for those of you looking for something a little less likely to put you to sleep than an account of poverty in a 1st century christian author, i offer the following...
let us call the year 1980: it is a nice round number and my memory is not so good when it comes to years. my life is divided by events: before saudi, saudi, after saudi, college, masters, ph.d, now. this falls in the years just before saudi.
we referred to my maternal grandmother as 'granny'. now my granny was quite the character, and indeed i should start a new segment called "granny stories" just for nancy, because i know she loves them so much (yes, that's right, i know you are out there, even if you are just lurking). anyway, one saturday afternoon, granny drives into town (where my family is from, 'town' is anywhere with a stop light, but generally refers to the western half of the county) to go shopping at piggly wiggly (a grocery store) and eckards (a drug store). upon arriving she promptly proceeds to lock her purse in the car. so, she finds a pay phone (what did we do before cell phones?) and calls my father to come and help her.
the drive into 'town' is about 15minutes from where my parents have their house (about 25 mintues from granny's house, for those who are trying to draw a map), and my father was working in the backyard. so let's say he took 7 minutes to clean up a little, and get the things he needed to get her car unlocked and then add the 15minutes to drive into town. this adds up to a grand total of 22minutes. so let us say my father arrives at granny's location 22minutes after she calls. he arrives to find her standing by the car, the driver's side window broken in. granny has thrown a brick through the driver's side window so that she could get into her car. "why?" you might ask, has she done such a thing. it would be a very natural thing for you to ask, and not surprisingly my father also asked this question. granny's answer: "my ciggies were in my purse."
just by the way, in the way of a post-script...granny called the police to report that someone had vandalized her car!