what a difference a few generations can make - 12/07/10
So today I'm off on another random thought regarding thankfulness, what it means to be an American and what benefits "progress" has brought us as a society. I've said before that my parental units weren't much for educating me on my gene pool and so I'm left to satisfy my curiosity via personal research. I know that one side of my family came from Cornwall England to Michigan in the 1800's to work in the copper mines. (another set homesteaded in the Dakotas and later, some did the whole wagon trail thing to Oregon) I've learned that these Cornish immigrants were more than likely miners in Cornwall as well. Its what they knew....It was difficult, dangerous, dirty work - nothing like sitting at a desk and lamenting over a spreadsheet, you know? These immigrants didn't have time to worry about stuff like "job satisfaction" -they worked to eat, to feed families of eight or twelve kids and pay for a home with only two bedrooms and no running water... - and often - they lost children and wives and mothers in childbirth. For my homesteading great grandmother in the Dakotas - the doctor was over an hour away by wagon and when her sister got her front teeth kicked out by an ornery heifer, Mom just put the teeth back in her jaw and gave her soft food for a few days. When another sister broke an arm, they set the bone right there on the farm...And some of my buds break a nail and have to call the specialist and slather themselves down with antibactierial gel. Know what? I'm incredibly fortunate to be who I am, where I am and what I am. I got nothin' to complain about. In fact, the mere fact that I CAN complain - is a tremendous gift.
So today, I am thankful that I have hot food in seconds, a doctor within ten minutes and a grocery store within walking distance. I'm stoked that I have plumbing and that I don't have to stare down my meal in the barn before I eat it. I'm thankful for technology that enables me to instantly talk with family across the planet. I'm blessed beyond comprehension.
Honestly, when I study what my family went through just a few generations back...it makes me ache inside. For all the stress and the crap and the road rage and the ornery teens and the year long audits, I will never face the difficulties my ancestors faced....I'm blown away by what they went through - just to be "Americans" just to have a chance to survive....