Some lighthearted things to think about

A  wee bit of Historical knowledge for YOU related to our old sayings

Early aircraft  throttles had a ball on the end of it, in order to go full  throttle the pilot had to push the throttle all the way forward into the wall of the instrument panel. Hence “balls to the wall” for going very fast. And now you know the rest of the  story.

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During WWII, U.S. Airplanes were armed with belts  of bullets which they would shoot during dogfights and on  strafing runs.  These belts were folded into the wing compartments that fed their machine guns. These belts measure 27 feet and contained hundreds of rounds of bullets. Often times, the pilots would return from their missions having expended all of their bullets  on various targets. They would say, I gave them the whole nine yards, meaning they used up all of their ammunition.

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Did you know the saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” was in reference to the Creek Indians and not  a body of water? It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian diplomat. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington In his response, he was said to write, “God  willing and the Creek don’t rise.” Because he capitalized the word “Creek”, he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe  and not a body of water.

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In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings  of  GeorgeWashington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms  and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore  painting them would cost the buyer more. Hence the expression, ‘Okay,  but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’  (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint.)


As incredible as it sounds, men and women took  baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair   covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for  30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term ‘big wig’. Today we often use the term ‘here  comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

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In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded  down  from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the  chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’

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Personal hygiene left much room for improvement.  As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by  adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out  their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman  began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman smile,  the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt. Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’

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Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’ wore  a tightly tied lace.

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Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but  only  applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would  purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’

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Early politicians required feedback from the  public to determine what the people considered important. Since  there  were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their  assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some Ale and listen to people’s conversations and political  concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different  times. ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were  eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we  have the term ‘gossip.’

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At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank  from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to  keep an  eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the phrase ‘minding your  ‘P’s and Q’s’.

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One more: bet you didn’t know this! In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried  iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary  to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting  on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem…. how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from  under the others. The  solution was a metal plate called a ‘Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the  iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’

Few landlubbers  realize that brass contracts greater and much faster than iron when it’s chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would roll right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite  literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’

“any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, Sir Arthur C. Clarke


The Bowers in Peru

The Bowers in Peru

Marvin Bowers, SAMS Missionary Bridger, has been serving in Peru. Read his latest update:

Dear Friends and Family,

Last week I made a trip from Lima to Juliaca.  This industrial, trading city is located in the Andres at about 14,000 feet not far from Lake Titicaca.  I arrived on a Monday and spent all day Tuesday with Padre Luis visiting members of the community.  Padre Luis was one of my students when I was teaching courses at the seminary in Arequipa.  Since his ordination four years ago he has served in Juliaca and he is doing a wonderful job.


Naty and Bianca last week in Juliaca

Some of you may recall that two years ago a thirteen-year girl named Naty was violated and became pregnant.  With the love and support of her family and her church, she gave birth to a daughter, Bianca.  Naty had some life-threatening complications after Bianca’s birth.  Some of you, especially members of St John’s Anglican Church, Petaluma, made generous gifts to help pay for life-saving surgery.  The photo below fills my heart with joy and gratitude to God and to all who helped.


Hugs at Jardîn Peruana Español

We also visited a K-8 school, Peruana Español.  The owner, Eloi, is a community leader who has a radio program and is thinking about running for mayor.  He told Padre Luis that one of the biggest issues is sanitation.  There are open piles of garbage all over the city.  May God bless and guide him if he decides to run.
Padre Luis’ friend and a community leader, Eloi
Hugs at Jardîn Peruana Español


On Tuesday night Padre Luis and his wife Alisia (they were married in December) and I went out to dinner at about 9:30 p.m., and I got to bed a little after 11:00 p.m.  On Wednesday I was so exhausted I didn’t make it to 7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer with Padre Luis.  I ended up spending twenty-four hours in bed–no headache, no upset stomach, just exhausted.  As on previous visits, I had taken altitude medicine but this time it didn’t work.  Could it be that I’m getting old?

