We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Ricky and the Tiller
Ricky was scrutinizing a five hundred dollar tiller in Home Depot. I stopped to talk. Walking around stores that sell manly stuff and starting conversations is great fun for me. My sons will confirm I have done this for a long time. These days I get paid for the privilege.
Politicians and opinionators warn us about people like Ricky; he is one of the groups messing up America. There have been many since we gained our independence and started letting lawyers run things. The British and the Native Americans were the first ones. Irishmen, Jews, Catholics, Japanese, Commies, Hippies, Vietnamese, and Muslims followed at convenient intervals. Lately we have decided Liberals, Hispanics, Gays, and smart people are causing all the trouble. Ricky’s people are a convenient target and have been on the list several times. They never seem to fall far from the blame spotlight.
He and I talked for several minutes and got along fine despite our differences. Ricky was considering the tiller primarily for his dad, who is eighty three. I know his father, sort of. I’ve met many men like him, poor but dignified, honest, hardworking, and smart.
Ricky’s father, like mine, fought during World War II, the last time our soldiers were actually fighting to preserve American freedom. My dad returned from that war hoping to improve his dirt poor upbringing and get an education. He wanted to raise his family in better circumstances than his father had been forced to do.
Ricky’s dad wanted the same things but he had a problem my dad didn’t have; the color of his skin. Guys like him were forced to take a back seat to other people simply because they had more melanin in their system. He spent his entire life being treated as less than a man by people who were no better than he was; most were probably not close to his equal. I can’t imagine how hard it was to walk down the street with his young son, feel the disdain thick as Dixie humidity, and know there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.
He still works the land; raising food from seeds, dirt, and fertilizer; creating sustenance for those he loves. When Ricky told me how his father enjoys working in the dirt in the heat, his eyes softened. I thought his voice cracked a little, but that could have been the pollen.
I liked him a lot. He must have liked me some; he decided to buy the tiller on my say so. We talked a while about fathers and working; tools and money. We didn’t talk about whose fault it is the country is having problems.
Since our constitution was created over two centuries ago, every law, every budgetary decision, every declaration of war has been done by one group of people. Every four years, those same people come down from Washington and blame all our problems on someone else. They tell us to vote for them and they will fix everything. Then they leave until the next election. They show up again hoping we’ve forgotten what they said last trip. Sadly, we usually have.
I’m of the opinion we shouldn’t believe them anymore. Ricky didn’t seem that bad to me. And his father is salt of the earth. I know him.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
How does that happen? Mostly, it's the result of a mixture of hubris and inadvertence. Humans, stuck on themselves, think they know it all. Others are convinced "all it takes is the idea" (the ExxonMobil slogan) and, as it was in the beginning, man says the word and nature is obedient. Fortunately, the age of electronics has made it possible to virtually eliminate inadvertence. We can look ahead and simulate what will happen, if we repeat the mistakes of the past. That's what James Holland is doing with the various projects at Cannon's Point in the marshes on the coast of Read on →
In a class on Dante I'm currently enrolled in, Professor Frank Ambrosio of Georgetown University quoted the nineteenth century philosopher Friedric Nietzsche that human beings, as far as we know, are the only animals who make promises. I only add that humans are also the sole ones who break them. According to Ambrosio, Nietzsche puts the significance of human promising and its place with regard to freedom this way: "In man, nature set itself the task to breed an animal worthy of making promises." It's an extraordinary idea. What is it that allows an animal that lives in the here and now to Read on →
The ethical man keeps his hands to himself and does not destroy what he admires and loves. The ethical man does not subscribe to the excuse that “you always hurt the one you love. The ethical hurts no-one at all. Most of the electorate is probably too young to remember the perverse responses Jimmy Carter’s admission of having lusted in his heart occasioned among Republicans. In retrospect, it seems rather obvious that people, who live and die by the euphemism, were ready to believe that Carter had uttered a prevarication, as they, surely would have done themselves. Moreover, because it came out Read on →
Despicable. That's the only word for it. I refer to the recent official email "Responding to the Ebola Crisis" of October 17 from my congressional representative, Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia's 6th District. It begins by stating that "Ebola now spreading in the United States is of extreme concern [emphasis added]." The update then goes on to imply that millions of Americans have lost or will lose their health care under the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). To connect the dots, which Rep. Goodlatte leaves to the reader, ostensibly to retain a fig leaf of decency: You may get Ebola, and if you do, Read on →