Where did it go?
20190816 00133 6 minutes

It’s such a shame!

Long ago, in the days of our parents and grandparents, life was not only simpler, (maybe,) but we still had a sense of wonder and excitement, about our lives.

Christmas started on Christmas Eve. Thanksgiving, for most people, was a one day event. For the matriarch of the family it started at least the week before, and it may have extended over the whole weekend for those who travelled to join other family members at the family homestead. Similarly, July 4th and Easter were single days to anticipate, to look forward to. Gifts were not advertised weeks or months in advance by corporations anxious for customers’ hard-earned cash. Holidays were to celebrate an occasion, which was remembered.

The Depression and World War II taught those generations to be grateful for very small mercies. There wasn’t the discretionary income for parents to lavish ever more and shinier presents on their children, and if children had money to spend – they had earned it themselves. They understood about prioritizing and appreciated when they received unexpected windfalls.

In the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, for Christmas the year she was five years old, Laura received a new, shiny tin mug, with one penny in it. She was really excited and happy! My laptop keyboard no longer even shows the cent sign, only the dollar sign. Can you imagine what would be the reaction of even a four-year-old who received such a present?!

We used to look forward to things. Without the permanent bombardment by television, the internet, telephone and newsprint advertising, we weren’t aware of how deprived we were. We had to save up for what we thought were luxuries. We hadn’t been taught that they were the necessities without which our lives would be deprived, so we wouldn’t be able to live a full and successful existence.

The throw-away society that we live in hasn’t taught most of the younger generation the value of re-using and adapting something and preventing it from being hurled into the ever-shrinking available areas of landfill. Pampers and Koenig pods are convenient. Their real cost, in terms of trash in the landfill, is incalculable.

We are so divorced from the land, that friends who one would expect to think differently, feel ashamed when they walk their dogs and have to clean up after them. They probably never had to muck out a stable or wash a diaper. Even those who are lucky enough to be around horses probably just go to a stable and ride for an hour or so and never have to go into the actual stable or loose-box. Theirs is riding by appointment, without having to take care of the horse they use.

For most people, food grows on supermarket shelves. They have no understanding of the excitement of seeing the fruit or vegetable actually growing, or the bitter disappointment when Mother Nature decides not to produce conditions favorable for a bountiful harvest. The delight at seeing the first asparagus, or strawberry or new potatoes of the new season has been obliterated by our never ending abundance in the stores of produce from other lands, whereby we can have all the fruits and vegetables year round. Anticipating the first of the new crop, and the disappointment when drought or flood intervened, were part of the rhythms of life, which have mostly disappeared from our affluent society.

The real old-fashioned flavor of home-grown produce, compared to commercially produced food, (notice I don’t say grown – corporations produce, and they had better produce a profit for their shareholders,) is something most people in this day and age are completely unaware of. Taste has been sacrificed for uniformity, for ease of packaging; size, for ease of picking; and color, for eye appeal. “Vine-ripened” is sacrificed so the product will not be over-ripe when it eventually arrives on the supermarket shelves.

The dust bowl, caused by single crop production, should be a warning. Interfering with nature has a very high obvious price, and the invisible medical prices in terms of disease and lack of immunities will mostly be paid by subsequent generations.

We have lost opportunities for anticipation and wonder and found opportunities for future serious problems. I question how much better we are for the “improvements” that have caused them.