Hard Times

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

“Sam! Top’s empty! Three melons! Handful of apples! Some onions, a little garlic!”

“Ya, well, ‘twon’t get us far tomorrow when they line up again. I hate it when them little kids come in lookin’ all pathetic.”

“Yer too soft, Sam. Ya gotta toughen up. Everbody’s hungry.”

“Okay, Bud. Fer the rest a the week, one apple, one pear, two onions, one garlic per family. No e’sseptions!”

“When’s it gonna be over, Sam?”

“Dunno. Just holler when ya see m’grandkids, so’s I c’n hide somewheres. Can’t abide them big sad eyes. Ya know? “

“Yup. I know.”

41 thoughts on “Hard Times

  1. Good take on the prompt. An interesting assortment of produce per family. 🙂
    Mom-in-law remembered the 30s, when boxcar-loads of salt cod were shipped to the prairies by maritime fisherment with generous intent. Prairie folks accepted and ate the fish, but Mom could never stand the thought of cod after those days. The only “exotic” fruit here were dried, like raisins, and bananas — the overripe ones that sold cheap. 🙂

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    1. My parents lived in Colorado during the Depression, and their stories live on in my memory. If you didn’t have a “Victory Garden,” you got only whatever produce the local grocer could purchase from truck farms or people who did have gardens that produced a lot. In western Colorado, where water was scarce, the people depended on irrigation ditches that carried water diverted from the Colorado River. Hard times, indeed.

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    1. Yes, but sadly, the food doesn’t always go where it was intended to go. There’s a lot of graft and outright theft. Some time ago, I saw a list of what percentages going through a variety of charities actually reach the intended recipients. It was shocking. I’ll do some serious research before I do any donating.

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  2. I tried to come up with some dystopian famine stories but failed. You went historic and pulled it off nicely. Good work with the dialogue especially. I have a hard time with grammatically flawed dialogue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked the story. As far as writing in local color, I agree that it’s difficult. I was an English teacher, and poor grammar drives me nuts. However, if I put myself back in that era and listen for the way my maternal grandfather talked, it’s right there. All I have to do is hear his voice 🙂

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  3. Excellent story, Linda. I liked the voice you used for your characters. As Iain and Brenda say, we are shamed that hunger still exists in a world with enough for all. I agree with you that we need to check charities to make sure that the money reaches those who need it. Christian Aid is a good charity, with over 80% of the money reaching those in need. Most of the difference is the unavoidable costs of raising money; publicity, for example.

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    1. Yes, and that tends to be, especially in a non-urban setting, the way people help each other. When it’s not imposed on us to help others, we tend to share more willingly.

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  4. I am glad you wrote this story, as it makes one think…It is all to easy to forget. My mother went hungry in the nineteen thirty’s. Then the Second World War brought rationing. I still have my ration book. Part of my family had to flee starvation in Ireland’s famine.

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