Monday, March 09, 2009

Soup, Salad and Bread

I feel like I've been running through the poppy fields with Dorothy and Toto. I'm so tired.

It's the snow, again, and it's making me crazy. I've abandoned my office to sit next to the fire. I wish I could blink my eyes, have a fabulous soup on the stove for dinner, with a winter salad of walnuts, cranberries, mixed greens and a nice balsamic vinaigrette. Loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread and a nice, thick Irish butter.

That would require going outside in the cold and snow. Blah.

Lately, I've been panicked about money, panicked about the economy, panicked about whether or not my son will manage to bring his grades up enough to get a new cell phone or if we'll have to have yet another battle.

Watching the snow fall, again, I realize that my community is broke and more snow means more broke. I'm glad the plow guys and gals made their money this year but in a year of empty local coffers, it's hard to take. More programs will be cut from the school. More teachers let go. It's hitting hard in my affluent suburb- the effects on urban and rural schools will be devastating.

Jobless numbers have soared to record highs and a friend in the investment field told me today to look at the chart- the Dow's next resting level will be 4,000. That's a long way down still to go. My dream of soup and salad seem frivolous. "Nearly one in seven homeowners is underwater, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth."

And my son wants a new iPhone even if he gets C's and D's.

I read an article this weekend that discussed how kids of this generation will grow up, how the economic turmoil will effect them. I'm looking at my own and so far, they seem to not notice a great deal of the changes. I'm careful to talk about the economy in serious but not scary terms.

An eight year old does not need to worry yet about the debt being piled onto his head by his government.

I point out empty stores, places that have closed recently. They nod their heads but I'm not sure any of it gets in. I am reminded that my mother grew up in the Great Depression and often told stories about the poverty, the difficulties. Later in life, she admitted that her father, a candy salesman, actually did very well. Her family never went hungry. She was, however, at a friend's house once where they served squirrel stew. She took one bite and threw up all over the table.

Still, the stories and the reality seared into her being. The article spoke of children of that era wanting simple jobs, with life long guarantees. Gold watches and 40 years service at the same company. She never understood when I would leave a job to take another.

I'm a contractor, I'd explain. I'm not suppose to stay in one place long.

Seriously, I never thought I would work for a single company nor do I want my children to do that- I want them to experience several different careers. I want them to explore.

Will that be what they want? Will this economy turn around in time for them to remember little of the shuttered businesses and people losing their homes? Or will we sink lower, to the point where even if they get through unscathed, as their grandmother did, the stories will carve out their reality?

Nothing a little soup, salad and bread wouldn't help. It's about comfort, controlling what I can, finding a peace in simple things. A fire. The daily newspaper delivered- at least for now.

And trying to not move too far forward because the unknown ends up like the poppy field- overwhelming and exhausting.

Even with a thin veil of snow.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous donald said...

somehow we missed this storm, it went out to sea south of us! i know i have had more than enough snow for this winter.

see you tomorrow afternoon.

6:10 AM  
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4:39 PM  

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