Simply America: Kegs of Beans

copyright 2014 David Clark


My Daddy said: “The man who feeds you, owns you.”

We can turn Daddy’s saying on its head. “The man you must feed owns you.”

Most people share the experience of having a new mouth to feed. We join with others to facilitate the care and feeding of life — schools, Little League teams, church groups, neighborhoods. Differences are overlooked for the sake of something more important than our differences.

This instinctive weaving-together-of-fabric has been going on since Adam and Eve came out of the Garden. After however-many-thousand years it evolved from survival to fancier names like “the common good.” We didn’t give this name much thought. This was the perfect setup for having the definition stolen.

Daddy’s generation in 1930’s western Kansas had the safety net of local goodwill. The government wasn’t involved in the life or death of people starving during the Great Dust Bowl. Daddy was lucky — a local man had compassion for my Grandmother raising six kids and brought her a keg of Navy Beans.

Daddy and his siblings scarfed down the first pot of beans. The next night they didn’t want beans. Grandmother dumped the beans in the yard for the chickens and sent the kids to bed.

The third night they ate their beans and never complained about beans again. Daddy said they ate Navy Beans every day for a year.

The man with beans kept several families alive that year, but more than one family starved in their beds. Why didn’t anybody help them? “Because they were mad all the time. Everybody figured they had plenty of money and didn’t need help.”

This gave rise to another saying: “People who are mad all the time have too much money.”

Those of us who work are the man with the beans. The difference is who we help is decided for us. We are quickly approaching a point where there are more mouths to feed than men with beans. We blame the Government, while insisting the Government works for us.

Every corner bar and political blog in America is filled with those crying about the problems. Somebody, somewhere has to stop crying and start talking about what to do. We must discuss this country we’re trying to save with as much concern as if it were a newborn country we were trying to create.

We expect our elected officials to have this conversation for us. Our representatives consistently exhibit their interest in us. We are witnessing our very own personal example of the old saw about good men doing nothing.

Some say: “Why such a negative outlook?” My outlook isn’t negative or positive. A repairman’s first job is to make an honest assessment of the situation. If you don’t agree, plan as you will. The facts are there.

Some cry out: “But what can we do?” Considering one’s point of view while standing watch over one’s children in a cold, dangerous world will help guide your present actions.

If you follow this stark reasoning, then you can appreciate the encouragement to call your Congressmen. Tell them what you want them to do. Tell everyone you know to call them, too.

Like it or not, it’s the process we have. We must in good faith utilize the process as if it were our last chance to do so. We don’t want to face not having tried if the process fails, because what comes after the process’s failure will be messy.

Some say: “This is morbid. I don’t want to think about it.” If thinking about it now is morbid, just wait until you wish you’d thought about it.

Give thoughtful consideration to the visceral living God you will pray to while your belly growls on cold dark nights. Conversation with this God will guide your thoughts and connections with others.

It’s time to stop acting like we have too much money. Drop the fashionable outrage and begin discussing constructively with your neighbors. Challenge your Representatives to remember what we learned as kids: if we don’t speak out against something, we are considered to be in favor of it. Remember grammar school lessons about men who refused to leave it to their children to create a free country.

I implore anyone with any media clout to interview our supposed representatives. The small blogs of the world are the only chance we’ve got to have a real Press in this Country. Interview the Representatives. Put them on record. Ask hard questions about their interpretation of the Constitution. Make them own their Oath.


When the time comes, things will become terribly pure. Daddy said the Dust Bowl was really simple. “We only worried about one thing each day — if we were going to eat. Not what, but if.”

Some will have a conversation with this visceral living God, and some will scoff at the notion. This will be a dividing line: Those who seek to live together, and those who seek to destroy them.

There will be men with kegs of beans helping others, and there will be those who want to take those kegs of beans by force. History says we will be in one group or another.


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