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NWLA Chapter 351

Giving thanks in tough times


Many Americans may find it hard to give thanks today.

Some may have lost jobs. Some may have lost homes. Some may have lost retirement savings.

It's hard to be grateful when you are hurting.

So maybe this is a good time to take a lesson from those who know about economic suffering: the Depression generation.

They are people like Ruth Cates, who as a child in the 1930s would trade eggs for pencil and paper for school.

And Rachel Shelton, whose family "home" for a while was an old black Ford.

George Smith saw his grandmother, who raised him, wash other people's laundry and pick 400 pounds of cotton herself. And every night she prayed with the children.

Cliff Eichler remembers a "meat club," where neighbors shared.

They are a generation that survived the Great Depression with tenacity, resourcefulness, thriftiness and not a little bit of faith.

In the mid-1930s, more than 40 percent of U.S. families were living on an annual income of less than $2,000.

But they didn't complain. They just worked harder.

And many today — even after becoming financially successful over the ensuing decades — still save that used bit of aluminum foil and reuse food storage bags. They were recycling before the term was part of the popular culture.

They were thankful for whatever they had — even just an orange as a Christmas present. They leaned on each other. They got through.

And if we can do the same in these days, so will we.