There was a 6:00 p.m. service on Wednesday at Santa Marîa Magdalena in which I had planned to participate but I just couldn’t do it.  At about 8:00 p.m. there came a knock on my door.  I awoke from sleep and said, Come in.  It was the youth choir, El Coro San Benito.  They filed quietly into the room, sang two songs and then joined hand around my bed and prayed for me.  What a blessing.  I felt overwhelmed by their love and the healing presence of God.

El Coro San Benito in my bedroom. My toes are under the covers. Abimael, far right, is the leader of the choir and it was his idea to sing and pray for me.

El Coro San Benito in my bedroom.  My toes are under the covers.  Abimael, far right, is the leader of the choir and it was his idea to sing and pray for me.

I felt better on Thursday but it took all my breath and strength to climb up the stairs into the plane for the return flight to Lima.  Back at sea level, I was OK but I wouldn’t have missed the trip to Juliaca for anything.

God bless you all,


Journeys in Peru: Part 3

Trying to book airline flights.

Fr Phil had managed to book their four legs of the airplane flights in Peru from England, I wasn’t as fortunate. 

As I was booking four separate airline journeys, none of which were round trip, I kept running into trouble. I had tried multiple times to book my flights from the US on the LATAM website, trying English, trying Spanish, each time after entering all the information–city to city, flight to flight, date to date; only to have my credit card rejected for no reason anyone could figure out. Hours on the computer, hours on the phone with the LATAM representative, produced no results.  

So when I arrive in Peru, I try again to book my own tickets online figuring that now I was in Peru, maybe that was the problem. Nope. This means a trip to the airline office; thank goodness it is in the same district that I’m in so it will take only about 15 minutes to get there and a one sol bus ride (about 35¢.) I explain the situation to Paola, who plugs in all four legs of my journey, only to come up with a cost that is almost 50% higher than what I had been quoted on the website! I decide not to buy the ticket that day, but go back and see what my husband John gets on his computer. 

John checks his computer and gets the same price I had gotten before, sends me a photo of the computer screen and I go back to the office the next day and show Paola. The problem is that LATAM changed their pricing schedule. I”m not eligible for that price now. They have four columns, but now foreigners can buy only the most expensive tickets, not the next cheaper level down and the website was showing the wrong level for me as a foreigner. I buy the expensive tickets. No choice. 

In the meantime, I warn Deborah (the unexpected visitor) by e-mail to expect a hefty cost for her airline tickets. Phil has sent her the itinerary that we will follow. She is in Andorra and contacts her husband in Spain to see what he can get. In the end, she asks me to get them as he ended up going through the same things. So back to the airline ticket office again the next day. Praise God we all have tickets on the same flights! Now to deal with the buses! 


Susan in Peru


Journeys in Peru: Part 2

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country.

Saga of the Cellphone–

A cell phone is an essential piece of communication in Peru. Everyone has one, texting is cheap, you don’t get charged if someone calls you, and you can keep receiving calls even when you don’t have any money in the phone. Knowing we would be traveling all over and that I would need it, I went to get “THE CHIP”

In the past, it was easy to get a chip for an unlocked cellphone-merely go to the local supermarket, go to the kiosk, pay $5 and get a chip which you then put into the phone. I started the journey with this in mind.

Feb 2--At the local supermarket, the Movistar kiosk. “I want to buy a chip, please.”

“Do  you have your national identity card?”

“I have my passport.”

“Oh miss I’m sorry, all passport and foreign residents have to go to the main office to buy a chip now.”

So I ask at the Claro kiosk–same thing. And at the Entel kiosk–same thing. It turns out that due to people buying chips and passing them to prisoners in jails, now any foreigner has to go to the main offices to get a chip. I resign myself to tackle the chip tomorrow knowing that it could take several hours.

