America turns 243 years old this week. Happy Birthday!
It seems like every generation has uttered the same phrase when thinking of birthdays past, “Back in the good old days ...” My parents, when talking about the “good old days,” spoke of the Great Depression. A time where survival and the next meal were high on the priority list. Dad talked of having beans every day for supper and a Thanksgiving where the meal was beans with ham pieces mixed in; of how he and siblings would stop at his grandmother’s house for breakfast on the way to school. Breakfast every day was a biscuit and a cup of milk. I am sure there was some exaggeration in the stories he told, but I believe them to be closer to the truth than we realize.
For my generation, the good old days were days without computers. Phones were not carried around in pockets but were party lines. You may have to wait for your neighbor to stop talking on his phone before you could use yours. Except for a few gas stations and restaurants, all the businesses closed on Sunday. During summer vacation, which lasted much longer, children were out of the house from morning until the street lights came on (if you lived in town) or until the cows mysteriously all knew to go back to the barn (if you lived in the country). During my childhood, a woman never cussed and rarely did men cuss in front of women. Somewhere along the way, women wanted to lower themselves to be equal with men; now both sexes cuss all the time.
In the good old days of my youth, certain professions held a level of respect. The clergy, law enforcement officers, even politicians, were respected. Yes, everyone expected exaggerations when it came to campaign promises, but overall they were looked upon as moral leaders within the community, people who could be trusted to have truth, justice, and the American way close to heart.
My grandchildren range in age from 5 to 18. In another 40 to 50 years when they look back at their “good old days,” what will they see?
Imagine two good friends sharing the Fourth of July holiday in the year 2059, as they sit down on the porch, reminiscing about the good old days, way back in 2019.
“Hey Joe, glad you and the family could make it over today. Another Fourth of July.”
“Glad to be here, Tom. Remember the good old days when we used to set off fireworks in the backyard?”
“Yeah, these kids today don’t understand it when I tell them about the fireworks. How we set them off, and I don’t think they believe me when I tell them the whole town would go down to the park and watch a display of colors in the sky. It’s a shame, that not long after they took away guns, they outlawed anything that might be used as an explosive.”
“Those were the days, weren’t they? Remember, back then, people were still arguing over abortion? Now, a person or their family has to go to court to keep a loved one from being euthanized at 85.”
“I heard just the other day that a group of senators is trying to get that lowered to 80.”
“Tom, we know it’s all a money thing. There isn’t enough money in Social Security because the politicians spent it all. So they are killing off the old people, so they don’t have to pay them.”
“Remember how all that started? Raising the retirement age to 67, then 70, now 75. Now, 10 years after retirement, a person is deemed non-productive and a strain on society.”
“That would have never happened back in the day.”
“You’re right, but it kinda just crept up on us.”
“Even the arguments were simpler when we were kids. Remember when we were on the debate team in high school, and we argued about if a man should be allowed to use the women’s restroom?”
“Yes, Joe, I remember. Well, society fixed that problem. Now, all we have is single-use restrooms.”
“Tom, have you told the grandkids about the debate team? That’s something they don’t have anymore.”
“I’m not quite sure why they got rid of those. Was it because we did not want to be offensive by arguing a point, or is it because no one is entitled to a second opinion?”
“I think it was a little bit of both.”
“Well, Joe, what do ya say, why don’t we get off the porch and pitch some horseshoes?”
“Might as well.”
As Tom and Joe walk toward the horseshoes, Tom blurts out, “Did you see another state voted to go bilingual, having both Spanish and English as official languages?”
Joe wins the horseshoe match 21-18, but they couldn’t tell anyone because keeping score was offensive to some of the younger folk in the family.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Contact info: email — email@example.com; mail: Tim Johnson, 410 S. Jefferson St., Rockville, IN 47872. Pastor Tim is available for preaching, revivals, prophecy conferences, and other speaking.