Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 57

By | February 24, 2024

[February 24, 2024]  Growing up, we kids never channel surfed on our television set.  There was only one clear channel.  Plus, we rarely watched television because our Dad set strict limits.   One of those rare times we were permitted to watch, we saw the 1941 movie “Sergeant York” on our old black and white.  The young man, Alvin York, was what we called in Tennessee “dirt poor,” meaning he owned little.  Growing up, he just wanted to farm his small plot of land, get married, and have kids.  I always thought, wow, wouldn’t it be extra cool to know the hero, Sergeant York, and tell my friends.  That would be any kid’s wish.  Sadly, Alvin York passed away when I was 12, so my wish never came true.

I got ideas about being in the Army by watching this movie.  The movie’s message was that if you work hard, are honest and trustworthy, and are courageous, then you can get ahead and earn respect.  This idea is a part of an old Southern culture and explains why most military recruits come from the southern states.  And the lesson was clear to us, “uneducated, southern boys” growing up in the backwater areas of Louisiana.

But I’d worked at several jobs as a kid, like picking cotton, helping a dairy farmer with his cows, raking leaves, picking through the town dump, working as a pump jockey, selling fireworks, delivering newspapers, and doing so many odd jobs that I lost track.  Yet, I wasn’t getting ahead.  So, what was the formula for success?  I asked myself that question many times in those years.

Of course, there are ways to get ahead without working too hard.  You can steal it, inherit it, marry it, find it accidentally, run for political office, or join a big law firm, none of which appealed to me at the time, mostly because I was a Christian.  So unless you are in one of these categories, you must work.  I realized that I was going to have to work hard, be honest, and be brave.   At the minimum, this just might work out for me.

As a kid, I even knew a few adults in my hometown who did well by following this simple formula.  Furthermore, many of those older men I worked for in my pre-teen and teen days told me as much, and they were successful, or at least they claimed so.

I’ve never told anyone before, but as a High School sophomore, I contemplated being a stand-up comedian.  Oh, such a fleeting dream.  My favorite joke to my friends’ parents begins with me telling the story about a television commercial on over-the-counter medications and that it could do wonders.  The way the pretty woman in the commercial said it was so pleasing.  The actress asked a Pharmacist for something that might help her husband with “irregularity.”  It got a laugh, even if I didn’t fully understand the ramifications.  I dropped the idea of being a comedian after watching Red Skelton and Charlie Chaplain do slapstick comedy.  It was far too dangerous and challenging for me.

I learned a lot about working hard from my Dad.  He was a railroad worker, and that was one brutal rodeo.  The money was good, the hours okay, and being a union member was enlightening, but wow, getting run over by a 35-ton box car was not in my bag of things I wanted to do.  I would work on the railroad, and although I stuck it out for two college summers and Christmas vacations, I was happy to get an easy job, so I joined the Army.  More later about my luxurious condo accommodations in Basic Combat Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Did I ever say I was from Hicksville?  Alvin York was from Fentress County in Tennessee and lived in a log cabin near several of my relatives.  Even by Hicksville standards, he was poor.  And yet Alvin York became famous, although not wealthy, from his bravery in World War I.  Just reading about his exploits made me feel puny.  So, I did what I thought was right and went down to the Army recruiter and talked with an impressive-looking sergeant.

The recruiter’s job is to get you to sign on the dotted line.  Basically, recruiters are salesmen with pretty uniforms decorated with lots of medals.  But first, you had to take a test to see if your IQ was high enough, and they talked to you about the best jobs that sounded cool, exciting, and adventurous.  Or you could choose where you wanted to be located in your first assignment.  In my head, I only wanted to get out of the country and discover incredible new locations to visit.  I signed up, and the next thing I knew, I was shoveling dirt in Louisiana during August and trying to get my two-man fighting position to Army standard.

I didn’t realize what low pay meant until they told me I would be a Private – E-1 in military-technical speak – nothing lower.  Even a snake had it better.  I made more milking cows.  As fortune would have it, I was sent to my first duty station in West Germany to guard a nuclear weapons storage facility.  And that is a non-glorious story for another time.


NOTE: See all my letters here: https://www.theleadermaker.com/granddaughter-letters/


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

30 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 57

  1. American Girl

    🇺🇸 Gen. Satterfield writes beautiful letters. 🇺🇸
    Plus he is a great American Patriot and you just got to love his stance on being one. Keep up these letters to your granddaughter, sir. We too love them.

  2. DeShawn Johnson

    You’ve got me as a new reader based on these beautiful and worthy letters you are sending to your granddaughter. All I can say is WOW. Count me in.