Feb 3--As I was not sure of which bus route the main office was on, I took a taxi (thank goodness, they are relatively inexpensive.) However, the address the man at the kiosk gave me was the wrong street number. Since it was the right street and the building obviously said Movistar, I decided to chance it.

Get my number, wait my turn, sat down with a nice young woman who took my passport and copied my data into the computer and filled out all the paper work of where was I staying while I was in Peru. (Thank goodness, I could use the cathedral as my address and phone number) Sign four pages, fingerprint all four pages, initial spaces, check boxes, etc. Each time I double check. “I will be able to use the phone when I have the chip, right?”

She gave me a paper with my new cell phone number on it and directed me to another line in the next building over where I could pay S/. 8 for the chip. Wait in that line. They have no change for a S/. 10 note (a three-story business with hundreds of people making transactions every day and no change??). So I scrounge around and dig up S/. 8 in bits of coins hiding in my bag. Get a receipt and am directed to yet another counter in front of what looks like a storage closet where there is no one. I stand around for several minutes, start making coughing noises to try to attract someone’s attention. Eventually a young man appears, gets a chip and puts it in the phone. Now back to the supermarket to put money in the phone.

Recognizing vaguely where I am from having ridden the bus past the shops there, I proceed to walk a few blocks in the direction I see buses going looking for a bus stop. They are not all marked, so I kind of look for a group of people standing around staring down the street. Hop on the bus and head for the supermarket to put some money on the phone chip.

At the supermarket, I buy S/. 20 figuring that would last me a fair amount of time. Head back to the cathedral. That night I try to use the phone. There is a rush of Spanish when I dial a number, none of which I understood. The screen says, “SIM registration failed.” After trying to dial four times, I began to realize that the phone was not going to work and that I needed to do something else, but still wasn’t quite sure of what. I tried following the directions to no avail. Tomorrow. . . .

Feb 4–Back to the kiosk. “Sir, The phone is telling me I have to do something, but I don’t understand what it is.” He listens, tries the same thing. Nothing.

“I’m sorry, you have to go to the main office.” “Can I send someone else to do it with a note giving permission?” “No.” AARRGGH!

It is Saturday and it will not be open on Saturday or Sunday. I have to wait until Tuesday. Monday I have to be at the airport (a trip of at about an hour) at 7 am to pick up the Bishop of Springfield, IL and his link person. I realize that there won’t be enough time between the early morning pick up and the one that is coming in at 7 that evening (which will take much longer to get to the airport because it is rush hour) as there are other preparations to do.

Feb 7–Off to Movistar main office after the bishop’s meeting. Explain to the ticket woman, take my number, wait much longer this time, talk to another person who enters my birthdate into the computer. “That’s it.” “Let me try it.” I call the cathedral–super fast busy signal which means it didn’t go through.  Next try–“I”m sorry the number you dialed does not exist.” (um, yes it does) another try, another super fast busy. “Try turning it off and back on.” I do so. Still no luck, so he takes the phone and tries it. Nope.

“Do you have money in the phone?” I pull out the receipt showing I have. Puts more data into his computer, talks to the guy next to him, calls someone on the phone, more computer, and repeat all of the above. “It seems they haven’t registered your money to your account yet.” “But it was days ago!” “Well it will take about an hour.” I don’t have another hour to wait at the office to see if it works. “If it doesn’t work, can I send someone else to take care of it?” “Oh yes” “Give me your name so I can tell that person to talk to  you.” I get a ticket with him module number on it and head back to the cathedral.

I stop in the grocery store to pick up a few things, pull out the cell phone to get a number only to see that the screen still says, “SIM registration failed.”



Journeys in Peru: Part 1

Susan Park is currently serving in Peru. Read about her journey thus far.

As many of you know from the January e-newsletter, I (Susan) am spending the month of February in Peru helping/shepherding various people from different parts of the world as we go around the country. As usual, things don’t always happen as planned. I tend to refer to them as “sagas” as they often have several parts to the story with interesting twists and turns along the way.

