By Joe Bauer
We will always have rich and poor. The world ranks people by their wealth – money, gold and land. But are they really rich? They don’t spend enough time on being happy.
The general idea of the human race is to propagate itself. There is only one general way of doing this. It is the same for all races. The poor might be lucky enough to own a home – very simple, the minimum. They may even live in a flat or tenement. They keep it clean and the children go to public school. A cool breeze is welcome by all on a hot summer day.
Walking barefoot on new green grass is enjoyed by all, rich or poor alike. The thrill of a child’s first words, whether he has 10 fingers and toes, and first steps are enjoyed by parents, especially the mother, even if she is poor. It is a rich experience that will stay with her for the rest of her life.
The world has evolved so that everyone can have a rich living based on their state in life.
When I was young, my mother and I visited my Grandma. She lived about seven blocks from us in the old family homestead. We went two, three, four times a week. At first it was the buggy, then the stroller, then we walked.
There was a mom and pop grocery store at the corner of Seneca and Buffum streets called Metzgers. We always stopped. My mother would buy some things, probably for Grandma. The house she lived in was on Buffum Street and was bought by her father and given to her. She was born shortly after the Civil War. Her father was in the hardware business and only had one arm. He could have lost it in the Civil War. She worked for him.
The home was on a long lot – more than 200 feet deep. The back part was garden. They raised tomatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, parsnips and corn. There was a huge Concord grape arbor and Grandma made wine every year. There were also two sour cherry trees that made the best pies.
I always got along great with her. She always asked me what I wanted to eat, and my answer was potato pancakes. She got out her seven-inch cast iron spider. The pancakes were delicious, with homemade ketchup on them.
She also made root beer and birch beer. I would be sent down the cellar to get a bottle and was always told not to shake it. Of course I did. One time it spewed out and hit the kitchen ceiling. I was never punished. But I always obeyed, that is, most of the time.
We would go for a walk down Buffum Street. All the houses there were built on the Indian burial ground. It was surrounded by an iron picket fence. There were monuments in the park. One was for Mary Jemison, “the White Woman of the Genesee,” one for Red Jacket, an Indian leader. There were also two graves for the first white women in Western New York. They were brought up by the Indians from Pennsylvania.
Even though my Grandma had nothing, she was as rich as the barons on Wall Street. She had family who loved her and she loved them in return. That is what rich is all about.
Joe Bauer, of Buffalo, learned early in life about the value of simple pleasures.