Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

15 April 2014

The Privilege of Eating

That sounds crazy.  But I again hear tonight on PBS Newshour that 1/7th of our population, of the Vaunted and Exceptional US of A, is enrolled in SNAP (aka, the newest comfortable pseudonym for Food Stamps).

For just a moment, I’ll rail … One-seventh of our fellow Americans are hungry?! And one-fourth of senior citizens eligible for food stamps (aka, the real term vs. the charade of the innocuous “SNAP”) do not even apply due to the social stigma and person shame of having to rely on government to feed them after a lifetime’s work?


My hot dogs are all-beef and the buns often not the bottom-dollar pasty stuff.  And I have a choice of yummy condiments, stuff that soured in my belly when I thought of seniors eating cat food.  And folks eating only what's dirt-cheap or on sale.  Yeah, not polite, tasty conversation but c’mon, it does happen way too often.

Liberal or Conservative, your flag doesn't matter when it comes to hunger.  Unempowered children, the elderly who have done a lifetime of honest work, and the mentally ill who never will get a fair shake:  these are the folks we need to think of when the Boy Scouts arrive at the front door and when our churches and food banks implore us to donate.  I’m shamed tonight to think it’s hard for me to remember that monthly United Methodist clarion call to bring in food donations ~ where’s my brain, my compassion, my ethical fortitude?


Enough railing.  I hope my spontaneous frustration-with-self translates to even one of you dropping off a bag of goodies this next week.  Make it Real Food, my friends, not swill you’d never eat yourself.  Me, I case out the local Albertson’s clearance carts because they only carry decent food and the prices are at most 50% of regular retail.  And one $10 bag of donations might make someone happy for a whole day.  Now let’s see if outraged Jose can remember more than once a month.  “Et tu, Brute?”

P.S.  I mean it.  Tell me if you dropped off some food for someone else, not out of guilt but just because YOU felt it important to be a Good Mensch.  

14 April 2014

Pitch Perfect

Well, I should say, “pitch fork perfect!”  A couple Sundays ago that was my impression of country life.  Driving around the corner, I see our nearby friends out with propane burner burning some weeds.  Just down the road, here comes an elderly guy in elderly overalls, with his pitch fork in one hand, cane in the other!  Moving slowly uphill but looking pretty happy about it. 

Not that I always need inspiration, but that vision played in my head the next twenty minutes on way to church.  To go sit with quite a few similar gentlemen in the pews, albeit none of us quite as wizened as that man.  Shows you what a simple life and simple pleasures can do for the soul.

As for country, I’m getting too much of it on my now-four day/week work schedule. Working with Michele to put up several hundred feet of wooden rail fence, temp mesh fencing and way too much mowing of weeds..  Toss in some trenching and irrigation work, and you’ll see why having acreage is a mixed blessing one ought to carefully consider long before buying one’s dream property.  20+ mph sustained winds the last few days mean 1+ tired Jose.  But no regrets since maybe this is a good exercise program too!