Friday, May 1, 2009

Thanks Mom and Dad

I must publicly thank my parents for getting onto the non-toxic and natural wagon decades before I was born. To help put it into context, Dad was born in 1912, Mom just a few years after. I was born in 1960. I tasted my first pizza (free sample from a lady in the grocery store) when I was in grade school. Didn't really have any more until high school, and then not much. I had my first hot dog at the age of eight, my fourth at the age of 10 or so. I have had one glass of Coke. Never any Pepsi or other cola. I have never had an asprin. I took half a Tylenol when I was about 26 and had a severe flu. I have had a few of those since then, but not lately. At our house, there was never ketchup. The ice cream was home made with honey. We never ate any pig. We didn't eat casseroles or cakes. What people call banana or zucchini bread, we called cake. The only junk food we had around our house regularly (in more recent years) was all-natural peanut butter and white bread from the store. The white bread was not too popular.

Thank you for shopping every week and avoiding every can and bag with ingredients you could not read and know what it was.

You bought cans of things, mostly for the sake of food storage or travel, but thanks for putting fresh produce on the table for the most part, all those years, and as often as possible, that of our own picking from the vine and tree.

Thank you for never providing us with frozen food.

Thank you for never providing us with any preservatives.

Thank you for making sugar strictly a special occasion.

Thank you for not giving us money. The penny-candy and gum we came by was from money on the sidewalk we sometimes came by - or bummed off a friend. We had to save up for months to go somewhere like McDonalds or DerWienerSchnitzle (or however you spell it).

I wish you had known the devastating effects of white flour but thank you for the continuous supply of bread, mush and other delights that came from FRESH-ground wheat.

Thank you for trying to hide the sugar, mom. Dad would have simply thrown it out and never bought more.

Thank you for never buying harsh chemicals for any reason; thank you for never spraying or spreading on our lawn or in our yard.

Thanks Dad, for getting on the neighbors' cases whenever they tried pouring anything into the irrigation ditch.

Thanks, Dad: you didn't ever know the harm in working unprotected with asbestos, lead and gasoline, but you had the sense to control chemicals the best way you knew how. You didn't just throw it about the way many of your generation did.

Thanks for never bringing any detergents into our home.

Thanks for the bar of soap: always Ivory, Sweetheart or Lava.

Thanks Dad, for washing your hair with bar soap and never putting any lotion or other remedy on your skin. You died formaldehyde free, I expect.

Thanks for never taking a pill. Well, Mom took vitamin pills, but still. Thanks for teaching us how to deal with pain and let it slip away. Thanks for teaching us to go to bed when ill.

Dad, thanks for showing us the very best and only truly effective and spiritually satisfying acne medicine: wash your face and leave it alone. It took me 40 years to get the hang of it, though. After 40 years, I finally threw it all up to God in utter despair - whatever happened on my skin was in His hands; I wasn't going to even pay any more attention to it. Only then did my skin have a chance to heal and become normal.

Thanks for always doing everything the hard way or the cheap way. We never had a concept that this was a hardship or deprivation. I always saw it as for the sake of toughening ourselves up, including the women and children - why would anyone ever be interested in anything else?

Thanks for sunbathing regularly.

Thanks for virtually raising us out of doors.

Dad, thanks for always eating everything alone, and enjoying it so intensely - even though you grew up eating pretty darn fancy.

Mom, thanks for teaching me to garden. Thanks for growing up poor, in the country; I always used to feel sorry for you because you had precious little candy or other treats, just a garden where you could go steel a raw carrot or turnip. Not sorry now.

Mom, thanks for showing us how to pray and know everything would be alright.

Dad, thanks for teaching us to relax and not worry about things that didn't matter, things we weren't sure existed and things we could do nothing about.

Thanks for considering getting a TV only to be set up outside and then never getting around to it. We finally got one after I was 21 or thereabouts. Thanks Dad, for never watching TV for more than 30 seconds, and then only if a movie you had seen before 1952 at a theater or a favorite actor from those days was on and caught your attention as you passed through the living room. You'd always say, Boy, that was a great show! as you walked out after such a pause. Thanks for all that, even though I feel I personally have watched as much TV as anyone nonetheless. There is a quality we enjoyed in our home, and I in my own at times, that is not attainable with a TV in the house - even if the TV is off in a basement room or stored away in a box in the attic. We are even further from said quality now that computers in the home have all but made TVs obsolete (I personally expect TV to become obsolete in 5 years. That's just what I expect, not that I care or have a theory. But I will note that no one forsaw the quick extinction of the electric computerized typewriter that occurred in > 5 years time. I was an engineer at IBM's largest typewriter plant in 1988 and no one expected that plant to be sold off as soon as it was - no one had a typewriter anymore after what: 1994? 1993?). Still, maybe not; the computer is a little different in that it is not so totally passive: you can watch movies and do mindless things, but you are the programmer so there is some control. You don't just turn it on and let it take you away for an indefinite amount of time. Two things never hooked me at all (never had the patience for or got any enjoyment out of either one - not one iota): Web-surfing and video/computer games. So in a way, computers bother me less - unless I see my son spending his life in front of one.

Thanks for taking off your glasses, decades before I was born, and learning to see well (and pass the driver's eye exam, Dad) without them. I sometimes need and appreciate my glasses now, but the attitude of gratitude, confidence, peace and relaxation I gained from learning the Bates method remain with me. And I haven't had a headache in 30 years or more because of it.

Thanks for the hip thing, Mom. For showing us how to wait on the Lord, and how to have faith. Thanks for confidence in Him to remove the disease from throughout your body; if it had only been your hips, you may have had them replaced, but it was all through you, you knew. Thanks for the pure desire to be touched by Him and for the feeling that it was best to be all better rather than just a band-aid from Man.

Thanks for making your conversation, your private thoughts and your judgement about other people just like your food, your home and your Bates practice.

Thanks for truth.

Thanks for gratitude.

Thanks for faith.

Thanks for thrift, respect and generosity.

Thanks for natural.

Thanks for clean and neat. Even though your clothes were many decades old, everything at our house was always clean and neat and as often as practical, made of wool, cotton or leather. The same is true of me today.

Mom, thanks for mopping the floor on your hands and knees and making me do it too. I use a mop handle now, but mopping floors is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for all the dandelion and star of Bethlehem digging. That's another one of my favorite things now. Now I eat the dandelions. These days, most of our neighbors don't even know what we are all doing out on the ground all day - especially the younger ones who never held a dandelion digger in their hand.

Thanks for all the cheap rich togetherness.