Going back to the future


One of my kids asked me one time, “What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?” I replied, “We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up, all the food we ever ate was slow.” He then cried out and said, “C’mon, Dad, seriously, where did you eat?” I told him the “fast food” place that was our favorite was a place called home. Our mom cooked every day, and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.” By this time, he was laughing so hard I was afraid to tell him how I had to have permission to leave the table.

There were other things I could have told him, too. I could have told him that some parents NEVER owned their own home back then. They never wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the county or had a credit card. My parents never drove me to soccer practice. In fact, we never had heard of soccer. We walked to school every day. In fact, we were like the postal service, it didn’t matter, rain, sleet or snow, we still walked. I had a bicycle that only had one speed, and it was, you guessed it, slow. We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 11, and it was black and white. I was 13 before I had ever eaten in a restaurant, and we did that because we were on a trip to Columbus. In fact, Columbus was as far as I had ever traveled until I was 18. We didn’t even own a decent car until I was 15. And this may shock you, but I never had a telephone in my room, let alone a cell phone, and the only phone in the house was on a party line, and you had to dial the phone before you could get out. And listen to me, before you could dial it, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line. Pizzas were not delivered to our home, but milk was. I delivered newspapers, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents.

When I tell my children and grandchildren these stories, they roll their eyes as if I am spewing a fairy tale, and yet it wasn’t what we didn’t have that counted, it was what we DID HAVE. Yes, my friends, we didn’t have a lot, but we had something that is missing in most of America today. We had respect for God and country. We showed respect for adults, and we never called them by their first name. In fact, today, if I would ever see my next door neighbor when I was growing up, I would still call him Mr. Hale.

We even prayed and read the Bible in the public school system. School Christmas concerts and plays were a mainstay, and the baby Jesus was always present. We said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and church was not a passing fancy with the majority of families. In fact, you were the “odd man out” if you didn’t attend services, because people of faith were a main fixture in our community.

Boy, oh boy, things have really changed, haven’t they? But my question for you as we conclude this article is, “Have they changed for the better?” Don’t you think that morally and spiritually we need to go back to the future?