These days I’m glad we are going forward and not backward. You get real used to indoor plumbing and electricity. What if you got used to it and then had to go backward, what a thought!
Time magazine in August talked about 2012 being the driest year in recent memory. My parents were married in 1933 and that was a record breaker for heat. First, they worked in the strawberry fields and then took off in the afternoon to be married, caught a ride to Texas where my dad had been promised a job. The stories shared by my mother make it seem like a routine, expected agenda for the day but it’s still painful to listen to.
Time reports our recent ‘drought’ is reviving memories of the Dust Bowl in the ‘30s, but while farmers are the first victims of drought, a lot has changed since dispossessed Okies fled parched Midwestern farms for California during the Great Depression. They assure us that farmers today have been doing pretty well: high crop prices, fed in part by growing incomes in overseas markets like China and by mandates for corn ethanol, helped U.S. farm income reach a record $98.1 billion last year.
There are a lot of things today that we take for granted. A senior friend of mine was nearly crippled in the last years of her life because of the pointed toes that the shoes in her day demanded. Today you look around and you see good, healthy walking shoes and, of course, we long ago threw out her corsets and girdles.
Before Social Security seniors who had no children to move in with frequently landed in what was a “poor house.” Today there is no excuse for any senior citizen to be without a roof, without a means of warmth in the winter, cool in the summer, and food on the table.
It is easy to take for granted a lot of progress that we have made. In our country education is free, food is available — it may be necessary to conform to certain regulations but it is there if one is in need. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the progress made in this country.
If you need a reminder, drop in at the McDonald County Historical Museum at 302 Harmon St. in Pineville. The museum can offer you several sources as a reminder of yesterday. If you would like to check out the museum (closed for winter, to be open in the spring) you may write to P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856.
Or, if you are downtown in Pineville on a Saturday, you may be lucky enough to catch some of the volunteers who are restoring the grand old courthouse on the square, to be renovated in to our future museum. Another avenue is to go to www.mcdonaldcohistory.org. Also, keep in mind that calendars for 2013 are available, just an $8 donation, this year featuring churches of McDonald County. Older calendars, of the bridges and waterways, of our local athletes, and of local schools are available (for a little while anyway) at discounted prices.
Page 2 of 2 - In the meantime, think about the progress made by this country and just be glad we aren’t traveling back in time.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.