As I think back before the turn of the century, about thirty years ago, nobody I knew had even heard of the Internet, personal computers or cell phones. If there was any wireless communicating going on, it was probably on a CB radio. Phones were still attached to the wall in the kitchen, and cable TV was something that I suppose some city folks had. Compared to today, I suppose life would have seemed primitive on our little farm.
The phone line that we did have was shared with two or three of our neighbors on a party line, which meant that if they were on the phone when we needed to make a call, we were out of luck. It also meant that nobody could call us either, but nobody ever did anyway, so it didn’t really matter. I never remember calling anyone, but I can remember Mom getting pretty upset when she did need to make a call because the neighbor’s teenage daughters were always on there, endlessly. Me and my sister would pick up the phone sometimes, real quiet like, and listen in on their conversations. That was pretty funny until they would here us and threaten to tell our parents.
We really moved up in the world when we went from a party line to having our own designated private phone line. Another technological advancement was our 19” color TV. This was not just any color TV with those big knobs that you had to turn. Ours had a row of separate buttons on it for channels 2 through 13. I had no idea why it had so many buttons though, because all we got was four channels through the antennae on the roof.
My grandpa, who lived in a small trailer about a half-mile down the road from our house, was not quite as advanced as we were, but he didn’t seem to care. His black and white TV was the highlight of my Saturday morning. Long before today’s UFC fighting hit the scene I used to go down to Grandpa’s and watch “rasslin.”
In those old wrestling matches they’d start out the hour-long show with a couple of duds squaring off against each other, the no-names. It must have been some local guys they would drag in off the street that looked like they’d never set foot in the ring. They’d flop around a little, run back and forth against the ropes, and without much fanfare, one of them would eventually get the best of other guy for the three-count. Another similar match would follow, and as the show progressed, the stars would get bigger and badder. You’d get worked up into a frenzy anticipating the grand finale, a tag-team match.
After the commercial break, some ungodly loud music would blare through Grandpa’s lone speaker on the front of the TV, lights would flash, and through a cloud of billowing smoke would emerge the superstars of the show—two lean and mean, overly tanned, bleach blonde heroes. The announcer would introduce them by their actual names and reveal their place of origin as being some beach in Florida.
I guess those fellas did just come from the beach, because they still had their swimsuits on. Their swimsuits would not have been allowed in my house though, as they could have easily passed for underwear, but not some that any man I knew would wear. Back in those days men wore underwear that was white, tight, and out of sight.
The wrestling match would get underway with one guy from each team in the ring. The cool thing about tag-team wrestling was that if one guy got beat down and needed a rest, he could just go to his teammate and tag him, and his teammate would jump in and take over while he rested. The key was to work as a team to beat down the opponents.
My wife Katrina and I work under this same precept. While I work during the day, Katrina works much harder than I do taking care of our home, as well as homeschooling our five youngest children. Needless to say, she is a miracle worker.
Some days I come in from work beat down and ready for a break. We all have those hard days occasionally, and during those moments I am so glad to see that Katrina has been handling the “opponent” amazingly well. Hot food is in the oven, and the kids come running, happy to greet me with hugs and “Hi, Daddy.” But sometimes things can be quite the opposite.
I love it when everything goes well for me at work. I seem to be able to tackle every problem imaginable, feel refreshed and alive, and enjoy the drive home. The planets are in perfect alignment and I can feel myself smiling as I pull into the garage and get out of my car. As I approach the door to go inside, I am startled by screaming. My smile is about to be removed.
As I open the kitchen door, I get blindsided by a flying elbow. A second child has jumped off of the turnbuckle (barstool) and hit me with a forearm. Before I know it I’m pinned to the dining room floor under a dogpile of kids in time to catch her gaze—Katrina gives me “the look.”
“It’s your turn in the ring, buddy,” she says, although words were not exchanged. If I’m fortunate, I’m allowed to peck the queen bee on the cheek as I enter the kitchen while she exits. After I subdue the kids by finding them something to do, I retrieve my apron and get to work on dinner. An hour later, the queen emerges refreshed, gathers up the children, and we all recover wonderfully over a meal at the dining room table.
I remember a few times that Grandpa and I watched the tag team matches when the bad guys would get the best of the good guys. They would usually send the good guys staggering away after the match, limping away defeated. But there was always next week, and they usually always rebounded stronger than ever.
Occasionally, Katrina and I have those moments when we seem to get beaten as well. I may have had a bad day at work, car trouble, the kids are cranky or sick, telemarketers have called all day, and we have nothing in the fridge for dinner. No matter how hard we try, nothing seems to go right.
On those days, when neither of us have had a good day in the ring, we just have to throw in the towel and head for a nearby dollar menu or the frozen pizza aisle. Nothing like a good dose of grease and ice cream to calm the nerves and sooth the soul. It’s going to happen, so it’s important to be ready. When those hectic evenings come, everyone gets dessert, and everyone gets to go to bed early, including Mommy and Daddy.
When the chips are down and the world seems to be crashing in around us, it’s important to remember that tomorrow is another day. Just like the wrestlers, we have to take a breather, get rested up, train hard, and come back with the vengeance for the next tag-team match.
“You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.” Psalm 18:39-40 NIV
Written by David Steen, with God Smiling, February 13, 2010.