THE BEST OF TIMES

Posted: January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Last week I was leaving a local restaurant when I spotted an old Coca Cola dispenser. My friend Jeff Davidson said that this cooler would really keep the drinks cold. I relayed a childhood story of how I had looked into one of these cases early one morning. A nickel would have to be deposited in a slot and the bottle slid along a rail and through a door that allowed the coke to be taken. The night before someone had popped the top off a bottle in the case, inserted a straw and enjoyed a cold coke in the middle of a hot summer Union Parish night. The empty bottle with a straw extending from it was still in the box. Jeff laughed and told me that he felt that when we grew up was probably the best time in our country’s history. Suddenly a flood of memories passed over me as I flashed back to the fifties and sixties. I couldn’t help but agree.
Moderation allows us to both enjoy the moment but still leaves enough for us to plan and build on. The 50s and 60s provided just such a situation. We would hit the door at early morning, came back for lunch and disappeared till supper. There was no concern of sexual predators nor disappearing children. We were left to our own faculties and the dust and dirt caked onto a young body disclosed a fun day. After the bath and supper one of the two TV channels would broadcast all the way until the station signed off with the Star Spangled Banner and Dixie. Today we have a hundred channels that remain on 24 hours. The ability to lay in bed and listen to the radio as Mickey Mantle hit a home run or enjoy the music of the Louisiana Hayride is long gone and so has a time to imagine what is happening in Yankee Stadium.
In the middle of summer we would look for the couple of rooms that provided relief from the incessant heat. These rooms had a huge air conditioner that protruded from a window and doors were closed to keep the cool air contained. The whole house was not air conditioned but enough rooms were kept cool so that we appreciated the welcomed escape. Today all this is taken for granted.
When we played baseball in summer there were many a young man that would throw his cleats over his shoulder and hit the road with thumb extended. No one thought it was a hardship to hitchhike to practice. It was simply a way to get to the park and if you walked so be it. The end justified the means. If you lived in town you walked to school. There were frigid mornings that my mother would “slick down” my hair with water and by the time I reached the front door of the school I could squeeze the hair and listen to the frozen crackling of my locks. No one told us we needed a ride to school and it was not expected. We would run and play when school let out and spent the evening at the kitchen table doing homework. No one went inside to play; it was wide open outside.
Telephones were being installed around the parish in the 50s. My wife finally got service in the early 70s. No one was attached to their phone and there was no feeling of the umbilical cord being cut when an iPhone loses its’ battery. Early deployment of phones required party lines and depending on the ring tone a person would now if the phone call was for them. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to have a telephone of any kind.
It’s amazing how our lives changed in just half a century. No time in the history of our planet has such a change taken place in how we live as what we have witnessed. But yet with all these improvements in life the one thing we never heard when growing up was, “I’m bored”.

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