By my recollection, I would have been 9 or 10 years old. That would have made it around the spring of 1962. My Dad had plowed and furrowed a small patch nearby the house. I was playing with the dogs, watching and pretty much staying out of his way or else as he often reminded me, I might get hurt. I watched him walk the length of those furrows, making a hole ever so often. When he finished that, he called me away from the game of fetch that the dogs never seemed to tire of. “Davidson”, he yelled out, “better come on over here!” I don’t know why Dad liked to call me Davidson. He never offered and I never asked. I dropped my dog-slobbered stick and ran right over and the dogs ran after me.
Around my neck, he hung a bag of corn and a bag of beans. Thankfully they weren’t too heavy. Then he pointed to the furrows and the holes and told me matter of factly, “Each hole, one corn, two beans.” Dad was a man of few words. With my new responsibility, I felt almost grown up, although I did notice him checking behind me. That was my first experience planting anything. I would also learn to cut and plant seed potatoes, put out onion sets, plant lettuce, cucumbers and any number of other things that made it to the dinner table at our house.
We never had a farm as one might envision one, but we grew much of what we consumed as did most of our neighbors. I reckon if we fell on hard times here in the land of the free, thanks to things my Dad taught me I could probably raise a fair amount of food. I should’ve paid more attention to Mom’s side of the operation of canning what she could. I did help her string beans on long pieces of twine, whenever she managed to capture me. These “string” beans hung outside the house to dry. Once dried, we called them leather britches because when dried and hanging they looked like a pair of brown leather britches. As I recall, they were quite tasty when re-hydrated and cooked.
Hope I am not boring you with a piece of my raising. Certainly a life of memories I would not trade for any other. It is the reap what you sow story. Fortunately, my Dad planted in me much that’s been helpful. Such as a God and family first, a good work ethic, and self-reliance. He also left me with those most basic farming skills that could, in today’s screwed up world, end up being the difference between survival and the alternative.
As we scan the American landscape, what seeds have been sown or are being sown now. What will we reap? According to a survey completed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania only 36 percent of 1,416 adults surveyed could name the 3 branches of our government – something most from my generation learned in elementary school. Maybe sadder still is that 35 percent could not name a single branch. The numbers are as disheartening when it comes to being able to name a single right guaranteed by our Constitution. It has also been shown that upwards of 75 percent of military aged youth are not qualified for military service academically and physically. We have sown seeds of ignorance of our history and our government. We have raised generations of youth who do not understand our country and if pressed into service could not defend it or may not be motivated to defend what they do not understand.
Look at what is going on in Hollywood with all the claims of pedophilia, rape and other sexual abuse. And their products these days look as though they were born of such a culture. Look at Washington and episodes of pay for play and corruption that more resembles racketeering than a government of the people.
Are we reaping what we as a nation have sown – for generations? The United States of America in not an empire, but history teaches that declining moral values and political corruption are prime contributors to fallen empires. When you add to that a population ignorant of how our republic should function under its Constitution and generations of youth who are not fit to serve in her defense have we sown the seeds of our own demise?
© 2017 J. D. Pendry