Fr Phil from the companion diocese of Worcester, England and I had been planning this trip with people from England for several months–setting up travel arrangements, sites to visit, contacting people and places where we would be. The plan was to visit the diocese and see how things are progressing with the new Peruvian bishop and the new regional deaneries.

Saga of the Unexpected Addition

Jan 31st–Note from Phil in England who is leading the English contingent. “I think everything is about as organised as it can be for the moment at this end, unless you inform me otherwise!”

Little did we know that it was the calm before the storm. One of the sayings I put on the end of my team e-mails is “Blessed are the Flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.” God definitely would test my flexibility with this trip.

Feb 1st –Midnight Pittsburgh time-5 am England time– I am putting the final items into my suitcase for my travels early in the morning, when I get an e-mail from Phil. He had just received an e-mail from the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Gibralter (encompassing Spain, Portugal, and three other areas) when last night (literally!), they chose the Rev. Deborah to be the new link person with Peru. Phil had invited them to be in correspondence to help learn from Worcester’s long term relationship. He ends his note saying, ” I assume that he doesn’t really mean that someone will materialize from Gibraltar in a fortnight to join us?!”

Actually, yes, it did! And it was only 10 days later, not two weeks.

5:03 am–Deborah tells Phil she plans to fly to Peru and join our group for a week.

By 10 am–Phil convinces her that it would be better to fly to Arequipa when she arrives in Lima rather than taking an 18 hour bus ride right after she has flown across the ocean from Madrid. He sends Deborah & me a reassuring note with much more confidence than I feel at the moment. “Deborah, Susan is very experienced at dealing with all these plans – and adapting when they get changed with three seconds’ notice!”

Based on confidence that God would work all this out, I proceeded to welcome Deborah to our group by e-mail.

Knowing I was going to have to tackle getting a chip for my cell phone, buy my airplane tickets for 4 separate journeys and buy Deborah’s and Bp Alejandro’s tickets as well (unfortunately, not as simple as going on-line to do it), I went to sleep on the plane.


By SAMS Associate Missionary, Susan Park.

Back to Peru

As I am heading to Peru tomorrow I covet prayer covering while I am away.

The purpose of this trip is to lead a retreat for the teachers at San Mateo School as we prepare them to share leadership this coming June when we do another Bible School. A team of four from Grace Anglican Church, Fleming Island, FL, will join me on Saturday. I shall also take that team down to Arequipa to explore mission opportunities.

As I arrive in Peru I will be joining Susan Park who is hosting a varied and diverse group of partners and friends of Peru. Bishop Dan Martins of Springfield, IL and his assistant Fr. Mark Evans are there on a one-week visit so as to renew their Peruvian partnership. Shortly arriving is a team from the Diocese of Worcester, England and their bishop – The Rt. Rev John Inge who is giving a teaching series at the Cathedral, will join them later. Towards the end of the month a group from the Diocese of South Carolina is coming to explore missionary opportunities. Also joining us will be a representative of the Diocese of Gibraltar.

I am excited. After a hiatus of a year we are beginning to see a new series of partner in mission relationships emerging. It is for this that I have worked over the whole of last year and more. The changes in the diocese of Peru since Bishop Godfrey has left have been many. In this time the Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Jorge Aguilar, has completed a detailed evaluation of the state of the Diocese. They have allied themselves very strongly with the Province of South America. They have abandoned any idea of becoming a separate province of the Anglican Communion, which was proposed about two years ago. They have established goals for clergy and lay people, which put spiritual formation, evangelism and discipleship as Anglican Christians at the forefront. They have planned a series of teaching occasions over the course of the next year.

Lima will be very different from Vermont. Today we are being blanketed by snow. Tomorrow night I shall be in hot and muggy Lima. This is one of the hottest summers on record for them. This is made worse by severe water shortages caused by damaging rains that have blocked the water systems.

Please pray for safe travels, good and useful conversations and a renewal of partnership relations.