I was grateful as I finished my high school years (1954) that I was a female and not expected to serve in the military. Many of my classmates were off to war and probably no more ready than I was to don a uniform and take up arms. They went, nevertheless, and did what was expected of them, as I probably would have if it had been my obligation.
We are so blessed in this country, not to be facing an army of warriors. Reading the Bible, I am aware of the many, many battles, something apparently just accepted as a necessity. Moses, Joshua, fighting for the right, led by the Lord, winners and losers. Later reading history, I read of Texas and Mexican frontiers, of the Commanche, the Kiowa, Lipin, Cherokee, Choctaw, kill or be killed. Difficult to fathom today as we live in a country fought for and kept safe. Taught from childhood not to fight, taught to seek a peaceful solution. There must be, in any civilization, warriors, inspired leaders and commanders. How do you go from a peaceful home, a community relatively free of crime, and become a soldier, a marine, a warrior? I am so grateful I don’t have to come up with an answer. Other battles our citizens have fought, no need of a loaded weapon, instead, an axe, a plow, clearing the land so that it can be used.
I am finishing a book, “Wind Water” by Jeanne Williams and from it I am learning how to make a tornado shelter/cellar, use a post hole digger efficiently, wire stretchers, calf puller, how to build a sod house, put up a windmill — skills that were very necessary as our country was being civilized. I’m afraid I wouldn’t be very good at this either. Living on my 20 acres, in my log house in the 1980s I was stymied when I was trying to figure out what was a calf puller and what was a fence stretcher. Never was very good at that either.
My mother carried her laundry from the house down to the well, built a fire, drew up the water, heated it, scrubbed on a scrub board, battled the grungy work clothes, hung them up and carried them back to the house – built a fire in the wood stove and heated the sad iron to dispel the wrinkles. A reputation for a good wife, mother, homemaker: as I have said before, aren’t we fortunate that we don’t have to go backwards? Taking for granted today the inside plumbing, electric washing machine and dryer, polyester clothing. So much for which to be grateful.
I am grateful every day for so many blessings. I watched my mother and father as they made a living for the family, never complaining, struggling through hard times, grateful for the blessings they had over previous generations.
Are you struggling today to just make a living? Sometimes we have to look around us, look behind us to appreciate our lives, the time we live in. Married in a strawberry field in McDonald County in 1933, my parents then hitchhiked to Texas where they were promised employment. I read of weddings costing $1,000 plus, honeymoons in the Bahamas, my great nieces and nephews taking it all for granted. I hope they will never have to face an unfriendly warrior, a depression, hard times. I pray they will appreciate those who went before them to make their quality of life a possibility.
I would also encourage them to stop by the grand old historical courthouse in Pineville, a reminder of those hard times. All are invited to join us, kept open by volunteers, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Do drop in, bring your parents, bring your children, to Pineville on the square. Check us out on Facebook, take a moment to appreciate the lifestyle made possible for you. Write to us at McDonald County Historical Society, P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856. For the moment, while construction is going on across the street our telephones are down but this is temporary. Do drop in and visit, we look forward to sharing our histories with you.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.