The same thing

Six to one and half dozen to the other

Children say the darn-dest things! And sometimes those silly jokes from the elderly to the little child are pretty funny too.

Once upon a time immigrants could only come into our country from Ellis Island. The lady of liberty was their first greeting to a land of hopes and dreamers. And today no one can seem to agree if the “dreamers” should be allowed to stay or forced to go. Yet we have an aging population that will desperately need care in the next ten to forty years. Alhzeimer’s and brain degenerate dies eases just may need this flood of immigrant healthcare workers to take care of our aging population. That’s my own opinion.

Telling silly stories and ridiculous jokes is one of the elderly past times that I enjoy listening to but haven’t quite the knack for proper repetition. The older one gets the more common it becomes to have frequent repeating pun lines. Remembering them is the key to long life I think. One story thus repeated in my family is about Ole Olson.

In a small Norwegian settlement in the Dakota’s there lies a little cafe named Ole Olson’s Fine Cuisine. In it you’ll find everything from white sauce Norwegian dishes, to German dumplings, to Fine Chinese cuisine. Upon the visit to the restaurant an out of towner was overheard asking the owner how he came upon the establishment. Here is Ole’s reply. “Well, when I got to Ellis Island with my wife and child, we happened to fall in line with some very fine brothers from Norway heading to the Dakota territory. When we got up to the name taker, she asked my name. I could tell by the process, that though I spoke no English and neither did the brothers, Name giving was the proper answer. The gentlemen ahead of me replied- ‘Sven Olson’ and ‘Ole Olson.’ So I stepped up to the window and said ‘Siam Ting.’ I could not read or write English but was given a pice of paper for identification. I gestured to the brothers and Sven figured out what I wanted. He laughed heartily and slapped me on the back . ‘Ole we have another brother!” They insisted I come with them to Dakota, My wife Lyi and child Kyi became LeeAnn, and Kiya Olson. And we’ve been here ever since!”

I really do a better job of writing this joke than telling it. My dad and those out in western South Dakota can tell the joke in about two minutes. It took me nearly twenty to write it.

Here’s a much shorter joke I heard recently.

Q: Why didn’t the skeleton go to the movies? A: He couldn’t find anybody to go with.

As a child, sharing things with my sisters became a daily mealtime, snacktime and playtime reality. They being older than I, soon found that I was a very bad tattle teller and learned to exclude me from their schemes. I remember as a pre-teen my sisters getting jammed fingers in their fighting days. I found my six years younger brother to be an ample playmate. I could boss him around as long as I wished or until I compromised and played his way occasionally. Before he arrived on the scene while the tattle teller was still ruling within, my mother had to learn how not to referee the sibling rivalries. On one such occasion, she responded to my telling with “It’s just six to the one and half a dozen to the other.” I couldn’t believe that she didn’t see the same unfairness that I had. I stomped off angrily with “that’s the same thing!”

Indeed, the same thing.

While it may be difficult to understand that it rains on the just and the unjust alike, that the Lord gives wisdom to all those who seek it. That there are really smart people who are atheist and really smart people who give all the glory to God. While I am human and unable to fathom the deepest secrets of the Almighty God, perhaps it is the simplest things that get the mind stumped more often.

How did Siam Ting live his whole life as Ole Olson’s other brother? How do children have the same parents end up so totally different even when they grow up in the same house? How can six Cookie’s and a half-dozen Cookie’s be identical? How does the garden grow even when there’s so little sunshine and the rain never stops? How?

Why was it so hard to give up my helper Seymour eight months ago and I didn’t even shed a tear to give away the little want to be house cat that just can’t live in the same house as my husband? While I miss my helper from time to time, a needy cat is not on my to do daily list. Suga just really wasn’t letting me get anything done. She will make a nice house cat for someone else. In this case the feelings were not six for one and half a dozen for the other. I was definitely playing favorites with that adorable loving kitty. And it’s not fair to expect her to live at the threshold of “wanting” in the house in a world so cold, when someone else not allergic to cats will really enjoy her soft furry body.

And yet asking questions like these never made me any smarter. There are still people who think my opinion is invaluable. There are still times I fail to ask a question and guess very wrongly. There are still others who think life can be “qualified.” While the quality of my life isn’t the same as it used to be, my life still qualifies to be fed. Mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally I still have the same needs that I have always had. Being blind might be a physical challenge for me that leads me to tears, yet I will continue to have much of the same needs I have always had. May God spare me the thoughts and the pungent people who think about life in terms of quality. The struggle to win life’s battles will continue to make me want to fight for fairness.

Dream on.

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