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Sunday, April 7, 2013

LIVING THE GOOD LIFE





Yesterday , I had an electrical fix-it man out to my house to fix a few needed repairs. 


When I greeted him at my door I was amazed at how young he was. At first I thought he was a teenager collecting for some good cause until I saw the worn work-belt hanging with tools around his waist.



He had a shy smile as I told him my problems and then he promptly went off to work on the areas.



After he finished we engaged in a bit of small talk. He told me, with a proud smile, that  he was a new father of twins and that he had been with the repair company for five years. Here stood a very polite man who was twenty-three with a youthful look of sixteen.



I asked if he was from Kentucky. He said he was -- and continued, "it's a country place where mostly my aunts, uncles, and grandparents lived around us  -- up on the ridges and down in the holler." He then added after a pause,   "I was raised in a place where the closest store was about thirty miles from us. We lived without electricity, got our water from a spring, and raised a large garden. This is the only kind of life I knew when I was growing up. It was a very poor place."



He added, "I never knew what it was like to throw a light switch until I met my wife who lived in a town. She never knew that life could still be lived the way me and my family lived until she visited the place."



I asked him if as a child he played outdoors a lot -- I always am thinking of today's children with their short attention spans from television and videos. He smiled and with a determined voice said, "Oh yes,  we played outside from breakfast to dark.  It was expected. This was our way of life to be outdoors all day." I then asked if he and his siblings and cousins made up their own activities. His response was "sure did -- we had woods and a creek -- made up all kinds of things to do. Even though I live in town now sometimes I still get a strong feeling to move back to where I was raised."



Then it was time for him to move on to his other job.



After he left I thought about his life realizing that his childhood was lived only a few years ago. 



37 comments:

  1. I loved this post. What a pleasure to meet such a great young man.

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    1. Birdie -- Thanks Birdie -- yes it was a pleasure to meet such a nice young man. His character reminded me of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause -- self assured but humble. -- barbara

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  2. It is a wonder how different our lives are. I worry about the lack of free time that children have today. I do think that all the stimuli does stretch their mind, but does it teach them to be creative?

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    1. Tabor -- I am not a child psychologist, but I do wonder what the digital age is doing to their minds. Schools put so much pressure on them today -- maybe those phones they carry around and stare at all the time are releases for them -- Just guessing. --- thanks -- barbara

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    2. Maybe if not concerning about "the children," and allow parents more free time. To much focus on the children. Help the parents (if they want), and leave their children within their family core values. Todays prevalent thinking is helping "the children" and forget the parents." I guess parents are stubborn and hard to regulate. Therefore, "the (innocent) children" become targeted outside the family core pushing children toward certain regulated agendas.

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  3. What a wonderful conversation. Hard to imagine no electricity. I think about that now n then, and always think that I could easily live that way. Then reality sinks in and I know I couldn't...and, sometimes think that's a shame. I really appreciate my conveniences and am grateful that I have them...but the dream...

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    1. turquoisemoon -- Perhaps we are not doing our young folks any favors by raising them in a fast moving challenging society. Perhaps they would be more at home with themselves if the pressure were lifted a bit. Living without electricity would be an interesting experiment with those of us that are now so used to running our life with it. We live in an age of conveniences. thanks -- barbara

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  4. My life was like this lad but I am 71. That was an interesting conversation you had to find out that his life of growing up is so precious as not forgotten to him. It left a good mark in his up bringing.How nice this young man was led to you. I mean it is your similarity. peaceful life and satisfaction the outdoors. My younger son is to this day similar. He just emailed me to tell me he has made a nook bench in the kitchen and is planning to put stone on top or tile of the table he made. He has redone his home to more of a homey look as to the modern look when he bought it. I know in his heart he would live in the country but he has a family that needs to continue an education of worth. I live in the country and the young ones here are not educated as my son has been in living and my son using God given talent with his hands.He and the family even go fishing on weekends. My hubby was a Stone Mason and built fireplaces for 30 years. My son worked with him on weekends and holidays and he out of the two sons is more inclined to hand making things then buying.. I am so proud of him. You know once you get the feel of the good old days. You have to leave the city life. My hubby and I did. Never been happier. I mean 51 years married with the same man must mean something. Loving Gods country. Enjoyed your story. This one was another goodie blog as usual. I bet you enjoy it as well meeting this young man. Your right the world is so into that attention span of those things that work the thumbs to a bone and when you ask a teen for a conversation. They take ten minutes to answer. I mean this is also in the working field. How very sad.If they had to not use them for even a day.I think they could not give back change.

