We are sitting under a fresh blanket of snow, a white Christmas here in the Heartland. I watch the birds out in the yard, pecking away at the food I put out for them, and see them hide behind an old tractor tire to get out of the fierce northern wind. I am reminded of how fortunate I am in this life, and the hardships that I have to bear, seem to almost fade away when I look at their collective plight this cold winter day.
2012 was a pretty rough row to hoe for me, a lot of not so nice stuff happened to me personally in 2012. I lost a couple of really good friends to cancer, lost some more or along the way quite by accident, and my money didn’t even slow down when it got to me. Life takes it collective pound of flesh and I bled a little bit. But I came out the other side, 2013 is right around the corner, nothing turns out the way you expect it to anyway.
“If everything went the way we wanted, the way we expected it all to be, that would be awfully boring.
Wouldn’t you agree?”
Much too often in 2012 I found myself wanting to steal away to my secret place and lick my wounds. I found myself tiring of this daily fare of mayhem, malfeasance in business and government, war, and violence in this country. I would usually drift back a long ways in time to find the sustenance of hope my soul required, all the way back to the days of my youth, to endless summers, under a hot sun.
I guess we all want to backslide or go back to the time that we affectionately refer to as “The Good Old Days” that mythical time in our lives when things were considerably less stressful and simpler. For my money, I am going to say it was better, at least for me it was.
Life was much slower — Violence in those days was almost unheard of. There was a simple code, if you had a problem with someone, after school you met them in the park and you duked it out. About the worse thing that could happen to you was a bloody nose. I do not every recall anyone shooting anyone or even hearing of such a thing. Disputes were settled quickly and fairly, at the Grove, about 3:30 P.M. after the last bell.
If you were really nasty or outright mean, they usually just locked you up.
Here is the point, nothing has really changed about the accessibility of guns, but the character of the man. Guns are somewhat harder to obtain than they used to be true, but the people who are buying them have changed considerably over the years. America as far as guns has not changed all that much, in 2012 we again attained the status of being the #1 Arms Supplier on the planet. Our lives may have changed, lifestyles radically altered, and the nation as such, became more violent (at least that is what the media coverage would have you to believe) each day.
Who needs or wants anything to do with that?
We no longer start our day in school with a pledge or a prayer, and traffic doesn’t back up on Sunday to make it difficult for anyone to get to the alter or our favorite seat in the pew down front. We “claim to be a nation of Christians, but act like pagans” in our day to day lives. Our churches are mainly empty and shallow, almost to the point of being museums. Money is our god and greed is our lifestyle.
The good old days.
On any given day, you could walk through the high school parking lot and observe that half of the vehicles parked there were trucks with the windows down and the doors unlocked. In rural America, most of these trucks carried as standard equipment, an FFA Sticker (Future Farmers Of America or a Wetland/Ducks America Decal in the back window) a gun rack with at least one gun (usually loaded). You didn’t have to loop the chain around the spare tire, you didn’t need a locking gas cap. People respected your stuff and you did the same. If you got into trouble at school, then you were in BIG TROUBLE at home, before you even got home.
The America I live in now is not even a glimpse of what it used to be and I find that so sad. There are no hero’s on our horizons for our youth to admire or emulate, we have no visible good guys left in society to look up to. The argument that is so popular now …. “Is this a great country or what?” …. Is certainly not easy to sell here at home or abroad.
Although my memory regrettably not as sharp as it used to be, sometimes fools me into believing all of this is going to get better. But deep down, I fear it is not. I almost know it is not. I am almost certain. We have become lax (lazy) we do not pay attention to details. We no longer teach our young the basic’s of civility. They no longer respect their elders, the flag, authority, or have any kind of accountability to God. All important notions when you wax fondly back to the “Good Old Days.”
As we turn another page and head off into a bright new future (at least that is what I am being told awaits us) I have no real idea if the “Good Old Days” were any better at all. But please, please, do not try and convince me that these times we live in now are all that great.
They aint — And I just cannot buy into it.