Young Sophia arrived for her 7:15 a.m. piano lesson in a usual cheery mood. Her bubbly personality is the perfect way to start my day. As we were working on a particularly fun blues song, in four positions, I explained musical language of chords using Roman numeral rather than alphabet letters. I then asked her if she knew what Roman numerals were. She said “Ramen Noodles?”
Although she thought she might have heard of Roman numerals, Sophia got the biggest kick out of her new tongue twister – Roman Numerals, Ramen Noodles. We repeated it several times laughing like school girls (which she is)! Sophia decided she was going write a silly poem in her poetry notebook, and make her own Roman noodle, or Ramen numeral flash cards. What a fun morning for me, sharing a bit of history.
This wasn’t the only recent flashback. Just a few days earlier, my teenaged dental patient told me he was heading to trigonometry class when he left. I asked him if he’d ever heard of a slide rule and he said “what’s that?” Describing a slide rule and how it works sounds pretty fishy when speaking to one who uses graphing calculators. Never-the-less, I tried my best, also explaining my slightly used Standard Math Tables book – red with gold letters to beat. Yes, we actually looked up square roots, sines and cosines, tangents and cotangents, and all sorts of formulas in a book, using long decimals for our calculations. Just knowing where to look in the book was a real trick in itself.
Speaking of books, my antiquarian bookshelf holds one last World Almanac – the 2000 Millennium Collector’s Edition. Christmas wasn’t Christmas without Grampa Best giving Mom an almanac and receiving one himself. It was often brought to the dinner table to answer the questions we had. How old was a celebrity, which county was biggest, what was the capitol of a certain state or country, how far was our destination, what year was the Chicago fire. I don’t ever remember a question we didn’t find the answer too, without Siri or Google at our side.
One last throwback moment was speaking about service in our families. Youth and adults got a kick out of learning that once upon a time there were no trash bags or cat litter bags. “In those days,” I explained, “we lined garbage cans with newspapers.” Truly it was a stinking sloppy mess for my brothers’ chore. I was lucky enough to dust and iron!
Perhaps the good old days weren’t always as good as we remembered, but I’m ding-dang thankful to have lived them! So back to Sophia, whose actual greatest gift to me was one of laughter, a reminder of how often we laughed growing up – it truly is food for the soul and I need it every day, as Uncle Albert insisted to Mary Poppins!
Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”