Some of my fondest memories have nothing to do with human pride. As I was walking the other day (Joe, no eye rolls please) I happened to hear a conversation one of the disc jockey's was having regarding how people have gotten to where they have no pride and have no shame in accepting a hand out. He went on to talk about how people were going out of their way to get their children on the free lunch program and to get a government check. He took his time reminiscing about days gone by when people were not proud of needing government assistance and seem to feel it's a good thing. I don't personally think it's a good thing to want to sponge off the government and I know that this man has probably known his share of people who don't need assistance yet they are taking advantage of the system and they are even lying to do it. I know I personally have witnessed people using food stamp cards and then getting into BMW's. I also worked with a woman who was making more money than me and she was getting a HUD house. So I can see how some people can become cynical. I also do believe that we are raising a generation that doesn't want to work. Yet I am not as cynical as that radio DJ and I believe that people who have worked hard and tried and are having hard times due to hardships that were unforeseen or out of their control should not have to hang their heads in shame. I personally don't feel there is any shame in asking for help if you need it. Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone was willing to lend everyone else a helping hand? Either way I recall many times growing up when my family had to take advantage of government aide. It had nothing to do with my dad not being proud or not wanting to support his family. He would get laid off or lose his job for whatever reason and we would have to go on food stamps and get government cheese. It never lasted long because my dad was a go getter, still is, and he would go out and get work at whatever he needed to do to get us through. My dad has always been very good at managing money and my mother was always at home for us whenever we needed her because of it. My brother and I had a wonderful family to grow up in. So with mom making our house a home for my dad, brother and I all the financial worries fell on my dad. Out of this came wonderful memories though. How one might ask? Simply by our not being geared towards things and more towards time spent together, some of it routine. One routine we had was going to the Salvation Army almost every Saturday. I loved that store. We didn't always go in search of anything in particular, just to look around and shop. For my brother and I that meant a toy or a book or some treasure of our own that we might find. Yes we grew up on mostly second hand clothing. It didn't kill either one of us. Every fall we would get a few new clothes from Sears for school, but other than that it was second hand clothes either from the Salvation Army or from my grandmother Lula going to a similar version down south called the Exchange. So I understand how some can get upset with all the people walking around with their hands reached out; yet if they are reaching out of necessity not facilitated by their own laziness I see no shame in it. So to that I would say foolish pride be damned. I would also hope that each and everyone of you could know half the joy of living life not geared towards thing, but rather to living life and knowing the joys of loving time spent with family just sitting and talking. For now I have that luxury too. I get to sit usually at least once a week in my parents living room or in the back yard with them and remember times gone by. Life is precious and short. A lesson many learned only momentarily this week as they said goodbye to Michael Jackson. So foolish pride be damned.