The Child Lingers…


Christmas has come and gone. Family members may have already left and returned home. The decorations will soon come down, the tree will be removed and we’ll start the long march until next Christmas.

All over the world certain phenomena occurred on Christmas morning. Mom’s and dad’s got down on the floor and played with the kid’s toys. It may have been the railroad set, the electric cars, a drone outside in the yard, Lego’s or other “you build it” kinds of toys.

We were at our youngest son’s home for Christmas day. One of the family gifts that gave to their entire family was Keva Maple Planks. How can I explain them? They are somewhat like the old Lincoln logs, except they are all the same size and shape and you build things with them simply by stacking them in creative ways. Our two youngest grand daughters had been playing with them before we go there and they eagerly showed them to us.

After Christmas dinner, our son disappeared into the other room and we quickly found him playing with the Keva Maple Planks. It took me back to the days when he and his older brother and sister would get Lego’s by the bucketful for Christmas and they’d play with them for hours. Even today, when we get together, if there are Lego’s, they’ll play with them.

There is something about us that I think is fascinating – a part of childhood remains with us even into our old age. Maybe it’s because of memory, or perhaps it is a self-defense and mechanism of denial about our aging. But I think it is more likely that when we play like children, the burdens of adulthood disappear for a while. And we feel young and carefree once more.

Maybe Christmas should come more often!

ON HIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1975, a coal mine explosion followed by a flood killed at least 372 workers in Dhanbad, India, on this day in 1975.

Hundreds of miners were working at the Chasnala Colliery on the evening of December 27 when an explosion suddenly shook the large mine. In virtually all coal mine disasters, the precise cause of the explosion is never determined, but the nature of mines leaves only a few probable causes. Often pockets of highly flammable gas develop, including methane, which can be released suddenly during mining. When a surge of gas from an unknown pocket fills the mine, even a small spark from the mining equipment can trigger an explosion. Today, owners attempt to ventilate the mines to prevent this occurrence. Also, extremely fine dust from the coal can circulate and suddenly combust within a mine or explosives used in the mining process can be mishandled, leading to disaster.

Whatever the exact cause of the Dhanbad mine explosion, the disaster was compounded when the ground shook so violently that millions of gallons of water from a nearby reservoir flooded into the pits. Miners who survived the initial blast were trapped under a mountain of debris and drowned when the water surged into the mine. Rescue workers attempted to dig out survivors until January 19, but no one was saved. In fact, only a small portion of the bodies were ever recovered.

The local workers union claimed that there were nearly 700 workers killed in the mine, but the company maintained that there were only 372. Because so many bodies were not recovered and the state of record-keeping at the mine was so shoddy, the truth will never be known.




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