Salt of the Earth

By Chris Harms

Authenticity in a person is something I value highly. Ever since I was little, I remember my grandma being described as the “salt of the earth.” Of course, being so little I really didn’t know what the phrase meant, but I did know how it made me feel. Especially if someone was describing my dear grandma. She really was the “salt of the earth,” a person that was true to the core, and every action she took in her daily life reflected it. If she said she was going to do something, she was going to do it. Even if she didn’t explicitly say something, but believed in something, she was going to be about it.

Did you know she single-handedly rejected Walmart? Many years ago, there was speculation that they were going to build a Walmart in Paradise. When my grandma got wind of this, she said, “not in my town!” and spent every Tuesday morning for at least a couple of years at the Farmers Market at the CMA Church on Clark Road getting people to sign her petition. And guess what? No Walmart was ever built in her tiny town of Paradise.

This isn’t to say that Walmart is bad (I’m not saying it’s good either), but what they represent and what she represented were in conflict. Grandma, the youngest of eight, grew up in a hard-working, blue-collar farming family with simple but strong values.

In fact, before she passed, she requested that she be buried in the small town of Magalia just north of Paradise because she didn’t want to be in town with “all the important people” (if you knew grandma, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise).

While there were instances where I didn’t always like what she said, I had to respect her for never shying away from a conflict and standing strong on her morals. For instance, when I told her about getting a job in Hawaii, she didn’t exactly congratulate me when she said, “oh Chris, you are going to get so soft!” And I can’t lie, her telling me this stuck with me during my two years out there and I did my best to prove her wrong.

The reality is, we need more “salt of the earth” now than ever. If you are about something, actually be about it in the way you speak, the way you move and the way you live your life. If you don’t know where to start, sit down and actually figure out your core values and then go from there. Dig deep, there may be more salt to you than you think.

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