Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"They had everything but money"

In an essay by Wendell Berry, 'The Work of Local Culture', he tells the following story. I thought it was poignant and true.

I was walking one Sunday afternoon several years ago with an older friend. We went by the ruining log house that had belonged to his grandparents and great-grandparents. The house stirred my friend's memory, and he told how the oldtime people used to visit each other in the evenings, especially in the long evenings of winter. There used to be a sort of institution in our part of the country called "sitting till bedtime." After supper, when they weren't too tired, neighbors would walk across the fields to visit each other. They popped corn, my friend said, and ate apples and talked. They told each other stories. They told each other stories, as I knew myself, that they all had heard before. Sometimes they told stories about each other, about themselves, living again in their own memories and thus keeping their memories alive. Among the hearers of these stories were always the children. When bedtime came, the visitors lit their lanterns and went home. My friend talked about this, and thought about it, and then he said, "They had everything but money."

1 comment:

Henry said...

Beautiful. "They had everything but money...", and it was more than enough. Real life and real living has nothing to do with money and everything to do with deeper values. Thank you for this story and for a taste of "... sitting til bedtime." Love, Dad