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    Southern People

    Ricky and the Tiller

    by | May 19, 2011

    Tiller on the ConstitutionRicky 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.

    ###
    Mike Cox

    Mike Cox

    Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." It is obvious from the first few words Mike doesn't have a journalistic background. He spent one lifetime raising a family and working in corporate America. When he retired in 2002, he began to write. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

     

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    • http://hannah.smith-family.com/ Monica Smith

      It used to be said, “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” That was a slander on teachers by people who couldn’t learn to do anything. A more accurate assessment would be, “those who can, do; those who can’t preach,” and that includes the totally incompetent secular preachers, who pass themselves off as public servants. Like Cain, our incompetents are driven by jealousy of the achievers.
      Jealousy is what accounts for much meanness. Indeed, jealousy is what prompted Satan to undermine God’s creation. Jealousy is what leads the non-achievers to destroy. The sophisticates among them then argue that destruction is what they planned all along.

    • Lee Hatling

      Thank you for a beautifully written article, full of truth.

    • http://bigboomtheory.blogspot.com Will Cantrell

      Nice story Mike. I liked it a lot. Will

    • greg burden

      Unfortunately many people with low self-esteem feel the need to mark someone as inferior them. This is a way they can justify their miserable life by not accepting their responsibility for the choices they made and blaming someone else.

      Other people just don’t want to be around people they conceive as different from themselves and believe in the stereotyped, blanket assessment of racial groups based on a few public encounters, legend, comments of relatives or television. These are small minds thinking small thoughts. But this can be done by the offenders and the offenders.

      Before another group is blamed for being the ones pressing hatred, don’t judge them either by saying everyone in that group are ignorant, hillbilly racists, or whatever group you’re thinking about. Some certainly are just that, but again, not everyone.

      Growing up, the son of a preacher, in the South (Alabama), I was taught true Christian principles including looking at the way people acted, not the way they looked. If I did something to hurt anyone’s feelings, I thought I had committed an unpardonable sin. My upbringing taught me not to feel better than blacks or rednecks or poor white trash or any other person I met or encountered.

      I’m so glad to see in my lifetime (I was born in 1955) a drastic change in attitudes. We aren’t where we should be but I hope things will be better as my generation gives way to new ones.

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