Con­sid­er­ing mem­o­ries, thank­ful­ness

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Dodie Evans

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.