Categorized | Opinion

Just What Did It Take

By Otis Griffin

Otis Griffin poseWhen my smart, hardworking, country senior citizens go back in time and revitalize the value of growing yo’ own table dressings, many can recollect how difficult it was to have something of your own.  Many families back ’en considered it standard practice to either share crop or rent.
There were two ways to pay the rent, either by farming the owner’s land and paying out the amount sold at the end of the yearly crops, such as cotton and corn.  However if someone maintained a public works job and only rented the structure, the renters would just fork over cash, absolutely due on the first of the month.  I’m sure no one today would understand that a handful of families owned all the properties in our surrounding areas.  Most likely the holdings were handed down through family generations and inheritances.
Jogging some memories, maybe one family owned several acres over here.  Another family had several acres over there.
Often the total acreage fell into thousands.  Several wills and deeds passed down, stipulated these properties couldn’t be sold.  But think about it, why worry, as no one had any money even if a big landowner would break down and sell some ground.
Friends, in today’s society it is very easy to purchase a home.  Most of the qualifications are: if breathing, able to drive, although driver’s license not required, able to communicate, writing and reading not necessary, grunting, pointing, nodding, blinking and waving with one or more hands.  Usually you can purchase the property and pay for it the rest of yo’ life.  Easy payment plan.  Dollar down and a dollar when they catch you.
Neighbor, go back in time and talk to your ancestors.  These landowners had the ground and planned on keeping it.   Just rent it out, sit back and let the rough end drag.  If there was a crop harvested for the owners, all is well and good.  If not, so what, the ground ain’t going nowhere.  See, what we had was a good old Shiloh Battle Ground standoff!
All of the nearby communities pretty much operated this way.  Hmmmm, do you get a scent of some carpet bags burning in the distance?  In case someone has been under a root cellar or attending the Monday night rasslin’ matches at the old Ellis auditorium, no one could basically borrow money, as no one had any collateral.
As an ambassador, go back in time and reminiscence about how hard it was for yo’ Momma and Daddy to put a roof over yo’ head and some grub in yo’ belly.  Now try to explain to John Paul the fourth there weren’t six cars in the driveway or seven phones hanging out of the walls.  We had plenty of room in our icebox before there were refrigerators as mostly only the dairy products actually required some cooling.
Beloved our family had to rent for years before enough money was saved to purchase our home place.  I know what I’m talking about.  It was hard especially back ’en when you stop and think about it.  Sad to say, but today’s generation has no idea what our forefathers went through to raise their families.
Maybe, just maybe this makes some of us appreciate what we have now.  Could it be the respect for hard work and honesty, where a handshake was a man’s word?  Now days your fair-weather friends leave when the fair-weather ends.  Not back ’en, they hung together through tooth and toenail!
What Happened and Why?  GLORY!
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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