Story tellers, yes, we need them. So we can remember.
My dad, a dustbowl Okie, with no education, came to California and did well. He was able to get a job through Roosevelt’s jobs initiative. He made good money at that, and he also farmed as he had been trained as a master pruner by Welch’s in Arkansas. I still hear his voice telling me where to cut a branch when I have pruning shears in my hand.
My dad loved justice and mercy. He paid his farm workers top dollar. Provided a toilet and drinking water in an era where that was unheard of. He befriended one of his farm workers, a Negro (that’s how my parents described African Americans back in the 50s) with only one arm. Mr. Price (I never heard him addressed any other way) was able to buy some land, west of my folk’s farm. Not prime ag land, but his own piece of America. My dad helped him.
Farmers live on credit all during the growing season and settle their debts when the crops come in. The feed and seed store refused credit to Mr. Price. My dad said, “put it on my account.” They did, but refused to deliver the heavy bags of seed and fertilizer to any address except my dad’s, the one on the account.
So, the feed and seed store offloaded all those sacks to our front yard where my dad and Mr. Price (with one arm) would load them into my dad’s pickup and drive them two miles down the road and offload them at Mr. Price’s place.
My parents didn’t talk much about this, but the lesson has stuck with me for 60 years. Love mercy. Do justly.