Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not for living in the past. But Bob Dylan was right when he wrote, “The times, they are a changin’.” Indeed, they are, and fast.
And quite frankly, as times change, there are things being lost to the past that I miss.
I miss a time when the mandate from parents to their children went something like this, “If you get a whipping at school, you’ll get another one when you get home.” Gone are the days.
When I was a boy, one of our neighbors was involved in a farm accident.
The mishap occurred at a time when that same neighbor had 1600 square bales of first-cutting, red clover hay on the ground. The weather forecast was calling for rain. A call went out to all the farmers in the community as to the timeliness of the dilemma.
I was there the day it seemed every available hand in the community showed up. I had never seen so many trucks and hay wagons in my life. At the end of the day every bale was in the barn. Nary a bale got wet.
That day stands out as one of the grand days of my boyhood. Being there among all those friends and neighbors, united in a common cause made me feel good about my neighbors and about the world. And it made me feel good about myself. I miss those days.
I miss the days when grandma and grandpa either lived in the same house
with you, or they lived close by. And when the rose of grandma’s and grandpa’s lives began to fade, the children and grandchildren, and even the great-grandchildren, were around to witness their decline. And those of the younger generation heard the conversations about grandma’s and grandpa’s deteriorating health and saw with their own eyes the realities of our mortality.
I miss the days when parents were not hesitant to take their children to the funeral home to view a body and show their respect for the dead knowing that hard questions would be asked. It was a time when death was discussed as being an
integral part of life — a time when parents not only offered sound answers to difficult questions about life and death, but were also confident in there answers.
Among other things, I miss nickel soft drinks, and 10 cent hamburgers, and 19 cent milkshakes. I miss the gatherings at country stores. I miss wholesome programming on TV.
I miss hearing young folks saying “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” Yes, ma’am,” “No, ma’am,” “Please,” “Thank, you,” and “You’re welcome!” I hear it occasionally, but all too infrequently.
I miss seeing people displaying plain old “good manners.” Someone said that a gentleman holding a door open for a lady went out of style with the coming of the “women’s lib” movement years ago. Well, I’m sorry, but there are still a few of us
committed to seeing that chivalry is not dead.
I miss drive-in movies. And I miss walk-in movies where you didn’t have to mortgage your house to buy popcorn and a soft drink.
I miss dinner bells; and wood-burning, cooking stoves; and lively lads; and water buckets with silver dippers. I miss “drawing” water from a well and sleeping in a feather bed.
A few years back, I was sharing my thoughts on things I miss with my late mother. As I recall, it was somewhere around her 88th year.
“Well, I’ll tell you one thing I miss,” she declared, as she squared herself up in her chair, “I miss doors slamming. You can no longer tell if somebody is coming or going!” I my minds ear I could hear the slapping sound of a screen door slamming shut. There is no other sound like it.
I had better wrap this column up or I will miss my deadline.