The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

June 29, 2010

I was talking with my 81 year old grandmother the other day. I love to hear stories from long ago. Times were so much simpler (and harder) back then. There was no air conditioning. You didn't stay in the house either. You were lucky to have screens on your windows to be able to sleep at night without the mosquitoes eating you alive! You couldn't turn on the news at 10pm and see what the weather man had to say. You watched the sky and noticed the subtle changes to predict what was coming. You shared the one newspaper that came out weekly. You shared an old rag (or the newspaper) in the outhouse with the whole family! (YUCK) Have you ever thought of toilet paper as a luxury item? You worked in the field day in and day out-if everyone didn't work then no one ate. There were no trips to Wal-Mart. There was NO Wal-Mart! There was no candy, no toys. The money you had went to basic survival. You played with sticks and dirt and whatever else you found in nature.

We take so much for granted. We are rushing here and rushing there. Wasting money on things we can't even recall. Things we think we have to have were things that were only dreamed of when my grandmother was a girl. (Sharing a rag? Really? Ugh!) Can you imagine what ladies did once a month? I won't ever ask her! I don't want to know. I wonder what the houses smelled like? You know they didn't have perfumed cleaners and candles. There were no dishwashers or automatic washing machines. You scrubbed your clothes on a wash board and hung them on the line to dry. What would my kids think of not having video games or satellite? Or toys? And the clothes they had were made by momma. Shoes? HaHa. What do you think happened when someone got sick? Cancer? Think of someone you know who has taken advantage of modern medical technology. How do you think their life would be different without that treatment? You didn't run to the grocery store to pick up something "quick" to make for dinner. You made your own bread, milked your own cows, picked your own eggs, grew (and ate) your own vegetables. No frozen pizza. My kids would be appalled! Forget McDonald's. Dating was quite different then too. You didn't go to movies or clubbing or wherever kids go these days. (I have been out of the dating scene for almost 20 years now!) You certainly acted like a lady (or a gentleman) in fear of what would happen to you if you didn't! How do you think discipline worked back then? You got spanked just like your friends' got spanked. You didn't call 9-1-1 or Child Protection. Your parents were child protection! That's why you got spanked! You didn't have to lock your house and set your alarm system. No body had anything to steal.

But, people knew what was important. Family. Friends. Health. Hard work. They were happy for favorable weather and good harvests. They enjoyed each other's company. The kids were the entertainment. I wonder what my great-great grandparents would think if they suddenly came back to life to see the world today? Cell phones, computers, internet and satellite, fast cars and faster women?

I thank God for modern conveniences! I love my Honda Odyssey and my Air Conditioning! I am grateful for a washer and dryer and dishwasher and vacuum cleaner and running (hot) water. I just wish that some of the important things wouldn't have gotten lost in the race for more . Waking daily to the stillness of the morning. Welcoming the sun setting in the sky every evening. The whole family gathered around the supper table each night. Being present without the distractions and stresses of our modern life. I want to try to give my kids some of what this world seems to be missing today all the while taking advantage of the many advances we have seen since my grandmother's childhood. I feel so unbelievably blessed to be able to slow down and not have to conform to a schedule set by society. We can make our own schedule and learn at our own pace. I want to make a deliberate effort to use this incredible gift of time that I've been given to make precious memories with those I love to pass on to generations to come! And I hope our legacy is one of love and family.

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