Joy found in everyday ‘Common’ Ground

Part III in totem series (Hawk, tiger & sparrow)

There’s nothing quiet as common as a cracker, one of those saltines, that is . . .

They’re plain. Made of basic wheat and some soy mixed in with salt, corn syrup, baking soda and yeast, according to Kellogg Co. of Battlecreek, MI.

As vanilla as . . . well . . .  “Vanilla.”

Don’t usually eat one alone, unless something else is spread on it, or used in its “crumpled form” in a hot bowl of soup, chili or melted cheese.

But  I remember when those same crackers made up an entire meal, and I was so grateful to find a package in an otherwise empty cupboard. It helped get me through the night and onto the next pay-day when I had cash to buy some basic sustenance.

I was a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army. Paid once a month. Here, it was getting to the end of the month. I took most of my meals in the mess hall. Not out of any show of comradery for the enlisted men. I was poor. Officers made more than buck privates, but not much more than your run-of-the-mill “three-stripe” sergeant who probably put on the same brave face at the end of his month.

Oh, I had money set aside for savings — $18.50 a month was going toward US Savings Bonds maturing in seven years at a whopping $25 each. I paid partial rent of a trailer “off base, “and I also made monthly car payments for that  brand new Ford Maverick I got upon graduating from Officers’ Candidate School, Ft. Benning, Ga.

But, there I was, not quite 21 years old yet, reaching toward the top shelf in a kitchen cabinet, hoping to find something I could eat. Only 5-foot-six-inches, I had to climb onto the counter of the house trailer I rented with another fellow, a college graduate from New Jersey, who was also an officer “commanding” young recruits on the grounds of Ft. Polk, Louisiana.

I could not see toward the rear of the cabinet, and so I hopped on the counter, stretched and saw one unopened package of crackers. It became one of the best meals of my life, if not one of the most memorable ones.

I thought of those crackers today after receiving a visit from two ordinary sparrows, also known as the “common” sparrow. They brought me a message, which I have interpreted to mean “appreciate your own self-worth.”  The Native American culture has a unique take on the sparrow. All are equal, none above, none below, according to my Blogging Buddy, aptly named, “Ordinary Sparrow.”

The sparrow may be the most common bird around. It has flourished when many other species have failed. And reflects “self-worth” to the one whose life the sparrow touches, according to the Animal Totem: Sparrow, at “Lin’s Domain.”

If a sparrow has entered your life, ask yourself if you know your self-worth,” the site said. “The sparrow will show you that even a common little bird can triumph.”

Looking back. I see that I may have always wanted to be just like that bird — common. And now that I have time to reflect, I see my “self worth” has always been tied in with that aspiration.

See Part IV at

Common Sparrow flies as high as he dares

4 comments on “Joy found in everyday ‘Common’ Ground

  1. christian business cards The higher your station, the less your liberty.


    • contoveros says:

      Not sure how this got linked onto this blog about animal spirits, but I checked out the site and the cards look pretty cool, if you are into something like this. Did not determine if it was a competitive price, but one can judge that him or herself. I don’t carry any cards. Not looking for any business nowadays. I want the opposite of “busy” ness. The still ness, the quiet, the sounds of silence.

      michael j


  2. Terri says:

    You know I have been there eating only crackers when money got very tight and I was soooo happy to find those little morsels of food in my pantry. I am very greatful that I am now seeing better times and I can share what little I have with others in need.Thank you for sharing you thoughts on having self worth.


    • contoveros says:

      When crackers make for a good meal, one has no where to go but up . . . the food chain. I appreciate things more because of my experience. And, I appreciate you as well.


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