Posted in Sideshows

Simply Understanding

383661_10151328859914399_1492227675_nI once witnessed one man showing another man how to use a hammer. WHAT? It seems pretty straight forward…hit the nail with the big end. Well, there’s more to the act when you’re familiar with hammering nails. Anyone who has had the opportunity to hammer nails Knows that you hold the handle close to the bottom allowing the weight of the head to provide most of the force. A hammer novice will grip the handle in the middle tightly and try to pound the nail using only their arm strength. It becomes an inefficient and tiring endeavor.

I once camped with some people who had never been outside of their living room after dark. These camping novices taught me how little urban people know about things that seem ordinary and straightforward to country folk. It was great fun to offer them a glimpse of their first shooting star. The downside of their stay was the realization that they knew little about anything beyond their living room. It became clear that their concern about water was over which tap it came from. Never considering how much was available or how it got to the tap. Our electric power was gained from generators which run on gasoline…another exhaustible resource. Apparently the just “flipping of a switch” in their homes had never required knowing any more than that. My point is that we all take ordinary things for granted especially when they look easy and self-explanatory. When we don’t ever experience an environment where conservation equals success and survival, we are unprepared. Country people have these skills. They keep refrigerators closed tightly when there’s a loss of power. They take shorter, and if need be, fewer showers during the driest seasons. They understand many basic, simple, rules for survival that city people have rarely had to consider.

I am so happy to have the opportunity to pass on these skills to my grandchildren. Their lives may one day depend upon them. The very least they will gain is a respect and realization that our resources have limits.


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

7 thoughts on “Simply Understanding

  1. It’s good that you’re teaching your Grand kids! One day you’re right they may need it and then they’ll say “Grandma taught me how to do this”

    1. Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive but I get the feeling that “Country People” are considered to be dumb hillbillies in our current culture by people who feel certain that all necessary knowledge comes from books. Thanks friend!

      1. Hahaha….
        It’s funny you say that. I believe in education but what I don’t believe is that everyone needs a college education in order to live. I don’t think a secretary or mechanic needs a college degree – I think they need apprenticeship.
        I have struggled throughout my life with education. I would say around the late 80’s to early 90’s all sudden you needed a college education for everything….Like a Bank teller needs a college education? Anyway, through struggles I read a book that put me in charge of my life and not a college degree……..:)

      2. We are SO on the same page. Apprenticeship offers people a chance to learn like no other! Education takes many forms and college debt is not required or “an entitlement” to success. Have a great day, wise friend!

  2. Excellent article, Susan! We tend to take things we know for granted, and I am often surprised when I realize others don’t know some of the “basics”; things I assume everyone knows. You got my attention with the hammer; I still remember when I was a boy and my dad showed me the right way to use one.
    And, I agree, it’s great to be able to share what we know with others.

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