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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

PRAISE VS. LOVE

    Although my parents were good people, they had a few strange ways about them. Mom was very frugal and put a value on everything from empty egg cartons to empty, plastic, gallon, milk jugs. I think these ways dated back to her being raised in the Depression Era. And Dad was a hard working farmer who believed in always making a profit, but seldom invested in new equipment, or ways to simplify his work, and mine. He didn't have water run to the barn until after I had left home. Even in the dead of winter, I'd have to string out several water hoses from the basement door down to the cow tanks and water the cattle, and carry pails of water to the cows with calves in stalls in  the back of the barn. Dad worked the three to eleven shift at the factory in town, making it my job to do the evening chores. Dad also owned a farm about a mile and a half North of ours. It had a newer barn that he'd keep half the herd of cattle at in the winter. He never had a well drilled there, so I'd fill nine milk cans with water in the back of an old 53 Chevy pickup and though I was only twelve, I'd drive it there, back up to the barn door, and dump the heavy cans of water over the gate and into half barrels. Sometimes I'd have to make several trips.  Plus, all the animals had to be fed and bedded down. I always said, "I wasn't Amish, but I was raised Amish!"
    My parents had a strange viewpoint on love. The word was never mentioned in our home. I know this greatly effected myself, and I'm sure it had the same effect on my brother and sisters. Mom often said,"She couldn't stand people that were always hugging, kissing, and slobbering all over their kids."
     As a replacement to love and those acts of love, my parents used praise. My brother, sisters, and I would strive to please my parents to get this praise. Myself, I would work like a man to please my father.That is, until I discovered girls. Then pleasing my father and mother somehow didn't seem quite as important to me. It wasn't until years later that my mother was on her death bed that she looked at me and in an uneasy voice said, "I love you, Roger."

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