My folks’ families went to California from Arkansas during The Great Depression. The Dust Bowl they called it. Like so many other families of that era, they were looking for a better life. They were looking for a better life, and they were willing to work for it.
My mother told of the times they lived in a tent because they didn’t have a home. She said she and her sister and foster brother were happy for the tent. They looked upon it as an adventure not a hardship.
My dad’s family didn’t have the luxury of a tent. He told of a time when he came home from the Civilian Conservation Corp. He waited at the Post Office hoping his dad would show up there. He did, and my grandfather told my dad to come on home with him. Home, my father found, was a campsite in the country. There wasn’t a ‘fancy’ tent, only a big old tree to shelter the family.
My parents never forgot the hard times. Throughout their 70 plus years together they never forgot what it meant to be helped. So, they helped where they could.
My family may have been looked upon by some as being privileged. If you consider working hard and providing for your family, and giving shelter to a multitude of people over the years a privilege, that they were.
My dad carried an old metal domed-lid lunchbox each day went he went to work as a land leveler. Each night, he returned from the job covered in dirt and sweat. There were no air conditioned cabs in the tractors back then.
My sister and I would try to be the first one to meet him and carry his lunch box to the house. The one carrying it usually found a left over treat in the box.
Today, the lunch box sits beneath my mother’s table, which sits in my ‘she shed’. Both the table and the box are in direct view of where I sit daily. Everyday I see them and I see my parents’ faces in their wedding photo that hangs on the wall nearby.
Everyday, I’m reminded of the privilege from which I come.
My parents believed in God. They believed it was our duty (not our right) to earn what we had and to not be afraid to share.
Privileged? Yes, we were privileged to be loved, to learn a strong work ethic, and to stand firm in our beliefs.
We stand proudly for our Country and for our Flag. We are blessed to be free, and we know those freedoms didn’t come without a price; a price for many of us that was paid by others.
Maybe it’s time to revisit and renew those beliefs.
Love is good today.. ■