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“Hardscrabble Salvation” written by Joe Preston Smith.

“Hardscrabble Salvation”

This is my response to reading 57 “Hardscrabble Salvation” written by Joe Preston Smith. In this short story a young man moved from the city of Cleveland to a farm in Liberty West Virginia with his mother and father. He has the attitude that he is losing something because he has grown use to the things in the city such as the movie theater, his familiar friends and the entire exciting feelings that come along with life in the big city. The story never states why the family is moving from the city to the farm. For example, it was a hard transition for me to have to move with my grandmother and not to be able to live with my mother. I missed having my own room, my school and my friends. My grandmother has played the role of mother in my life.  

Smith’s father died from a heart attack at the age of 40 while out trying to find work to provide for his family. Despite all the obstacles that the writer’s mother faced such as no running water, electricity, heat and no money she did not give up. She found work at a plant in South Charleston to earn money to be able to afford their 97 acre farm. Just because she punched out at the factory her work day was not over. When she went home she worked on the fields the rest of the evening. Although she did not have the full use of one of her legs she did not allow this to stop her. She led by example her son learned how to work hard by watching his mother refuse to quit. She could have just been a victim and fallen into a depressed state and believed that her life was over after the loss of her husband. But she still had a son that she needed to provide and care for. The author felt that the hard work on the 97 acres of farm land would be the death of him. Although I can relate to article, my situation was a little different. Instead of my mother it was my grandmother that I have learned my life’s lessons from. My example like the author’s mother my grandmother had a disability she was blind in one of her eyes. She also was divorced and took on the task to raise me and four of my siblings. She was not afraid of hard work she would cooked a wholesome meal every day. She canned and baked cakes from stretch so she could sale to have a means of income. My grandmother never gave up when times was hard and this is why I admire her.  

The author used his mother as a standard to what he should measure up to and learned to take pride in his work. He often reflected on the fond memories that he had of his mother, the way that she worked so hard to keep him clothed, fed and sheltered. I can remember how hard my grandmother worked to provide for us. Each year my siblings and I had to dig up the backyard to prepare for planting a garden there was collard, mustard and turnips greens, and tomatoes. I did not like this hard work because I would rather be out playing with my friends. I can reflect how on Saturday’s we went to the Eastern Market to shop for food. Smith was faced with his own hardship in his life such as being divorced, serving in Iraq twice and the loss of people that he loved. When he thought about all the things that he mother suffered through it gave him courage to keep on going. The way that I can relate to this is that I have also gone through a divorce, and lost some of my family and close friends. Like Smith’s mother I am a single parent and I have to provide for my two children. When things get hard for me I know that I am going to make it through because my grandmother would tell me, “That troubles don’t last always and hard work will pay off.”  

 Smith did not see how his dreams to become a writer would be fore filled because he felt he was just a farm boy.  But after at the age of 48, his dreams manifested and he became a journalist. He worked as a writer and a photographer. As a writer his assignments was about agriculture and the environment. His hard work on the farm gave him the experience that he needed to develop first into a man and secondly into a writer. His mother never forced him to work but he felt compelled to assist his mother when he seen her working hard.  If Smith was never exposed to the hard work on the farm what would he write about? In the story he never said the he developed a love for working on the farm, but he made it clear that he valued and cherished his mother. Whenever he felt discouraged he searched his mind and recalled the strength that his mother had when things got tough. Now he has had a change in his attitude that his mother was not killing him but she was saving him. The article “Hardscrabble Salvation” which was written by Joe Preston Smith was a piece that he wrote in honor to his mother.  

As I look back on all the things that I have experienced while growing up, I would have never imaged myself going to college and working hard at make all my dreams come true. My grandmother has taught me disciple, courage, and patient through the things that she accomplished.


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