Friday, September 26, 2014

Simple Living

The photo above is one of my family's homes. The fellow second from the right is my grandfather. The house was still occupied until I was in my thirties. It consisted of four rooms with no running water or indoor plumbing. There was a well (off to the right of the house). The rooms to the left and the right had separate entrances. By the time I visited as a girl, it had electricity.

The summer I was fourteen our family went to visit for a week. At the time, I thought it was a great adventure. My Uncle Bill had sheep and a horse and a water tank where we went swimming. We didn't have air conditioning at home so I didn't think it was a big deal that Uncle Bill didn't either. But let me tell you, creeping out to the outhouse in the middle of the night, flashlight and hoe in hand was a different issue. It was enough to make you reconsider the necessity. For those of you wondering about the hoe--that was for the snakes.

This place was also the first place I drove. Uncle Bill had an old pick-up with a long stickshift on the floor. No markings for 1st, 2nd, reverse. You just had to do that by feel. Fortunately, there wasn't much out there to run in to...except the cattle guards. All gravel road and dry brush.

I'm sure life wasn't nearly as much fun when a person lived there all the time. Laundry was done with a washboard and tub and hung on a line to dry. Water was heated on the stove. Baths were taken in the wash tub or out of a bowl with a wash cloth.

But something about the simple life was obviously better. All the folks in that generation of my family--and most of the next generation--lived well into their eighties and nineties. Maybe it was the constant exercise and work. And no doubt it was also the home grown food. But I also think it was just stressing less about things in the outer world and not worrying about keeping up with the Jones or the Smiths.

Best of all, no one really cared what the celebrity of the week was up to. No one cared.

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