Friday, November 5, 2010

Just Some Thoughts

In the fall of 1981, Elizabeth, Judy and I were working with Dad in doing some house cleaning, as we were all attempting to help each other adjust to life without Mother. Tucked back behind the bottles of canned fruit we discovered several quart jars full of coins. As we talked about that amazing find, we came to the conclusion that Mother was never again going to be without the means to take care of their (Mother's and Dad's and family) basic needs. For some reason this little incident keeps coming back to nudge me to share it with other family members with a little thought, from my perspective. And yes, I know the jar in the photo is a pint not a quart.

There are some amazing things we all learned from Mother and Dad, although our education was most often the hands-on type. For me, the standouts are many, but because of the time of year, the political upheaval, friends losing jobs and/or homes, family members struggling to find ways to survive, and people all around who are hurting and passionately looking for something to hold on to, I want to share just a few.

First, we were always taught to respect others, although there were times when it was difficult because there were major disagreements. I truly believe we have all been given a gift to look at our lives and do the best we can, but in that process the respect for others who see it differently is sacred. I can remember Mother's quiet demeanor when things would get just a little out of hand, and I usually knew I had crossed a line that was not appropriate.

Second, we were always taught to realize how blessed we were to always have food (even if it was asparagus), and shelter where we were warm and snug when the Wyoming winds blew. The garden, cellar treasures, and farm animals created a very safe haven for us when others were not quite so fortunate.

Third, there were always the underlying ties of family love, gospel principles, home, and mutual respect, even when everyone's lives went in directions other than the choices our parents hoped for. I will always be grateful for their unconditional love and support.

So, where is this going? I'm not sure, but perhaps this is my ending thought. I don't know how many of you read the Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright, written in 2005. May I suggest this is a Christmas where it will be good to remember our heritage - and to reach out to others by creating our own Christmas Jar, regardless of what we put in the jar and then finding someone in need to share it with.

We are so blessed, even though times are hard, and to lose ourselves in helping others just might be good medicine. If this sounds preachy, please forgive me. You know how it is when there is something else I should be doing and I don't want to do it.
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Elizabeth said...

Thank you for the memories. Some things are more poignant - this is one of them. It is a good time to be thinking of others - maybe if I start now, I can have something for next year.

Dwight said...

So that's where I got it from. I have various containers scattered around both houses stashed with coins and my aim is to fill a whole bunch more. Coins are not to be spent; they are to be stashed. Besides my neighbor and I were comparing boyhoods: we both spent Saturdays cleaning out cowbarns and chicken houses and we agreed we were scarred for life while all our friends were having a grand time at the movies. But a nostalgic piece.

Steve Blood said...

This is excellent but please don't make it sound like asparagus was a sacrifice to you, to the rest of us maybe.

You won't believe this but my word verification for posting this is "plater".

Dwight said...

I loved asparagus, but I did spend some time under the culvert going down to Parkins' protecting Liz from the wrath of mother who thought asparagus was next to sainthood. Eventually, we had to come out. It was kind of dark in there.

Ann said...

Elizabeth, just fill your "jar" with smiles along the way. There are so many good things that are done each day, it is important to recognize those little efforts, even if they aren't in a jar.
I have often longed for a little understanding about my appreciation for asparagus. I have always loved asparagus, but I think the time spent with Mother hunting for the new green spears along the ditch bank made whatever there was to eat taste even better. It was when we were asparagus hunting that she taught me the little ditty "John Brown's donkey had a red morocco tail, John Brown's donkey had a red morocco tail, John Brown's donkey had a red morocco tail, and they bobbed it like the the girls do now". She would sing it with me and then we would laugh, like we had just done something a little naughty. Nonsense was dished out sparingly so this is a very strong memory for me.

Judy said...

From jars of change to share, to asparagus, to John Brown's is one continuous round indeed. Would people outside our circle understand the process?

I am happy that Ann went with Mother to gather the weed. I wouldn't want liking that stuff to rub off on me.

Ann said...

Judy, it's called multi-tasking.