To submit is to be submissive, and that's something a lot of us have been fighting against for centuries. Submit to your parents, spouse, teacher, boss, church, God... We're told to surrender so often, do we even know what our personal will is any more? This can create a lot of unhappiness, but helps society run smoothly, and isn't society more important than any of us mere individuals?
Um, maybe not.
I was talking the other night about Dorothea Davis, "The Sheep Lady". She was one of my personal heroes, and anyone from my neck of the woods remembers her. She inherited a prime piece of property when the area was less developed, and she refused to move along with "progress" when progress absorbed everything around her. The city tried everything to get her to move on, but she fought them in the courts for decades -- and won.
Whatever people might've said about her muddy sheep pulling out the grass, huddling under trees, or wandering into the main street, The Sheep Lady was always called a "lady", and that used to mean something. She was educated, polite, and gracious. She was our librarian, and her lanolin soft hands were beautiful as she wrote out due dates on cards tucked into the backs of our books. She also had a fierce mind, and didn't give in to the powers that be who wanted her messy sheep out of their pristine suburb.
I'll never forget sitting in her kitchen and drinking tea from a fine porcelain cup while a sheep butted its head against my skinny legs, and more sheep pushed through the open doorway. I tried to balance the saucer on the little table and worried about breaking the cup while Dorothea pleasantly discussed my future and the need to follow my talents and interests. I suppose she asked my mother to bring me over because as the librarian, she knew I was different. I took as many books as I was allowed every week, and didn't stay in the children's section. Maybe she knew I was a younger version of herself? If I had a sheep farm, I wouldn't sell it to the city bullies either.
They condemned her house after a fire, and she slept in her car while volunteers rebuilt it for her, minus a fireplace. I wasn't the only one who admired Miss Davis. She died 7 years ago, and people still talk about her with warm affection. Some day I hope I can be remembered with a bit of what Dorothea left in the world. She never surrendered, and lived the life she wanted to live. She died on the land she fought her entire life to protect, surrounded by her woolly friends.
If you have memories of The Sheep Lady, I'd love to hear them!