You may not have noticed but certainly it must have come to the attention of Mr. Kenneth Fry, Editor of the Press Argus-Courier: The, "View From The Bottom Rung" column, which has run for some three years now and is published every other week has been arriving at the editors desk at 100 N. 11th St., Van Buren, on Tuesdays, nigh onto the deadline to submit for scheduled publication on Saturday.
I pride myself that during "Bottom Rung" history, it has not, as others who occupy, or have occupied this space/venue missed one single publication. Others do not have that record. That’s not to say the column is better written, more professional, more knowledgeable or important than others which write, or have writ their stories and opinions here in this very space; not by any means or imagination; those people have worked hard to achieve a level of sophistication that is beyond the grasp of an old self taught country boy and one gives credit where credit is due.
After all this column ain’t called the "Bottom Rung" for nothing. No, this column often operates on pure stubbornness and pride.
Lately there seem just not enough days of the week to write the column, Keep appointments, fetch groceries, do all the chores that require an effort in the doing, to engage in common social activities, and mind my musical hobby all at the same time. I’m not a young buck ya know, and the mental focus just "ain’t what it used to be." Others of my age will understand.
All the days of my domesticated life it was my wife’s lot to manage the housekeeping, mine to look after maintenance of the house and duties that pertained to the outside property: lawn care, leaf raking, pruning, general up-keep and repairs.
Now, after my mate’s passing and I dwell here alone I find it’s more than difficult to maintain the place both inside and outside, especially after getting so far behind during the years of my wife’s debilitating illness; just not enough hours in the day, plus the fact I don’t know beans about keeping house. That in turn spurs a more sympathetic attitude to the chores of a housewife than ever before I had. It ain’t easy bro.
A wife is not called a "help mate" for nothing: The lady not only took on the domestic duty of getting me up and off to work of the morning, but cooked my meals, kept house, did the washing and ironing, also traveling out and about traveling out and about to purchase the clothes I wore in an effort to see I dressed properly and fashionably; seldom did I involve in the actual buying, abracadabra, the clothes just miraculously appeared there in the closet. Ironed.
That magic has now disappeared as the washing, ironing and cooking now falls to my lot, and the meals I prepare are haphazard in their creation and what I do may not ‘zackly be called cooking. Matter of fact, that which I pridefully prepare for my own consumption may even become the butt of jokes, as do my awkward attempts at ironing. Despite my clumsy adventures in the culinary arts, I’m gaining weight under the guidance of a new dietitian; with an eatery on every city block that’s easy to do, and there’s no dirty kitchen at home to clean up afterward.
The ironing, well that’s still a bit awkward but not much of it to do and then, there’s all those volunteers.
Responsibility, it has been said, is an intrinsic value of American society closely related to elevated ethical standards and concepts of morality.
In a nutshell, responsibility is an assignment of a moral or legal duty: responsibility is "the state or fact of being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, control or management."
Without responsibility, there might not be a human race, not in the civilized state it has become—or at least aspires to.
Responsibility was a duty my father fostered upon me as eldest son by the time I was old enough to fetch in the stove wood at suppertime and hold onto the wood handle of a horse drawn Turning Plow come springtime. In the great scheme of things responsibility is "where its at". Personal pride lies at the heart of responsibility, responsibility is the measure of a man’s worth to the society within which he dwells, it is the feeling of being accountable to others, the moral element that drives him to do the very best he can do, be the very best he can be.
It could be argued that this humble writer from the "way back" isn’t very good at any craft in which he engages, that in fact he excels at none. Be that as it may, once the word is given, it’s given and those to whom it is contracted should expect it to be delivered at the appointed time. And so I write.
Sure extenuating circumstance can discombobulate the whole apparatus but in that particular department I have been extremely lucky: a computer, as most every computer operator know from frustrating experience, has its own vile serpent dwelling deep within its miserable innards, that in the most unexpected and innocent times the ornery old devil spits his venom out across cyber space and indiscriminately erases hours of meticulous and painstaking work. More hours can be spent attempting to recover lost material but chances are it’s like Hillary’s emails and hard drives, they’re gone my friend and you ain’t a gonna get ‘em back no matter what. It has happened to me a few times while writing these columns and, believe you me, it’s frustration on steroids. The creativeness of the original is impossible to redo from memory. Of course if the theme is copied from some political talking point put out by one’s political sympathies propaganda machinery, which I do not do, one might find it much easier. Just quote verbatim.
Once a column is lost, getting another down and mailed on time is pure panicsville. Yet that feeling of responsibility, coupled with pride in ones own integrity drives the wagon and no matter the pain of frustration, one tries.
At this stage of life perhaps one should not "sweat the game", place his fanny in the ‘ol recliner, turn on the television, lean back and rest on his laurels. But life, even late life has its surprising turns and twists, inviting a man to get off his duff, rise up and "swing that hammer. Interesting things are happening. In the great scheme of things it may even be a responsibility to get out and involve right up until our last breath is taken. Too many of us wind up a burden when there’s no need to be.
At a recent health check my cardiologist sez I’m doing fine, to get out and "go for the gold." That the more miles walked each day the longer we live and that because of the modern sedentary lifestyle of today’s society, our generational lifespan will be longer than that of our children and our children’s children.
There’s no way to tell what will be tomorrow; the string of articles may become staggered or end altogether, either by my inability to create them, or because they’re judged not to be needed. But I am in a privileged position; it’s my understanding that others have coveted what I do but were disappointed. So, I have tried, sometime under difficult circumstances to keep to the appointed time and thus far have been successful. I figure it’s been my responsibility to those who have shown me their trust.
Today is the evening of Sept. 14. This article will arrive at 100 N. 11th St. tonight and will be waiting on the editor’s desk when the shop opens the 15th.