A few friends and family had made the trip to Grandpop’s ranch for Independence Day, not as many as years past, but enough to make a fun gathering. As usual, I’d lost my share of horseshoe matches, even though Grandpop had done his best to coach me for decades, but I never mastered the flip and slide. Most folks had set out for home after the steer roast, a few of us hung around for the campfire.
My future daughter-in-law, Sissy, had been engrossed with Grandpop pretty much of the day, listening to his stories, making sure he had all the drinks and food he could handle, and pretty much just making a fuss over him. Of course, his taking her on her first ever trail ride only set the hook he had in her deeper.
Sissy and Grandpop sat across the dwindling fire from me; she still hung on his every word. I was unable to hear when the conversation shifted to serious mode, but I could sense a change in the air.
“Mostly I worry for the young ones. My grandchildren, the little great-grandchildren, and your, yet to come, young ‘ins. I’ve had a full great life, did pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to, except for a few things Grandma frowned on, but it’s the youngest of us that I weep for.”
“Don’t you think the world is a much better place today than when you were young?” Sissy’s expression telegraphed her confusion.
“Can’t speak to the world, but as we sit here celebrating our own Independence Day, I can’t help but wonder and worry about some of the changes our country and folks are going through. You bet, Sissy, I’ve been witness to some marvelous changes, but recently there have been too many changes that worry me. For the sake of the young ‘ins and even our country.”
“I don’t understand why, Grandpop, I think our country is changing so much for the better. The government’s doing great things to help everyone, like health care, job security … so many wonderful things are finally being done by the government to help people. A lot of people need help today.”
Grandpop poked the fire sending sparks high and smiled at Sissy. “Are you sure you want the government doing all that? There’s always been help for folks who need it from family, charity outfits, churches and independent organizations. We’re the most charitable nation to have ever existed. I've been around a long time and I disagree with folks who say the government can do it better.”
“I think the government can do it better and give people more security.” Sissy insisted.
“That’s the root of my worry. The more and more folks turn to government for what they think is security, the more and more of their independence they give up, without even knowing it. What I worry about for the young ‘ins is how easy it is to learn to turn to the government for everything. I fear it’s become too easy to trade security for independence for too many, and that’ll chip away at their dreams, hopes and eagerness to pursue those dreams ... Everyone should fight hard to keep the right to struggle to make their dreams come true. Not trade it for simple security. What is security without dreams? Without independence? Not much I reckon.”
I could see Grandpop had Sissy thinking, she didn’t ask a follow up question, just asked if they could ride again tomorrow. I hoped she’d have more questions tomorrow.
|Kessy, Saturday & me writing|
This is the Tenth in my series of Grandpop stories. I began writing about Grandpop, June 27, 2013, with what at the time I imagined what would be a standalone short story, "Perhaps I've Just Lived Too Long." You can read that story (and find links to go on) (HERE) Folks said they enjoy visiting with Grandpop, so I wrote more. Frankly, I enjoy him too.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry