Hello from Florida, the land of the powerless and sweat-soaked. Nice to be back. I once again have AC and internet. Yes, those conveniences were missed, but, the days without them forced an adjustment in daily chores and in priority thinking. Neighbors helping neighbors, people being courteous, washing dishes in the sink, turning t-shirts inside out for another day’s wear, and cooking campfire coffee somehow take a man back to the truly important things in life. Providing for basic comforts and needs is relearned from a childhood spent dealing with the capriciousness of farm life. Summers without adequate rainfall meant sponge baths in the sink instead of a tub bath because the scant water supply was needed for the livestock; a poor corn crop meant no new school clothes; sinking commodity prices meant repairing the old worn out refrigerator rather than buying a new one and making the 20 year-old-tractor last another year.
My grandfather and great-grand father with whom I lived as a child knew a hard life. Farming was never accredited with the appropriate respect for the risks taken to provide food for their families and the city folks. There were no guarantees back then on investment return and we were all called hicks and hayseeds. But my forefathers were as dedicated to their life’s calling as any college degreed professional.
They were devout men. They were earnestly sincere, devoted, godly, reverential, genuine, ardent, and true. They were not religious although they supported the local church and its ministries. They were pacifists who rejected the ideology of war and the country’s war machine. They quietly raised their families to be loving and compassionate.
When times like this past week enduring hurricane Irma strike and force us to our knees, I catch glimpses of many years ago living in better times in a benevolent community of godly people that understood who they were and what their purpose was on earth. The religious pomposity and hypocrisy we witness in today’s sects can’t hold a candle to the goodness of my people. The corruption of today’s government would have been a mere side note in my grandfathers’ daily life. They had more important things to consider. They had families to enjoy and communities to build.
Irma has shown a silver lining to this simple farm boy. I hope to return to those boyhood times more often now, to draw upon the wisdom and compassion of my folks, and to hold in proper perspective the noise and stench of our world today. Even as the internet lights up my computer screen again, I will seek the inner knowing and the wisdom of my forefathers to maintain a grasp on the truly important things. They were a happy, content community poor in materialism but wealthy beyond any of the glitz ruling our society today.