Thursday, July 10, 2008

breaker boys

This picture was taken in 1911. It is of a group of "breaker boys", children who worked alongside their parents in the coal mines picking out rocks and debris from the smaller chunks of coal on conveyers. These boys are grade school age, and this was really before child labors laws came into effect. They worked long hours at a hard, dirty and dangerous job. Some lost fingers or arms in the course of working with moving machinery. I didn't even know such a job existed until I moved to an area where coal was king in the 19th and early twentieth centuries. The remnants of the company owned society and towns are still visible everywhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania long after the mines shut down. Billy Joel's song, "Allentown", talks about the end of the coal era in this region. Very thankfully this system is no longer in existence.

But my post is in praise of the working person...all the people I know who just get by in a day, doing the right thing, the only thing they feel is worth doing. We tend to look on a person who makes it huge materially as being a "success story". When I look at these boys, who contributed to their families' income long before they should have had to work, I wonder to myself-who really is important? There are so many people whose lives will never be on a front page, in a magazine or up in lights so to speak, but they are the everyday heroes. I am so privileged to know many of them-I just wrote about Mike. For all the Mikes, Davids, Shelleighs, Nancys, Carols, Tillys, Toms, Andys....and on and on and on in so many areas of life-thank you. Thank you for being decent when you don't have to, thank you for going on unnoticed and being a hero to children, parents, the lonely, the disaffected in society-you don't hear it enough. The "success" we have today was built on the sacrifice of generations past, and you are the foundation for future generations.


Blogger ~:*:*:Pixie:*:*:~ said...

SS... thank YOU for being so accepting and loving and whole... and for never compromising your virtues.

Thank you for loving the "un-lovable"... for encouraging the "un-encourageable" and for being / staying exactly who YOU ARE.

You are an inspiration, a friend and an angel of mercy.

I know this to be true, first hand.

Just always remember, YOU ARE LOVED.

In Christ and otherwise (and thank YOU for that first part),


8:08 PM  
Blogger Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Wow, I don't even know what to say-I think I just popped some heartstrings! (tears)....turning your life over to Someone who loves you more than you can even understand is a decision you won't regret. Likewise, your tenderness, passion and strength under such trying circumstances has touched me deeply. I feel like I know you as a sister, and now that's even more true! I love you. sue

3:34 AM  

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