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    1. sparkle100 -- You are a year younger than I. Your son sounds like he is quite the carpenter/artist. Taking on the updating of a home is difficult work but so rewarding when it is all done, Interesting that your husband was a stone mason for 30 years. When I think of stone masons I think of the beautiful old stone houses and fencing that were built here in the late 1700s and 1800s. I have seen movies of the English countryside that have those same looking houses and fences. Teens sound the same in your country as they do here. thanks -- barbara

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  5. What a nice story to read. Your young friend didn't come across as feeling terribly deprived! My childhood surroundings were very different, yet a lot about it sounds very similar. My parents only let me watch TV after dark (and even that was highly limited), and of course there were no such things as personal computers yet, so my friends and I, like this young electrician, played outside all day long (and again after supper) during good weather, and played games or read books inside when it was too nasty outside. We constantly used our imaginations and got tons of sunshine, fresh air and physical activity, and I still crave a daily dose of those things even today at 51. I'm so glad I wasn't allowed to be sedentary and glued to the television. I remember very fondly coming home after a day of outdoor adventures absolutely filthy and physically exhausted and thinking that was a sign of the best kind of day! :-)

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    1. Laloofah -- And that was the best kind of day. Your age tells me that you just missed the onslaught of the whole digital Iphone etc. when you were young. No walking around staring into phones or texting while driving. Yes, they are finding that the car accidents from texting are mostly made by young folks. I do not mean to berate the young. They are terrific with all the challenges they face today. It is refreshing to hear how you used your imagination freely while playing outside in most seasons. Perhaps this is the piece needed toward making a teen balanced as an adult?

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  6. Wow!!! I didn't grow up in the country but in my neighborhood we played outside a lot -- winter, spring, summer or fall. Television is the culprit.

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    1. What a pleasure it must have been to meet this young man. His life was so different. But, really not so long ago. Tomorrow I go back to work after a week long break, but all I really long to do is stay home, work in my garden, and read books. My grandmother used to say that I was, "old timey". Reckon I am.

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    2. Kay -- Nice that you stopped by. I know there are great kids of all ages -- I was interested in the fact that kids can live all different ways and still be wonderful adults. Attention spans limit some teens but perhaps they will come to realize that themselves -- eventually. -- barbara

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  7. What a beautiful story. I was born in Kentucky and even though that was quite a long time ago...the 1940's, it was a beautiful and serene life, filled with rustic charm and nature.

    Your photo is beautiful. I love the woods and waterfalls...no matter what size they are~

    Jan

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    1. Jan -- Nice to have your comment. Kentucky is beautiful and if someone were to desire a country life -- Ky has plenty of it. -- thanks barbara

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  8. Oh how wonderful, this bit of oral history! Hard to imgine that he is so young, his lifestyle seems to be from older days. I'm so happy you recorded a bit of his life, as you said, so different from the kids who in the cities are actually not even allowed to play outside anymore so they sit with their devices after school...My generation, where I grew up, also freely played outdoors as much as possible, it was such a big part of our world, & I treasure the memories. It was suburban, but we did have a woods & a creek...The photo is refreshing & sparkling & really does reflect the image of a good life. Thank you, Barbara!

