Do you Miss the Way things Used to Be?

When I was a little boy I would ride my bike around the neighborhood and beyond. I never worried about theft, hit and run drivers, or any nefarious activity in the small town of Fairfax, California. It was a joy to go down to the creek and watch the skeeters float by while viewing frogs, and even small fish in the cascade creek.

I lived on Meadow Way which was accessed by only one route, a small bridge that was suspended over the creek by large cement pylons. The pylons formed the perfect club house under the bridge for our weekly meetings. Mostly the eight boys in the neighborhood would discus tree forts, playing army, and the latest plastic army men we’d seen at the local five and dime. Life seemed to be very simple as we weren’t bombarded with all the distracting technological devices, social media, disparaging song lyrics, or a community that was divided.

When we rode our bikes or walked to town we actually looked each person in the eye and gave a greeting based upon our personal or distant relationship with that individual. We weren’t staring at our cell phone, or distanced by headphones, or any other musical or communication device that would disconnect us with humanity. We actually loved the connection with others not caring what they owned, where they worked, or whom they new. It was the basis for a strong community that would rally to each other if there were any sad or challenging moments in that person or families life.

Conversely we would extol the virtues and applaud those that experienced the joy of having a baby, giving back to the community, or just being a good person. This selfless desire to promote others through random acts of kindness was the backbone of this small community. Because of this communal connection there were rarely any events that required police activity or any other behavior modification. We looked out for each other, respected our elders, and obeyed the laws in place to protect us.

Of course there were times that I (can’t speak for anyone else) got into trouble. Like when I didn’t come home until 3pm when I was supposed to be home at ll am. Or when I was just introduced to sling shots and shot out the neighbor’s window. But for the most part life was about the simplicity of conversations, experiences for the first time, and the unconditional love from my parents. These attributes I like to think became second nature as we navigated passed the obstacles that occur to different degrees through-out our entire lives.

As we reach our twilight years “we can look back and lament at another day’s useless energy spent” (the Moody Blues), or we can forge through the greatest distance we’ll ever travel… the six inches between our ears. Our lives are entwined with each other as we only have a small degree of separation that leads to the connectivity bringing us our most delightful expression… the love we seek and the unbridled joy we receive from giving to others.


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