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Betty Arenson: A special thanks to Mom and Dad

Posted: April 11, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2014 2:00 a.m.

A surprising and extraordinary handwritten letter from an acquaintance arrived at my home last week thanking me for the reminder of the true values America was built upon; referencing my “Is this your America?” commentary (March 28, The Signal).

His words moved me to thank my parents for lessons learned: less by their voices and much more by their examples through action.

As Mother’s Day approaches with Father’s Day on its heels, along with both of my parents’ birthdays, a “Dear Mom and Dad” is all so timely.

My memory of our back-breaking farm days is clear. Dad on a tractor with no modern appurtenances battling the cyclic weather elements. Ravenously profitable “global warming” hadn’t been invented yet.

Harvest time found Dad in the fields at midnight and back at 4 a.m. Each family member labored as well; the demands were relentless.

You taught me struggle.

Mom, you suffered through and survived breast cancer and a maiming surgery. Your fears were maximized while your support was minimal because such things were publicly taboo in the 1950s.

Through it all I witnessed your incredible farm-wife burdens further laden with the nonexistence of house utilities, thus no conveniences.

You taught me perseverance.

I didn’t know for years the real reason you were absent so much. Triple-digit responsibility fell to me at my single-digit age. Although it was incumbent, I was eager to work and learn.

You taught me responsibility.

As fate would have it, we didn’t realize how soon in my young life I would need those lessons.

You were thankful for the little we had and you generously shared with others in need.

You taught me gratitude and charity.

With pure grit and fortitude you adhered to your strategy to leave the farm, became schooled, passed state licensing boards and each opened your own business and bought a home.

Government handouts never occurred to you. You built that!

You taught me self-reliance and tenacity.

Each of you cared about a person’s character. Ethnicity and heritage be damned; looking eye to eye with the handshake and a kept promise were the real character measurements.

We heartily celebrated Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. We knew their true meanings — and it wasn’t a free day from work or school.

We celebrated our veterans and boundlessly thanked them for their bravery, with many paying the ultimate price to keep America mighty and sovereign.

War is an ugly but a necessary evil, and pacifism is dangerous.

You taught me reality, patriotism and full appreciation for America and its flag.

Mom and Dad, some derided the very commentary that many thanked me for. The embittered and the odious mocked our early poverty. They announced that either I have a bad memory or I’m simply a liar and I don’t appreciate (their idea of) progress.

Oh yes, part of that “progress” is that anytime we disagree with the entitled or the elitists, we are “racists.”

What’s that, Dad? No, no; we can’t print that here.

Mom and Dad, you rightfully despised arrogance, name-droppers and incessant braggarts. The ones contaminated with an unhealthy monomaniacal need to amass multiple homes, a sports car, an avocado grove, travels, maybe a boat ... blah, blah.

The lesson here is that all of the purchases in the world will never compensate for the void left by Mother Nature.
You taught me the meaning of “enough.”

I learned small things come in small packages. Small isn’t limited to stature. It’s also between the ears, and the pompous are hollow.

You taught me discernment.

I keep a framed picture in my home of our old farmhouse. I see it every day and it makes me smile. I do not forget where I came from.

I am proud that it is unpretentious and I will never be ashamed or embarrassed by that foundation.

We had a lot of pasture land on our farm. We learned at a young age to step over the cow pies.

I practice that lesson in my pasture of life — step over the ordure. It keeps your integrity intact and your shoes clean.

We started families at young ages and we have long enjoyed five generations at a time. While dad had passed, mom got to know the great-great-grand kids.

Rest assured the lessons are being passed on, and may the children be blessed enough to know much of the America you knew.

In closing, Mom and Dad, rest well and in peace. You can solidly be proud that you did it right.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident, has lived in the SCV since 1968 and is active in a local Republican club.



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