George Worthy
George Worthy

I’m not a fan of January. I used to be back when I was young, you see I was born in January. Mr. Maker, the best teacher in the world, told me that many famous people were born in January. I used to brag about that a little.

Being young and having a birthday so close to Christmas, gifts were out of the question. It was tough enough to get lots of toys when my dad was happy if we had meat two days a week. Mom would help with that by stopping at this little store in Santa Maria when we were going home after picking beans all day. The contractors that hired people to pick beans didn’t care how old we were because no one really cared about age when it was time to harvest.

My mom got a little chit for each bushel she picked and my brothers and I would help her fill up the basket so we could claim that we were working. She would allow us one chit a piece to buy anything we wanted on the way home, and that was mostly candy. It was tough to wish for much when your family didn’t have much. But that candy bar tasted like ambrosia because we had worked for it. 

We were pretty cocky as we walked up to the counter with our treasure. One rule in our house was that we weren’t poor. Poor people were like Freddie and his family who lived in a raggedy old house down the road from us. I never thought of us as rich, that’s for sure, but we did get a new pair of Levi’s every year as school started and I would sometimes trade Freddie a pair of my older faded jeans for a couple of burritos. That was when I started loving Mexican food. 

Another kid that went to Bonita school with me was Ronnie. He was a really cool guy who knew just how low he could wear his Levi’s without having them come down playing a pick up game of football. Ronnie’s mom was the nicest lady I knew. She was a cook at a Bracero Camp down the road from school. I got hooked on Mexican candy from her, although I thought she was a little stingy with the candy. Then one day Ronnie explained to me that she got paid to buy all the food for the men in the camp and her pay was contingent on how much she could save on the food. Ronnie explained that to me and I never thought of her as stingy again. I also thought she was the prettiest mother I had ever seen.

As I said, January is my birthday and I will be moving up to the grown-up table. Eight decades sounds like a lot of years even if you say it fast. One thing is certain, I will not be asking for any presents. I’m reminded of a reporter talking with Clint Eastwood. He recited all the projects that Clint had written, produced or directed. He was surprised at how down to earth he was and taken by his response. “When you have the family I am blessed with, God Himself couldn’t make it any better.” 

I just read something in a column that I had started and never finished, I just thought you might like it. Hey! It’s about Clint Eastwood, and who doesn’t like Clint Eastwood? This is a guy that I feel has done some of his best work after the age of 80, which reminds me of a movie I saw awhile back called, “The Mule.” One day Clint and Toby Keith were playing golf and Toby asked Clint, “How do you keep going?” Clint’s response was, “I don’t let the old man in.” That became the song for the movie, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.”

My daughter brought my great-grandson to see us this week. That was probably the best gift she could have given me. Although she has been pretty generous with loving gifts all her life.

As I sat and talked to Armani, I shuttered a little at the world we are giving him. My parents passed and I am comforted that they thought they had done well and left their children a love of Christ and honorable directions to help others and to love our families. I pray that I will be able to do the same.

It will be a little more difficult to do that in the future. So many things that I was taught to revere are no longer held in esteem or even exist. I remember the feeling I had the first time I stood in a little curtained polling place and cast my ballot for the person I thought was the best person for the job of controlling the world. Today, it is a much more difficult decision to make. 

Let me ask. Who will get your vote and how did you decide? It seems there are no examples of men or women to emulate. The leaders we wish for do not exist. Power is the new aphrodisiac. We have a President that laughs at the idea of being an honorable man. His families have shown the teaching they must have had. He doesn’t use his past performance to help us decide, he is much more interested in condemning his competition. 

There is no one item he has done correctly. From pulling out of Afghanistan at a terrible cost to our military, to opening our southern border to any terrorist that might want to do harm to our country. I suppose it could have been worse. He could have been working the entire term instead of only two thirds. I won’t tell you not to vote for him as there are no angels in Washington.

Things have occurred that I would never have thought would be done by folks voted into office. They no longer fear the populace. However, we do have an election coming up. You can choose someone that shares your thoughts or someone that flaunts the fact that dirty things have been done. Just think a moment before you give your most valuable job, electing a new leader, and I will do my best to NOT let the old man in.

God Bless.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].


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