Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I owe my life to sugar

I am currently trying a diet which avoids all sugars, in an attempt to manage the symptoms of rosacia.

This is ironic, because I owe my life to sugar.

My family of origin lived on a farm 7½ miles north of Taber. Our mother worked hard inside the home; laundry, meal preparation, childcare, etc. Our father was working in the fields or with the cattle or farm machinery from sunrise to sunset, and often even in the night. We children helped out as needed, and were expected to do well in school and work on our homework as well.

The family income came solely from mixed farming. We had twenty or so beef cattle, mostly cows (except in the Spring), and a milk cow. We had an extensive vegetable garden and fruit trees and bushes. We grew wheat and pastureland, and, especially, sugar beets. I say "especially" because sugar beets were our biggest cash crop, and provided the bulk of the annual income. This crop gave us our lives, and we gave a good deal of our lives over to it. And risked our lives for it: earlier, I have recounted our father's serious accident with our sugar beet harvester in "Farm Injury".

That is how I owe my life to sugar, even though I may now need to stop consuming it.

One final irony, this one political. Over the years, I have been tempted to criticize farm subsidies. You know, talk about farmers being paid to leave their land fallow, and such. During my teenage years, I learned that our cash crop--sugar beets--was subsidized by the Canadian government. It seems that other sources of sugar, from other countries, were much cheaper than the actual cost of producing sugar from sugar beets. So, a free market economy would put the sugar beet industry out of business. However, Canada wants to be independent of other countries for its sugar supply. Therefore, the Canadian government subsidizes the sugar beet industry so that it remains profitable, and so that Canadians can continue to enjoy reasonably-priced sugar regardless of world conditions.

So, I also owe my life to agricultural subsidies, even though I am a fan of a free economy.

While on the subject of ironies of life-owing, this: since I am descended from the second wife of a polygamous great-grandfather, I owe my life to polygamy, even though I oppose polygamy now.