Today we have a sneak peek from Deborah L. Parker’s book, Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey:
Deborah invites readers to share her memoir’s travelogue by taking us beyond her rural Virginia hometown, single parent (in the home with extended family), civil rights era upbringing—weaving together a road map of pursuits as an army officer, corporate manager and entrepreneur while bringing in her personal downfalls along the way. Whether its family, career, health or relationship challenges, there’s a narrative in Deborah’s book that readers will find relatable to their own life story.
Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey is available on Amazon.com.
And now, from Navigating Life’s Roadways:
You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish proverb
I’m glad that the chores of my childhood home are behind me.
Tedious in nature, these jobs typified the daily existence of the rural household I grew up in. My grandfather maintained that our work had to be done before we could play after school and again first thing on Saturday mornings. His word and tasks prevailed. No late sleeping or cartoons were allowed until all of the chores got done.
With no running water or heat pumps, the elements of wood and water in their rawest state sustained our indoor comfort. For me, my aunt, sister and brothers, the tasks assigned by my grandfather centered on those realities of our home life.
We pumped water from a community well and carried it home in the two buckets the family owned. Numerous trips back and forth to the well went on throughout the day to keep enough water in the house for these requirements.
The hardest chore dealt with handling the wood. My grandfather went into the woods to cut down trees that would later be used to fuel our heaters. Using his power saw, he sized logs from the trees and dragged them back to the house for the next step. Once we heard my grandfather’s power saw buzzing, we knew to fall in line mentally and physically. It was not a sound we looked forward to, but there was no choice, we had work to do. We gathered and stacked the wood on the back porch where it stayed until needed.
It was considered a punishable sin to let the house run out of water or wood.
With no indoor bathroom, we had a ‘slop jar’ or white chamber pot, which we used at night to provide release for our necessary bodily functions—this was our bathroom. The ‘pot’ had to be emptied in the outdoor toilet in the morning, a highly unpleasant task. We were supposed to take turns on this chore too, but there was no written or formal way of remembering whose turn it was. Needless to say, this caused many arguments. Memories and tempers ran very short on this subject. Sometimes one of us would feign sickness to get out of “dumping the pot”, another excuse that didn’t pass with the adults.
All of these chores provided for the necessities of some degree of comforts in our home, so everyone had to contribute. I disliked these jobs and longed for the day when I could flush away my waste. And when will I be able to adjust a switch that will blow in hot or cold air for relief from the weather?
In retrospect, these tasks gave me a perspective in valuing another time and way of living with a real sense of endurance and advancement. It was first-hand exposure to what my mother and grandparents experienced most of their lives and provided me a better sense of my family’s history. Blight before beauty and bounty builds character. Unpleasant as they were, I now see the teachings of responsibility these chores yielded.
Life is full of duties and dedications that require our efforts. From very early in our lives we take on tasks—with school, family, worship, or friends. Later in life it’s work, community, significant others and other endeavors. We define what is important to us and hang steadfast. Stability and an ability to complete our various goals will be possible only as a result of a solid sense of commitment.
Sticking to the plan of honoring our responsibilities buzzes our brains to do what is necessary before us.