By PETTUS READ
I don’t know if you have ever tried to trace your ancestry, but it can get really interesting at times. A lot of people are involved in ancestry tracking and I once heard of a fellow who spent $1,000 to uncover his ancestors. After doing so, it cost him another $5,000 to cover some of them back up.
I have always been involved in family history, and since reaching the stage of life where I spend a lot of time attending funerals, I’m the one younger family members contact to find out who is kin to whom. I was asked recently to locate this certain relative’s history and it renewed my interest in tracing our family history. It also reminded me of many years ago when I asked my grandfather, who was a county magistrate at one time, about our family history. I have always wanted to have the family history traced, but I couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it. So, I asked him if he had any suggestions.
He had just finished a tough county election where his challenger had been pretty rough on him and had worked hard at trying to dig up some skeletons from our family closet.
Grandfather answered me fairly quickly and merely said, “Yes, I have a suggestion for running down a family history. Just run for public office.”
After what we have all just gone through over the shutdown and possible government default, my grandfather’s advice was pretty much on target many years ago. Now with everyone attempting to pick up the pieces and get on with making our government what the people want, maybe we can take a lesson from a story I heard several years ago about a farmer and his team of horses. It happened back when the roads were dirt or somewhat graveled and many of them had grass growing in the middle. It was during the time when most of the early rural “expressways” could be classified as the roads less graveled, rather than the roads less traveled.
Late one evening around dusky-dark, an out-of-towner drove his big city car into a ditch on an out of the way little county road. But, lucky for him, a farmer by the name of Ben came to help the man with his big Belgium horse named Buddy.
Ben hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!"
Buddy didn't move.
Then Ben hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!"
Buddy didn't respond to that either.
Once more Ben commanded, "Pull, Mac, pull!"
Still nothing happened and the out-of-towner started to get worried.
Then Ben nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!"
And the horse easily dragged the car right out of the ditch.
The out-of-towner was most appreciative, but was very curious about what he had just seen. He had heard some of the local folks call Buddy by his name and even heard Ben call him that when he first arrived at the accident scene. He asked Ben why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.
Ben pulled out his bright red bandana and wiped his brow as a mischievous grin spread across his face. He answered the man with this explanation and said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"
For the last several weeks up in Washington, D.C., we have had a lot of blind horses standing still and none of them even attempting to pull. While they stood still waiting for someone to move, the country’s car remained stuck in the ditch with a lot of us looking for some more horses to pull the car back on the road.
Let’s hope that what the future holds for our government will be a whole lot more folks pulling like Buddy, but not having to be tricked to do so. It seems the people right now are upset to the point of speaking out for what they want, but let’s not be blind to the fact that sometimes what you ask for is not necessarily what you really thought it would be. “Pull, Buddy, pull!”
- Pettus L. Read is editor of the Tennessee Farm Bureau News and Director of Communications for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org