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The simple life

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By Ken Begley

Some winter, huh?

Did you ever think about the positive side really bad weather brings?

It’s rest and being with your family.

Sounds funny doesn’t it?  But sometimes the weather gets so bad that life slows down to a crawl.  You can’t go anywhere because the roads are snowed in.  Even if you could go somewhere, everything is pretty much shut down.  

So what happens?

You stay home and bundle up for a day or two.  Maybe play in the snow, watch television, play cards, or get out some old board games.

Things just slow down for a day or two.

I love it.  

It reminds me of my youth.  I’m 52, so I’m talking about the 60’s and early 70’s.  It really was different back then.  

Those were the days when every family had one car, one phone, and one television.   

All kids walked or rode their bikes to school when close enough.  Nobody was afraid to let them.  

It was when Dad went to work during the day and came back in time for supper to large families.  Mom’s full-time job was at home.

There were probably only one or two small restaurants in town.  Your family rarely, if ever, ate outside your own house.  

If your family took a vacation, it might have been for a picnic and a day at Fountain Fairy Amusement Park in Louisville.  But it was never overnight.

It was a time when most stores closed at 5 p.m., and all were closed on Sunday.  Shoot, you couldn’t even get gas after 6 p.m.

Television would sign off the air at around 11:30 p.m., and there were only three different channels to choose from when it was broadcasting.  It was a lot tamer programming, as well.

You ended up talking a lot with your family and your neighbors.  Some played a lot of board games and cards in the winter.  Everyone would gather around the one TV.  

You could never get the kids to come in during the summer at night.  Playtime seemed to never end.  Kids spent most of their time outdoors because there was nothing to keep their interest indoors.  

Everyone knew each other so much better.    

Kids seldom played in any organized activity run by adults.  

Instead, you’d see large groups of kids get together in their neighborhoods without any supervision.  They made their own rules, their own leaders, and their own games.  There wouldn’t be an adult in sight.  

They roamed freely on long, lazy summer days, exploring the town or hills and valleys surrounding it, with nowhere to be and all the time in the world to do it in. Kids did get to be kids longer.  Now they live in this oh-so-competitive world where they’re pushed to grow up so fast.

Houses were smaller.  

Large families would be crowded together with two, three, and four to a room.   You didn’t have to worry about someone spending too much time by themselves and getting crazy ideas.  They had too much family around them all the time.  They had too much stability.

You can’t begin to list all the changes that have taken place in the last, say, 40 or 50 years.

Today it is rush, rush, rush to one activity or another, seven days a week.  

I don’t think God meant us to be that way.

We just don’t allow families to be families anymore.  

We’re all going in so many directions all the time to so many elaborate events, particularly for our kids.  I often wonder what this generation will have to look forward to after high school after having done so much in their youth.  

I don’t know what can top it.  

We seldom even eat together as family anymore.  The home has become a place that everyone just hangs their hat while running from activitiy to activity.  It doesn’t seem to be much more.

Sad isn’t it?

This Great Recession we’re in now is bringing many pains and misery.  But maybe, just maybe, it will slow us all down for lack of money.  Maybe it will be like one of these snowstorms that slows life down to a crawl.

Would that be so bad?