I remember growing up in a small east Texas town named Marshall. It was a grand time to be alive and growing. I couldn’t wait until I graduated high school and could get out of town and make my mark on the world.
If you had asked me what my plan was, I couldn’t tell you. I just wanted to leave the small hick town and get away from everyone where I could be free. I was also getting into trouble and my Mom called the Army recruiter and the next week I was on my way to boot camp at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
So, I was out and free and except for a visit or two, I never went back to Marshall. The first thing I realized was how big the U.S.A. was. In boot camp we had a Cajun Sergeant and also two Afro-American guys from Brooklyn, New York. I had to act as interpreter because the Sergeant couldn’t understand those with a Brooklyn accent and they sure couldn’t understand a Cajun accent.
I finished basic training and went to diesel mechanic school and since I had been working for Mosley’s 66 , I was able to test out and then started teaching electrical automotive theory. I was doing well. Then I received orders to go to an undisclosed place in “Southeast Asia.” I wasn’t versed in Geography and remember thinking at least it’s not Vietnam. I was shortly informed that “Southeast Asia” was Vietnam.
I really didn’t mind because I was doing something worthwhile. I was fighting for a cause. Not sure what kind of cause but it had meaning and it had value, even though at the time I didn’t totally understand all of it.
Fast forward forty plus years and I have grown a lot wiser and definitely more educated. However, I find myself longing for the good ole days when life was much more simpler and not moving so fast.
Sure we had problems just like everyone else. We had hardships and injustices. I remember a neighbor who lost all he had in a house fire. We stood out in his front yard unable to help. I remember my sister not being able to get in the lead car to go to Bossier City, Louisiana, and that car hit a bridge covert and killed five out of the six. I remember my boss’s son being killed coming back from Fort Polk one rainy night.
There were tough times and hard times but we trudged along knowing deep inside that there had to be a purpose and a reason and some day we would figure it out.
That some day has never been figured out. It has always been illusive and never definitive. However, it was all we had to hold onto and we clutched it earnestly while conquering the injustices and wrongs we were facing.
Let’s not get too depressed because we had a lot of good days. Marriage, family, and relations let us draw upon each other and share good times together: fishing in Caddo Lake and Lake of the Pines, swimming and feeling the little Brim peck at your legs, frog gigging and survival trips on the Sabine River.
I remember earning merit badges for the Boy Scout Troop and romance at the Corral Club. There is just something about holding a girl in your arms and smelling her hair and perfume that will fill you with emotions that will always be remembered in the back of your mind.
Now, as a senior citizen, I have passed the midway point in my life. Actually, I have passed the two thirds point. The world is a big mess and I would be lost without my wife of forty plus years and the good memories I still have.
When looking back, it seems we have lost the moral and ethic values we once had. Worse, returning to our era is just not an option. So we are forced and compelled to adjust, adapt, ignore, and look the other way while the younger generation moves into the position of running the world.
Our opinions are old and out of date and we are left to minding our children and accused of not paying attention; sort of like my Mother and Dad felt when I was growing up.
The other day, I joined a forum and started discussing politics. After ranting and raving a few days, my wife politely informed me that I needed to get out of the Forum because I was going around yelling, upset, and screaming at the T.V.
I repented for my actions, as soon as the rage left, and prayed for the idiot in the Forum and on the T.V. So, feeling down and rejected because I could not voice my opinion well enough to change their minds, I resorted to writing an article where I could express my frustrations.
I feel much better now and am in a perfectly good mood. I will try and maintain this attitude as long as I can.
I still have a nagging question though, What the Hell Happened In The Last Forty Years?