Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Enigma

Yesterday morning it was raining here. It was a cool rain; the rain was not cool, but the breeze in the rain was. It was the kind of spring morning when sleeping late would seem to be wisdom. Instead, I was up and out by 6:15am. We worked in the cool and the rain. It was not raining hard enough to say you were getting soaked, just wet. It was cool enough that a sweat shirt or light rain shell was enough.

At around 9am I had to drive to the farm, the farm owned by the businessmen-enigma. He and had to discuss our construction plans for the first of the week. He was in a chatty mood, it was cool and raining, my crew would continue a few moments without me, I stayed. He had mentioned in the past that he grew up very poor. That is hard to imagine when you are surrounded by evidence of anything but poverty. During a break in the conversation I asked a question, "Did you every go hungry as a little boy?"

"Yes", he said. "At eight or nine I would get up very early in the morning. I would go into the woods and check my line traps. If the trap had an animal with fur, I knew we would have something to eat that day, if not I knew we might you hungry. My mother made jewelry. She made ceramic ear rings. She would make dog wood boom ear rings and fire them in a very small kiln. She could make 6-7 pairs at a time. She would assemble them, place them on a small card and give them to me. I would take them to school and sell them to the ladies at school. If I sold ear rings, I knew we would eat. If I caught food or sold ear rings we ate, if not we didn't.
Kids can be mean to little boys who have to sell ear rings. That may be why i am so mean sometimes."

I was shocked by the story. Here was a man who is brilliant. He is a builder, electrical engineer, architect, investor, cattleman, wood worker, etc, etc...
He has a beautiful home and farm, yet I saw him as a little boy trapping food and selling ear rings to eat. Hunger in America, post Depression is OBSCENE!!

1 comment:

  1. Jimmy,
    When we spoke several weeks ago, for the first time in several years, you mentioned being in exile. Although I didn't say anything at the time, I questioned it, in my mind. Now that I'm reading where your head's at today, I'd say you're in the promised land, and you haven't even moved. Feeding the hungry is a mission, and Jill was right, hunger is an obscenity.