Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.~Benjamin Franklin
Poor and content is rich and rich enough.~William Shakespeare
Growing up, I never thought of myself as poor. Why would I?
We always had plenty to eat, as my mother was a diligent (albeit reluctant) gardener. Even though she claimed she had a “black thumb”, fresh vegetables graced our table in the warm months. Canned and frozen veggies sustained us in the winter. Apples, peaches, black cherries, strawberries, and raspberries were ripe for the picking.
Milk straight from the cow filled our bellies. Have rod, will fish: Trout and bass were regular staples. I even chowed down a crawfish or two. When we weren’t eating what we caught, we sometimes enjoyed venison my father bagged. (Gotta love deer bologna!) Once, we even made sausage from a butchered pig. (I think I was about ten years old at the time.)
My mama always made sure that we had clean, neat clothing. She adjusted hems up and down and patched various holes with care. Prior to the beginning of a new school year, my parents would buy each of us some shirts, a few pairs of pants/skirts, a couple of dresses, and a pair of new shoes. Hand-me-downs were staples of our wardrobes. (Granted, at the time, we could all truthfully claim that our mama dressed us funny… I mean, really, have you SEEN the clothes from the ’70s? Yikes!)
At Christmastime, we would receive new underwear… the special kind with the days of the week embroidered on them. (Forgot what day it was? Just check your panties—awkward in public places but effective! Heck, even my mama loved them, because, as every good mother knows, clean undies are next to godliness.) New socks and jammies were regular Christmas gifts too. Granted, we rarely received many other presents, although my parents always made sure I received a used book or two (some with covers, some without… it didn’t matter—they read the same to me!) And my beloved grandma always made sure to mail each of us a new toy or two every year.
So we didn’t own the latest doodads or dress in haute couture… Who cared?! As long as we had our beat-up banana seat bikes to ride and trees to climb and ropes to jump and creeks to swim, what more could we ask for? As long as we had a mama to kiss us goodnight and a daddy to carry us on his shoulders, we felt like princesses. We were fed, clothed, and loved… As far as I was concerned, I was rich beyond belief.