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JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: Born to be Happy

By Jim “Pappy” Moore

I was born to a father who was 23 and a mother who was 20. They lived in the small town of Ropesville, Texas, near Lubbock. He was a full-time preacher and a school bus driver. They lived with my older sister in a small one-bedroom house without running water. There was a windmill and a cistern out back for water. When I was a toddler we moved into a two bedroom home with indoor plumbing. 

We had decent homes to live in all my life, but we never had air conditioning in the 18 years I lived at home before joining the military. The first air conditioning I ever had was in the military in 1968, in a barracks. Since then, having air conditioning has been a top priority for me. 

No one ever bought me a bicycle. I got my one and only bicycle when I was eight by selling more Boy Scout tickets to the Boy Scout spring fair than any other Boy Scout or Cub Scout in Lufkin, Texas. In elementary school I sold Christmas cards, greeting cards, cookies, magazines, newspapers, pot pads, and garden seeds door to door. I walked or rode my bike when doing so. I also rode up and down the highway retrieving empty cola bottles in the ditch. I cleaned them up and sold them for the deposit money. I paid for candy and movie tickets with that money. I was an industrious kid who worked for the money he spent. I earned the money for a BB Gun, for BBs, for a pellet gun, for pellets. 

By the time I was twelve I had other ways of making money. In the seventh grade I worked in the cafeteria every day. They paid me by giving me my meal for free. That meant I could keep the 25 Cents a day my parents gave me to cover lunch. I got $1.25 a week from that job, and all I had to do was clean the tables where my classmates ate lunch, and then take the dishes to the kitchen and wash them.

At age 13 I got a job at a small grocery store a mile from our home. At 14 I got a real job at a Meat Market in town making $.90 an hour. I would work that job 24 hours a week during the school year and 54 hours a week in the summer. I had real money in my pocket and I could start buying my own clothes, which meant expanding my wardrobe. 

I would work at the Meat Market throughout high school, and I loved my job with Red and Molly Massingill. They were such fine people. My senior year they expanded my hours so I could go to work before school, too, working each morning from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. I would wash the blood off my hands and arms, then change clothes, then head to school. I’d be back at work just after 3 pm.

The spring of my senior year in high school I got a chance to go to work at Atkinson’s Candy Company making $1.45 an hour, working 40 hours a week on the 3:30 pm to 11:30 pm shift. It was hard, hot work, but I enjoyed it. I got bumped to $1.65 an hour quickly for being such a hard worker.

When I joined the military at age 18 in 1968, I felt like I was living in a great summer camp. I could eat everything I wanted at every meal! The food was good and plentiful. “Take all you want, but eat all you take” they told us. I did. The barracks were cool at night. No air conditioning but a great attic fan.

I had a wonderful life and my parents supported me in so many ways. When I was selling those Boy Scout tickets, my dad would drive me all over town after school and let me out at some subdivision, so I could walk door to door to sell. Then he would pick me up a few hours later. My mother washed and dried my clothes and ironed the ones that needed it. My parents made our meals together. We had homemade supper every night. We took long driving trips every other summer, and we saw many of America’s wonderful sights, such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Rockies, the Grand Tetons, the Great Sequoias. 

I led a charmed life with wonderful friends I still have. If I wanted to write my story as a victim, I could. Will we see ourselves as victims, or as victors? We choose.

Choose to be victors. Take joy in all that you have had, from indoor toilets, to air conditioning, to homecooked meals, to parents who let you use the family car. Be joyful and let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved. 

1 Comment

  1. Pat Capps Fleming on September 9, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    I love it Jim. This was how our Daddy lived!!! I want to be this victor but I have a gene that pulls me down. I guess I feel sorry for myself. It’s not life’s physical things that bring me down. We also lived without AC and Store bought clothes. Mother made almost everything we wore. It was disappointments I caused my family and losing Mother too soon and many other emotional things, like cancer. But somehow, although I didn’t always feel like a victor, I do feel like a survivor, a conqueror, “we’ve been made more than conquerors, overcomers in this life. We’ve been made more than conquerors, by the blood of Jesus Christ!” Acapella. Thanks for being the example you have always been!!

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