Some things not what they seem

Friday, May 23, 2008

As we continually read in the newspapers and see every evening on the TV during the 6 o'clock news broadcast, the economy in this country is starting to see some hard times. Every day the price of a barrel of oil increases, another country gets mad at us for seemingly no reason at all and the race for the White House goes on and on and on. You almost wish that you could vote right now and get it over with. We have already been in this candidate search for almost three years now and it is starting to look like this summer and fall will make us all look forward to Thanksgiving. At least by then, the only turkeys to deal with will be associated with yams and dressing.

Since I'm talking about turkey, dressing and yams, another one of the major items of distress mentioned on every news cast during suppertime is the cost of food. Let me assure you that in the United States of America, there is not a food shortage.

Granted, it may cost you a little more for a glass of milk or some heat and serve meals, but food is still very affordable as well as plentiful in this country.

However, to hear some broadcasters you would think because some of our corn is going into the country's fuel supply, we are all going to have to mortgage our homes (which is another subject under discussion) to get a bowl of cereal in the coming months. That is not the case and sometimes things are not what they seem to be.

I read a preacher story recently on the Internet site known as "Good Clean Fun -- A Family Humor Archive," and I don't know the author or if it is even true, but it does sort of relate to what I'm rambling about.

The story reported that in a small rural town the local funeral director had asked a young new preacher who had just moved into the community and become the towns only preacher, to conduct a grave-side service for a man who had no family or friends. The burial would be held at a very small cemetery out in the country and the preacher was told not to expect a large crowd and to keep the service simple.

The next morning the young preacher headed out into the county side with handwritten directions given to him by the funeral director. He was sort of excited because this was his first funeral service to ever conduct and he had practiced all night on saying just the right words.

But, being new to the area, he soon got lost and was now running almost an hour late for the service. After turning a curve on a graveled road he saw a backhoe and three or four men standing by what he assumed was an open grave.

There was no hearse or anyone in suits. All he saw were the men standing there looking like they were getting ready to close the grave.

Concerned that he had completely missed the poor man's funeral he leaped from his car and ran to the grave noticing that the concrete vault had already been put down and locked in place.

Not giving up, he opened his Bible and asked the workers to stop what they were doing. He asked them to remove their caps and proceeded to preach a very long message. His service was exceptional and ending his sermon with a prayer, he told the workers they could go on with their work.

Feeling real good about his first funeral he headed back to his car and as he passed the group of workmen he overheard one of the men say, "I've been putting in septic tanks for a long time and I ain't never seen anything like that."

Just like the preacher's funeral, many times things are not what they seem. News reports lately continue to talk about the cost of food, but compared to other items dealing with the cost of living, it is not what it may seem.

Lynne Finnerty from the American Farm Bureau reports that food costs are up 4.5 percent and energy costs are up a whopping 17 percent compared to a year ago. She says those high energy costs are the biggest single factor contributing to the rising cost of food, because it takes energy to process, package and transport everything we eat.

She went on to say that you don't hear much about it, but other costs of living are up, too. Costs for housing and medical care are up 3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, compared to a year ago. Costs also have gone up for airfares, telephone service, school tuition and even tickets to sporting events.

Some food costs may be up, but it is important to compare it to everything else. It is still a bargain compared to a gallon of fuel.