I have to tell you about an incident that occurred at the last farmers market that really disturbed me; I just can't get it out of my head. Three young people came to my stand, two boys and a girl. If any of them was over 25, I'd be surprised. I don't even think the girl was 21. Anyway, the girl wanted to buy some of my potatoes. She had a booklet of WIC/FMNP (Women Infant Children/Farmers Market Nutrition Program) coupons and turned to one of the boys to help her use them. I was surprised that she did not understand how to use the coupons because they are essentially used the same as money, so I took a closer look at her. She was very thin with a pretty face, and tatooed and body pierced up and down, but that was not what disturbed me. When her companion gave her a $3.00 coupon from the booklet and she turned to look at me, her pretty blue eyes and face were absolutely vacant. There was simply nothing there. This girl was literally incapable of thinking for herself. Really. She could not function independently. I walked her through picking out the potatoes she liked from the bushel basket and placing them on the scale to be weighed. She gave me a happy smile when I finally bagged the potatoes and gave them to her. Then the three of them walked away. It was then that I thought, if she had WIC coupons . . . then where was the baby?
And that wasn't the worst of it.
While I was waiting for the girl to pick out the potatoes she wanted, I saw another young man walking down the sidewalk across the street. I doubt that he, too, was more than 25 years old. I swear that but for the loose overalls he wore, he didn't have a stitch on, and the overalls were slit up to almost the hip on both legs. He walked, not like a human being, but an ape. He was fair complexioned, had a lumbering gait, and he kept his head lowered and avoided eye contact with other people in the area. His hands were curled under like an ape's hands when it walks. It was almost as if they were paralyzed in that position. I was absolutely shocked.
On various radio shows I have heard of people talk about America's disaffected youth. I believe that I have finally seen what these radio hosts have. But do I think these young people I saw were representative of the majority of American youth? Adamantly, no. Yes, we are living through hard times, and the world we know is transforming like a caterpillar into a butterfly before our eyes. Nothing will ever be the same -- including us. And, unfortunately, there will be some people not strong enough mentally or emotionally to make it through these times to see the sun shine again. Many will. What is important to remember is to be mindful of our attitude. These hard times WILL pass. There IS hope.
I came across a link to a video that was posted on a listserv I subscribe to that I believe is good to share at this point. It is an example of how one family did not succumb into negativity following adversity, but rather used it to turn their ranch around. Most people don't have what this family started with, but the point the video makes is relevant no matter what you have: BELIEVE in yourself and you will find a way to make your life better. Here's the link -- Imperial Stock Ranch.