No. 585



One evening a grandson was talking with his grandfather about current events. The grandson asked his grandfather what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age and just things in general. The grandfather's response was tremendously interesting and thought provoking, and I would like to share it with you. After reading and pondering it, I believe you will agree.
I would like to say that I am indebted to my good friend Carolyn Wilson, executive director of the Mississippi Press Association, for passing this along. In reality, that's what good friends do for each other, as it helps to fight off boredom and senility.
Now, back to the grandfather's response. As we go along, here is a question I would like for you to be thinking about: How old is this man? He said, "Well, let me think a minute. I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There were no credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not invented: pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man had not yet walked on the moon.
He goes on to say: "Your Grandmother and I got married first ... and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother. Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, 'Sir.' After I turned 25, I still called every man older than me, 'Sir.' We were before gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, daycare centers and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment and common sense. We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.
"Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent. Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins. Draft Dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends, not purchasing condominiums. We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt or guys wearing earrings. We listened to Big Bands, Jack Benny and the President's speeches on our radios.
"And I don't remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey. If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan' on it, it was junk. The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam. Pizza Hut, McDonald's and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 & 10 cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel and enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards. You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600 ... but who could afford one? That's too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.
"In my day: 'grass' was mowed, 'coke' was a drink, 'pot' was something your mother cooked in and 'rock music' was your grandmother's lullaby. Aides were helpers in the principal's office, 'chip' meant a piece of wood, 'hardware' was found in a hardware store and 'software' wasn't even a word. We were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us 'old and confused' and say there is a generation gap ... and how old do you think I am?"
His answer may surprise you, and you may also be in for a shock. When you think about it, his answer is pretty scary and pretty sad at the same time. This man would only be 65 years old. Here is the real question: where will our nation be 65 years from now?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")