Little house on the prairie

Little house on the prairie

When real life reveals itself like a horrifying movie, you either double down and plug into the news, like your life depends on it, or you choose to stay in your bubble of oblivion and keep your head in the clouds.

I am sure there is a happy medium, I am just not sure what it is. When your kids are scared, it scares you. But when you realize that there is nothing you can do about the situation, you just smile, pray, and say things like, “It will all be okay.” Will it? Only God knows. As long as they keep making things covered in milk chocolate, though, all will be fine.

My dad was very good at keeping me calm. He might have developed that skill from dealing with anxious moms-to-be for so many years, but when he said, “Don’t worry, it will all be okay,” I took that as gospel. When I was at the dentist last week, and the dentist started freaking me out about something, I told him what my dad would say and made him reframe his assessment of my dental situation. Of course I will still need to seek out a periodontist at some point, but that is another story. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell it.)

In other news, my surrogate granddaughter brought home a new book from school — “Little House on the Prairie,” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was so excited that I texted her mother to find out if it was okay for me to show her daughter an episode of the television show on the computer. If you are under the age of 45, you probably have no idea about this show. Or maybe even the book. As a child, I loved reading the chapters that dealt with the Christmas candy that Laura and her sister would get from Pa. The delicious descriptive details of said candy always made me so happy. The television show made me happy too, but it never had any episodes about candy.

Imagine showing this show to a 9-year-old today. The school is also the church, the synagogue (ha ha), the simcha hall (ha ha), and any other all-purpose room. No one had cars. No one had phones. No one had lightbulbs. Pa Ingalls (rest in peace, Michael Landon) built the house, the furniture, and anything else that required building. Ma made the clothes, the sheets, the towels. There was one doctor who traveled from town to town.  There was one wealthy family in town who owned the general store. The kids from those owners were the bullies in school, with Nellie making fun of poor Laura and Mary Ingalls and their hand-sewn clothes.  And yet there are still bullies today, so, apparently, things might have changed, but people haven’t.

We will now get to the point of this column. The blackboard, aka the chalkboard. Chalk. Erasers. My surrogate granddaughter had no idea what a blackboard was. I guess this probably belonged in last week’s column of “you know you are getting old when” — you are with someone who has no idea what a blackboard is.

“You don’t know what a blackboard is?” I asked.

“I know what a smartboard is,” she happily replied.

Smartboards don’t always work. The internet is spotty, the teacher presses the wrong button. The board doesn’t turn on or off; then the class has to be put on hold so the IT guy can be called to the board to fix it.

But a blackboard always works as long as you have chalk. And remember being so excited at getting your turn to erase the board when class was over? Or pounding the erasers together, creating huge clouds of dust that was probably really bad for us, but nobody thought about that? Or throwing an eraser at someone and leaving that rectangular mark of chalk on their clothes? Or hiding the chalk from the teacher? Am  I the only one who remembers these things? (Or did these things?)

My sister had given me a couple of blackboard place mats that never were opened. When Strudel was over, I opened one for her. The sheer delight of her being able to erase her beautiful chalk drawings was both priceless and adorable. Ahh, the simple pleasures of times gone by.

May God watch over and protect all of our beautiful children and our beautiful land of Israel. And may everything be okay….

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is so excited to start baking Husband #1’s favorite food of all time, Kosher for Passover coffee cake. Don’t worry, it’s from a mix. Good times.

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