Thursday, July 19, 2018

A story collected from elder-care

Mrs ERJ and I have three days of elder-care this week.

My father can now talk about the Depression.  His father died in the mid 1930s after a long struggle with tuberculosis.  My dad was nine at the time of his father's death. His mother was a wee, bitty thing and struggled to make ends meet both before and after her husband's death.

At one point she operated a printing shop out of the house they rented.  They cut a hole through the wall and had a gasoline "donkey engine" outside the building that powered the printer via an output shaft and thence pulleys and belts.  Starting the gas engine was a touch-and-go thing in the winter.

Toward the end my grandfather was totally bed-ridden.  His brothers did various things to amuse him.  One of the things they did was they set up a shooting range outside his bedroom window.  They opened the window and planted targets at known distances.  They loaned him a single-shot .22

In retrospect, I wonder if the target range was a red herring and if the real reason for the armament was to keep rabbits and woodchucks out of the garden and to collect meat for the pot.  It might have seemed cruel to a young boy to shoot bunnies but it kept food in the pot.  If memory serves, there were also game wardens who might not look kindly on out-of-season pheasant showing up on the dinner plates no matter how sick the primary breadwinner.

Even a man who is bed-ridden and within months of his death can contribute to the feeding and defense of his family if he has a firearm.

1 comment:

  1. Today, when caring for my dad, I asked him if his father's window looked out over the garden. His eyes looked back in time and he said, "Yes. The garden was about 20 yards from my dad's window."

    I shared the hypothesis that his dad, even on his deathbed, was doing his part to support the family. My dad nodded his head. "Yup, that would be 'dad'."