Thursday, June 25, 2009
The following has nothing whatsoever to do with theology, philosophy or the price of eggs for that matter. But it has met with a strongly positive reception among my readers so I thought I'd post it here. Just a little background information about Yours Truly.
My mother grew up during the Great Depression. When she was in her teens he held a job as a janitor which paid 50 cents a week. Her mother would take half of it and buy basics like flour and cornmeal in big cloth sacks. When the sacks were empty she would sew them into dresses for my mother and her siblings.
The other 25 cents was my mother's to keep. On Saturdays she and my aunt (her younger sister) would walk into town. The quarter would buy them movie tickets and snacks to munch on during the shows. They would get news reels, a couple of cartoons, a short feature such as a Three Stooges bit, a chapter in a serial adventure like Flash Gordon and then the main feature. Afterwards they took what was left of the 25 cents and bought ice cream at the drug store.
They raised pigs, from which most of their meat came. They grew vegetables and canned them, so they always had food. Winters were cold and summers were hot, but they survived.
My father's family grew up in the mountains of northern Georgia. They survived by hunting, fishing and I believe a little moonshining. They knew better than to stray too far from the cabin because bobcats and mountain lions prowled the woods. Among their sources of cash were turnip and collard greens, which grew in abundance in the mountain climate. When the crop came in they loaded up the wagon with greens, hitched up the mule and rode into town square, where they sold their produce.
My father was a heathen and a Hell raiser all his 83 years (actually he cut back on the heavy drinking after he turned 75). When I became a teenager I couldn't rebel against him by getting involved with sex and alcohol, as he had long ago mastered those vices and I would never have been able to keep up with him. So I took the only route I could to defy him: I kept my nose clean and joined a church. That really set him off, but he finally came to peace with it when he got into his 70s and calmed down a little.
One of my most vivid memories is when he asked me to buy him a large print Bible; he was about 81 at the time and decided it was finally time to read the Good Book. I sent him a copy along with his usual Christmas gifts of cigars and peach brandy.
He finally passed away at age 83 of a kidney infection that he ignored for months until it shut his body down. When we went to clean up his home I found the Bible, with several well-turned pages in it. It sat next to a stack of pamphlets about Viagra. Apparently his spiritual life wasn't the only thing he sought to resurrect in his sunset years.