Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wonder what the poor folks are doing?

If you have any of the items mentioned in today's post please don't feel obligated to defend yourself to me. When I was a little boy, I thought we did just fine. I had no problems with our house or with anyone else's for that matter. We didn't have television, but then not many people did back then. We lived close enough to the "quarters" to walk there and we didn't feel superior when we arrived. We had enough to eat, and we had a nice dry place to sleep and carry on the other functions of life. To tell you the honest truth, I don't remember when I started wondering if what we had stacked up against other folks. I imagine it might have been in my teens. I can remember hearing my dad say, "Don't ever park a Cadillac in front of a Ford house." It was usually when we passed by some hovel of a house with a big T.V. antenna attached to the side. I didn't understand the remark until many years later. I am keenly aware of the emotion that caused him to utter that line now that I am in the early fall of my own life. I was driving behind a Lincoln pick-up truck this morning and I said to Bebe, "Why would anyone want a Lincoln pick-up truck?" I look at a truck as utility transportation. In my mind they should be sufficiently dinged up so you don't have to worry about where you go in one. I get a similar feeling when I see a decked out Hummer parked in the "Hood". I know how much they cost, and I get this feeling that something is out of balance in the picture. I also get the same feeling when I see people with lots of money with a zillion times more stuff than anyone could ever use in a life time. My second cousin was in his eighties when they struck a big oil well on his meager property. Of course he had maintained the mineral rights and was entitled to a pretty big check every month. I had never seen him wearing anything but bib overalls. His house did not have running water when I visited there as a child. He lived in poverty all of his life. He was sitting on a piece of cardboard under a tree watching the oil well in its final stages. The driller came over and asked him what he was thinking about and he, still wearing his bib overalls and chewing a plug of Reynold's Natural Leaf, said, "I was just wondering what the poor folks are doing?" What kinds of things cause you to do a double take?

If there's anything unsettling to the stomach, it's watching actors on television talk about their personal lives. - Marlon Brando