Thoughts for June 2017 from Sal Keegan


How things have changed since I was born in 1936.  I can remember clearly from 1939 my maternal grandparents being a big part of my life.  Grandpa Carter retired when I was born and came to take me out every day but I didn’t realise at the age of 3 that our walks included education.  We would be walking down Smithills Dean Road and Grandpa would stop and say, “Can you see that rabbit down by the farm gate? How many steps will it take us to get there?”.  “10” was my reply, Grandpa would say, “I think 20”.  We would start to walk counting out the steps.  By the time we arrived on the count of 15 (the rabbit having long gone) he’d then ask, “So how many more steps than your 10 did we take?  How many was I wrong by?”  These games taught me to count and other games taught me to spell without me knowing what his plan was for me.

Manners maketh man!  My grandfather was a very well-mannered gentleman.  He always raised his hat when he passed a female and said, “Good morning, Madam”.  He would do the same when we caught a tram.  When a funeral passed by he would stop, remove his hat and bow his head, I would copy him and bow my head too.  He always removed his hat before entering a shop or someone’s home.  He always walked on the side nearest the road when accompanying a lady or child.

A recent episode of Emmerdale featured Ashley the vicar’s funeral and the character Zak didn’t remove his hat during the service in church!  What would Grandpa have made of that?  Having good manners was very high on the scale of things in life at the dining table:- speaking to others, how to act with one’s elders and generally showing respect.  That word respect seems to be overlooked by many in today’s world – not just in everyday life but on TV, in films and in schools and homes.  I wonder if this lack of respect is down to a lack of direction at home?  Perhaps many of you will be thinking “what is Sal going on about?”

I was shocked a few years ago when I was about to reverse my car on to my drive.  Five boys about 8 or 9 years old were messing about on my driveway stopping me from parking.  I called to them and said, “Please move boys, I don’t want to run over you.” They responded by shouting – – – -“(expletive deleted) off, granny, don’t tell us what to do”.  That really shocked and upset me.  This is, I think, where the difference lies.  Most Christians, I believe, have a respect for others, and are disciplined in their commitment to church.  Sunday School is a great place to learn about concern for others and to help when they can.

On Easter Day this year I was at the 11am service when Chantal and her three children sat together at the front of church.  When it came to the Peace not only did all three children shake hands and wish us “Peace” they also gave us all a bag of Easter eggs!  We all thanked them and they replied, “You’re welcome”.  It was so lovely to see respect, discipline and good manners from three young children. Grandpa Carter would have been impressed!

God bless you all.