Some wonder why our country is like it is today. It’s obvious to those that have seen the changes. Here’s what I have seen.
The Rising Sun District 43 country school that my sister and I went to was our extended family. 25 students were like brothers and sisters. Our one and only teacher each year were definitely in charge. This was back when no one questioned the teacher’s authority.
The teacher had each class sit at a table in front of the school and answer questions from assignments given the day before. Everyone did their assignments or was embarrassed if they did not know the answers as the rest of the school watched. Not doing an assignment meant no recess.
Recess was time to learn how to play together as a true team. Sides were chosen before soccer or softball games started. The youngest or least athletic was usually last to be chosen. The older kids helped the younger kids improve. There were no cheating or breaking rules during the games. Everyone got along.
Our country school success was a family affair supported by our little community. Dads volunteered to keep the schoolhouse and grounds in great shape. Family school picnics were potluck dinners with incredibly great dishes provided by the mothers.
Kids helped too by volunteering to sweep, mop, scoop snow, etc. My preferred duty was unfolding our flag and raising it at the flagpole each morning then saluting it. At the end of the day, I lowered it and folded it properly. Our flag was respected because it represented heroes that fought and sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I learned that in history class.
Kids learned to be kids that played outside a lot more. They were forced to entertain themselves and were not as stressed out. If kids were around adults, they did not disrupt the conversations. They were seen and not heard.
When the phone rang on our party lines it was a friend, not some solicitation bothering us to get our hard-earned savings.
There were no iPhones to stare at while driving or walking down the sidewalk. People looked each other in the eye and said hello like they meant it. People communicated face to face.
Saturday morning meant catechism classes at the Immaculate Conception Church in Ulysses, Nebraska. A delicious Sunday lunch was cooking in the oven at home while we attended church mass. Religion played a more important role in our country at that time. We knew right from wrong. Cussing and vulgarity were not accepted as normal.
Sunday afternoon was for doing things other than watching sports on TV. Sports were not a big business. We understood one team wins and the other loses. My high school football team lost a game 93 to 6. It was a good lesson and not the end of the world.
The Sheriff’s Department and State Patrol were the law of the land. They were respected and listened to because they stopped people that were breaking the law. There were no reasons for arguments or resistance.
The news could be trusted since journalism meant not choosing sides and then giving a slanted viewpoint. Honest journalism kept us reading and listening to the news. Journalism could be trusted. The country was not as divided then. The bickering needs to stop.
It was a time when people play fair. Giving your word or a handshake was golden. Contracts were something lawyers needed to do for the really big deals.
It was a time thing were as close to perfect as they could be. This all sounds so distant now.
Call me naïve, but I am still somewhat stuck in those days, wishing we could get some of the good stuff back.
The changes in our country have been kind of like eating an elephant; it takes one bite at a time. The wrong changes set us back. There also have been many good chances and that’s what we need to focus on.
The good news is there are a lot of us that “get it” and still want to have a good life. Call me stubborn or old for my beliefs, but it will always be necessary to continue our fight to make our country better. Our role is to be “coaches” and train others to become model citizens.
Now you know why John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical became the company it is today and our ongoing direction in the future.