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent job my friend Gen Douglas . A wise man told me several times hard work ever hurt anyone. Raised up country and poor, I stated working at age 12 years-old on the farms pulling tobacco. This was hard work in the hot summer in North Carolina. We walked bent over all day. The rows were so long it seems like a mile. To make matters worse we races to get to the end first . I did well to keep up with the much older boys. They would say to each other “Get the 🐒 monkey off your back.”The meaning was you got to keep it up. I was so glad by age 14 I was hired by Mr Jimmy williford to work for him..He used a riding machine that you sit down, put your tobacco in a belt. The tobacco went into a large bucket. I was making 27.00 dollars a barn. We normally were done by 3pm.
    Mr Jimmy williford did not like us pulling green tobacco leaves because it was hard to sale at the market. The yellow tobacco cure in heat better in the barn thus more money at the market.
    Mr Jimmy would yell down at us stop ending up green tobacco .
    Mr Jimmy and I would wrestle in the peanut field while we were chopping weeds out of the peanut field. He treated me like a son.
    In the Scripture, tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:10 he says, uh, ‘for even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: if a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ And then he goes on to say ‘we hear that some among you are idle’ … I think it’s a reasonable

  4. McStompie

    Gen. Satterfield, you have a genuinely excellent series of letters here. The fact that they are to your granddaughter is testament to your devotion to the family and to all families and those who support and defend the nuclear family, the very institution that made America great and the one that socialist/progressive/communists have tried to destroy now for more than a century. Don’t ever ever ever let them win.

    1. Patriot Wife

      🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Indeed, God Bless America. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  5. Chuck USA

    Sir, you continue to pull out so much content from your childhood that I have to admit that I am surprised by all you find. I would have to talk to my brother to find out more of what he and I did growing up and what he thought of it. I was just too focused, at the time, on having fun and not studying in school, to explain my bad grades, to really remember all that we did. I was a bit of a delinquent, but that is okay because I turned out fine. Thanks you Gen. Satterfield for helping stir good memories of my childhood.

    1. Pastor John

      Yep, these letters to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter also remind me of those times long ago. One day, I might try to figure out how they led me to where I am today as a religious man. 🙏

  6. Rowen Tabernackle

    I wish I could write these kind of letters to my “granddaughter.” Or to any of my grandchildren. I would hope to be their super hero, and not the kind of superheroes portrayed in the terrible modern movies that are out there like found on the horrific Disney channel.

    1. Eddie Gilliam

      Rowen. I love to encourage you can do this also it’s not how polished the words are on paper. Non polished letters are meant from children so give it a try. General Douglas have given us great ideas from each of his letters to his granddaughter. You can do it. It doesn’t matter how long you write at 1st. My writing has sharpen by me accepting the offer to write inspiration blogs for my friend Gen Douglas.

  7. Bryan Z. Lee

    He He He He ………..
    “Did I ever say I was from Hicksville? Alvin York was from Fentress County in Tennessee and lived in a log cabin near several of my relatives. Even by Hicksville standards, he was poor. And yet Alvin York became famous, although not wealthy, from his bravery in World War I. Just reading about his exploits made me feel puny. So, I did what I thought was right and went down to the Army recruiter and talked with an impressive-looking sergeant.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield from ‘Hicksville.’ very funny

    1. British Citizen

      Another example of Gen. Satterfield being truthful and his dry humor.

  8. Rev. Michael Cain

    WOW, letter number 57 and moving along into the life of Gen. Satterfield as he gives us some insight into what drove him to become a soldier in the army. Let us never forget that he came from the backwater bayous of Louisiana, from being “rich” (meaning he was richer than the dirt poor that lived around him), and having a big family. This is why he loves and adores families. As we all should adore.

    1. JT Patterson

      Nailed it REV. Cain. A great way to spend your growing up years. If you are not looking to what you want to be and do as an adult, then you need to reassess your capabilities. ❤

    2. ZB

      This is why I keep coming back to Gen. Satterfield’s website. 😁😁😁😁😁😁

  9. Nick Lighthouse

    “I didn’t realize what low pay meant until they told me I would be a Private – E-1 in military-technical speak – nothing lower. Even a snake had it better. I made more milking cows. As fortune would have it, I was sent to my first duty station in West Germany to guard a nuclear weapons storage facility. And that is a non-glorious story for another time.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield on his first duty assignment in the us army. Now if we all would only think of what we can do and would want to do, then we might not take the same decisions in our lives, but that is a thinking bridge too far. Well done, Gen. Satterfield, your letters to your granddaughter are beautiful to read.

  10. Winston

    Another letter to my granddaughter from Gen. Doug Satterfield and great to read about what you thought as a little kid who looked into your own future to try to figure out what would be best for you. I do believe your instincts were proper and good. I see that you had many doubts, but don’t all of us?

    1. Liz at Home

      I think you’re right and I loved this letter to his granddaughter.

      1. Plato

        Liz, I do think that those who are regular readers here also love his letters to his granddaughter. This is what makes me smile sometimes, actually all the time whenever I read these letters. Now, Gen. Satterfield has given me the idea to do the same thing for my kids and their kids and down the line.

  11. False Idols

    Great letter, Gen. Satterfield. Wonderful to read it and have two letters in a row.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        We all love these letters but what I like is the many diverse topics and the thinking that Gen. Satterfield does as a child. He certainly is not someone to sit around doing nothing or becoming a victim. He is slowly, yes very slowly learning to go after a noble cause.✔✔✔✔✔


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