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    1. Rita -- I only wish that I could have talked to him longer but I surely could not hold him up from his next job that day. I thought about him and his new family living in town with all its amenities that he was not raised with -- what impact would this have on him? Would his early life be an anchor toward a balanced life? Somewhere in the 1980s or 1990s seems to a point when life for younger folks changed. I imagine there have been studies on this. I certainly cannot comment as to why this all came about -- I can only be an observer. Thanks for the nice photo comment -- barbara

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  9. Michelle -- It was refreshing to talk to the young man. It is so nice that your kids are being raised in the country. It has been fun to see your children grow and your family to enjoy their time together. Your New Orleans trip was a nice break for your family. thanks -- barbara

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  10. Barbara, it was a pleasure to see you execute such a nice post from a such simple and genuine conversation.

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    1. John -- It was fascinating to talk to this young man with his interesting way of life background. Although the talk was only about ten minutes -- his early way of life kept coming back to me through the rest of my day. I finally realized I wanted to share it on my blog. I am glad that is was a pleasure for you to read. thanks -- barbara

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  11. What a rare young man! Surely a pleasure to meet him. I wonder if electricity and other modern ways have come to his family in the hills and hollers. I guess they probably have. He is the tip of the iceberg with many stories to tell -- why he chose to leave, how folks back home have changed and so on. I wonder if at least a few such untouched places still exist in all of America.

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    1. June -- I believe there are quite a few families tucked away in the hills that live this old traditional life. I'm sure this young man could write quite a story about this. You bring up a lot of good questions. thanks -- barbara

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  12. I have to say that my grandchildren thrive in their urban setting with all the amenities. They are very smart and love school. Many opportunities are open to them. They spend a good deal of time outdoors, too, and enjoy excursions to the beach. Nature fascinates them. And they did a lot of skiing this winter. Seattle is a good place for kids to grow up.

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    1. Hattie -- Seattle is a wonderful area. Been there a few times and loved the water, the market, and the art museum. There seems to be an "outdoorsy" feeling to the city. Your grandchildren are lucky to live in such a fine city. thanks -- barbara

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  13. Most interesting. His words remind me of a wonderful book I read a couple of years ago titled, sadly enough, Last Child In the Woods....

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    1. troutbirder -- Oh yes I do remember the book of which you speak. It sparked a lot of controversy about children and what they are doing with their free time. I feel that poverty brings a lot of hard times while on the other hand it seems to allow for more creativity -- just my thoughts. thanks -- barbara

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  14. A good life, in many ways. Thirty years ago, in our county, there were still folks living like that . . . mostly gone now, alas.

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    1. Vicki -- I think that West Virginia is very much akin to Kentucky in their living patterns. Interesting that you say mostly gone now. Must be a few die-hards still living the life. thanks -- barbara

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  15. What a wonderful story! But for southern hospitality you would never have known; and neither would we.

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    1. NCmountainwoman -- I find the folks in KY are some of the friendliest I have found in all the states where I have lived. I imagine your southern state of NC has as many friendly folks. thanks -- barbara

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  16. Wonderful post, beautifully written. Loved how it sparked so many memories, longings. As the young man described his childhood, my mind saw images of Appalachia by 1930s photographers and a book from 1970s about reviving crafts/ways of the area. Soon as I leave my comment, the title will come back to me!

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    1. naomi -- thanks for the very nice comment. This young man opened a window for me in just a few minutes of small talk. I felt fortunate that he shared this humble piece of his life with me. thanks -- barbara

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  17. How wonderful it was to read this post tonite! Like a fresh breath of air in this tired old world.

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    1. Mamabug -- I will miss your fine nature photos and perhaps in the future you will jump back into the fray of blogging. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  18. What a nice boy. My boy, now ages 24 - 33, played outside all the time, too. They made a path across the creek and into the woods and built a tree house, played in a dirt pile and their bodies collected tics, poison ivy, cuts, scratches and bruises. They had fun!

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    1. Janet -- I love such stories. I feel that children that play outside become so creative that carries over into adulthood. Building a tree fort is an ultimate lesson in creativity. thanks -- barbara

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