Today is Thanksgiving and while we are preparing the feast I cannot help to think back to how times where when my Father- Sarge- was growing up as a Depression baby and his father growing up in the late 1800’s. Thus the 1800’s and the 1800’s way of life for me is as close of a generation for me as my Grandfather. Times were different then.
At the moment, there is an old Henry Fonda movie on called “The Red Pony” and while I watch it as we cook and get ready to go for a walk in the snow it has made me think of the various hardships future generations went through compared to those we consider hardships today.
For example, when the Internet goes down and I can’t research or do what I need to do online, it kinda sets my day askew. Or, when you go to the store and you swipe your debit card and for some reasons the stores connectivity is down and it cannot approve your transaction for groceries or you have to wait or dig up another card to use. All of these can be off putting and put a crease on the days emotions.
Now contrast that to what our grandfathers went through. Most of the time they did not have money to go to any kind of store, if there was a store to go to. In fact, what they ate they either had to grow or hunt for and many days there were not any animals to hunt. So, no game to hunt, then no food on the table. Many times the family would go without food for days. Could you, your family or even myself go without food for day? No is the real answer and it would be very difficult at the very least.
What would be the inconveniences our grandfathers would of have experienced? No food for a long time. No supplies. New clothes only every other year or so. Death of their livestock so no way to feed themselves and no way to make money. Now those are real hardships.
In the movie with Henry Fonda “Red Pony” they had previously lost a pony so no money one year and then the next fold time, the mare was breached and the colt was going to strangle. The father has to take extra steps to save both the mare and the colt, and when he did (since they had already lost one colt the previous year) finally save the mare and deliver the colt alive – the father was a real hero in the sons eyes and rightly so.
The grandfather was watching and helping and he had been telling the young boy stories of leading the family and others across the great plains and to the newly open West. In doing so they had to fight off starvation, battle Indians, survive off the land and keep their families safe. When you think about that, those were really super hero feats. Battling, surviving, providing and such took great strength, wits and fortitude. Today many people would not be able to do such feats or even make it long enough to provide the basics if they had to. Could most people, you or those around you fight life and death battles if they had to? If one had to hunt wild game to feed their family – and hunt the woods to do so, could they feed their families today?
Thinking about these things, when both men and women were stronger, tougher and most likely wiser – makes me think about us as people today? Yes, we may be better technology wise and education and opportunity wise, but are we better as people and providers, but could we measure up against our forefathers? I personally think not.
Those who pioneered this land were really heroic. They faced hardships we could never imagine and loses we could never imagine, and they survived. They could provide for themselves and it was just the way it was. Would they laugh at the “major hardships” we face? Internet down? No time to stop by Starbucks before getting to work?
Reflection is good. When I reflect on this – we really look like whimps and those who lived back then and fought, pioneered and suffered hardship for us all were really heros and worthy of being remembered fondly. What do you think?