No. 1125



When it comes to nostalgia, I have a confession to make: I’m hooked. I love things that remind me of how things used to be in our country many years ago.
When I married Janis almost two years ago, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to spend so much time at Pickles Gap Village that she owns. The village consists of several different businesses, including a large flea market that contains practically everything under the sun. You can find stuff there that dates all the way back to the 1800s, some still in remarkably good condition.
In the old days I can remember when the lady of the house would build a fire under the wash pot out in the yard and boil clothes to loosen the dirt. After boiling, she would remove them and use a washboard -- like ones you can still find in a flea market -- to scrub them clean before running them through a series of rinse waters. One of my favorite stories that came from this era was about a young lad who was late for school one frosty morning, in the dead of winter. When the principal demanded to know why he was late, this young lad said, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” With this reply, the principal said, “Why don’t you just try me and see if I believe you.”
With this invitation he began by saying, “At our house for the past several weeks, pert near ever night we have had something out in the hen house stealing our chickens. After hearing a racket during the night, sure enough, the next morning we would have two or three chickens missing.
“My Pa finally had enough and he vowed that if it was the last thing he ever did, he was going to get that varmint. Well, last night, around midnight we heard the racket again and this time Pa was ready. He got out of bed, lit the coal oil lantern, got his 12-gauge shotgun down from the rack and, without any shoes on and still in his long handles, he headed for the hen house. When he got to the door, with the coal oil lantern in one hand his shot gun in the other, he began to shine the light back and forth to see what it was.
“After a bit, he could see the form of something larger than a chicken and then he picked up the reflection of its eyes. He slowly cocked the hammer of his shotgun and was getting ready to shoot, but because he was all bent over, the flap of his long handles came up. About that time our hound dog Blue came up behind him and cold-nosed him. Boy, you should have heard that shotgun when it went off. I bet they could hear it in the next county. Now, I told you that you would not believe me, but the reason I am late is because our whole family has been up picking chickens since 2 o’clock this morning.”
Someone once said, “nostalgia is that which makes things seem a hundred times more wonderful than they did when they were actually taking place.” In many respects, I have a longing for things to be like they used to be in our country. To be honest, however, I never want to go back to not having a washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, indoor plumbing, television, automobile, computer, and of course the list is endless. A final thought in the form of a question: When you consider the crime and all the other social problems in our country, could it be that our affluence is our undoing?
It is hard to be humble and grateful when you have never had to do without. Personally, I have always appreciated those people of means who make their children work for what they receive.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)