A straight-line wind came through and blew down a 60-year-old maple tree in my mother’s yard. Yesterday, we cut it up and took it off. It broke my heart to cut such a beautiful piece of nature. Still, it could have caused all sorts of damage if it had hit her house. So, we did what was needed.
At its base it was almost four feet wide. As we cut and loaded it on the trailer, I thought back to my childhood. It was the mid-70’s and my dad and mother hauled pulp wood. I had a distinct memory of crawling over fallen treetops and trying to handle tongs. Years went by and when I turned thirteen, I worked with a cousin that hauled pulp wood. We loaded it by hand. It was hard work but satisfying. I made enough money to do what I wanted, unlike today where everything has gone up astronomically.
I started to think about the past and the future. After a disappointing job report from the President and the warning of inflation that is on its way, I could not help but miss the ‘old days.’ My formative years was the late 70’s and 80’s, what a time to be alive. I was far to young to be overly concerned with the impending nuclear war that everyone feared. I was searching for crawfish in the nearest stream. Or sneaking into the neighbor’s pond to fish.
Life was much cheaper. I remember paying .68 cents a gallon for gasoline. I drove a ’77 Celica with a 22R engine. I filled up with gas like every week and a half. Coke was 35 cents and came in a bottle. I cut grass as a young’un and would walk to the store after cutting grass in the nearest trailer park. My brother and I would buy us a Barq’s Root Beer and a bag of peanuts. Then we sat out by the feed mill and would daydream about what we would grow up to be.
Then, we pushed the lawn mower home. Hard work was the norm down here, and it was just part of living. You got up with the sun and worked all day. No one complained (too much) because everyone was working. Unlike today, where it is more profitable to stay home and let Uncle Sam give you money. It’s funny, if you wanted to attract a partner (boyfriend/girlfriend) you had to have a job, a car made you even more desirable.
I don’t know what you have to do now, and I am afraid to ask.
Still, the present is not without its conveniences. You no longer must sit in the kitchen and talk on the landline. We have internet. Game consoles have far surpassed anything the 80s had. PCs are lightning quick, and minimum wage is no longer 4.25.
Yet, I long for the old days. People were nicer and less rushed. We took time to meet our neighbors, and fear was not as present as it is now. Democrats and Republicans may not have been best friends, but they respected each other. No one called for violence on someone else because they had a different opinion. We all loved our country, and if you didn’t, you kept it to yourself.
Plus, we had taboos. Some things were not discussed, and we were better off for it. Unfortunately, those days are long past. The cost of living is going to skyrocket, people will become more jaded, and violence will continue to be part of our ‘norm.’ I am not even going to talk about it, that’s a conversation for another time.
Well, I better get started. Y’all have a great day.