I grew up in the safest place in America. And it could be argued, I grew up in the safest time in the storied history of our great nation.
Listen, when I was eight years old, I would walk by myself up Stonewall Street, turn down Bell Avenue, take a left on to N. Tennessee, make a right at Georgia Avenue, left at Ruth Street, go about fifty yards on W. Florida till I reached Elm. It wasn’t as long as it sounds, somewhat less than a mile.
Pat Houston’s Grocery was located on the east side of Elm Street near where Euclid Avenue turned off toward Gleason. The mission was a pack of baseball cards and maybe a Frostie Root Beer. A nickel in 1955 would buy you either one.
Mom would see me off with a wave and the mandatory, “Be careful.” But to be honest, there wasn’t much to be careful of…..
We had very little traffic. And the moment a vehicle saw someone near the street they instinctively slowed to a crawl. All would wave. And most would stop and offer you a ride. It never crossed anyone’s mind that somebody might pick you up with the intent to do bodily harm.
It just wasn’t even a possibility in 1955.
I loved it when Mr. Melton stopped. I’d crawl up in his big pickup already knowing that when I told him “Pat Houston’s” he’d go out of his way to deliver me there safe and sound. And I’d get to look at his guns.
Not many folks had gun racks in those days. Mr. Melton’s big rifle was laid across the seat. He’d sit it up between us as he asked about the family. The Colt pistol was on the dash. Mr. Melton was a farmer. And I guess he kept the guns close in case he ran across a snake or some other varmint.
It actually made me feel safe. Wasn’t nobody going to bother me with Mr. Melton by my side!
The mid ’50’s were encompassed by the good feelings lingering from the victories of World War II. Peace on earth wasn’t a pipe dream. Everybody liked Ike. Medicine had reached the point where Polio was a thing of the past. Life wasn’t perfect for all, but we were all trying to get better…..
People went to church. In earnest! They prayed for their fellow man. They loved their neighbor. They understood that every life was ordained by God. And that each person was marvelously and wonderfully made in His own image.
How easy it is to respect life when you understand how we all came by it.
We could not, in our wildest imagination, envision someone firing a gun into a crowd of people under any circumstances!
Maybe my Pollyanna upbringing is why I’m so appalled, and at a complete loss to understand, the barrage of random and senseless shootings taking place across our land today.
I don’t blame guns or mental health or the Taliban. And let me give you the scoop on white supremacist. There is no such thing! Except maybe in somebody’s warped mind!
I’m mostly white. And I grew up on turnip greens and cornbread because we couldn’t afford anything else. I picked cotton, pulled on the “green chain” at a saw mill and hauled hay for living money. I worked three jobs to keep myself in college. I am well below average in thinking out loud ability. I missed by a country mile in the looks department and I have sinned way more than most…..
I’m living proof that this white supremacist thing is an absolute myth!
We’ve got to find some real solutions to the mass shooting problem. Fast! And I don’t think government is the answer. We’ve got Congressmen, both male and female, Republicans and Democrats that have been in office for thirty plus years pointing fingers and decrying, “We’ve got to do something!” “It’s time to act!” “We need legislation now!”
Folks, they’ve had thirty years!! Come on now…..we better wake up as a nation! They obviously don’t have the answer. But they may bear responsibility for the problem. They’ve legislated God out of most all “official” activities…..
Somebody ought to be asking, “What did we have in America in 1955 that we don’t have today?”
I have pointed this out to people before. How quiet and calm and loving most everybody and everything was “back then.” When confronted with this fact, their answer is invariably the same, “Well, that was a different time.”
My point exactly!