Supper time was sacrosanct when I was a child. Everybody had supper at more of less the same time. You did not interrupt it. Want to play with a friend? You did not dream of calling until after supper.
On becoming a Witness, I respected that family hour and would not think of calling during that time. It took me a long while to realize that it is not that way anymore. Typical is for family members to come and go, eat whenever, and not necessarily together. Not that a traditional supper hour is dead, by any means, but it ceased to be the rule long ago.
Now I will go in service sometimes through what used to be that sacrosanct time and it raises no fuss at all. Should I find I have interrupted someone’s supper, I apologize profusely, say that with people have such varied schedules I didn’t know, and I move on. It doesn’t happen all that often.
And to think that when I was new as a Witness there was Sam, old as the hills, who not only would not call during the supper hour (something no Witness would do) but he wouldn’t even call during the LUNCH hour that he imagined people still kept.
This is the same Sam would would pound you into mush—lecturing you with the utmost seriousness if you stepped on the grass, something you were NEVER to because, “we are not the mailman.” Throughout, he would point his finger at you. Ernie said, “Don’t point that thing at me Sam, there’s a nail in it!”
Attend the book study at his home during the summer months, and it was held outside beneath the delicious grapevine laden trellis—this reminiscent of the old country that he hailed from. His modest city lot, the back yard, was in its entirety a tomato patch, and that’s where he would be for an hour or two each day after work. People had never seen tomatoes so big as were commonplace in his yard. Trying to break free from a past of uncouth language, he began calling people ‘tomatoes’—his ultimate insult, and the practice caught on. Beat him at a hand of cards, and earn the epithet—“You big tomato!”
For reasons I forget, I found myself part of a car group with Sam and two others—Ernie was one of them—cruising behind Kodak Park, back when the company was a going concern. Entire blocks had been purchased, the houses razed, and the land converted to parking. Here and there, however, there were a few who had not sold their homes, which then stood as the sole structures on the block, surrounded by blacktop.
”Those people are so stubborn!” muttered Sam, a Kodak retiree. “Kodak needs that land! I’M stubborn—but those people are MORE stubborn!”
”No! Sam! YOU, stubborn?” Ernie led the charge. “How could you say that?! Sam! Stubborn? No, Sam—not YOU!”
Sam was probably the most stubborn man to ever walk the planet.