Spe­cial thanks and bless­ings for a mom and all women who work dili­gently as do­mes­tics

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SUNDAY SELECT -

My mother worked as a house­keeper for Ital­ian fam­i­lies and I hated the fact that she held such em­ploy­ment.

Ella Melba Parker may have left Planet Earth af­ter my 11th birth­day but her im­age on some dirty floor scrub­bing life into her fam­ily, mak­ing money to keep her brood alive, fed, and clothed, came rush­ing back when Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump ref­er­enced for­mer Miss Uni­verse Ali­cia Machado of Valenzuela as “Miss House­keep­ing.”

If Trump meant that first-de­bate re­mark as a sham­ing of Latina do­mes­tics then shame on him.

Peo­ple say that no greater love ex­ists than for a per­son to lay down their lives for another per­son but women will­ing to clean another per­son’s house to keep afloat a fam­ily make an ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice.

Ital­ian moth­ers did it. And Pol­ish women still per­form this means of em­ploy­ment. Plus, many other women from other na­tion­al­i­ties and eth­nic groups did the same work.

An early-morn­ing ride on New Jersey Tran­sit Bus 606 iden­ti­fies black, white and Latina women who rise early and ride into Prince­ton for house­keep­ing du­ties.

It’s hon­or­able em­ploy­ment, even as ev­ery­day house­wives, de­liv­ered by women who de­serve re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Of course, with such a large pool of un­doc­u­mented women avail­able and will­ing to work, some re­ceive less than min­i­mum wage.

Oth­ers oc­ca­sion­ally may work and not re­ceive pay­ment for months. Some accept ver­bal abuse and sex­ual ad­vances but stay on know­ing that em­ploy­ment mat­ters. No mat­ter their color or eth­nic back­ground, women en­gaged in this work place fam­ily pro­tec­tion way in front of taunts de­liv­ered by Trump.

Great re­spect ex­ists here for any per­son who rises any morn­ing to work the worst of jobs. The day we started dis­parag­ing that Amer­i­can work ethic should be rec­og­nized as the be­gin­ning of this coun­try’s down­fall.

Work re­mains the cru­cial in­gre­di­ent to­ward keep­ing alive the Amer­i­can dream. In­stead, U.S. ci­ti­zens look down their noses at women who scrub floors, dust ta­bles, care for pets, run vac­u­ums and es­sen­tially, serve as part­ners in keep­ing rich houses in or­der.

If these women were un­em­ployed, col­lect­ing wel­fare and grip­ing then we would have other rea­sons for ver­bal put­downs. Suc­cess­ful house­keep­ing re­quires an at­ti­tude that puts fam­i­lies first, no mat­ter what.

My par­ents may have en­dured a dif­fi­cult mar­riage but they in­stilled in their chil­dren a work ethic that lasted a life­time. We picked farm crops in fields wet with morn­ing dew through mid­day sun and into the af­ter­noon.

Knock off time, that’s what we called the end of the day when the last of the tomato-filled bas­kets were placed along the road for pickup. Then we had home chores that meant feed­ing pigs and chick­ens.

Even as a boy, know­ing that my mother worked in­side some nearby home, kept most com­plaints locked in­side. My God, what a woman to work, plus, en­dure phys­i­cal and emo­tional abuse from her hus­band.

Fast-for­ward fifty years and my per­sonal en­coun­ters in­clude women who suf­fer sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances. I have a love for them and an un­der­stand­ing that their per­se­ver­ance in the tough­est of times en­com­passes spec­tac­u­lar hu­man traits.

On oc­ca­sion, a per­sonal house­keep­ing ritual in­cludes a blue bucket of hot wa­ter and a rag.

I get down on my knees to wash the kitchen floor for re­flec­tion on a chore per­formed by my mother and wish that Swif­fer prod­ucts had been in­vented dur­ing her life­time.

The down­ward fac­ing dirt po­si­tion of­fers a per­fect per­spec­tive for an un­der­stand­ing of what many women do, what my mother con­trib­uted. It’s not quite yoga but in­spi­ra­tion and peace blend for won­der­ful un­der­stand­ing.

Hun­dreds of prayers have been of­fered up from this po­si­tion that moves me close to the nooks and cran­nies of life.

Gra­cious thanks to my mother and all the other women who per­form this ad­mirable work in or­der for their chil­dren to reach for their dreams.

PHOTO BY RICHARD SHOTWELL — INVISION — AP

Ali­cia Machado ar­rives at the Latin Amer­i­can Mu­sic Awards at the Dolby Theatre on Thurs­day Oct. 6, 2016 in Los An­ge­les.

L.A. Parker Colum­nist

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