In the good ol’ days when everyone recycled everything….beer bottles were used for making Root Beer. All that was needed was a bottle capper gadget and a box of new caps plus a package of Root Beer Malt and water.
As children we waited anxiously for the day when it was ready to drink…sometimes the batch starting fizzing early and the bottles blew their caps, making a mess of the storage room. When the big day was announced we would cart the bottles down to the creek so they could be immersed and get cold. Drinking Root Beer was usually part of a planned celebration such as a birthday.
Living in the boonies with no corner store, T.V. or fast food joints offering quick satisfaction, we learned to appreciate a certain quality of life. Any spare time was spent reading, visiting with friends (the closest was one hour away if I had a bike) or checking out the barn. Haystacks are a great place to play, even by yourself.
How many kids today have the pleasure of coming home to the aroma of fresh baked bread or the adventure of helping make apple juice from scratch? How many kids today know Betsy the cow and understand why cows sometimes can’t give milk for a month or two? My favorite chore was feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs…I liked the feel of warm eggs. Sometimes the hens would still be sitting on them. Better yet, if a hen was brooding we would leave her alone, keeping a watchful eye that she sat enough days to hatch the baby chicks. You always knew when hens were broody because they weren’t their usual good-natured selves, and they would peck at us and cluck loudly to defend their eggs.
I still remember Sunday morning and my Dad’s greatest thrill ….making designer pancakes that looked like animals. Each of us kids got the shape we wanted and we took great patience cutting up the pancake ever so carefully and eating it with love and care.
Mom taught us how to make Do-dods (fresh bread dough that is fried on the top of the stove) without burning our fingers and sprinkle on just enough butter and sugar to make them tasty. We all loved being involved in the ritual of preparing our own food.
The picture on the front cover is of me pouring the Root Beer into bottles, with help from my brother Paul and Uncle Chuck. When we moved from Michigan to Rosswood, B.C. to homestead, we stopped in at Grimshaw, Alberta …at my mother’s grandfather’s home. Grandad and Chuck had heard we were moving west and volunteered to help. Giving up their way of living to help our family was a true gift of love. Chuck stayed for many years, till the hardest of the back-breaking work was done and Grandad…well he became part of the family.
Grandad was a quiet soul who never complained about work, us kids or anything else. His greatest thrill was finding some useless piece of scrap metal and making something useful out of it. He had lived in the Arctic for many years and knew what it was like to not have something you thought you needed. For us kids…well we always knew where to find some string or nails…in Grandad’s room.
Having been brought up so far from nowhere, where nothing was ever wasted, I became an environmentalist at a very early age; recycling and re-using was a way of life then and it still has a strong influence on me. I always take my canvas bags shopping. I buy locally as much as possible and I purchase in bulk.
I hear the Earth’s plea for sanity and I have come to realize that to solve the big issues, we must work on our own individual selves. We each need to become healthy and whole, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. We need to get acquainted with our bodies on an intimate level, listening to the small voice within. For the earth is only a reflection of our inner wants… Sam Keen explains it well in his book “The Passionate Life: Stages of Loving”
“No number of products, money, or abstract goods satisfy us. This is the fundamental mistake we make in substituting the economic for the familiar as the root of identity. Economic man is driven by insatiability because, as Anne Valley Fox says, “You can never get enough of what you didn’t need in the first place.” Beyond the level of comfortable survival, goods become a substitute for the primal goodness we were denied–familiarity, intimacy, kindness. Freud reminded us that money does not satisfy us because it was not an infantile need. To the degree that we do not create families in which children are welcomed, cherished, touched, we will create a social order in which we produce more and more substitutes for absent kindness. And it will be ruled by distant authorities who keep the masses in control either by a glut of consumer goods or by repressive police-state tactics. In such a world, we will never have a feeling that we are known for who we are.”
Our desire to buy, buy, buy whether we need things or not, has created demons without us realizing it. We are trying to fill a void in our lives, an emptiness we can’t explain. The easy accessibility of pop, candy and chips has tempted many. Now….today, we need to get in touch with the feelings which cause us to buy unnecessarily and to become aware of the possibilities for change. Holistic health, which teaches us self-responsibility, is the best way I know to save ourselves and our planet.
My latest quote, “There are 3000 ways to get well…take your pick,” introduces the idea that once you are ready, anything or anyone can help facilitate the process of change. So to reach as many people as possible, I started a weekly T.V. series in February 1989, interviewing people involved in Holistic Health. The show topics were so popular that I decided to start this magazine in February, 1990…to help the people that are searching for answers. Networking and meeting people who are involved at a grassroots level in building awareness has made me realize…that no one has the answer. All teachers are right..it all depends on what you are willing to receive.
Perhaps we need to consider Teilhard de Chardin’s quote “Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness…the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
Many thanks to my Mom who took the time to bond with me, to love me and to encourage me to “be”…who I am.