Friday, January 21, 2011

Being Independent & Self-Sufficient

I was a little bitty scrawny kid.  I couldn't have been more than about 4 years old.  Dad prided himself on always being prepared.  It irritated him when Mom drove around on an empty gas tank.  It double irritated him that despite her lack of preparedness, the only place she ever ran out of gas or had a flat tire was in front of the house.  (Later, when I was an adult, Mom actually had a car fire--in front of my house.)

My older siblings, Cheri and Rick, and I went with Dad to do a little shopping.  Among the purchases that day, was a long garden hose.  I don't know how many feet long it was, but we lived on a 1/4-acre lot, so the hose was pretty long.  Dad accidentally locked his keys in the car.  There was no way he was calling Mom to fess up.  No, sirree!  We were going to have some fun!  Over the years, when Dad said, "You kids want to have some fun?" we all should have run for our lives.  We must have been really stupid kids, because we never did.

Dad gave each of us something to carry, and we headed home.  I think it must have been at least five miles--bare minimum.  Remember, I was only about 4 years old--and tiny!  Dad gave me the garden hose to carry.  Yes, you heard that right.  Scrawny, sickly, little kid is carrying a garden hose long enough to water a 1/4-acre piece of property.  The more we walked, the farther I fell behind the pack.  At some point, Dad turned around to make sure we were all still together.  There I was, way in the back of the pack, dragging at least 50 feet of garden hose behind me.

As much teasing about that as I've received over the years, I learned something that day.  First, in a crisis, look within yourself and find the strength that is there.  Dad knew that we could make that walk.  He knew that even his scrawny little LaurieBee could do it.  Second, if Dad had faith in me, then I needed to have faith in myself.  I can do anything I set my mind to do.  Third, it doesn't hurt to be a little stubborn.  As a matter of fact, stubbornness can be an asset if channeled in the right direction.

Recently, I've watched people around me struggling.  We are in an economic mess that hasn't been seen since the great depression.  It is different from the great depression, but people are hurting just the same.  I've watched as some people buck up and find strength within themselves that they didn't know was there.  I've watched others nearly drown in despair.  I'm thankful that my parents were both a little stubborn--okay, a lot stubborn.  I'm eternally grateful that they taught me (or I inherited) this trait.  Being independent and self-sufficient is a marvelous thing.  As much as it sometimes irritates me, I'm glad that my children are stubborn.  Life may bloody them up a little and give them a few bruises, but they will survive.  They've learned that they can do anything they set their minds to do.  They just have to dig deep and find the strength that God gave them.

ADDENDUM:  For purposes of family history, there seems to be a discrepancy in the story.  As we grow older, memories fade and stories blur together.  Cheri remembers that it was Rick dragging the hose.  I remember dragging the hose, and Dad teasing me about it.  Maybe I helped Rick drag it for a while???  I have no explanation other than to say I was only about 4, so maybe Cheri's memory is better than mine on this.  This reminds me of the wringer washer that I was shocked on as a kid.  Mom told me I got a shock because it wasn't grounded.  I know it happened because I didn't know what the term "grounded" meant until many years later.  However, none of my three siblings ever remember Mom (or either of my grandmothers) owning a wringer washer.  It will remain a mystery -- but it did happen because Mom told me it wasn't "grounded."


  1. Gabrielle ValentineJanuary 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    As always Laurie your blog reads like an inspirational book! I'm so glad I got some time to catch up tonight. I love the stories you share and the thoughts you provoke through them. Love the picture! I can imagine the hose dragging behind you.

  2. Thanks, Gabrielle, glad you enjoyed the story.