My story? Really? *skeptically* A pint? *grins from the left side of the face* Well, ok, sure… My take on it, eh? *settles elbows on table and leans forward* Well, we all have our stuff the way I see it. You know, the stuff we don’t really choose that points us toward whatever we become. We just happened to live in the Greenfields, and our family was just doing its part to help out like folks in the Eastfarthing do. That’s who we are and what we do. *mimics father* “There’s some things worth dying for,” Pops would say, and he and my mother proved that true, and I surely believe that still to this day, too. That’s why my mother wasn’t angry with Pops when he died defending the Shire when those Gramsfoots came creeping back. We knew what choosing to live on the border meant. In fact, my GrandPoppy and his “Gram-cracker” (that’s what he called his club) were part of the bounders back in the mid-2700s that taught Golfimbul and his band that we aren’t as soft as many bigger folk think. He’d tell me the story lots of times as a kid–AND that he wished the bounders had “finished the job” instead of stopping at the border, but back then live and let live seemed good enough even for horrid creatures–so long as they let the Shire be.
It was GrandPoppy’s ethic that struck Pops who also became a bounder up in the North Greenfields. He had seen what the goblins were capable of and anticipated rightly that peace in the Shire couldn’t be taken for granted anymore. “Peace, like trust, is earned,” he’d say along with countless other bits like “Eru is good, life is hard. Don’t confuse the two,” and, “Hard work gives meaning to life.” *smiles in memory* Pops wanted us to do our best at whatever we chose to do and not to take anything for granted. “There’s more to life than livin’,” he’d tell us so many times I could guess when it was coming. Ha! He and Ma’s lessons always seemed to revolve around life being good and hard. So many lessons. And so true! He and Momma were so full of joy. I could go on and on, but we’d run out of pipeweed. Everytime Pop’d leave he’d tell us how much he loved us and this land, and to take care of our mother and look after the neighbors. Everytime.
*expression becomes more serious* I lost him when I was 8 to another rogue band of Gramsfoots. Seems they used the caves this time to sneek further under the borders. The bounders still stopped them, but not before they killed a good number of our hobbits including my father. I remember my mother grieving, but with a sense of conviction and peace. *straightens, firmly tapping finger on the table* My folks understood the cost of peace and freedom and that living wasn’t an end to itself. Those bounders died honorably, and were missed deeply by their families. *brief silence as he settles back in his seat with a sigh*
She never remarried until I was out of my tweens. Mind you now, she had no trouble making male friends: She was a beautiful lady and quite popular. And–oh–hang on–I know that sounds a bit queer, but I’m simply saying that she was her own woman: strong, sharp, and with her hobbit feet firmly on the ground. She had my sissy and me to raise and just no room yet in the kitchen of her heart for another. I suspect getting over Pops was harder than she let on. All I’m saying is she was in a different place than most of the rest of Dwaling, or even Scary and the Brockenborings. Sadly, two years later the Gramfoots raided again and this time they made it to our farm. Ma and the dogs took out a good many of them, but she was hurt bad. She was pretty much incapacitated, and so it fell to my sister and me to continue work in the farm. I was 11 by then and Sissy 9. I was no stranger to trapping animals of course, or protecting the goats from the occasional wandering bear or wolf–oh–and those irritating boars rooting through the crops–oh–and shrews! I hate shrews! But where was I? Oh. It was hard work, but it was good. We didn’t lack for food (really, what hobbit ever does?) Now, it takes a smart cony to outwit even your average hobbit, but I became so good I got to where I didn’t even need traps anymore–I could catch them by hand when I had the time! I’d sell our overage with the neighbors to get tailoring stuff and all that we couldn’t get on our own.
I even developed a fair side business trading the odd mathoms I’d come across during my trapping rounds. My sneaking skills for coneys also came in handy for keeping a check on those old goblin caves: I’d sneak into their abandoned camps and come away with some of their own old stolen treasures. Gradually, I developed a quiet reputation for finding “lost things” with the locals. Sheriffs even started hiring me to check on things for them to help resolve family disputes. (I’d like to say all hobbits are honorable, but we aren’t infallible. I will say most of the time it was a simple misunderstanding.) About those goblin camps: Here lately I’ve seen more signs of their sneaking about. I nearly got caught when some returned to a cave I was in. True story! Thankfully, they tend to be loud and stupid, and doubly thankfully I’m good at making myself nearly invisible. *leans in confidently* I should say I am very good at it. *leans back* I don’t know what it will take to get these creatures out of here to give us peace in the Shire again, but I’m willing to do what it takes. That’s my upbringing, and I believe it’s the honorable way to live. *starts to rest his case…
…but on second thought* One more thing I want to make clear about those mathoms–some folks call what I’m doing um, “questionable”. I asked of myself the same thing. “Burglar” means different things to different folks but I’m no thief. We learned long ago in our family that if you do to others as you’d have done to yourself then we can all get along just fine. I’d rather focus on the food, drink, and happy song while in the company of family and good friends anyway. At least the stuff I find gets back to it’s owners or in the Mathom House where perhaps it can be found again. Well, most of it. Some stuff I know no one’s left to come looking for it again… *winks*
What’s that? My bottom line? I dunno, but to sum it up I guess I’d say something like this:
1. Life is precious.
2. It ain’t all about me.
3. Just cause it’s hard don’t mean it’s bad.
There. That work ok? Thanks for the interest. I’m gonna head back to my table now. *stands with short polite bow* Safe travels to you. *lifts mug in appreciation* Cheers!