I must apologize to my readers for not posting as frequently as I should and I thank you for your patience.
Summer is here and the 4th of July is just a few days away. We should take time to reflect upon the reason for this special day: Our fore fathers declared themselves free from the tyrannical rule of the British on July 4, 1776.
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and the word “freedom” has a different meaning for each of us. For us oldsters, freedom is just being able to get out of bed and to take care of ourselves during the day without help from anyone else. At this time in our lives, we are free to enjoy the sunrise in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee, and if you are lucky enough to live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset in the evening. The earth’s yearly journey around the sun reminds us that we have been given yet another year to live on this earth.
If you think about it, our fathers and forefathers gave us many freedoms which we just take for granted. My father and mother were born in 1907 and 1909 respectively. They grew up in rural Ohio and were married on June 5, 1934. They started married life by working for someone else and saving their money. They had very little in terms of money, but understood very early in their lives how to survive and thrive in rural American by working hard, spending only what was absolutely needed to be spent, and not borrowing any money as the Great Depression taught them that banks were not to be trusted. They raised their own food for themselves and for their animals, selling the excess to buy the necessities that they couldn’t produce themselves. My father always repaired his own farm machinery if he could and he never bought a new tractor but sought a used one which would do the job. He measured his wealth by the quality and quantity of grain produced in his fields and quantity of milk produced from his herd of dairy cows.
Yes, I have had to borrow money during my lifetime. I was fortunate that my parents had enough money to send me to college. But after my college experience, I was on my own. I worked as a teaching assistant and research assistant while my wife worked as a secretary at an Industrial firm in Columbus Ohio during those long six years of graduate school. And when I graduated and landed my first job, we did borrow money for our first house. The interest rate at that time was 7 1/2 percent and climbing. I feel sorry for those young people that are looking for housing today. I paid off my home in 25 years just short of my early retirement. After retiring, I didn’t have to worry about a mortgage any longer. The retirement home that I live in today was built with money which came from my family home that I sold.
There are other freedoms that we take for granted and enjoy. But that discussion will have to wait for another time. But do take time on this 4th of July to reflect on those freedoms that are precious to you and your family – especially those which were given to you by sacrifices which were made by others.