Here we are anticipating a flood. 3 to 6 inches of rain fell on the 50 miles of the West Fork upriver from us as I wrote this. This was stacking up to be one of two years without a flood in the 34 years we’ve farmed this place. There’s some good stories. One time Dawn (whose brothers created an unearned phobia of spiders) was up to her cute little armpits in water covered with spiders looking for a place to cling to. Another time I pulled a canoe with a newborn calf 1/4 mile through thigh deep water as the cow trudged along slobbering on my sweetie holding the calf and upset at the unexplained evacuation. Ha! I bet the ladies referred to below could top these stories if pinned down over a nice pale ale. (Pale Ale optional). Anyway. It is good to still have some of a generation of doers instead of just viewers left. We could learn some things.
End of intro.
Whenever I leave my little ivory tower by the Westfork, I meet someone who comments on the writing I do here. But rarely does anyone dispute what I have written. I think we’ve taken to heart what Rodney King said after that drug crazed fool was beaten into submission in Los Angeles many years ago; “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Interestingly, about 90% of the positive comments I hear are from ladies past retirement age. This is an interesting demographic that I have become familiar with because Dawn’s music puts me there. I’m blessed to know these ladies. They aren’t staring at little devices. They let me open the door for them. They aren’t seeking attention. Most of them have lost their husbands, who wore themselves out working to make it through The Great Depression (1929-1945).
The only way I can explain why the ladies outlived their husbands, is by a strange process I read about that has to do with iron toxicity because men do not lose a certain amount of blood every month like women do. I wonder if the old men still around survived more accidents than their fellow men. They certainly don’t have as many fingers as the rest of us.
I went into the Social Security office last week to sign up for Medicare. When Dawn and I walked into this office it was obvious our government doesn’t trust the people it claims to serve (or the soldiers that serve us, as evidenced by the fact they are not allowed to carry the weapons they are trained to use). I had to take my pocket knife and Dawn’s pepper spray back out to the car. Fareway never makes me do that. Anyway, there sat four couples who were in their twenties and no one else my age (64). They could walk, they could talk. And we were in a town with as many help wanted signs as stop signs. Bill Clinton’s vaunted welfare reform changed a few definitions and that’s about all. Remember that, whenever you hear the word “reform.”
Now we are fully engulfed (unless we can avoid the media tsunami) in the most important election of all time; the election of king of the United States. I hope you can detect my sarcasm. This time we have all colors and sexes. I wish Ella Fitzgerald were alive to round out the field. There are numerous other categories missing but much progress has been made.
As far as political or economic philosophy, the range is pretty much narrow enough to step over as usual. I heard Bobby Jindal on the radio flabbergasted at the fact there was a socialist (Bernie, internment camps now, Sanders) actually running for president. Wow Bobby, what do you call Medicare, No Child Left Behind or Obamacare? Capitalism? He went on to speak favorably on the Constitution and economics without a single program mentioned for elimination. Don’t forget what “reform” means to these people.
Billions of dollars will be spent deciding which Tweedledee or Tweedledumber will be king in the rainbow house. And those who participate will feel like they’ve done their part and go on with their lives. Those who see the election as the charade that it is, will go to work, spend time with their families and accept the thievery that is impossible to change with a mere election.
I continue to write this column because I feel I owe it to the ladies who speak out urging me to do so. The anxiety they felt as they waited for their husbands to return from war or dangerous work is unimaginable to me. The work they did for their household and family businesses was something those kids at the Social Security office might not be able to fathom. And yet that work is paying for their benefits still today.
So here’s to you, beautiful ladies past retirement age. Although sometimes disheartened, I won’t give up in trying to reinstall the values signified by you who made this country great.