Monday, August 17, 2015

The Case of the Flying Gable

The Flying Gable

 There is one story of an event that happened when our family lived on the corner of Taylor and Cushing. Our Uncle Harley loved to build things, so one day when he was visiting us he noticed it was almost unbearably hot. In those days there was no air conditioning. Dad had a couple of fans placed here and there in the house, but they didn’t do much to cool the house. Uncle Harley stated to my dad, “Paul, I’ve got an idea how we can cool this house. I’ll see what I can do about making an attic fan for you.”

            Over the next couple of weeks, we never heard much back from Uncle Harley, but then one day he showed up with a marvelous new fan for cooling our house. It was a huge electric motor with a fan blade attached. I have since forgotten what he said about where the motor came from, but the fan blade was from an old car. Uncle Harley had somehow married the motor and the fan blade together to make this huge fan. The problem was that the southern gable of the house had to be custom altered to accept the new fan, plus electricity had to be run to it so it could be plugged in. It took Dad and Uncle Harley a couple of weekends to do the required work and install the fan.

            Uncle Harley had run the electricity down to a wall switch in the kitchen that Mom or Dad could flip to start the fan. On the day the fan was to be started for the first time, all the Meredith kids, plus some of our neighbors, gathered to watch. Uncle Harley and Dad were stationed in the attic to watch as Mom flipped the switch in the kitchen. The fan had just one speed. As soon as Mom flipped the switch, we all heard the whine of the big motor as it started to wind up. It gathered speed slowly as we saw all the curtains in the house start to be sucked away from the windows by the surge of air movement through the house and into the attic. A couple of the chairs even moved and tipped over. Suddenly we all heard the fan reach a crescendo of a very loud whine, and then came the very loud ripping and crashing of wood. I heard Dad and Uncle Harley scream, “Turn it off, Olive!” Mom hurriedly ran to the switch and turned it off, but it was way too late. The huge fan had torn away from the house, taking with it nearly half the gable end it was framed into. The fan flew across the street and finally lodged into two tall poplar trees in Lil and Red Fleming’s yard across the street, and then it fell with a thud into their yard. Their two tall trees had devastating holes ripped in them by the flight of the fan. One of the trees was about six feet shorter than it had been before.

            Uncle Harley and Dad had screamed in a panic for Mom to shut the switch off because they both felt they were about to be sucked into the blade of the fan just prior to it ripping out the end of our house and flying clear across the street. They had hung on to the ceiling joists with all the strength they had. Had those two poplar trees not been in the flight path of the huge fan, there is no way of knowing how far it might have flown, or how much really hard damage it would have caused. It was probably a blessing the trees had stopped the fan, even though the trees would suffer and show damage for many years to come. If that fan had hit a house, God only knows what would have happened.

            Dad and Uncle Harley scurried to find a large tarp to cover the end of the house because rain clouds were forming. One of our neighbors had just such a tarp and loaned it to Dad until repairs could be made to the house, a chore several of the neighbors helped Dad and Uncle Harley to do. The whole end of the house had to be rebuilt and even some of the roof. It had been an experiment that, had it worked, would have been wonderful for heat relief, but it failed miserably and caused major damage. The problem was the size of the electric motor; it was absolutely way too large for such an application. Had the fan had several lower speeds, it possibly could have worked, although one of the kids would have eventually experimented and flipped the switch to high.   

Paul R. Meredith

circa 1992

Should A Prophet Profit by Propheteering?

Should A Prophet Profit by Propheteering?




A Manifesto

During the time when Jesus walked the earth and for many years after his death, we know there were a number of prophets speaking for Jesus as they roamed around. Their purpose was to educate people of the existence of God and help bring them to their salvation. All of the early prophets were men who had forsaken any wealth they had for the higher glory of preaching the word of God to all the unbelievers of the time.

            I have long thought that had these men kept their wealth and in fact attempted to increase it as they preached, they could have accomplished much more for the kingdom. As it was, their travel was fairly limited because they couldn’t buy passage on ships or camel trains to reach the far corners of the known world. Had the prophets only asked for donations of money to increase their travel possibilities, many more people could have been saved, and much, much earlier than possible with the limited ranges they had by merely walking.

            It also occurred to me that the masses would have listened more intently to a wealthy man than a poor one simply because they had more respect for rich people of the time. When a poor man and a rich man speak at the same event on the same topic, people migrate to hear the rich man because they think he must be more intelligent due to his station in life. It appears the richer a man is, the more he is respected. The same is true for a person’s station in life. Think of all the politicians you can and tell me the more important one of the following: a mayor of a town, a representative of a district, a senator from a state, or the president of the country. Such is the same on lower levels of life, such as the fireman or the fire chief, the policeman or the chief of police, the worker in the shop or the head of the same company. Many of these people at the higher levels attained their positions due to influence and money, although not all of them. A few earned their way up the ladder..

            Given the fact of importance, would a prophet not be in a more effective position by having money? After all, money can buy influence and power—and travel. The more power the prophet has, the more he can travel and speak to large groups of people.


So how does one become a prophet anyway? Do we really believe God selects them by some kind of special calling, or are they self-appointed? I lean toward the self-appointed possibility myself. It’s like being at church and the pastor continually says God gave his message to him. Who really believes that? Not me. In most cases, the sermons are selected by pastor alone.

            If a prophet can be self-appointed, why not me? I think I could figure out a way to coerce people into giving me money to spread the word. I could start my own religion and base it around predicting the end times. I think I could speak loudly and carry a big staff (stick) and wear a silver robe with a wide silver belt that would command attention. I could scare people into giving my church some of their money. I would gladly pay my tithes of ten percent to the church. After all, the church would be me. I would give myself the tithe in the name of the church.

            That guy Joseph Smith created the Mormon Church from scratch and Ron what’s his name started another big church, so why couldn’t I do the same? I believe I could—and I might even do it someday. Many others have done it.