Remember summer when you were a kid? When a day seemed soooo long. Being inside looking at a screen hadn’t been invented yet. That meant being outside watching ants on the sidewalk and taking bike rides to the ice cream shop. That meant afternoons at the swimming pool. It meant helping hang laundry on an actual clothesline. It meant freedom. Things are less work than they used to be, but are they better?
Why are tiny people such loud speakers? They embarrass you in restaurants with their loud voices. They yell into the phone so you must move it away from your ear. They demand to be seen because they are shorter than all the normal speakers out there. “Hear me now!” they say in loud voices. “Hear me!”
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Momma Maudie ran the family. She made up the rules and decided what everyone would do to help the family. Sometimes the littlest ones had ideas of their own. An “ahem” from Momma Maudie would shut them down fast. She gave me the job of finding out how we could get rich with cryptocurrency. I made her rich, but me too, and then I took off for Portugal and never looked back. So long, Momma Maudie!
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Historically speaking, I’d have to pick Christmas as my favorite holiday. The decorating, the meals on good china, the kids’ excitement over presents and surprises in stockings.
On the other hand, watching a child ooh and aah over fireworks or running about with a sparkler in hand on a summer night is a pretty good time. But have you ever noticed that the 4th of July doesn’t have a candy? No candy corn, no chocolate bunnies, no tiny hearts printed with funny stuff, no peppermint sticks. Really, every holiday needs a candy.
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As a kid I was a big tomboy. An only child, I became my father’s son and companion for hunting, fishing, and golf. My mom taught me to cook and made me responsible for washing the dishes every day before she got home from work. I rode my bike all over my small Colorado town without fear. I read millions of books and played all four sides of a Monopoly board by myself. I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
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Nobody tells you to buckle up anymore. It isn’t necessary. Everyone just does it. But when seat belts first came along and the government was telling people to to use them, there were very controversial.
Why do we protest so much about things that are good for us? The human animals is so full of contradictions it’s hard to keep up with the nonsense we argue about. As Mr. Spock would say, “Humans are not logical.”
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I don’t miss writing checks to pay for everything and mailing them off in stamped envelopes to pay my bills. I don’t miss getting a whole chicken to cut up and then having to find someone foolish enough to eat the giblets. I don’t miss unairconditioned houses. I don’t miss twisting the handle on a mimeograph machine to make copies. I don’t miss those aspects of my youth. But I do miss my youth.
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If you’re vaccinated you’ve probably started going back to some of your favorite things. If you’re me, your favorite things include meals with friends. So far we’ve met in the park, at a fun new food hall in town, and in each other’s kitchens. It feels so wonderful just to be with friends again, doesn’t it?
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Remember back in the 1950s when we used to iron and starch jeans so that they had a crease in the front and back? When you hung up pants you’d just ironed you lined up the inseams and carefully laid them over the hanger with the creases held in place.
The other day I realized I’m still lining up inseams and hanging jeans as if they had a crease to protect. As if my no-iron denim would hold a shape. As if I hadn’t thought about how to hang pants in 60 years.
If fact, I hadn’t thought about it in 60 years. Old habits die hard. We cling to things that make no sense in the modern world. Maybe it’s time to rethink a lot of things – not just the way to put jeans on a hanger. A few topics that most everyone needs to rethink include race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Make your own list.
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The first election I recall being aware of was Stevenson vs. Eisenhower back in the 1950s when I was in junior high. My parents liked Ike, but my friend Judy was adamant about Stevenson. The interesting thing to me back then was that she cared so much, thought it was so important. Now I realize why – Judy was Jewish and the election mattered to her in ways I didn’t understand then. Since I turned 21, I’ve voted in every election. Have you?
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