viewby Delbert Trew
depends on viewing point
I refereed a serious debate between three "coffee-slurpers" who were
arguing which early-day home improvement had the most significance.
All agreed first that rural electricity was number one. But what were
numbers two, three and four on the scale?
The subjects being argued were running water in the home, a commode
in the bathroom or the advent of butane gas piped into a home. As
I listened to the comments, the old adage handed down by Grandpa Trew
came to mind. "Your point of view often depends on the point from
where you are viewing." Here are some good examples.
The man arguing for running water in the home finally admitted his
family's hand-dug water well was located some distance from the house
and since he was the youngest, everyone in his large family had the
authority to order him to draw and carry buckets of water. It was
easy to see how this man's experience led him to think water inside
the home had the greater significance.
I remember our first water in the house came from a 3/4 inch galvanized
pipe sticking up through the cabinet top with a brass faucet on the
end. It was ugly but my mother was proud as a peacock about this new
improvement to her kitchen and kept the brass polished and gleaming.
The man arguing a commode in the bathroom was the greatest improvement
finally admitted his family's outhouse was located some distance from
the house, with the path always muddy, covered with snow or a big
rattlesnake guarding passage. The structure was poorly built, freezing
cold in winter and stinky in the summertime. His point of view was
well-founded by many unhappy experiences during his early years.
I remember we added a commode, bath tub and lavatory soon after we
piped water into the house but did not add a hot water heater for
some time after when butane bottles became available. To take a bath
we still heated water in tea kettles and poured them into the new
The third man arguing butane gas was the best improvement in his home
described his early years of cutting and hauling wood, ashes, buckets
of coal and more ashes. Filling the glass jugs with kerosene along
with cleaning and refilling the lamps each day. He claimed he never
went to school without smelling of wood smoke, kerosene or cow manure.
Since he also ran a trap-line on the way to school, he probably smelled
like skunk at times. Sure, butane was important to him because of
the point from where he was recalling his chores during youth.
It's no wonder history has so many strange twists and turns among
the pages. Stand three people side by side to watch an event, get
them alone afterward and ask what they saw and you will receive three
entirely different stories. Interestingly, each view will be the truth
because each saw the event firsthand. Like Grandpa Trew said, "Your
point of view often depends on the point from where you are viewing."
© Delbert Trew
All Trew" -
April 11, 2005 column