A few weeks ago, my wife, Beth, and I visited her grandson, Chris, and his wife, Britanny. At the time, they were expecting their first born — twin girls. Britanny said she was about ready to “deliver.”
Being old-fashioned, I mentioned the fact that, in my early days, doctors delivered babies and women “gave birth,” but never “delivered.” In that day, the facts of life were kept from children, and many were led to believe the stork delivered babies. Women who were “in a family way” tried to conceal their big tummies rather than proudly exhibiting them as they do today. In the movies and on television shows such as “I Love Lucy,” use of the word “pregnant” was forbidden. Thank goodness we have come to our senses about things as beautiful as the birth of our children.
Our discussion about how much the world has changed, some things for the better and some for the worse, brought Chris to challenge me to write about some of the changes I have seen in my 96 years. He mentioned the word “delivered” and marveled at the many things which are delivered to our door today.
My thoughts turned to how blessed some of us are to live in the Parkview in Frisco facility, a state-of-the-art independent living place for seniors. In addition to the usual call-in delivery services such as pizza, we can now have our groceries, prescription medicines, dry cleaning and most anything we might want to purchase delivered to our door. All it takes today is the click of a button on the computer or a simple phone call. If we want to go shopping, be delivered to a doctor’s appointment or go to the church of our choice, the Parkview bus may be called on to take us there and pick us up. That is why I have come to call this the “Age of Deliverance.”
Chris wondered if such delivery services were available in my early days. With that question in mind, come with me as I research the word “deliver” and its many uses. My dictionary lists more than 50 uses for the word and its derivatives!
Yes, we had some home deliveries in Frisco’s early days, even in the 1920s and 1930s, when our little town was barely a dot on the map. The 1930 census showed only 618 people in Frisco. In those days, home deliveries included babies. Dr. Saye delivered me at home in 1921, then, 21 years later, the same doctor delivered our first child, Don, also at home.
Newspapers have been delivered to Frisco homes as long as I can remember. In fact, I, like many youngsters, had a paper route. Mine was the Fort Worth Star Telegram, which I delivered on a bicycle at a time when sidewalks were scarce and the unpaved streets were often muddy.
Today, we take mail delivery for granted. The mail, however, has not always been delivered to Frisco homes. For many years, only rural homes had mail delivery, courtesy of a government program called “Rural Free Delivery.” At that time, people in town had to go to the Post Office to get their mail.
A personal note: At the age of 12, I worked for George William Sapp, who owned a dry-cleaning business. My job was to get on my bicycle in the morning before school and go to the homes of some of his regular customers and pick up clothes to be cleaned. Then, after school, I went back to the shop, put the freshly-cleaned clothes on my back and, steering the bicycle with one hand, delivered the clothes to the respective homes.
One morning, I went to the home of Frisco druggist, W.E. Wall. In the days before air conditioning, when the weather was warm, most Frisco families kept their doors and windows open, protected only with screens. The Walls’ front door was open that morning. I knocked, then, in a loud voice, I asked my usual question, “Mrs. Wall, do you have any clothes?” The words were barely out of my mouth when Mrs. Wall walked by the door in her underwear. She did not have to answer. I could see she did not have any clothes, so I got on my bike and made a fast exit with a red face.
You old-timers who lived in larger towns and cities will remember other things that were delivered to our doors in the old days. For example, there were milkmen who left glass bottles of milk by the front door and bread men who brought loaves of bread to the kitchen door. When we were living in a small East Texas town, a farmer regularly delivered eggs to our home. He did not knock, but in a high, shrill voice, he would announce his presence by shouting “egg man!”
Turning the clock back all the way to Bible times, my concordance lists the word “delivered” 40 times. For example, in the third chapter of Exodus, the eighth verse tells of a time when the Lord announced to Moses that “He had come down to deliver the children of Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians.”
The Lord, of course, kept His promise, and in the fourteenth chapter of Exodus, when the Israelites were being pursued closely by their captors and were facing a seemingly impossible crossing of the Red Sea, the Lord told Moses, in the twenty-first verse, to stretch out his hand over the sea “and the Lord parted the waters of the sea so the Israelites could cross.”
That brings to my mind a funny, but true, story about a modern-day Moses — Charlton Heston who played the part of Moses in the movie “The Ten Commandments.” A few years ago, when I was politically active, my wife and I attended a fundraiser for Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was, at that time, running for the U. S. Senate. The meeting was at a home in Plano, and Mr. Heston was a guest. When the meeting was concluding, it was suggested that we go out on the patio by the pool. While there, someone asked Mr. Heston to entertain us by parting the waters in the pool. He answered, “Well, I would, but the last time I did that it left burn marks on the concrete.” Just to prove to readers that Mr. Heston was really there, I have included a photo of him with my first wife, Ann.
But, back to one last Biblical reference to the word “deliver.” As Jesus was teaching us how to pray, in the so-called “model prayer,” He said, in part, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I believe we could use a big dose of that deliverance from evil today as we see the disturbing things happening around us and all over the world — terrorists planting bombs, shooting innocent children and generally wreaking havoc.
The old saying “deliver the goods” means to do your best, perform or fulfill your side of the bargain. So, let’s all deliver the goods as best we can, seek deliverance from evil and be thankful for all the good things that are delivered to our door each day!