Hello folks, this is Bob Whitten, coming to you from beautiful, sunny Thomson, Illinois. Today I would like to tell you about a journey I have been on for the last few years. God put a passion in me, as He always does, and as his servant, I am bound to carry out His wishes.
I have always been very interested in the advice and council of the elderly. My passion grew, and I eventually started asking direct questions like, “What one piece of advice could you give me?” or “What would you say if you could talk to the president?”
One older man told me “Never use your hand for a hammer.” Now there’s some great insight in that statement, but it took me years to figure it out. Maybe that was the old man’s point.
Another piece of advice that sticks out in my memory is “Live where you want to live, then find a job.” Funny thing, that statement led me to travel throughout the country in my younger years, and it turns out, right here where I started is my favorite place to live.
A few years ago, I grabbed my guitar and started performing in nursing homes and senior centers, another passion God gave me. After I played each time, I had a list of questions for any senior who wanted to sit down with me. I was originally going to compile this information into a book. To date, I have not finished, as there are just so many stories locked away inside these people, and God trusted me with the keys to open their hearts. I listen and write, but I learn much more than what can be captured in words.
To seniors, God, family, and love are at the very top of the list. They talk often about hard times, but not the way we might think. Many remember the good parts about hard times. In those days, families were forced to live, work, and play together. Everyone in the family had chores, and everyone worked throughout the day just to survive. Those were good days in their minds, because it encompassed family and love. Those were their best memories.
We had a lady on our entertainment show, “The Old Time Heirloom Hour,” here in Thomson, Illinois, last week. Her name is Erma, and she was born in 1907. She lived through the Great Depression, helping her father run a general store just down the road from where I live. As Bill Heid and I interviewed her, she talked of how her father had to have faith in people, for money was hard to come by in the mid 1930s. She remembered, “Daddy would never let anyone go hungry.”
Bill made a comment after listening to Erma talk of life during the Depression. He said “When there was no money, faith became the prevailing currency.” That struck a chord with me. That one sentence summed it all up for me.
Erma’s message was clear to me. She wanted people to know how important love, faith, and family are. Her family stuck close by one another because of the times. They were self-supporting. They relied on natural resourses, and they had faith in God and people. When all else is gone, what do we have left?
If you want to see our interview with Erma, here is the link. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next Saturday!