2.19.2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I love to go to the movies by myself in the afternoon during the week. I go this small theater off PCH in Long Beach. They haven't supersized it yet so it's never too croweded. Today I saw "Slumdog Millionaire". I've wanted to see it for some time, and especially before the Oscars. If I can, tomorrow I'm going to go back and see "Milk". I sort of knew Slumdog would be a tough one to watch, and I was correct with those thoughts. The beginning was especially hard for me, and since I have a problem with violence, it was, indeed, hard to watch, but the message was very incredible.I've always carried in my heart the message of "paying it forward", "giving back". My parents didn't have much while we were growing up, but we never did without. I heard stories from my mom about her childhood, growing up in Texas, and people coming to their back door hungry. And even though her family had little, they always gave people what food they could. I have always hung on to those stories my mom told me. When I was in high school I became involved in a project that centered around the Cocopah Indian tribe in Somerton, Arizona, near the Mexican border. At Christmas we would go down and bring gifts, mostly toys for the little kids and clothes for the adults. At that time these people lived in extreme poverty. The summers were hotter than hell, and the winters were brutally cold.When I was in college over at CSUF, I majored in Sociology and minored in American Studies. So, when I was about twenty or twenty-one, myself, and two brothers I knew decided to spend an entire summer in Somerton,Az. I was going to write a paper for American Studies and one of the guys was in law school and doing research as well. We lived in an old farm labor camp, which wasn't great but still much better than where my "friends", the Cocopah Indians lived. When I first started going down there the "houses" consisted of cardboard and tin walls and roofs. The insides were basically dirt floors and the electricity was scarce. I remember having dinner one time at our friends home. We sat at a clean kitchen table, we had a wonderful dinner of homemade tortillas with beans, rice, and pototoes. That was pretty much all the food they had. It was also the reason so many of the Cocopahs were overweight, lots of starch to fill them up. I remember at the time, Lonnie, the youngest son, jumped out of his chair during dinner, grabbed a knife, and stabbed a rat that was on the stove, tossed it outside and we continued our meal! That was just the way life was for this family and others.That summer, and the years prior, made a unforgettable impact on my life. The last time I had visited the reservation, the government had provided basic mobile homes that had electricity, running water, and air conditioning. I kept in touch with the family above for a long time through letters. The most touching moment for me was when one of the daughters (pictured above, and I'm the blonde in the other two photos)that had grown up and now had a family of her own, got on a bus and brought her family to meet me and my kids! I will never forget that summer day! And then life kind of "got in the way" and I lost touch but those memories, all those memories never left my heart, ever. Now I'm at a time in my life when I see and understand why certain random events in our lives shape us. Country Roads has given me that opportunity to share so many of my thoughts, and be able to use it to "give" and encourage others to do the same for those that need an extra hand! Some memories never leave our hearts, they are a part of us, and if used correctly they can help us grow into responsible people. Life is tough for so many, and just the smallest of gestures can make a difference not only in the person who is in need, but yours as well. They keep your heart pure and full. And please, go see Slumdog Millionaire, you will be glad you did!

3 comments:

Sweet Remembrance said...

Wow Sue...
I am so inspired by you!
I'm sure your kindness doesn't go unnoticed!
Have a blissful weekend...
Priscilla

Jacque said...

There are so many ways to "pay it forward" and you just did it again! Thank you for your inspiration. Have a great weekend~ Jacque

Moonlight Hollow Musings said...

Sue, that was a beautiful post! You have the attitude that we all should have! I hope you inspired others...I know you inspired me!

Malisa