Digging My Own Holes: My Journey toward Self-Sufficiency and Beyond

When the Son of Sam, who was Jewish, was arrested, I heard a Jewish person tell about feeling shame, believing that the bad behavior of one of his own reflected poorly on him.  This is a common feeling among minorities and may explain, for example, why an African-American feels anger or shame toward an Uncle Tom.  It may also explain my feelings toward women who act helpless, believing this perpetuates the stereotype of women as the weaker sex.

So when a friend complained to me that her son-in-law would not help her daughter with landscaping chores by digging holes for her I said, “Well, tell her to dig her own holes.  That’s what I tell my daughters.”

I was a single mother of two daughters for a number of years and “digging our own holes” became our mantra.  One of my daughters later admitted, however, that she sometimes coquettishly asks her husband, “Will you dig my holes for me?”

When I met my husband I had been single for a number of years.  At the time we met I had just purchased some land and was getting ready to build a house, acting as my own contractor and doing some of the work myself. 

John soon started joining me when I would go to work on my land.  It was in the country and a lovely place to visit.  After I got my building permit, we were there working one day when I picked up a shovel and said I was going to the bottom of the hill to put up the post for the building permit.

“May I join you,” he asked, “or do you need to dig your own hole?”

I said he was welcomed to come along, but, shovel in hand, when we got to the bottom of the hill, I began to dig.

This is a rural, sparsely populated area, so we were alone, working beside the road, John silently watching me dig.  The ground was very hard and I was about ready to let him dig when I looked up at him.

He was standing with his arms crossed over his chest, smiling at me.  “You know, if anyone comes along, I’m going to have to take that shovel out of your hand.”

He’s been helping me dig my holes ever since.

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Comments 16 comments

Wilson 6 years ago

Jo seems to me to be both a self sufficient and independent sort of person, but one who is intelligent enough to take things as they come to her and make the best of any situation, whatever it may be. It seems to me the more of ought to have her attitudes toward life and not be so dependent on other people.

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

What a great first Hub. Enjoyed it much.

jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks, Ken. Actually it was my second hub, but close.

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Self-sufficiency is a really important value to me too. Great Hub and thanks for sharing the story!

Keep digging!

Love and peace


jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you, Tony, for taking the time to read my hub. Jo

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Wife Who Saves 6 years ago

Beautiful hub - and what a wonderful mother to raise your daughters to be independent.

jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

Wife Who Saves, thank you for your comment and for taking the time to visit my hub.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK

Jo, I am so glad you found my hubs so I could find yours. I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to more. Thank you for sharing.

jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks, Alison. I am glad I found your hubs also--the advantages of hub hopping. Look forward to reading more.

My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

I wish hub pages had a "Was this Hub ...?" choice of "Makes me smile". This one did.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

Haha I love it, especially John's comment as he watched you dig. That is classic.

jo miller profile image

jo miller 12 months ago from Tennessee Author

Jodah, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I had almost forgotten this hub. It is so typical of our relationship here, even today.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

Good for you, Jo! As an experienced hole-digger, I salute you. :)

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 8 weeks ago from USA

I loved this! Some of us dig our own holes and know when to stop. Others just keep digging. I guess one challenge in life comes down to that.

jo miller profile image

jo miller 8 weeks ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks, Bill for stopping by and commenting. Keep digging.

jo miller profile image

jo miller 8 weeks ago from Tennessee Author

FlourishAnyway, glad you enjoyed. I'm still digging, but sometimes now I let others help. The older I get the more that is appreciated.

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