Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Know a Mexican!

   Actually, I know several Mexicans.  Our community has a cultural influx from South of the border and they have opened for business!  Bakeries and music stores and taco places are almost on every corner.  Oscar,
 my friend is no longer a Mexican.  He recently got his American Citizenship and he is very proud of his achievements.  He should be.  He has worked very hard to be where he is.  Like many, he originally came here illegally, crossing the border unannounced and walking a dessert into this unknown country searching for something better.  He was just seventeen then, the same age I was when I was traipsing about Europe on my own adventures.  He went to the state of Washington and became an illegal farm worker there, picking apples from the orchard and receiving two dollars a tote for his labor.  That is a lot of apples for two dollars and everyone on the crew was a Mexican.  What Oscar discovered was that if he worked really hard, on a good day, he could make $20 dollars an hour!  He was the fastest picker on the crew.  He did this for three seasons and saved his money.  His experience reminded me so much of my own youth and the idea of working hard and saving your money for something important, for something down the road and in the future, for some kind of dream.
    Most everything that I have done in my life people have told me "how lucky I am"!  Luck has nothing to do with it. Or, maybe it has everything to do with it?  I first began working when I was about twelve years old, mowing lawns for neighbors and a paper route.  My father made me open a savings account at the local bank.  It wasn't a choice but something I had to do.  My dad made me put 60% of every penny earned in the bank!  In those days I would mow a lawn for a dollar and on many occasions I remember my father walking me to the bank to deposit 60 cents!  "Some day you will want this money for something significant," he would tell me, "Let it build up."  Pennies and quarters at a time it did build up and when I was just seventeen I had $1,100 dollars in the bank!  That was enough to buy a car in those days!  I went to Europe on an Ocean Liner and spent six months there instead!  Lucky? Yes, lucky I didn't buy a car!
    I feel like an old man now, complaining about our youth!  I see them crowded into the corner store, buying soda pop and junk food, happily spending five dollars every time they get some money and I wonder that they don't know there are still places in the world where you can live like a King on Five Dollars a day?
Why don't they have a sense of adventure?  Why can't they save for "something significant?"  Why can't they see into the future at all?
   Oscar is in his thirties now, married with three small children and he has a good job.  He is a "tax-paying American Citizen" and works weekends at any odd job he can find.  The extra money he makes on his weekend work goes to his children.  They each have their own bank accounts, and little by little, a few dollars at a time, Oscar adds to these accounts.  He has values of hard work and an accounting towards the future that America was built on.  I am glad he has kept that dream because it is one we are losing rapidly.
My Art Site is HERE


AutumnLeaves said...

Jerry, I love how you are always thinking and philosophizing. Always a fun read over at Hang Art!

stonepost said...

Thank you somuch, AutumnLeaves, my friend! Sometimes I run out of ideas to talk about! but my tomatoes are growing so soon that will be the main topic!

Kay said...

I started working at the local theater when I was 12. I wish my parents had made me save my pennies but that was not to be and later in life it hurt me to not know how to manage and save. I am somewhat better at it now. But I did have a sense of accomplishment that I was able to buy my own school clothes and supplies. Both of my older brothers worked hard too. There were 5 children and not much to go around. But we didn't know we were poor! We learned to work for what we needed. Which is why it is still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I was "let go" in favor of 2 high school juniors who get allowances and go to summer camp! I have a great work ethic and have been more than willing to use it. So my decision today is to put that work ethic to work for my art. Nice post, Jerry. I love the story of your friend. Isn't it the American story from the beginning?

stonepost said...

Kay, thank you! It is so hard to apply that work ethic to ourselves and our art but that is the secret to success, even more than talent which will come with experience. It is working at it every day!

PAMO said...
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