Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chillin' on an Ice Road...Alex Debogorski on large families

I saw King of the Road, by Alex Debogorski at the library the other day.  The sub title is True Tales from a Legendary Ice Road Trucker.  The cover also shows a little logo thing from the History Channel that says, "As seen on Ice Road Truckers."  Had I noticed these things when I picked up the book, I might have realized that there is a History Channel show with such a name, and I could have researched it to find out ahead of time that this is a reality show that's been going on for five seasons now and features the author of this book.  But I didn't notice these things at all.  And since I'm notoriously lacking in pop cultural literacy, I didn't know about the show at all until talking with people about this cool book I was reading.

What I did notice was the cover picture of a fellow who has that "good old boy" look to him, standing next to a big rig.  I noticed the ice and snow.  And I thought of the lonely and fatalistic man-against-the-elements tales of the far north by Jack London, to which I am inexplicably drawn.

So I checked it out, brought it home, and started reading.

Well, I'm going to come right out and say that Alex Deborgorski is the polar opposite of Jack London. This book, which tells the story of Debogorski's childhood, coming of age years, and how he ended up being an ice road trucker, is a hoot.  Totally fun and off the cuff; filled from cover to cover with unbelievable yarns that Mr. Debogorski spins with the skill of the born story teller.

The book is a quick read, with plenty of breaking off points in between the anecdotes, that allow a busy mom to read a bit and then easily put it down until the next cup of coffee.

I want to share particularly the following couple of paragraphs that portray a view of family that one does not often find in today's world.  It was wonderful for me to read something like this and to know that this author is out there in the mainstream and even pop culture world, becoming a publicly recognized figure of sorts, and that he holds this rare view of children.

I know that children are a blessing from God.  I am comfortable that God gave Joe and I each of our kids, and that each one is special.  But I still sometimes feel as though I ought to feel guilty or stupid for having so many children.  Even among friends with whom I share many basic aspects of my world view, I find that most people kind of think, "Enough's enough, lady." 

So it was refreshing to me to read this.
For some reason, working class white families are having fewer and fewer kids.  What's that all about?

People will say, "We can't afford to have more than two kids."

So at what point in history could people afford to have a lot of kids?  Do you think the pioneers could afford large families?  Do you think the farmers with one little tractor and a couple of horses could afford to have a large family?  The fact is, people have never been able to afford large families.  The previous generations recognized a simple truth--kids are not a liability, they are an asset.  People have to turn their thinking upside down.

My aboriginal friend Richard Cadieux says we'd better watch out because the population of Indians is growing like crazy  and we white people are having small families.  And he's right.  The aboriginal people know that kids are a joy.  Money isn't important.  People are important.  And your family is your only true wealth in this world.

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