By Otis Griffin
I reckon everyone takes a lot for granted today, especially the present hard working youngster’s. A hun’ert years ago, grownups and vine swingers appreciated and were very thankful for what they had, even though in many cases it wasn’t a whole cotton sack plumb full. My impression of our so-called modern society is, “well, you owe it to me, why should I worry?” My beloved Country senior citizens can attest when a cracked cranium youth would blurt out , “just what did you need and not have?” Easy! Maybe a roof over yo’ head, a saggin’ bed and hopefully some grub for yo’ innards.
Believe it or not, but running water, electricity, indoor facilities, or in some cases, the lack there of, are engraved in many folk’s minds from their early childhood. Tell ’at to some smart alecks today and watch ’em look at you like you just slapped ’em in the snout with a dirty, wet kitchen mop. Many don’t have to return to the days of the greatest celebrated President Jefferson Davis to remember and understand this way of life.
A handful of money folks owned most all the ground and the only option for a family was to rent or possibly share crop. Of course the luxury of living under a bridge or in someone’s barn hayloft wasn’t very appealing to a family of a baker’s dozen.
If one desires a house in today’s society, just go buy it. Dollar down and a dollar when they catch you. Not so, decades ago, as witnessed by my true Southern country friends. Since I was chasing and tuggin’ on Momma’s see-through apron for some grub, I was too young at the time to understand Momma and Daddy wanted their own homestead.
I am thankful we had our little communication (gossip) sessions on the front porch many years later to relive the undertaking of how we got to Rosemark. Daddy reminded me a jillion and one times, “Bo, this stuff just don’t rain down on you, as you gotta’ work for it.” These machine operated skate-boarders nowadays wouldn’t understand that.
I’ll bet ole Eldon Roark in his Memphis Press-Scimitar news STROLLIN’ column would have liked to have been a little purple church mouse eavesdropping on what it took in order to get a newly purchased home fixed up the way Momma and Daddy wanted. Both reminded me, “we had to do it all ourselves.”
Why? First, there was no money to pay the nail pounders or cross-cut saw pushers and pullers. The other reason was just as important, knowing the fixer-uppers wouldn’t do as good a job as preferred or emphatically required.
My Daddy’s memory bank would never let me forget how hard it was to hold on to greenbacks, to exist or just survive. Money was scarce as hen’s teeth. My Southern Country Brothers and Sisters can close their eyes and reminisce this same proportion.
We would be sitting on the front porch going back in time for many years as Momma and Daddy were bringing me up to date on the acquisition of the place.
Daddy would still get this serious look on his face and usually go deathly silent like in a trance. Could he have possibly encountered a vision of an old ‘haint’ floating over the front yard? After listening to some of the hardships involved I could certainly understand why.
Locating Was Hard Enough but Paying Was Even Harder——-GLORY!
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