Remember when life was much simpler and stress levels were as low as gas prices? We sometimes refer to those times now as “The good old days.” We never locked our houses during the day and if you left your bicycle in the front yard overnight, it would be there when you woke up the next morning. Dad would leave for work and Mom would begin her long day cleaning and cooking. You could actually get by with one income back then and still be able to put a little money away for those rainy days.
TV shows were clean and wholesome and parents did not have to worry about their kids seeing any nudity or violence. God was still mentioned without the fear of some government agency censoring them. I remember when Andy Griffith played Sheriff Andy Taylor on TV and how we looked up to him as a positive role model. Andy had a way of dealing with life’s little problems that were effective and gentle. You never heard the words drugs or sex mentioned, and violence on the show was almost nonexistent except for the time Floyd the barber punched Barney in the nose. You never saw a couple in bed together either. They both had their own single beds and pajamas were mandatory.
We had no video games or electronic devices so we played baseball in an empty lot next to the church or rode our bikes until we could not pedal any longer. We invented toys to play with. One of my favorites was the can telephone which consisted of two tin cans with a hole punched through the bottom. Then you would thread string through the hole and tie it to an old nail. Next, you would stretch the line taut and speak into the can. It was not very efficient but we had fun with it! Crawfishing was another pastime that we enjoyed during April and May. Mom would give me some meat scraps from the dish she was preparing and off I went on my bike with a small tree branch and about 6 feet of string tied to the end. When I found a ditch with at least a foot of muddy water, I would tie a small meat scrap to the other end and put it in the water and a few seconds later, you would see the string move. That was the telltale sign that you had a crawfish on your line. The trick was pulling the line smoothly but fast enough so the crawfish would hang on while you swung him over your bucket and shook him loose. You would repeat the process until you had enough to take home to boil and eat.
Now, every kid ever born thinks that he or she had it hard and every parent thinks his or her child has it made. For some strange reason, my Dad who grew up during the depression seemed to think it was a contest to see who had it worse. I heard more than once about how he had to walk 2 miles to school every day and back home in the afternoon. The funny thing about that little story was that his older brother who lived in the same house and went to the same school told me that he had to walk 1 mile to school. Either my dad was exaggerating or his brother did not tell him about the short cut he had found.
I remember gas being 24.9 cents per gallon and there was no such thing as self-serve pumps. A nice man named Mr. Bud would come to the car in a clean pressed uniform and would fill the car up and then check your oil, tires, and windshield wipers. Dad would pay him and Mr. Bud would reach into his pocket and pull out a huge roll of bills to make change. You did not have to worry about being robbed and there was no such thing as “the bad part of town” either.
Well, here we are now in 2015. It seems as if most people are stressed about one thing or another. You cannot turn the television on without seeing a half-nude body or someone being hacked into pieces by a machete- wielding lunatic. God is now taboo because apparently he offends some people. You can communicate with another person anywhere in the world and gas prices are through the roof, not to mention the oil company’s profits. There are now areas that we must avoid or stand the chance of being a victim of crime.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is nice and there are many comforts that we now have that are great. However, in many ways I miss the simple times of “The good old daze!”