I grew up during the Depression in the 1930s when people were basically self-sufficient — you had to be— unemployment was about 30 percent of the labor force. Very few homes had grass to cut because most of the ground was used to produce vegetables.
I recently came across a statement by Patricia Egan, an old codger (I think) who said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Today we are in the growing season, and I don’t see a lot of gardens in and around the area. During the Depression the land in back of the house was worth more than the house.
No one fixed their homes because they never had the money to do the repairs, and so they had buckets in their rooms to catch the rain water that fell. However they did spend a lot of time gardening. If you didn’t do the work in the summer, you went hungry in the winter because you didn’t put away those vegetables for winter’s use.
To garden was the process of knowing that tomorrow you had enough to eat and that was not a belief, but a principle you lived by.
I can understand why people don’t plant gardens anymore. We have federal programs that make it unnecessary to plant a garden. This year Social Security increased by l.5 percent while welfare benefits increased 34 percent.
Are we teaching wrong values about work? St. Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians (3:10) states, “If man will not work, neither should he eat.” Give welfare recipients seed packages because they all have parents, grandparents that have land to grow vegetables, where they can subtract from their grocery costs. This will also cut down on the grass that has to be cut.
Our country is too liberal. Liberalism is fine until you run out of other people’s money, or until the president stops spending America into bankruptcy.
During the Depression, work too was hard to find, but the philosophy to plant a garden was to believe in tomorrow, and people did exactly that.