At Least The Dates Are Right

It is time we did something to beef up our church bulletins. Most of them are as exciting as a TWA timetable and not as accurate. By the end of the Lord’s Day, the bulletin has had it and is needed no more. What a waste of time, energy, and paper!

I suggest that the bulletin carry an educational column each week, listing the important historical events of that period. To help you get started, I append a list of important dates for February. I have worn out my bifocals poring over almanacs to discover this vital data, so I hope you appreciate it.

February 1, 1840—First U.S. college of dentistry chartered; Baltimore, Maryland. Its motto was: “Don’t cross your bridges until you get to them or the hand that feeds you may bite you.”

February 2, 1709—Alexander Selkirk rescued from Mas-a-Tierra Island. Daniel Defoe borrowed his story and wrote Robinson Crusoe, thus making footprints in the sands of time. Selkirk’s rescue may have happened on a Friday.

February 5, A.D. 251—Saint Agatha died in prison. She is the patron saint of nurses and bell makers, and all other persons who are at the end of their rope.

February 14, 1876—Elisha Gray tried to patent his telephone and was told Alexander Graham Bell had beaten him by a couple of hours. Gray sued and lost. Ma Bell was safely established. (“Ma Gray” just doesn’t sound right.)

February 17, 1771—René Théophile Hyacinthe Laënnec born. Who, you may ask, was he? None other than the inventor of the stethoscope. His first device was monaural—a foot-long wooden cylinder. (“Doctor, I have slivers in my chest …”) Then it became biaural (not stereo) with the addition of rubber tubes. Laënnec was devising a method to keep the chest-piece warm when he died. Too bad.

February ...

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