Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Enough is enough


Frank Azevedo
August 28, 1923 to September 22, 2010
He passed over on the Autumnal equinox

My father was a Portuguese dairy milker in Southern California. My mother always worried when he was late coming home after work. She feared he would have an accident on the farm (cows are not always passive). She could be left destitute, with her only child—me. After all, my father's father had died in Massachusetts when my father was one year old, and my grandmother had no financial support. Grandmother returned to the Azores with my father when she ran out of money. Twenty years later my father returned to the U.S., and worked till he had enough money to send for us.

My father worked seven days a week; sometimes two shifts a day. At that time—the 50's and early 60's—one dairy farm laborer's income could support his family. Mother was the homemaker. My father earned a modest salary, but he saved enough money to buy a house with a 50% down payment. He even arranged to pay off the house early with a couple of large lump sum payments. He bought the family car with cash. He did not believe in credit or debt.

Later he took a modest job at Lever Brothers in Los Angeles. He felt he was in heaven because he only had to work one shift (plus occasional overtime) to feed the family.

When my father was an old man, he told me one day in simple Portuguese, "I don't have a big house, I don't have a fancy car, but what I have is clean and good. I like what I've earned. Some people look down on me for not having more. Still, I am happy with what I have. It's good to be satisfied. Enough is enough."

7 comments:

simthcy said...

i am a chinese guy, also a techer in one university. what your father said are similar to a chinese maxim,"stop where it should stop".what we should know is the place where to stop.

Anonymous said...

Your father was a wise man. Materialism is the sin of the modern age. To know when to stop consuming, to know the level of sustenance required to feed the family ... these are true words of wisdom.

Koko Banes said...

Your father was very wise

Anonymous said...

Sounds so very like you, Americ. His words have impacted me through the big influence you have had on my life. Thank you and a big thank you to your dad!!!

Love,
Shelley

wanderlucy said...

Easy to see where your wisdom comes from.

Lars Heyerdahl said...

Oh Americ, this is so well said n done.

I remember from more than ten years ago, when your father, then your mother - your parents - got older, fast, starting losing memories and what have you, and how you struggled with that. Getting them in a "home for the elders" - and all that. Have kept every e-mail, from those years.

I love your parents, my friend, because, without them, "we" wouldn't be here, still talkin' :-)

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute to your dad, Americ. It's good to know a little something of him and his life and his wisdom. Let's me know a little more of you. Thank you. Sikha