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Choosing a Lived Life

In the so-called good old days on the farm, there was no such thing as time to write New Year's resolutions. The main focus was surviving, and certainly not doing "citified" things like talking about or writing down such goals as: "I want to be a better person in 1950."

I can't imagine Grandpa (Puzie Lett), who was born in 1888, setting a spell to write "I want to make a lot of money so I can buy a fancy car." No way!!! If Grandpa had written resolutions in a journal back then they might have looked like this:

1917 -- Let it be the war to ends all wars;
1932 -- We must work harder to feed these nine young'uns and survive the Great Depression;
1935 -- Get rid of the boll weevil so cotton yields will improve;
1940 -- Sow more tobacco seeds and set out more plants since tobacco is becoming a money crop;
1944 -- Pray every day that my son Puzie (Bud) will return from serving in World War II;
1946 -- Open a grocery store and filling station so we will have staples like bread, milk and hoop cheese on hand and have a gas pump to provide fuel for the trucks on the farm and those owned by neighbors;
1950 -- Thank God every day that my grandchildren, Jimmy and Carolyn, have recovered from polio;
1952 -- Hope that my wife Verta will get better because I just can't live without her (she died of hardening of the arteries that year).

Such reflections would make one wonder what is so good about the good old days. When folks refer to the good old days perhaps they are talking about an era when people lived by the Good Book and followed its guidance in the spirit and letter of the law. Some people may think these times were good because they demanded a high level of integrity and generosity -- folks honored the Golden Rule and neighbors shared with neighbors. Everyone's garden was open to the community. When someone killed a hog others were welcome to stop by for some chitlins' and sausage.

Even though New Year celebrations became popular in the colonies long ago, such fancy ideas didn't set well on the farm. Such highfatulin notions were not taken seriously -- the emphasis was increasing garden and crop yields. Come to think of it the same steps involved in sowing seeds and preparing for the harvest are similar to the principles of achieving goals. The lessons learned on the farm are practiced by many successful people today -- hard work, soft hearts and steady faith always win out in the end.

As I compiled my New Year resolutions I thought back to childhood's blessings in the country. I can state them simply: Focus on doing day-by-day what it takes to guarantee a harvest -- sow healthy seeds, nourish them, fertilize the plants, get rid of the weeds, reep the rewards, and allow the spent to go to seed.

Whether it's a plant or a child or a mate or a job life's rules are about the same: give a lot, forgive a lot, love a lot, laugh a lot, and expect the best from yourself and others.

Grandpa said that after many years of hard times the farm prospered, families survived and even began to thrive. He called it the good life, and who am I to doubt Grandpa's words of wisdom? As Grandpa would say: "Have a good one."

© copyright 2000  AlexSandra Lett, All Rights Reserved

AlexSandra "Sandy Lynn" Lett
Southern Books & Talks
1996 Buckhorn Road
Sanford, NC 27330-9782 USA

Telephone: 919-258-9299
Email: LettsSetaSpell@aol.com
World Wide Web: http://www.atimelessplace.com


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© 2008 AlexSandra Lett, All Rights Reserved