by: Eddie Trapp
Consider the lowly fork. Must have been around forever. Nope. Knives and spoons have been around since prehistoric times but the fork is a newcomer. Originally, early man only had fingers and teeth to rip apart bite sized pieces of food. Sharp edged rocks probably came next and pieces of tough meat were sawed off. It must have been a big chunk of time between the coming of the knife and when the spoon appeared because bowls had to invented before a spoon was needed. But why did it take so long to develop the fork which is now so common?
At some time in history someone figured out that it didn’t look proper to hold a piece of meat with one hand and cut off a bite with a knife. Enter a knife in both hands, one to hold the main chunk and one to whittle off a bite. The only problem with that was the meat would go around like a pinwheel as it spun around the holding knife. Enter the fork. Now the multiple prongs wouldn’t allow it to rotate.
According to the internet, the word “fork” comes from the Latin furca which referred to a farmer’s pitchfork. The first forks had only two points. Records show the first mention of forks in the seventh century in the Middle East. By 1100 they had migrated to Italy and were frowned upon by preachers who insisted such refinery was not approved of by our Lord. Due to such objections the fork had to wait 250 years before being widely used in Italy. By the 1500’s forks arrived in France and to England a hundred years or so later. Try holding your next steak with one knife and cut it with another.
Safety Section: Last week I heard of a six year old Oklahoma boy being run over and killed by his school bus. The driver said he never saw him. Here are some pointers I gathered and figured out over twenty five years of bus driving. You probably need to share these with your kids or grandkids. For the students: In the mornings stay back from the road until the bus completely stops then look both ways before crossing. Don’t assume cars will stop. Do not get within ten feet of the front bumper because that is a death pit. The driver can’t see you there. If you drop something in front of the bus do not stop to get it, especially if there are several other kids. The driver could take off after the main group get on. Tell the driver when you get on that you need to go get the item.
In the afternoon when getting off the bus, if you have to cross the road, do not get close to the bumper. The driver can not see you. When you step off the bus walk down the side of the road several steps then make a ninety degree left turn to cross the highway. That way the driver never loses sight of you. Dropped item rule in effect in the afternoons also. Don’t assume cars will stop in the afternoons either. Stop at the center line and look both ways. Especially look down the side of the bus to see if a car is about to illegally come around. Do not go to the mail box. The driver can’t go until you get away from the road so you would be holding up all the riders and cars coming from both ways. Also dangerous that close to the highway. Go up your drive way a few feet then check the mailbox after the bus leaves.
Bus drivers, count the kids before they cross the road and again as they get on. Same thing in reverse in the afternoon. If kids persist in getting too close to the bumper make a habit of stopping about ten or fifteen feet before you get to their driveway. That way they won’t be next to your bumper nearly as much. You can see them all the way even if they forget the ninety degree rule. Hopefully there will never be any more students run over by a bus.
Thanks to Miss Belle, (I had to call her Miss Belle when I attended grades one through three at Delmar where she taught.) my aunt south of Paris for emailing me the following U.S. weather information: In each of the categories they listed the top ten. I will just give the first place usually but may include other places if in Texas. Most hail prone. Tulsa. DFW was number five. Hurricane city – Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Tornado state – Florida. Thunderstorm – Ft. Myers, Florida. Tornado city – Oklahoma City. Earthquake – Alaska. All time hottest – Death Valley, California at 134 degrees. All time coldest – Prospect Creek, Alaska – minus 80. Hottest annual temperature – Key West, Florida. Brownsville number six. Coldest annual city – International Falls, Minnesota with an average of 36.
Driest city – Yuma, Arizona with annual average precipitation of 2.65 inches. El Paso was number six with 7.82. Wettest, Hilo, Hawaii – 128. Snowiest – Blue Canyon, California with 240 inches. Windiest – Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts – yearly average of 15.4 mph. Amarillo is number 3 at 13.5 and Lubbock is tenth at 12.4. Sunniest – Yuma, Arizona with sunshine on 90% of the days. El Paso, fifth with 83%. Cloudiest – Astoria, Oregon with 240 cloudy days a year. Most humid – Quillayute, Washington with average humidity of 83%. Port Arthur is third and Houston, tenth. Least humid – Las Vegas, Nevada with average humidity of 5%. El Paso is fifth at 42%.
A visitor from Europe and was touring Houston in a cab. They passed a huge church and the visitor asked how long it took to build it. The Texan told him four years. The visitor bragged that back at home they could build it in two. Next came the Astrodome and the visitor again asked how long it took to build. The Texan told him about six years and again, “Why we could have built that in three.” As they drove by the biggest refinery in Houston which covered hundreds of acres the European asked how long it took to build. The Texan, tired of the bragging, answered, “I don’t know. It wasn’t there last night.”