THE MINTON SPECIAL
By DANNY MINTON
Life was simple while I was growing up in small-town Plano, Texas. At the turn of the 1950s, Plano had reached a population of 3,695. It was small-town America and a wonderful place to grow up. Summers were lazy and easy going. As a kid, the guys had Little League baseball as the only organized activity. Otherwise, it was a scrub baseball game behind the old high school, swimming in the Texas-shaped pool at the edge of town just on the west side of Highway 75 known as the Central Expressway or maybe a tackle football game in the lot behind Billy Don’s house.
It would be another year before Six Flags Over Texas would open its gates in 1961. It was that same year, 1961, that a baseball team was formed bearing the name, Washington Senators. It would be another 10 years before they moved to Arlington as the Texas Rangers. In the fall of 1960 football would make its way to Dallas which lay 20 miles and 30 minutes south of Plano. On the old highway, half the trip would still be in the country or sparsely populated areas. For 50 cents, local football players could get general admission tickets to watch the games of the new NFL Dallas Cowboys. They were so poorly attended at times you could move to a seat between the 40 and 50-yard line after halftime.
At the Minton household, Sunday nights were mostly family time in front of our black and white TV. Mom would ask what we wanted to eat, and most of the time, we’d yell out “the Minton Special.” It was a simple meal. She’d take a plate and line the outside with half slices of bologna, salami, pickle-loaf or olive loaf, several slices of cheese and what we called “Liberace” crackers. “Liberace” crackers were a sweet club cracker that was a sponsor on his TV show. In the middle would be pickles and olives and at times carrots or celery. Then we’d all sit down and enjoy an evening of “Gunsmoke” and “Cheyenne,” or maybe it was “Bonanza” and “Have Gun Will Travel” while enjoying our sumptuous meal. Life was simple.
A while back when our kids came up for a visit, we went to Frontier Texas. While going around with our granddaughter, she wanted to punch every button and see what would light up. She had a ball, and it was fun for me seeing her have so much fun doing something so simple.
Today is different, however, for most people. There’s soccer practice, baseball practice, volleyball, karate lessons, dancing lessons, cheerleader practice, etc. Families are torn going this way and that and by the time they are home at night they are so tired that time is spent with the kids in one room and the parents in another. Meals are quick and fast. One eats in her room watching TV while another eats in front of a video game. Another is busy “texting” or playing games on their IPhone. Mom and dad plop down somewhere, watching a reality show, and just enjoying the peace and quiet. The fast-paced world has worn everyone out.
Gone is the art of catching fireflies in jars or lying on the grass just gazing up at the stars. Gone in many families is family-time where you just sit around together in the same room and enjoy just being together, eating together and laughing together. Our cell phones are rarely turned off, and we constantly check our email to see if someone is trying to contact us with a life or death situation. As a result, we have lost much of the togetherness that is healthy for families.
James wrote, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” We never know what God has planned for us the next day or the next. Before we know it, it’s passed us by, and we often live in the regrets of “I wish I had.”
Love your family while you can. Take time to enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Slow down. Go into the kitchen, make yourself a “Minton Special” then sit down with your family in the den, turn off your cell phones, shut down your computer, put your landline phone on silent, change the settings on your TV to eliminate the color and watch “The Wonderful World of Color” in black and white.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me— put it intopractice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.