My Dad grew up on a farm without electricity or indoor plumbing. Throughout his life, he waxed nostalgic about the “Good ole days.”
As a kid, I listened to his stories and thought, no thanks, I like switching on the lights and flushing the toilet!
Now that I’m an elder, I fear I am falling into the same trap as Dad!
When I was a kid (see what I mean?), we changed clothes and headed outside after school, not to be seen again until supper. One of our favorite games was “army.” After choosing up sides, we battled the length of the neighborhood shooting toy guns at each other. “Pow Pow Pow, you’re dead Pete.” Can you imagine? Today someone would call social services!
When it came to sports, we chose team captains who then chose up sides (Yes, some kids got picked last). We refereed our own games, working out solutions on disputed plays without primadonna parents adding their two cents from the sidelines.
When was the last time you saw kids playing in the neighborhood and organizing their own affairs? Today’s parents arrange “play dates” for their children. The phrase alone makes me cringe!
So, are we progressing as a society?
Before you answer that question, allow me to provide one more example:
I’ve always been a music fan. Here are some of the albums released in 1971 during my sophomore year in high school:
1. “Who’s Next” The Who
2. “Sticky Fingers” The Rolling Stones
3. “What’s Goin On” Marvin Gay
4. “Blue” Joni Mitchel
5. “L.A. Women” The Doors
6. “Fragile” Yes
7. “Led Zepplin IV.”
Have you listened to the crap that tops the charts today? Popular music always attempts to alienate elders. All I can add is, “Job well done!”
My Dad was an optimist, but towards the end of his long life, he told me in some ways, he was relieved that he wouldn’t be around to see the car go over the cliff! Dad was a patriot, but firmly believed the United States was rapidly becoming a second-class nation.
I’m not sure anything that’s happened since his passing in 2011 would change those views!
I’m also an optimist, but recently, I must confess to having some of the same thoughts as Dad. Is it just me, or are elders just so inclined?
Jackson Browne recently released a new album, “Downhill From Everywhere,” and it’s really good. For those keeping score at home, his 1973 release “For Everyman” included “These Days,” “Take It Easy,” and “Ready or Not.” Anyway, one of the best songs on his new album ends with a lyric that sums up my feelings about our modern times:
“I wanna think it’s gonna be alright,
It’s just a little soon to say!”
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