ANTIQUING IN SHAMOKIN

8 10 2021

I don’t know why, but I have always been drawn to antique shops. My wife and I will be married 39 years this December and I think you can count on one hand anything modern and hip that we own. I love the feel of a room that holds classic furniture, black and white portraits, music on vinyl, games we grew up with and the other gems that came from those wonder years gone by. I can just imagine that if those things could talk, we would hear stories that would knock our socks off. These would include tales from a time when excellence in craftsmanship mattered and men and women poured their very best efforts into their work and people didn’t mind spending most of their hours at home with one another because that was the place where families thrived, successes were celebrated, and future dreams were truly born.

Masterpieces aren’t manufactured amidst an impersonal assembly line. When something is created from a heart filled with love, it tends to last long after the fast jobs done in haste with waste, roll into oblivion! This leads to pointing out the nugget of truth I desire to mine for us today. If we are serious about reaping the fruit that our parents and grandparents enjoyed, we best be intentional about the instruments we use and the ingredients that we include while concocting the food we serve on our dinner tables.

Let me illustrate this by pointing out that the “retro” products we purchase in this generation might display an outer likeness to the original artifacts but upon a closer examination, plastic, cardboard, cheaper options, and the lack of the human touch leave us still yearning for what once was and not what actually is.

Vinyl is back but the record players that I grew up are still your best bet when it comes to hearing the music. Yoo Hoo is still available in convenience stores all over the east coast, but that delicious chocolatey flavor is eluding my taste buds. I have never had a microwaved meal that was anywhere close to my Italian Aunts’ delicacies that to this day, no lunch at Olive Garden is going to compete with. Faster doesn’t mean better. Easier doesn’t add up to value. Cheaper only affirms that you get what you don’t pay for. And while something may look exactly like it once did, only renovating the outside leaves for hazardous results inside.

Have you ever been to Bannerman’s Castle? It sits right in the middle of the Hudson River on an island for all to see. It reminds me of what you might have seen during the days of King Arthur. Mr. Bannerman was known for his dealing in the lucrative business of arms and weapons. But sometime during the1960’s, something went boom big time. An explosion caused the erosion of all that kept things in their proper place. The truth is that you would never deduct this by an outside glance. It all looks wonderful from the river. But the inside is as hollow as the candy bunny rabbit we all get at Easter.

As for me, I want integrity both inside and out. I don’t care how awesome it looks if it is awful at its expected performance standards. I don’t want to spend my hard-earned cash dining at some fancy restaurant where I pay an arm and leg to just look at some dish that won’t even come close to doing away with my hunger pains. I would rather take my granddaughter Lucia on a date to Snyder’s Family Restaurant in Shamokin any day because I know the food will be good and plenty and the people who work there take pride in what they do. All of that simple down-home reality communicates an inner nuance that all the overpriced lattes in the world of overpriced glamour goodies couldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Maybe Google doesn’t have all the answers. Maybe the best information is not discovered on the internet. Maybe the smart phone is delinquent and dumb. What if you went past the fast food and invested in a true home-cooked conversation? When is the last time you asked your grandparents to tell you about their adventures? You might just find out that what you experienced with them, no Netflix quick flick could live up to. Just like that old office desk you uncovered at the Thrift Store was made with the best trees the forest had to offer, I think Mom and Dad might just be a better source of advice than the magic 8-ball on Tik-Tok. I dare you to pass on the microwaved mash potatoes and the substitute flakes that come in a box and create the real supper time classic complete with butter and a crater for the gravy to fill overflowing. Let’s fill Shamokin with the best of yesterday’s period pieces; only this time produced with the creativity and wonder of today. We all need some divine intervention to produce a love resurrection in our town and we can’t waste another minute if we are going to win it.     

Rudy Sheptock is the pastor at Shamokin Christian and Missionary Alliance Church and hosts weekend oldies radio shows on WISL-AM 1480. His columns appear in each Friday edition of The News-Item and he welcomes reader feedback at oldieswithaheart@gmail.com.


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