Considering memories, thankfulness
Every time I round the corner and head toward home, there they are. And every time I see them, a memory returns, a memory so clear I envision hands moving softly, yet swiftly, on a small object in those hands.
Isn’t it amazing how a memory works? Sometimes it focuses on a simple incident. Yet on other times, several mental pictures will crowd out today’s world. Sometimes they are fuzzy and incomplete, yet often those mental pictures appear bright and sharp in high definition.
Are you wondering what brought this up? Don’t we all have memories deep in that gray matter? Memories are personal, yet they are universal. This ‘cuff ponders how something unexplainable triggers results of a poignant event. Doesn’t that sometimes happen?
What grips my eyes every time I turn that corner? It’s simple. It’s a fence that borders the street. But it’s more than a fence. It is what’s on that fence which has been there many years and probably is never noticed by a passerby. There dangling from the rusty wire are trailing vines, brownish from the recent frost, and … hanging from those vines are at least a dozen small white spheres. Gourds. A simple sight.
But that simple sight stirs my old brain cells with a picture … a picture of a small woman sitting in a chair. In her hands, she is carefully holding a small child’s sock. Looking close, you can see a hole in the toe of the sock … the memory continues … she takes a small brownish sphere, brown from age and use, and slips it into that sock. Immediately her hands start moving back and forth as a needle and thread turns that hole in the toe into the tiny, smooth line of stitches so the sock will fit comfortably in a small boy’s shoe. It’s not a patch, but it is a darn-good darning job. Could that be why they call it “darning” with a darning needle?
Such a sight as that memory was almost universal during the closing days of that great dust bowl time depression and during those days of shortages and rationing during World War II. Perhaps there are a few ‘cuff readers who can vaguely recall such a sight or know of the sacrifices of those days. But they were good days. Good was a fact during those days of suffering, want and lots of prayers that our country pulled together. Had that not been
so, that World War which threatened civilization as life was known could have had a tragic end. Learning such a lesson by looking back at history is one thing that will remind and restore what freedom really is all about.
All the things and stuff and the electronic society in which we live today can only go so far. Isn’t it in the hearts and minds and values of the human spirit, united in a cause for freedom, that that word can become and remain the reality it represents?
Did you vote in the election which was held just hours ago? Do you remember that first vote you cast? Remember those large sheet-size paper ballots that you spread out on a table and marked an “X” for or against the candidates and/or measures being considered? How well I remember (there goes that memory thing again) my first experience with a ballot. No, it wasn’t the vote I cast after paying a two dollar poll tax which was required during those days, up until the late ’50s if my memory serves me right. See? Sometimes memories can’t bring all of the details … and sometimes they become warped with details.
The first ballot I cast (not really) was in 1940 when a sheriff at the Sulphur Springs polling place sent a ballot home so I could vote for the president (the candidates were F.D.R. and Wendell Wilkie; I had to look that info up for this ‘cuff). Of course, I have always been grateful for Grandpa Eldred (the sheriff, who often served at the election site) and, to my knowledge, I have voted in every election since 1956, the first election when I had reached the voting age (21, with a poll tax.) Trying to be informed about the candidates and questions on the ballot, from local to county to state and, of course, school elections is a challenge which should be considered by everyone who values the future for upcoming generations. My memory does not record what Mr. Eldred looked like but, from his descendants, I can only visualize a smiling, considerate silver-haired gentleman.
One thing I will always remember is the requirement of a poll tax which was later repealed. Two dollars would today be who knows what, but patriotic people always managed to participate. Today, the big gripe is having to show some identification that you are who you say you are. That’s not asking much, is it?
With election past, there are still two great special days this month: Veterans Day, which is November 11, and … is it asking too much to ask citizens to show their patriotism and thankfulness for the sacrifices that have been made since the beginning of our great nation? It would be great if lots and lots of homes in Eagle Observer country would fly their American flags. Let’s make the area a bright red, white and blue land, at least on Veterans Day. And, of course, Thanksgiving is fast approaching. It is a special day that dates to our nation’s founding. It is more than family get-together time, more than football games and more than early Christmas shopping. But, alas, those things … such is freedom being put into practice. Thankfulness surely should be a priority.
That’s enough ‘cuff except … one question … Did you survive the end of Daylight Saving Time? That’s always a challenge for an old geezer like me. But if you’re reading this, you’ll know it’s time to say, “’til next time.”