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Wanting better things

Published November 06. 2010 09:00AM


Today would be my grandfather's birthday. Robert "Ruby" Leickel would be well over 130 if he was still living.

It's strange I remember his birthday. I generally have a hard time remembering dates and phone numbers.

I thought of him after the election was held this week. It was obvious by the results that people are having tough times; that they want major changes, not only in Washington and Harrisburg, but in our country in general.

Two years ago we elected President Obama on his pledge for change. Unfortunately, the changes he offered don't seem to be making our lives in this great nation any better. Jobs are still being lost. Medical care is very expensive because his Health Care Reform plan really doesn't provide affordable health care for the masses. Government debt has grown to the point that repayment will fall to our children and grandchildren.

The rich keep getting richer at the expense of the common working man, who is getting poorer. We're not talking about people getting rich on their work ethics and ingenuity. We're talking about corporate executives, such as bank officials who have multi-million dollar annual wages even though their banks are losing money and more Americans are losing their homes.

The reason I thought of my grandfather after the election was because he was very poor. Like many Americans today, he struggled not only to pay his bills, but to survive.

My grandfather, who had crippled arms, and my grandmother, who had crippled ankles, raised me from baby through high school.

Ruby made money by working in a small restaurant doing janitorial work, and getting up at 3 or 4 every morning to deliver newspapers on his bicycle.

He struggled all his life, but while I didn't know it at the time, he did all he could to make sure I didn't live the life he did. He encouraged me to read and write, even though his limited education prevented him from helping me as much as he wanted. He taught me right from wrong. Despite his meager income, I never went hungry.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is when he bought me a toy fire truck with an ascending ladder that I had wanted as a little boy. I don't know where he got the money for it, but it certainly made me happy.

He was a volunteer firefighter in his spare time, even though he was limited in what he could do.

Like my grandfather, we all want better for our children and grandchildren. That's one of the reasons the election on Tuesday turned out the way it did. I'm not saying the victors are going to have the answers to improve the economy.

But one obvious thing is that people are angry - and scared - at some of the things happening in our country.

This week Summit Hill Borough Council looked at its budget and expressed concern about the financial health of the borough for the forthcoming year.

There are a lot of individuals in this situation. Even without a budget, families wonder how they're going to pay their mortgage, feed their families, educate their children, and even just put food on the table.

Does the election mean things in our country will change?

Only time will tell.

My grandfather cared about my future.

We care about our children's futures, too. I pray my children and grandchildren won't have to endure what my grandparents did.

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