By Doris Schroeder
Although there is some discrepancy about the national “Columbus” Day, it does seem it is good to remember all the “good things” about America that each of us have encountered.
Contrary to those who say America is not as good as some say it is, I am proud to be an American and truly appreciate the fact that my ancestors came from other countries in the right way and did their best to get used to and operate in this land where we have the right and freedom to do so. It bothers me when people run our country down and how they advocate to take away our rights to freedom.
I have read about some of the difficulties my great grandparents had as they made the trip to America. It is hard to imagine coming to a foreign land where you cannot understand the language or laws, where the land is still undeveloped and you absolutely start from scratch. They came and looked at the land between Hutch and Buhler and it was still about all in prairie grass, just after the great Grasshopper Plague of 1874. Yet they persevered until they got it right. This they did, even though they lost two sons on the way over to America.
Later, my great grandfather became a minister and an evangelist. His oldest son George, my grandfather, enjoyed the earlier days having the freedom to start many different businesses around Kansas and even a short while in California. As I look back, he must have been like a child in a candy store, enjoying the fact that he had the freedom to do that without too much red tape.
My Dad was the same way. He had enjoyed trying different occupation, school teacher, some preaching, farmer, book keeper, defense plant worker, filling station owner, and other things along the way. He even almost got his college degree through different times of schooling.
Through it all, each one of them loved the fact they lived in America where opportunities abound. They especially appreciated the fact they could worship the one true living God in the way they saw fit. As the years went by they could study the Bible as much as they wanted and learned many new truths from their study. I know I never heard any of them lament the fact they lived in America.
Did they have hardships? You better believe it. First of all, my parents lost all the money they had painstakingly saved when the banks crashed. This was from both teaching school. Then my Dad wanted to attend a seminary but when they got there, he was told that at 32, he was too old. My parents lost their oldest daughter (just out of kindergarten) when a neighbor boy had carried in his Dad’s hunting gun for him and played like he was going to shoot. Only the gun was still loaded! Since I , at three and a half, observed the whole thing, it started my mind working at an early age. I remember wondering about some of the important things of life. Still, I never heard my parents make any unkind remarks about the one who shot her but they took it as something God would work out.
My Dad would take me to the Hutch Library in the evening after work sometimes and read the Hutch newspaper, which he really enjoyed. I would quietly walk around and look at pictures since I hadn’t yet learned to read.
Both sets of grandparents could barely speak English but they did their best.
I know I felt their love of living in America. They knew, however, from past experience what it was like where you couldn’t do as you believed. They embraced life in their own way. My grandmothers prayed with such compassion to God every day in the German language. When I overheard them I knew they were interceding with their whole heart.
In later years, John and I were in the carpet business and were privileged to go on trips to other countries with other carpet dealers. When we landed back in Kansas City, the first thing we would do was go out and buy a bag of McDonald Hamburgers and we felt like kissing the ground because we were back in the good ole USA!
It hurts to see people take these freedoms for granted, for it is a privilege only we who live in America have. We do have the liberty to worship who and how we please because of our country. We can all discover the good things about America and our right to worship the one true living God!
Doris welcomes your thinking and can be reached at [email protected]