art or science. It is wrong to think of education as an "either-or" affair, but without order nothing is possible. At present the classrooms are in chaos. Living well on a week By Richard Needham AN old French fable about a King of Yvetot who suffered from de- spondency. His doctors told Km he could be cured only by wearing the shirt of a happy man. Far and wide his courtiers ranged, till at last they found a fellow sit- ting underneath a tree, drinking wine and roaring with joy. "Sell us your they said, to which he replied he was sorry, but be was so poor he didn t have any shirt. Throughout the ages, philosophers have preached that poverty is more conducive to happiness than wealth. But, as Thoreau said in Walden, it must be voluntary pov- erty, the willingness io live simply, whether your income be large or small. It was Socrates, as I recall, who said that a man's true wealth consists not in how much he has, but in how little he needs "Those who want the fewest tilings are nearest to the gods." Thus we come to a fellow who has caused quite a sensation in Britain. His name is Richard Poole, he's 63 years old, and he lives "like a as he puts it on a week, which he draws from the his mother left him when she died 15 years ago. How on earth does he do it? Well, he lives in the two-bedroom house (in Nottingham) which his mother also left him. He doesn't smoke or drink and has never married. Heating and cook- ing come from wood he himself collects. His basic foods a week) are oatmeal, bread, meat, margarine and tea. He washes without soap, and uses scissors in- stead of a razor. Mr. Poole hasn't worked since 1948, when illness made him give up his job as a miner. He's entitled to a week compen- sation, but has never collected it. "I don't consider I'm a poor man and I'm not a scrounger. The country needs that money more than me, I've got enough to live on. Enough to be happy on, too when I'm sitting in the sun, I think, 'Dick, you're a lucky man you don't owe any- body and nobody owes you." You can't be happier than that, can Henry Thoreau went even further than Richard Poole, living in the woods by Wai- den Pond on no money at all, once he had built his house and put in his bean patch. But Thoreau, like Mr. Poole, didn't smoke or drink and never married. He also had the advantage of living in a much more primitive era and environment the Mas- sachusetts of 1845. Could one live in present-day Canada on notUng a week? On a week? I hear stories of men who live completely off the land or, as in British Columbia and the Maritimes, off the sea. During the great pre-war depression, the relief scale in New- foundland was six cents per head per day, the equivalent now perhaps of 20 cents a day. The Newfoundlanders survived on it. What's the least you could live on in Toronto? It seems to me that a single man could have a pretty good life in this city on a week budgeted roughly at a week for a room, for food, with a week left for clothing (you don't have to buy it for insurance, entertainment etc. That a week is, by the way, the welfare scale, and quite a number of single men are living on it, including some young men who are living alone, or in a com- mune, or with some girl who also has man- aged to get herself on the welfare roll. For my own Waspish part, I would rather live on a week which I made through work than on or which I got from welfare. The point is that I could live on it, and find that life worth while just as (according to a recent report by Nor- man Webster in The Globe and Mail) the Chinese industrial worker lives and finds life worth while on an average of a week. Back to the French again. They've a pro- verb, "Qui salt etre pauvre, sail tout He who knows how to be poor, knows everything.' The proverb doesn't say lie who "is" poor knows everything, but he who "knows how to be." He, in other words, who knows how to live simply, if that's necessary or, indeed, if that's unneces- sary. I myself live so far below my in- come that even after paying high taxes and meeting private commitments, I've a good deal left over to give to or spend upon peo- ple whom I know, whom I like, whom I re- gard as, you might say, a good investment. You might say this is a form of luxury on my part, and you'd probably be right. When I give someone their first visit to Ontario Place or their first ride in a plane, or their first trip to Montreal, I'm doing it for my sake, rather than theirs. But even if I couldn't do these things and the time may well come when I can't I think. I would still get a bang just from being alive, being in Toronto, the most wonderful city in Hie world. Life is the only wealth, people are the only wealth, the simple enjoyment of it and of them comes pretty cheap. If you know how to enjoy life and people, tha't is; and if you don't know how, what went wrong with your education? Miracle Balls of Ihe gifts I received on Father's Day was a set of four golf balls. When I hit the iirst one the next day I was certain the 'amily had got me some mir- acle balls. The drive off the first tee was a thing of beauty. It went a mile I could barely see it land. My joy turned to sorrow. On my second shot the ball sailed south of the green and out of sight 1 didn't find it. At (lie third hole nfler a long poke with the driver, I lost another of my new balls in the hedge ohout pin high. I paired the fourth and fifth holes. Then on the third shot on the sixth I went over the green into the irrigation ditch. That's when I packed it iro and went home. The loss of the golf balls was bad enough but what was worse was that 1 just had the lenses in my glasses changed and my optometrist had assured mo I would be seeing the balls land henceforth. Maybe DOUR wasn't expecting me to use miracle balls!