I had a unique and special experience this morning. As I have said here before I live with my 92-year-old mother-in-law. She is a wonderful woman and absolutely no trouble and really a joy to be around. Now at 92 she might repeats herself every now and then but over all she is amazingly lucid most of the time. Oh, and did I mention she lives upstairs! Yep, upstairs the stairs I dread to climb on the off chance I have blown a fuse or need to boot the wireless router. My we all be this agile when we are 92!
Back to my story. This morning I got a rare history lesson. Most of the history we get by reading. I got this one from the person that lived it. This morning she got to talking about the days of her youth. Growing up on a diary farm in Stanley Wisconsin. Talking about going to the country school. Telling story after story of how life was different back then. She always started off each new story with” life back then was hard” and always ended each story with “I guess it really wasn’t so bad, really”. Stories of her father and his ability to make anything he needed because town was so far off and it was easier. Stories of her grandfather and how he used to pick on her. And how her grand mother would always send her a card with a dime in it and how she would look forward to that card and treasure that dime because that was a lot of money back then! The stories of how her sister was a better milker than her because she would just walk in and hit that cow with her milking stool move her around and milk her. She said that cow just stood there and took it because she knew my sister meant business. And how whenever they asked her to milk she always would get kicked and her and bucket would go flying! She told a story of riding the sleigh to school in the winter wrapped in horse blankets because of the cold. The school was 5 miles away! My grocery store is less than 5 miles away. My school I rode a bike through 8th grade and thought I was going to be marked for life!! Then the story of how she rode a bus from Stanley Wisconsin to Atlanta, Georgia to go to college that some man in town put up her entrance fee. I asked her who it was and how much it was and she didn’t remember she just knew she was not living in the country she wanted to be a city girl! Can you only imagine riding a bus from those places in 1929? Hell, I don’t ride a bus across town and wouldn’t want to and she rode one from almost one end of this country to another in the 20’s! Then came the stories of her college times, the marriage to her husband, and their kids. It was a conversation I will treasure always.
Now think about it. What history have you lived? Would anyone want to talk to you about your experiences? Have we really seen a lot of change? Think of the change she has seen. She was born in the house that she lived, in not a hospital. There was no electricity, indoor plumbing, they got a car but not until she was almost off to college. No telephone, cell phones, television, cable, Ipods or just about anything we think we can’t live without nowadays. And please remember she closed every story with “I guess it wasn’t that bad really”!!! Are you kidding me, wait a second, maybe it wasn’t. All of her stories were about family and friends. Every single story I heard this morning related back to a family member of hers and how much they depended on each other not only for entertainment but for survival as well. As I looked into her eyes this morning with each story they grew more and more lucid and clear. She was there and I could see it hell I was there as well. Special, very special.
Wow what would happen if that were today. If we suddenly were catapulted back in time and had to depend on each other and the talents we all had to make it all work out. Well I am proud to tell you I could make it as long as I can take my Memphis family and few friends.
You know I have seen a lot of change in my life as well. I only hope and pray one day someone will allow me to take a walk back though time, as she did with me this morning, and relive what I am sure I thought were the tough times. I am sure I will close my stories with “I guess it wasn’t that bad really”!!!!!
The Blessed Man