I was talking to my dad the other day and asking him what it was like when he was growing up. He'll be celebrating his 84th birthday in a couple of weeks which means he was born in 1924, which means he was 10 years old in 1934, the midst of the Great Depression. I was wondering how those times compared with our current economic problems.
He thought for a moment. "My father used to say 'If we had ham we'd have ham and eggs. If we had eggs.'" Dark humor from his father (my Grandfather) who I always remember as a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. Family legend has it that he spent some time as a bootlegger and I remember him telling stories about how he would outrun "The Feds" by speeding through the woods in an old Model T Ford. And on those occasions when I went riding with him he often demonstrated the prowess needed to lose a persistent Treasury agent.
If we had ham we'd have ham and eggs.
If we had eggs.
For my father, I guess, that sums up the Great Depression.
These days it's considered a hardship to pay four and a half dollars a gallon for gas while fretting about how to lose those last stubborn fifty pounds.
Certainly that's a problem, but not quite as serious as worrying about where your next meal is going to come from.
I've heard stories of people filling up their tanks at the gas station and taking off from the pump without paying. Just floor it and head for the woods.
Grandpa would be so proud.
By 1944 my father was in basic training on his way to earning a Purple Heart at Saipan.
I haven't heard him complain about the price of gas lately.