Clyde: It’s what’s inside that counts

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2022

Looking at the Cheerwine Festival crowd recently, it’s obvious that we are not all alike on the outside. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Be careful when you call someone mean. It originally meant common or poor or shabby inferior quality or status, ill-temper, or lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit. Micawber, in a Dickens novel, was poor but optimistic. No matter what side you are on, it’s how you look on the outside that matters. Hand-me-down clothes did not hurt anyone. In Britain they call me reach-me-downs.

Remember how we would go to our neighbor’s red clay dug half-basement and pour salt on slugs to watch them turn inside out? Or how in biology we had to disect worms, frogs or even cats to see what was inside. What was so fascinating about getting to look inside? What life lesson did we learn?

The Cracker Jack box held a toy prize inside. Whose job was it to put only one in each waxed cardboard box? Washing powder boxes had a common washcloth in Breeze. Other free gifts were in Silver Dust, Rinso, Oxydol, Fab, Dash, Ivory Snow, Lux, or Duz. Golden wheat china was the rage to collect. Quaker oatmeal had depression glass, cereal boxes had plastic frogmen that floated when you put baking soda in them, along with all kinds of puzzles, tricks, and fortunes.

Looks are deceiving. Take for example the fruit of the ginkgo tree. Funeral homes show you what remains to be seen. 3-D glasses make things jump out at you. “Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness” (Luke 11:39).

It’s your guts that count. Whether you spill them out or not. How few kids have, or will ever, experience cleaning fish, skinning a squirrel or a rabbit, hog-killin’, or eating fresh killed venison. Even seeing a chicken gizzard is eye opening to our privileged sheltered Chick fil–layers.

Being inside or out of a jail is very different if you are on the wrong side of the law. The gaol, the first Rowan County jail, was logs 10 inches thick completed in 1754 on Sills Path. The imposing brick gabled jail was beside where the Rowan Museum is today, the courthouse built in 1855. Hangings, court ordered and legal, were carried out behind as crowds came to watch. The Carolina Watchman exclaimed “God deliver us from the bastard aristocracy of our little village.”

Change your surroundings for the better, since 70% of the earth’s land has been altered. Of the 11,000 bird species, 48% are in decline to extinction. Where are you? You’ve got your upside down, wrong side, downside up, backside and frontside, sideways, underside, sidestep, sideswipe, sidestroke, sidetrack, side winds, sidesplitting, sidewalk, sidewall, side streets, side saddle, side whiskers, sidewinders, sidesteps, side plow, sideburns, side arms, sideboards, sidecars, side chairs, and sideshows. Mr. Arey is probably side dressing his pole beans by now. Why does it take people so long to choose on the “sides” for their orders? In the long run, who cares? It all comes out the same. Who tells people which side to take? When you choose sides, what does it mean to be chosen last? We would be better off if we didn’t have to be on the opposite side of any divisive cause. It makes you mean and angry. “Who is on the Lord’s side? And who for him will go, strong may be the foe.”

Yankees were on the other side. Taking sides is okay as long as it doesn’t damage another person or property. Chickens don’t know the difference between inside and outside as long as they have food and water.

So, do a little soul searching, star gazing, cloud watching and sky scanning, off into the distance. Go for a little beauty treatment.

Percy Blyshe Shelley mused:

“Whilst skies are blue and bright,

Whilst flowers are gay,

Whilst eyes that change ere night

Make glad the day”

Put your best side forward.

Clyde is a Salisbury artist.