If my grandfather Poppy had a temper, I never saw it. He was friendly and funny. He would bring out his guitar and make up songs on the spot, and he loved to tell stories. Poppy would spend long amounts of time on the phone, talking to people. My Granny would ask after he hung up who was on the other end, and many times he would say it was just a wrong number or a salesman. However, he had taken it upon himself to invite them out for Sunday dinner, whoever they were.
Since both of my parents worked, Poppy would often have to drive me places. While we were out on the road one day, he was driving me absolutely nuts. Because I, unlike my Poppy, have always had a temper. I was a moody teenager, and was ten shades of hot that he was driving so slowly. Of course I would never say such a thing out loud. Not only was I a quiet child anyway, but we were taught to be respectful.
All of a sudden, because he was concentrating on something else, most likely singing a song to me, he started to speed up. I was pretty happy about this development. He got up to about 75mph or so, then realized what was happening and hit the brakes. My head almost exploded in anger. He then said something that has never left me.
“When you start drivin’, you cain’t drive fer yourself. You hafta drive fer the other feller.”
I instantly felt enormous guilt that I was so angry at my grandpa. That was him in a nutshell. Everything he did was for the other feller.
As I said, I have always had a temper. I lose it often. I throw things, I swear, I stomp my feet, I wail and cry. I was on my way to work this morning, a string of bad things flowing out of my mouth while I was following one of those ten mile-an-hour UNDER the speed limit people. Suddenly, Poppy’s words came floating by.
How much of what I do is for the other feller? As I get older, this becomes more and more important to me, even if I do lose it occasionally on the road. We spend much of our time looking to enrich ourselves; get more stuff, get a promotion, make more money. It is easy to get caught up in that web of consumerism in our culture today. We think it is not up to us to take care of other people.
“They should get a job and take care of their own damn selves.”
I read one of those internet memes about how in today’s society, everyone wants a handout. “It wasn’t like that in the old days. We fended for ourselves!!” I remember the stories of my grandparents and of the Great Depression. In their recollection, there were many times that their neighbors had nothing. That their own families had nothing. But what they did have, they shared. Because taking care of others is what we are here for.
What are the obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life? For me, I can tell you that my life was pretty much a cakewalk. I grew up with a big family, everyone loved each other and supported each other. And even though we were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, we always had food to eat and a roof over our heads.
Some of those people out there that are being told to “get a job” have never had any of that. No love, no support. No stable home. Missed meals. No education. Violence. Go back and think through your life again and take all the good stuff away. Now add in some pretty crappy stuff. Will you overcome and find success? Or will you not even know what success means because you’ve never seen it?
I may sound like an apologist right now, but this post was only to clear my mind and maybe clear some others. Don’t make assumptions about someone’s worth until you’ve put yourself in their shoes.
You hafta drive for the other feller.
Fyi, obviously I haven’t posted in a good long while. But once I get something trapped upstairs, I have to get it out!! More to come on my soon-to-be revamped piece of the interwebs.