“At the age of nine I had to do the work of a teenager, working with four horses hitched to a set of harrows walking behind barefooted. Boots couldn’t be worn because they would fill up with dirt, the result would be very sore feet. Of course during the summer we walked barefoot even to school. However, I don’t recall this unpleasant or a hardship. I cried many a tear at that age trying to control and direct the horses in the right direction. However, with time and patience, I learned to get the job done.”
— Ben Rothenburger
MY DAD WROTE those words not long before he died in 1992. The time he wrote about, the summer when he was nine, was 99 years ago.
I’d like to see an average Canadian kid today walking barefoot behind a four-horse team breaking up clods to plant a crop.
There’s talk of giving 16-year-olds the vote, and I think they’d handle it fine, but if we give them one adult responsibility, what about the rest of it?
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.