Ever heard those songs like “I was born a coal miners daughter" and not really believe it could have been exactly like that?  Well as a little farm kid, now almost half way grown up ;), I totally get them.

I was given a lot of gifts at birth; but money was not one of them. We worked together as a family to grow all our food and store it up for winter.   It was FUN and I loved it.  I think the older sibs (Kevin, Kim and Kerry (Butch), thought it was work)?  I was in my happy place. They would pick the sweet corn and throw it out into piles, I would just have to pick up the random ear and get to ride in the wagon up to the back door.  When it made it way through the back room, affectionately called "Rag's Room" after my first little poodle that Uncle Bob Riley gave us, it landed in the kitchen turned "Sweet Corn Freezing Production Facility for the day"!  I loved every minute of the process, but again, maybe it was just because I always got the easiest jobs as I was the youngest for 9 years until Kory joined the clan.   

As I grew older, 5-6? I was given the opportunity to make a nickel for every dish/ spoon/ glass etc. I would bring back to the kitchen. We could also keep any change or money we found in the laundry.  That is how I made money to save for rides and elephant ears when we got to go to the Monroe County fair every year.  No matter what, my parents would always have work available for their kids and all the neighbor kids and even adults throughout my lifetime.  When families came up from Texas for the summer to work on the farm with us, we were all one big family for the summer, and my Mom, our Matriarch, made sure of that. 

There was no messing around with that woman when it came to getting work and chores done.  We would take Sundays off though and go to Mass as a family, go to Posey Lake, or my favorite, go on "Mystery Trips"!!!  One kid would pick a destination and she would plan it with them.  Off we would go in our White Tornado, to a destination unknown to the others.  What fun.  (think heading across the state to pick blueberries together in PawPaw, visiting the Kellog Factory, going to Henry Ford Museum, you get the drift.) 

Well, last Thursday, I was mistaken for someone that had things handed to them their whole life and I was shocked, offended, pissed off and then of course I let it go because I know the truth. I was never given anything but an opportunity to make money on our farm and earn my own way.  They did offer us loans for cars and school and as long as we had a job, that was on the table.  Each of us 5 kids did get a gift of money (I think it was $25,000)??? From our dad when my mom passed away suddenly in the middle of harvest season in 2002. 
I used mine to start a little wine tasting venture called "The Wine Tutor", modeled after my years of selling Pampered Chef, I would do little in home wine tasting parties with the goal of teaching beer drinkers just enough about wine to be dangerous when ordering in a restaurant.  LOL  I had to let my physical location go when my local library expanded, and then took over our Vine Ripe Tomato operation on the farm.  Just didn't have the time to devote to it at that point in my life.  But I digress...  As long as we have air in our lungs, we have an opportunity to change our lives for the better.  Every positive choice we make is a step in the right direction. 

2020 was a pause of great proportions and has brought out the best and worst in us all from time to time.  In the end though, it is our true selves that is showing more that anything else. You can't get blood out of a turnip and you can't get orange juice from a lemon or lime.  When squeezed, you get what is inside.  Same as shaving a Tiger (RIP), he isn't going to grow back with Leopard spots anytime soon.  LOL

Normally when I get "recognized" if you will, it is either "Hey, aren't you that Tomato Lady from Shed 2", or "I have a friend that married an Iott, do you know Xxxxx?", (With 77 first cousins on that side it happens A LOT), or "How do I know you, you look familiar"), etc. etc. etc. 

Sometimes I get "recognized" for the work I do in my community giving my time, talent, and small amount of treasure I've earned to those in need.  I have won some pretty cool awards in my days, and I am blessed to be able give what I can to serve those that need or want my help  If you know me, you know that I would give you anything I have, if you just ask, or better yet, accept it when it is offered. LOL

Well, when I got "recognized or mistook)? on Riopelle street for someone else, it shook me to my core.  "I know you, I know your kind. Born with a silver spoon in your mouth and handed everything all your life.  Driving around in your fancy cars, rubbing it in, makes me sick".  This stern interaction went on from there and even ended with a with a few choice punctuation marks such as "you are nothing but a White, Racist, C..., I know your kind.  I see people like you every day in Detroit".  I was born here.  You get the drift. This man was angry!  Angry at me, angry at life, angry about the opportunities he feels I was given that he was not.  Again, you get my drift. 

If you have every watched Yachts sail by with people frolicking on them while you are working your ass off on an Island digging sewer lines, and loading garbage onto barges, you get my drift.

Anyway, if you know me, you know how it ended.  Me standing my ground, pathetically trying to defend myself, and then answering in my best French Accent.  Go F... yourself,   To which he perfectly responded.  "No problem, been doing that for years".  All may sound humorous in hindsight, but it left me shaking in my shoes and crying in my car all the way back to the farm! 

It took me back to my mom's love of Oprah Winfrey.  Back in the day when my mom was alive, she told me Oprah used to describe situations where people mistook her for someone that "was given everything she had'.  Well I don't know much, but I know that my mom, Oprah, Martha and I were all given the same free Oxygen that our planet puts out every day, and that's about all the  four of us have in common. 

We each make our own way in this life, some do it by getting up at 5AM every damn day, no matter what and working their tails off.  Some do it in other ways and that is awesome as well.  Life is about choices and making the best of every opportunity that comes your way. 

My driver swampy always says "F... Yes", to almost everything I ask of him.  Actually, Dependable Dave overheard him one night at the Eastern Market and asked, "Do you really think she can do that'?  Mike replied again, "F... yes she can.  And guess what Dave, that's also the answer you give when someone asks you if you would like to go for a ride on their Yacht....F... Yes!" 

Grab every opportunity you can in this life and you will somehow be happy.  It's that simple.  Don't pass up the good stuff, just say please, thank you, and YES when someone offers you a hand up.   

BTW, now you all know why Swampy is always my #1 (or 2nd if I think he is sleeping), call  when I need help getting from A to B.Thanks for listening!  Been a long week and Spring has officially Sprung.  Full contact farming about to begin.  Kat

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