The last two years, experiencing the difficulties of the covid pandemic, I’ve been reminded of how dependent we all are on producers of goods, supply chains and product inventories. Do you remember in early 2020, when the pandemic had started to gain momentum in its campaign to envelop the globe? There was a shortage of paper products, specifically paper towels, and toilet tissue. People were losing their minds, fearful of running out of these products. There were stories being reported by the media of hoarders buying truckloads of toilet tissue and paper towels, with hecklers attacking them as they exited the store. These images gave us small examples of how things might be or will be at a point in the future when our modern-day infrastructure for producing consumables fails.
I’ve been thinking about my grandparents (my maternal ones), born in the early years of the twentieth century, and how they seemed to have lived a very peaceful life despite the plethora of external forces that were against them. When I think about how they lived, I can’t see them being fearful or frustrated with even the thought of running out of food staples or any products necessary for living. They lived in a world that was hostile to them simply because they were born Black. They didn’t have access; access to the places where they could purchase many of the things, we stroll into a Walmart super center today to purchase. They both went through the great depression with little discomfort, at least it seemed that way whenever I had conversations with them about it. They had survival skills that would be the envy of modern-day survivalists. When I harken back to experiencing life with them as a young child, I recall them going to town and purchasing only sugar, flour, and corn meal. They didn’t increase their purchases of additional item until I was around the age of twelve or thirteen, which would have been the early to mid-1960s.
Those who have no clue what it takes to produce your own food might think that it involves a significant amount of demanding work. They might be right; however, as a child I didn’t see the challenging work. I would frolic around in the field while grandpa with through the entire process of preparing the soil in the spring, planting seed, lovingly caring for the growing plant, and harvesting the product later in the year. He grew a large inventory of products: watermelons, corn, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, a variety peas and beans, greens, and my more kinds of produce we now purchase at the supermarket. Of course, he also had cows to produce milk, as well as chickens and other backyard foul that tasted nothing like the industrially produced stuff we buy today. Speaking of taste, the foods tasted nothing like the chemically treated products we consume today. In addition to food stuffs grandpa produced on his small eighty-acre farm, he also made treks into the woods to hunt for wild meat and collect berries, which my grandma used to make tasty jams and jellies.
We were poor back then, during the 1950s and early 60s, but lack of food was never a problem with grandpa and grandma. Life had taught them how to survive despite external circumstances. I wonder how they would do today.
I old and blessed…hope you will be too.