Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mothers back. Don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mothers back, don’t step……” Remember repeating that over and over again as you paced all up and down the sidewalks? For our family, it was a novelty to walk on city sidewalks because we lived in a wooded suburb. When we went to the city being able to sketch on pavement with chalk or to draw out a hopscotch course, we thought was pretty “nifty.”
When we visited our grandparents in Baltimore City, we got to do all kinds of things that we couldn’t do at our house. At home, our playground was the forest and stream. At least an acre or more of land separated the neighbors. At our grandparents, we thought it was pretty neat that we could sit in rocking chairs on a porch and politely greet passers by.
I can still remember the voice and the words of the Ragman’s banter as he navigated the horse and cart down the city streets of Baltimore. “Rags! Rags for sale! Come get your rags.” Hearing the clip-clop of the horses feet coming down the street, was so exciting. The rag man called out, “New rags for old. Give me yours, and I’ll give you another.” Recycling, I assure you is not a new concept.
All in good jest, my parents used to threaten to sell or trade us to the Ragman if my sister, my brothers and I didn’t behave ourselves. That was enough to make us sit up and pay attention!
If you are a baby boomer, you might have recollections of having the Ragman arrive in your neighborhood and seeing people run out in the street to greet him and check out his wares.
Do you know the origins of the Ragman story? Here’s a link, you can read it for yourself. I found it quite interesting because as a child, the only thing I was interested in was seeing the big horse (usually an old gray mare) pulling the cart down the street. Little did I know there was an inspirational story behind The Ragman. Check it out! http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/573/ragman/.
In 2010, Walter Wagernan’s short story The Ragman was produced into a movie. Click on the link if for more information and ordering the DVD Ragman.
This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author and narrator of the memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book. Click here to listen to the audio book sample, narrated by the author