Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I was born and raised in East Tennessee. I wouldn’t exactly say we were hillbillies, but we were certainly country folks. To give you some examples of what I mean, indoor plumbing was not a part of my early life. We had an outhouse. I can remember when the ice man brought ice for our “icebox.” We didn’t have a refrigerator. To us, running water meant you had to run and get it. As children I remember baths being in a washtub on the living room floor and my two brothers and I shared the same bathwater because the water had to be heated on the wood burning stove. We necessarily only got maybe one bath a week. But we survived.

Virtually every building, churches, schools, and our own houses, regularly used copious amounts of a miraculous fireproof product known as asbestos. It was used for insulation as well as outdoor siding. No one knew or suspected it was a problem, but we still survived.

I remember in school we played with mercury. It was fun. We would pour it out into our hands and roll it around and pass it among our friends. It was a scientific experiment. We all managed to survive.

All our buildings as well as our own houses were painted with lead based enamel paint. When it was time to re-paint, we scraped the old off and painted with new lead based enamel paint. We didn’t wear masks. How is it possible that I still survived?

I had my own gun by the time I was twelve years old. We all went hunting on a regular basis. We took our guns to school and kept them in our lockers. Nobody ever shot anybody. We saved our ammunition for rabbits and squirrels. Oh, and by the way, all we used was lead based ammunition. We often would eat our game and pick out the lead buckshot at the table. Of course everything was fried in pig fat and often served with gravy. When we were out hunting, we drank water from the creeks and springs which were readily available to us. We played with firecrackers, the real ones. Aren’t those things supposed to be dangerous? Our cars didn’t have seat belts or airbags. And yet we survived.

So what is the point of all this?  I was recently listening to some folks from the food police as well as the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control. According to them there is no way anyone could survive any one of the incidents I reported earlier let alone all of them. But we did. Oh and by the way, most of my relatives from earlier generations lived well into their 90s and beyond. All lived under the same conditions I described earlier. They apparently didn’t get the memo that you cannot survive the way we lived.

Here’s a question. Were the earlier generations, including my own, stronger than today’s people? When we used unpasteurized dairy products without ill effect, were we just lucky? When we butchered our own livestock without benefit of Federal inspection and managed to survive, were we just fortunate?  

Don’t get me wrong. I am very grateful for modern medicine. I am pleased with what we have learned in the past few years. I know our lives have been made better by new discoveries, but I seriously doubt that the situation of my early life was nearly as bad as today’s food and medicine police would have you believe. We lived uncomplicated lives. My mother saved mayonnaise jars for canning vegetables. She didn’t know you were not supposed to do that.

Today I believe people are stressed more by the fear of food and their environment  and that fear is far more harmful to them than either their food or the environment. Relax. Eat a hot fudge sundae. Have some gravy and biscuits. Life is a terminal condition. Enjoy it. You only pass this way once.

Ron Scarbro  October 3, 2012


Anonymous said...

I still say we were raised by different parents and in a different world. One of the problems is again the media. They jump on all the research as initial findings are released before anyone has a chance to expand on said research. People listen and accept what they hear as fact and everything is blown out of proportion. Remember olive oil, it went from dangerous to healthy almost from one test to another. The ratings game. I also believe people think they have total control over themselves. They appear to believe if they just do this or that they will live forever and never age. Also everyone is thrown into the same catagories. You misy do this, or you must weigh that in order to be healthy. The individual is ignored. nyway I will shut up.
Your sister

Bo Lumpkin said...

One of the changes is that people used to work hard enough physically that when they got off work they went home to rest. Now when they get off work they go to the health club to get some exercise.
The stuff about lead paint causing brain damage is a puzzle to me. Some of the people who were exposed seem to be a lot more sane than some of the ones who weren't. At least we didn't pierce ourselves all over and no one had a tatoo unless they were in the military.