Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spirit of the Pioneers

The Colonel is proud, and a bit jealous, of his #1 son and daughter-in-law team. They don't realize, and would quickly assume a glazed-eye stuporous state were I to indulge my desire to provide them an hours-long dissertation on the historical context, that they embody the spirit that centuries ago animated freedom-seeking American pioneers to leave behind the comforts of the East, load their worldly goods in wagons, and trek into the relatively unknown West to begin again.

For #1 son, pulling up stakes and plunging into the unknown is of little terror, given the bi-annual practice his father's career in the Marine Corps forced on him. Uprooting and replanting comes almost naturally to him. My daughter-in-law, she of the highly exalted and fiercely protected position of provider of grandsons, has been uprooted from the only hometown she has really ever known, has boxed her every possession and treasure, and has followed her husband from the comfortable sandy shores of the Redneck Riviera to the hills at the northern end of southern nowhere. This is no small event. Despite our best attempts, the Colonel and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda have not been able to identify with the trauma and trepidation she is experiencing, and our encouragement, born of our nomadic wanderings the first fifty years of our lives, that this move is no big deal and that she will survive it and thrive, does not seem to reassure her. Understandable--I'm sure Rebekkah Boone gave ole Dan'l the gimlet eye the first time she was uprooted and transported westward into the wilds.

But, the Colonel is of the envious belief that they are embarked on a grand adventure that will strengthen them like it steeled their pioneer forebears, not to mention this old bear and Miss Brenda. Further, the Colonel is convinced that the greatest blessings come to those who seize God's hand and plunge into the unknown. And that they have done.

Two centuries ago American pioneers faced hardships unimaginable to the comfortable, spoiled generations currently occupying beakers and Petri dishes on the laboratory desks of the American experiment. They endured the physical challenges of hunger, hard labor, and lawlessness. They also withstood the emotional challenges of isolation and culture shock. Many succumbed. Most survived. Most of the survivors thrived. There is a lesson in this for today's Americans.

If they would only read a little history beyond the public school pablum.
Post a Comment