Each Thanksgiving causes me -- as well as you, probably -- to reflect on all that we are thankful for. While I would love to write something each day in November as Sandy is doing, I can't find the time to squeeze in a blog each day when I have so much going on. So as I think of it and get the time, I will do as many as I can.
Two of the most important people that I am grateful for in my life were my parents.
|Charles & Philippa Muller|
While they weren't perfect parents (who has those???) they did the best they could raising seven kids with little money. Dad worked full time whenever and wherever he could get it so Mom could stay home to raise us.
What Mom and Dad did instill in each of us is a responsibility to work and provide for ourselves. I often hear the Japanese or Chinese accredited with "a great work ethic." Looking at my brothers and sisters, I have to say all of us have come away with a great work ethic. Our parents did not shower us with everything we wanted and this instilled in us an eagerness to get out and earn our own money so WE could purchase what we wanted. It also taught us to respect our belongings because we really did have to earn them. All of us learned to work and never expected others to provide for us. In fact, we were taught to provide for those less fortunate than ourselves as well.
We also learned to serve others without receiving anything in return. Dad was a volunteer fireman. Mom and Dad were volunteer ambulance drivers and EMTs. If a family was in need, we were all asked to give up our toys, our clothes or our bedding to help those that lost them in a fire. Meals were provided or we had families over for dinner.
Dad worked many jobs to provide for our family. Here he is on the turkey farm with my cousin, Edwin.
I wasn't born yet when he did this, but I have heard stories from my brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, I believe it all ended when the turkey coops flooded and the turkeys all drowned. Dad also worked as carpenter, plumber, cement plant worker and many other jobs to provide for his family. We raised sheep, pigs, chickens, goats and even a bull at one time. I assume these were to provide food and money as I remember shearing the sheep's wool and selling it.
Mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in my teens. She used to babysit for other families, sew clothing for a woman in town, clean houses and eventually worked in the school cafeteria to provide a means to get by.
Mom and Dad moved to West Shokan from the city -- Woodhaven and Ozone Park in New York. Dad had an acoholic father, so he never drank anything stronger than orange soda most of my life. He would taste champagne at special occasions, but I never knew him to have a glass of beer or wine.
Neither of my parents smoked during my early years growing up. My mom socially smoked in my high school years and I used to tease her that she was caving in to peer pressure.
My younger brother and I came along eight years after the first five so our parents were a bit spent by the time we came along.
Mom and Dad were not overly affectionate with any of us but we knew we were loved. We were provided for and we were taught to value life, honor our elders, respect those in authority over us, and to always be ready to help someone in need.
Those values have carried on throughout our family and probably are responsible for the successful lives we lead. By no means are any of us perfect, nor do we live perfect lives, but we try to do our part to make the world a little better for those both in it and who come behind us without asking for anything in return.
I remember at my dad's funeral, my Uncle George sharing with everyone that "Charlie raised a great bunch of kids and that he would be proud of each of them." I was proud of that statement at the time it was said and I am sure Mom and Dad are both proud of each of us.
For a mom and dad who stuck it out through thick and thin....I am thankful.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.