Come go with me, I want to take you back….way back, before internet when all telephone calls were channeled through an operator. I am talking about hide and seek at dusk, and catching lightning bugs in a jar. When students made lines on the play ground and played mother-may-I. When most decisions were made with a simple “eeny-meeny-miney-mo” It was a time when a child’s true abilities were discovered with a “I double-dog dare you.” It was a time when there were only two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds and PF Flyers)…and the only time you wore them at school was for “gym.” In today’s world many of the children of this era would have been placed on medication for being ‘tickled to death’ or “running until you were out of breath.” Oh, yes, the most common ailment was being tired from playing so hard. Now can you imagine a group of adults who lived during this time and all of the previous statements were part of their lifestyle. That’s exactly what happened this Valentine’s Day.
As they entered the dining room where they had gathered for the evening, it was obvious their vision was not quite as acute as it once was and movement was somewhat slower. However, given the circumstances of their earlier life and realizing, according to today’s standards and their serious deprivation, it was quite astonishing. If you had required a personal resume for attendance to the event it would have read like a ‘who’s who’ of the American dream. Keep in mind these young ladies were required to be home from a date at 11:00 p.m. on weekends and if they were fortunate enough to have a date on Sunday evening or Wednesday it invariably was a ‘church date.’ It was these men and women who were the scholars, athletics, the doers and the givers. It was these men and women who worked on the farms plowing fields and tending crops. It was these men and women who responded to the call of duty to fight for freedom in VietNam. It was and is a group of men and women who still have the utmost respect for our country. It is these men and women who live by a code that it is never wrong to do what is right.But here they were; individual entrepreneurs, office managers, building contractors, college professor, brokers, teachers, community leaders and the list goes on.
A review of times gone by saw boy friends and girl friends having gone separate ways and some of the group had married individuals outside the immediate community. These differences were minor as festivities of the evening were enhanced by listening to the Romantic songs as played on a classical guitar. The statement of the evening had to be; “you haven’t change a bit.” (liar, liar, pants on fire).
If the Huffington Post did a review of the of the young men and women of this small town and the core values that had sustained them in their pilgrimage of life they would find a group of individuals with a strong work ethic, a way of life inherent in their culture and passed on by their parents. Secondly, their personalities clearly indicated a positive attitude best seen in their servants mentality. They were people who assisted other people and ‘self’ was not at the center of their life . The most important factor was individuals who had a personal relationship with God and lived lives that were God honoring.
The inevitable comment at the end of this glorious evening was, “we have to do this more often” reverberated loud and clear. One thing is for sure as we parted for the evening, it will be the laughter we remember, when we remember the way we were.
Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.