Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Hand Reaching Into the Past

Dreadful.  I've been  feeling like the dog's dinner (you know, sorta chewed up and spit out). 

Thanks to my disability and my history of heat stroke, my body simply cannot tolerate what I put it through yesterday.  I'm still paying for it today, and my stomach just isn't giving me a break.  Problem is that I was out of antacids.  No choice--had to go buy some at the grocery store that is closest to my house.

At the cash register, I was only dimly aware of the young checkout clerk asking if I had found everything I needed.  I said, "No problem at all.  I've been shopping here since the mid-80's."  And the clerk said, "Wow! Really?"

That's when I noticed that both the clerk and the bagger were maybe 16 years old, and they actually looked fascinated by what I had said.  The 1980's really must seem like a different century to them.  So I told them that I also remembered a time when the store wasn't even there at all. 

One of them said that I must have interesting stories to tell.  And I said, "Oh, everyone does.  Everybody knows something.  You just have to ask.  When you go home, talk to your folks and your grandparents.  See what they recall.  I bet they know lots of stuff."

And I also told them something else, something that I feel sad about.  I told them about how I had tried to encourage some of my younger relatives to talk to my mother before she passed on but they failed to do so.  Mother remembered her grandmother Caroline who was born in 1858.  A direct link to 150+ years ago! 

I said that they needed to seek out those stories from their families while they had the opportunity because those are the hands that reach out from the past, the people who helped to make them who they are, the reason that they are here now.  Truly I hope that those two nice young people remember to do this because it will enrich their lives and their understanding of both history and humanity.

My mother remembered Caroline talking about her grandmother who was born in the 1780's and that dear lady remembered the story of how her grandfather came to America in the 1740's.  According to that long ago tale, we're here because of a broken pot of borrowed yeast.   I think of that every time I make bread.

History is all around us.  We just need to ask and then be willing to listen to the words that others have to say.  I'm glad I went to that particular checkout.  Those kids improved my day substantially.  It was nice to be heard and to be thought interesting.

Life is good.  Things are looking up already, and I haven't even needed those antacids after all. 


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