The Sweat of Their Brow

In reviewing our family expenses, I’m struck by all the small charges for ITunes.  $2.71 here, $3.31 there.  These are intangible purchases, but the costs add up.  This made me think of the borax mines and 10-ton wagons I saw in Death Valley last week while vacationing with my family.  The temperature there was 80 degrees at 8 a.m., 100 degrees at noon, and, by 4 p.m. up one rocky canyon, 112 degrees, with no trees for miles.  But this didn’t stop people from mining there 100 years ago, with the borax going out in three-wagon teams pulled by 20-mule teams.  These headed up hot twisting canyons, the mule-skinners cracking their whips to direct the teams to pull around rocks.  That borax went into harsh laundry soap sold to factory workers, miners and other people who couldn't listen to iPhones as they worked.  The wealth of mining borax was built on the sweat of their brow.