Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Rescuing Yourself

When I was growing up TV was just coming into it's own.
Compared to today cartoons were corny and simple.
I remember watching mighty mouse cartoons and there was always a rescue scene in which mighty mouse saved some distressed damsel just in time.
I knew the storyline and the plot but I watched anyway.
There was never any doubt that the rescue was coming.
I recalled this memory recently while buying farm eggs from a feed store near my house.
Kathy a 65-year-old widow owns and runs the store.
I've seen her unload a delivery truck filled with 50 pound sacks of feed all by herself only taking a break to wait on customers and offer advice on feeding a sick pet.
Winter is slim pickings for fresh eggs because the hens don't lay as much.
Kathy explained she had a limited stock and apologized because she was forced to raise the price of eggs to four dollars a dozen.
I picked my 12 from the assortment making sure I included three small eggs just to be fair to the other customers.
I told her the eggs were worth the price.
She said everyone was cutting back and that some of her loyal customers were not buying farm eggs anymore.
More for me I said.
Kathy said some people would rather have a little bit of something really good than a lot of something not so special.
She was the little bit type.
She expected to work harder this New Year and make less but she wasn't worried because she came from hardy stock.
And then she told me a story about her grandmother who lived part of her life in North Dakota.
One winter her grandmother named Estelle was going into town a few miles from her house and got caught in an unexpected snowstorm.
She was nine months pregnant at the time and was forced to take shelter in a barn.
Lucky for her the barn was not abandoned but home to a hobo as they used to call them.
She was stuck in the barn for nine days and during that time gave birth assisted by the stranger to her first child, a boy.
Two years later Estelle pregnant again lost her husband in the 1919 influenza epidemic.
The bad luck forced her to return home to Michigan and farm her two children out to relatives while she found work in a yarn factory.
Eventually Estelle worked her way up in the yarn business and saved enough to buy a little general store.
She left both her children a sizable inheritance when she died.
I imagine that Estelle was the little bit type too, just like Kathy.
Today most of us are not satisfied with a little of bit of something good.
I have a friend who owns twenty pairs of pricey jeans.
I'm amazed that she can remember them all but she claims the styles keep changing and she always finds a pair nicer and more stylish than what she already owns.
So she buys more.
All of this made me wonder does hardship shape our character? Does it make us more resilient and tougher? And without hardship are we like the distressed damsel in the cartoons waiting for the rescue just in the nick of time? I'm not nostalgic for a depression era experience to see what I'm made of.
Survival is one of the basic human needs.
I suspect that given the right circumstances I could be resourceful enough to find my way in a storm too.
But that's not really the question.
It seems the pendulum has swung too far.
Today we suffer from too much.
It's not scarcity that's threatening us its abundance.
We've taken more than we need without regard to the price.
Does anyone really need twenty pair of anything? As I drove home happy to have one dozen eggs laid by a several tired hens I thought about the New Year.
2009 is going to be different.
I might have less but that will not determine who I am or who I will be.
I am not waiting to be rescued.
Like Estelle I can rescue myself.

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