Friday, October 30, 2015

NOTES FROM THE VILLAGE

Hillary Clinton made the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” famous. She stole it from an old African village but . . . well . . . that’s a worry for another blog, and I’ve got a couple of questions for Bill’s wife.

What village? Whose village? Big village? Small village? City village? Country village? And what should the village do with the villagers who can’t keep their drunken tally whackers in their nasty pants, making babies they have no intention of buying insurance for . . . 

But mostly . . . what’s a village? Please define.

From a really, really recognizable source of information that no one lets you use in college when you write an essay: “Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defense, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed.”

Hmmmm . . . families . . . extended families: so a village is mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa and crazy Aunt Maud. Interesting. But I’m afraid I have some bad news. Young villagers aren’t so village minded these days.

One fine day in college, while contemplating the coming Thanksgiving break, I listened to some fine young students talk about heading home to—you guessed it—the village that spawned them.

One young man said, “I’m going home, but it’s bu!!$&*#. I hate my family. But hey, they’re paying my bills.”

My immediate thought? And another village bites the dust.

Villages are closely related people who care about and worry for the health, wealth, and happiness of the next generation of villagers. Boys were valued for their ability to battle off soccer hooligans. Girls were valued for just about everything else. Adults imparted culture. Older members imparted wisdom and opportunities for service. No one went on a cruise.

Not only were villages efficient, they were also tough. Villagers who proved to be idiots were often displayed in public stocks, allowing the other villagers—on their way to milk goats or weave something—to express their displeasure by tossing verbal barbs or horse crap at the idiot. Hard work was lauded. Idiots included: adulterers, liars, thieves, slack-jawed losers, and hooligans. 

Villages that practiced slack-jawed laziness became extinct like the giant sloth. No one bailed them out. To deal with the worry and the insecurity and the global climate shenanigans the village went to church on Sunday, and they did pretty well. 

They drank raw milk. They ate free-range eggs, and they stored up roots for winter soup. They didn’t live as long as we do—true. But they did manage to give birth to and educate some fairly impressive individuals who managed to realize that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness does not come from the village at all but from some greater, more permanent source: God and Nature’s God.

I say, “Bring back the village and the public stocks.” I’ll provide the horse pucky.

Linda (Shame on You) Zern

3 comments:

Betty Horn said...

I don't know. My village ancestors lived well into their 90's. And they were no idiots! :)

LINDA L. ZERN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LINDA L. ZERN said...

Good grief my last comment sounds crazy. What I mean was, "Mine were in their nineties too. They weren't idiots for sure." :)

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