The Last Time I Was Bored

Dateline: 9 November 2016

Me and my aunt Carolyn, back in the day.

Nothing irks me quite like the phrase, "I'm bored." 

When I read that, or hear it said, I feel like saying that if you are bored, it's because you are boring. Which is to say, you have no imagination, no initiative, no creativity. It's a pitiful commentary on one's self to say you are bored.

For 13 years I had one of the most potentially boring jobs in the world, working in a maximum security state prison. But instead of complaining, I used the time I had to do things like write, read, work out ideas on paper, and memorize Bible verses. If I had a piece of paper and a pen I could entertain myself for hours. Hours.

That said, I like to think that I've never been bored a day in my life (and I seem to recall telling this to my kids when they were younger). But there is photographic evidence (above) that would indicate that I was bored once— in September of 1965, when I was 7 years old. 

The picture was taken at my Grandmother Kimball's camp on Cross Lake in northern Maine. My grandmother did a great job of supplying me with books (mostly comic books when I was little) and making sure I had creative activities to work on. That's what I remember. But I may have succumbed to boredom too, as the picture suggests.

I'm sure, however, that boredom was short lived. After all, meal time at "Chateau Kimball" was always something to look forward too...

All of which is to say that I've been pretty busy these days, and not able to blog much here. But I'll get back into it soon enough.....


  1. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    A recent scripture I've memorized says, "We should show respect for all men, treating them honorably; also, we need to love each other with brotherly love. You should reverence God, and obey all authority with proper respect." All this to say, when you wrote 'aunt Carolyn', it reminded me of this scripture, and of today's youth who are not taught to be properly respectful. Particularly, by using titles for their elders names. I was taught manners when growing up. I used "Mr." and "Mrs.", etc. I never called my uncle by his first name, at least not without using his respectful title with it, Uncle So-and-So. We were taught to answer the phone with this salutation, "Gardner's residence!" We did not sit down until our elders had taken their seats, and if grandma showed up unexpectedly, we jumped eagerly out of our chair to give it to her. We used a napkin in our lap at meals. There were many manners to learn. They differentiated between child and adult, by using respectfulness. What has changed? I encourage/instruct my grandchildren to use titles, and napkins, and manners. Parents have become so busy they don't care. A person is a person to our youth. There is so little respectfulness to honor elders. A sad testament, indeed.

  2. What a great post Mr. Kimball. I love the look of your Grandmother Kimball's camp. Reminds me so much of my own family's camp in the Adirondack's. We kids used to jump off the top of the bunk beds into the feather bed. It was a hunters cabin and so there were mounts on the walls. We explored the surrounding areas and I remember we kids (the cousins and myself) discovered an overgrown abandoned hotel or more likely a Sanatorium for TB back in the '20's. I found a white enamel wash basin and there explains why to this day I love enamelware and have a moose antler chandelier, a buffalo mount, elk, deer and bobcat mounts as well as a few skulls. I also remember if I even hinted that I might be "bored" I got handed a cleaning rag and a bucket and sent to do some chores. Needless to say, I didn't find myself "bored" very often thereafter. We used to play hide and seek in the woods, jump off the local bridge into the Saranac river....pick raspberries along the train tracks, walk over the train trestle to the other side (still have a fear of heights) and played Red Rover or Simon Says...imagine what today's parents would do if their kid jumped off a bridge into the Saranac River or walked across a trestle!!!
    Those were the days....


  3. Elizabeth...I have to share with you the most outrageous thing.... I have a friend who's grandchildren are 5 and 8 or 9 yrs/old and their mother doesn't allow them to say "please" or "thank you". She says it's demeaning and makes you sound like a beggar. Yes...God's honest truth. Needless to say my friend who is 60 doesn't tolerate that behavior when the kids visit and they adapt well to her rules. Indeed, they like to come to their Gram's house. Truly incomprehensible parenting from the children's mother.

    Here is a little script from one of my all-time favorite movies, "Blast From The Past":
    Troy and Eve are discussing Adam who grew up in a bomb shelter for 35 years-

    Eve: And I don't fall in love with grown men who collect baseball cards!

    Troy: Yes you do.

    Eve: Or pee in their pants when they see the ocean!

    Troy: Yes you do.

    Eve: Or have perfect table manners!

    Troy: You know, I asked him about that. He said, good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them. See, I didn't know that, I thought it was just a way of acting all superior. Oh and you know what else he told me?

    Eve: What?

    Troy: He thinks I'm a gentleman and you're a lady.

    Eve: [disgusted] Well, consider the source! I don't even know what a lady is.

    Troy: I know, I mean I thought a "gentleman" was somebody that owned horses. But it turns out, his short and simple definition of a lady or a gentleman is, someone who always tries to make sure the people around him or her are as comfortable as possible.

    Eve: Where do you think he got all that information?

    Troy: From the oddest place - his parents. I mean, I don't think I got that memo from mine.

    I still call our neighbor by "Mr." and his last name...he's never invited me to call him by his Christian name and we are the same age...I think he thinks it's a private joke between us...for me it is how I was raised. I do not disabuse him of this notion. I call ALL my patients by Mr. or Ms. and their last name. I would NEVER dream of calling them by their first name regardless of their age. Even if they request it, it takes a concerted effort on my part to use their first name.
    I can tell you my pet peeve is walking down the sidewalk. Around here there is a downtown area albeit small and there is a fair amount of walking to be done. Pretty much everyone under 35 years of age walks as if they own the entire sidewalk and if there are two of you and three of them....they EXPECT you to move. They don't look up to acknowledge you or anything. I have taken to walking right into them, which is quite rude on my part, but I do it in an effort to "wake" them up for they are oblivious in their egocentrism.
    Some of that change..."a person is a person to our youth" is in part I believe to do with everyone getting a ribbon...or a prize...there are no losers or winners....that philosophy is pervasive and completely unrealistic....just a supposition on my part.
    Not that I see them or talk with them very often, but our only nephew and great nephew call us by our first names. No Aunt/Uncle or similar title. And we've tried to reach out to include them in our lives but they have no time for us...I won't go into detail, it's not necessary, but as our only heirs (there are no other relatives that would inherit) they won't get a flippin' thing...and I am not talking about money.
    I'm talking about treasures and keepsakes. I'd sooner give them to the historical society.
    Anyhoo....I'm rambling.
    When I was 12, my mother and father had a formal dinner party at our house for the sole purpose of teaching me etiquette...similar to manners, but different. I learned well. I "served" them and was well rewarded by the guests...pocket money!!!

  4. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    Pam, thanks for your reply. Yes, it is not a matter of pride to be called by your proper name, but a matter of respect to those who've lived longer, experienced lives (who know more than you do)! I've had the same sidewalk experience you have had. Many parents would rather be on the same level as their children, so they don't have to work hard to teach them. And a lot of parents are afraid of their children. That's why teaching them to honor and respect brings the parent honor and respect.

  5. My pastor talked about idleness and boredom in his sermon yesterday - he quoted Chesterton: "There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people." God has given us so many things to work at that bring joy, to be bored is to neglect God's blessings. John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

  6. My pastor talked about idleness and boredom in his sermon yesterday - he quoted Chesterton: "There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people." God has given us so many things to work at that bring joy, to be bored is to neglect God's blessings. John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."