Our New Blog

Our New Blog
...............Two Chicks On A Farm......Our New Blog

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dustbowl Days...........Uncommon Valor In Everyday People

Where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live.
Thomas Browne, Sr.

Ever had one of those days when it feels like you live in hot water?  The bills just keep coming, the car needs repairs, the cost of gasoline and groceries continues to skyrocket and winter weather just keeps hanging on.  It's time to strengthen my soul by comparing our hard times to those of the past.  Perhaps then courage will emerge and I can live to fight another day with grace and dignity. So I began my search for everyday people (like you and me) showing uncommon valor in everyday life just trying to survive (like you and me).  Here's what I found:
In the 1930's we were called the dust bowl because over cultivation of the land (soil conservation ideology was created as a result of the dustbowl), the years long draught which caused erosion which caused what came to be known as  Black Sunday (April 14, 1935).  We were also in the throes of the depression.  We were a nation on the brink of disaster.
But you just can't beat us down and expect us to stay there!  Our region of the state is called "green country" today but it was once called the dustbowl.  In order to appreciate how good we have it now (even with daily increases in gasoline prices and groceries), let's have a look at where we've been.
I must caution you that the content of this clip is very disturbing; as real life often is.

We've come a long way since those harsh days that our parents and grandparents endured.  When my Mother (born in 1922) was a little girl, her older sister died one night on a pallet they shared in the floor and the next night her mother died.  I've always been told there was a flu epidemic but I have to wonder if perhaps it was pneumonia from breathing the dust of the dustbowl days. And then her father, Eli, went blind. There was no cataract  surgery in those days.  You simply went blind. Period. End of statement. Mom used to tell of eating berries in the woods because they were hungry and had very little food.

My Dad's life was far from easy as well.  When he and mom married (both very young), he took on the responsibility of her family and my mom took on a strong willed mother-in-law (mom often accused me of being just like grandma Saraeh).
Mom and Dad had three children: Joyce, David and a number of years later, me.  Times were still hard when my siblings were young.  My parents would load up the car with all their earthly possessions and the kids and drive to California to pick cotton.  They would sleep on the side of the road during the trip and live in chicken coops or anything else that was available when they arrived in California. (Remember the novel "Grapes of Wrath") Even the youngest child learned to drag a cotton sack and pick cotton.  Joyce and David used to argue over who would get the meat scrap in the pork n beans.  I still remember Dad sitting down at the table and eating cornbread and buttermilk.  I didn't realize it was a staple food from the hard times. Occasionally a tibbit of memory will return at unexpected moments of things that have a greater meaning to me now (like Dad and his cornbread).

Dad lived two years after a diagnosis of cancer and passed away at the age of only 58 (the age I will be later this year).  Mom never remarried.

My family and I have the "survivor gene" encoded in our DNA as do many of you. We may fall down, but we will always get back up; bruised and broken though we may be. One moment, one step, one hour, one day at a time.  We will "Just Stand"!  I am so proud to be a member of this incredible family!

Take this opportunity to ask an elder about your personal history.  Perhaps you will find stories that will strengthen you in times of turmoil and crisis and enrich your life. 

I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come.
I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers,
and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.

Richard Llewellyn

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...