Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE OLD FOLKS

Reading a comment this morning I am being made aware once again how much we will miss the old folks who raised us. Our parents and our grandparents. I can vaguely remember one great grand mother, Grandma Reel. She was up in her 80's and when my Dad's family had a big get together she was invited to play Pinochle with the men. Other women were not invited but she sure was. She was a helluva card player and could hold her own against anybody. I remember my Grandpa Gordon and his gardens. He loved to garden and was really proud of his tomatoes. He grew big Beefsteak tomatoes and the family loved them. We ate bacon and tomato sandwiches like crazy when the tomato crop came on. It was from my Grandpa Gordon that I learned to keep my tools sharp and ready. Shovels, hoes, hand sickles, you name it, he kept them sharp as razors. He was up in his 70's when he finally quit trimming around the house with a hand sickle. And he seemed to go so slow, but you just try to keep up with him! I could out work him for a couple of hours but then I had to take a break. But he kept on going in his slow methodical manner and always did more than anyone else. Of course, his tools performed better than anyone else's tools. That was a big part of his production and I think about that whenever I get into the garden or something similar. Those old folks knew how to get things done. They knew how to plant and how to reap. They knew the nuts and the fruit that were good for you. They could make wine and beer. And they could damn sure take care of their tools. Not taking care of a tool was a capital sin for those people. Their push plows were put away every Fall cleaned and greased. Even their outside door mats were cleaned and maintained with care. They knew how to treat various illnesses and what to take if you were coming down with something awful. They knew how to save money and keep what they had. They did not live in a throw-away world like we have now. If something was for sale and it was cheaply made, it did not sell. Period. No shoddy merchandise allowed, thank you. And oh my God, how wonderful it would be to have these people back with us. We are going to become much more self sufficient than we are now and those old folks were of that make and model. We will get it back but it will be hard on us. But maybe we will take batter care of it this next time.

I read a blog that brought to mind the idea that we are crazy, this morning. And I went along with it. Who can believe that the economic condition we were in would last? Raise your hands all that thought it would go on for a long time! If you did think it would last then you were crazy. There ain't no free lunch. If you didn't know that you do now. I remember my grandfather wanting to buy a new car to have his granddaughter drive him to eastern Kentucky to visit his brothers. He was in his mid to late 60's at the time and wanted to see them before he and they died. So Grandpa and Granddaughter went up town shopping for a new Chevrolet for making the trips. He actually got a used car that was in very good shape. They picked out the car and went inside to make the deal. But they ran into a snag. Grandpa didn't have a credit rating. Why? Because he never borrowed any money! He owned three houses and two apartments and never owed anyone anything for them, at least as far as the system was concerned. The bank would not loan him any money for a used car because he had never borrowed any money. And he was probably worth more money than the banker he was talking to. But that was how our ancestors were. They stayed out of banks and loan companies. They stay out of pawnshops and away from loan sharks. And that was just the way it was. It was the next generation that got into credit to any great degree. My generation got into credit in a big way and the ones after me went hog wild.

Though there are hundreds of things I miss about my old family now deceased, one of the major memories are the Christmas parties we used to have. My God. For a kid they were just absolutely wonderful. Grandpa had been good to all of his kids mates and they respected him to the maximum. I remember my Dad would not speak to my Uncle Harry for years, but for the Christmas party they got together and acted like things were okay. And they did that for Grandpa's sake. The party was a huge affair with kids all over the place. There were gifts by the wheel barrow load and a huge dinner. There were games for the adults and games for kids. So many fond memories of friendly people sitting around and having a good time. But when Grandpa died it ended. He was the glue that held the family all together and his passing was the signal for everyone to go their own selfish way. I hated to see him go. I just about lost it at his funeral. My oldest brother came up and held me and that is what kept me on my feet. After the main part of the ceremony at the funeral home they closed off the viewing room and just had his kids come in for one final look at their dad. I heard my Mom cry out "Oh Daddy!" and I was once again crying like Niagara Falls. Ah, they just don't make 'em like they used to. Stay alive.

Michael

mboone@rtccom.net

7 comments:

MEB said...

I really enjoyed your post about "Old Folks" mabe because I am becoming one of them.

Publius said...

thanks. I got a few tears, too...
By trying to learn or re-learn their values and skills, Michael, I think we can honor them and carry on for them. If we just give up or get all weak-kneed, we'll be dishonoring them.

HermitJim said...

If we had just a fraction on the talent and the gumpsion of the "old folks", then we would be much better off in the future!

Thanks for a great post!

Pete Smith said...

Michael this was a great post, I to had a great family who would have a big Christmas party every year till my uncle and his wife broke up. Now many years later The only blood family I have is my sister and her two kids and they are 3000 miles away.
And the old people of this world, the ones that are still alive you need to sit down and talk with as many as you can. I work in nursing and I work on the medical floor. Over 85% of the people I care for is 70-98 years old and I love to talk with them, because they have seen it all and have so much to share.

Andrea said...

I totally agree with Publius...my grandpa didn't work himself to death in the mines of eastern Kentucky so I could sit on my couch, watching soap operas and eating bonbons. I feel like I honor his memory by remembering the old ways.

ditchthegrid said...

Another fantastic post, Michael. I couldn't agree more. Our grandparents (and their's as well) are the rocks we need to build a solid foundation for the future. They're long gone, but never forgotten.

erniesjourney said...

Much prefer the older folks to the idiot younger folks these days and I so wish my older relatives had lived long enough for me to appreciate them.

Good post Michael!