By Larry Oscar
As we all get older we have something to enjoy that all the young folks will just have to be patient to acquire….memories.
Memories are something that takes a lifetime to acquire. And in some cases they take a lifetime also to understand. Nothing in life is free, and this applies to memories just like everything else. You pay a price for the good and the bad ones. Funny thing, when you get old you can often look back on those bad memories with a bittersweet smile.
Somehow time and wisdom transforms those bad experiences in life to a not-so-painful memory. The whole thing just sort of fits together like a puzzle. The pains in life are something we have to experience along with the pleasures. Life is a mixed bag, or, as it has been said many times, “a box of chocolates”.
I know I find myself laughing at a lot of memories these days. Maybe that’s why younger people think all of us older folks are just plain crazy. You have to admit that it’s not normal to burst into laughter for no apparent reason at all. I hope the younger people today will have the same opportunity to experience the wonderful world that I have. What a time it was to be growing up in a free land of hope and prosperity.
It was a Christmas of electric trains, red bicycles, a soft warm puppy, and the safety of a warm home filled with smells of mom’s cooking. It was a new black and white television that yielded Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Roy Rogers, and the Lone Ranger. Bedtime was nine o’clock and the only reprieve was the Jack Benny or Red Skelton show.
Now just mention a black and white TV to a millennial and watch the cold stare in disbelief you get in return. In a conversation with a friend of mine he mentioned that his kids had been listening to some of his music of the sixties and seventies and how it captured their ear. They just don’t make music today like we did in the era of “peace and love”. I know one thing for sure. I wish I had my 56 Chevy back. Cars seemed to be a lot bigger back then. I’m sure that was because we were all much smaller in our youth.
I mean really, can you imagine crawling over the front seat to go make out in the back seat today. Why, you would have to call the fire department to be extracted from the car with a muscle sprain. Back in 1966, on a hot August night, my girlfriend and I were “parked” and she had her feet hanging out the back window. We were listening to KAKC radio with DJ Scooter Seagraves. Then out of the moonlight a very large Great Dane ran up and licked the bottom of her feet. Fifty years later I still have problems hearing out of that ear.
Over time life has a way of changing your opinions and outlook on things somewhat. Somehow the bad things just bring a smile of wisdom, and the good things a happy glow in your heart. When I sit outside my favorite bar now and watch the younger people walk by I can’t help but wonder what their memories of life will be like. I can hear it now….”Hey Bob do you remember the good old days when our country was only 20 trillion in debt and, we had Pokemon 2 going on those old Iphones?” They weren’t here when we landed on the moon.
If you mention the Beetles to them they think you’re talking about some form of roach. And I remember the day Mickey Mantle hit a homer out of Yankee Stadium. He hit it over five hundred feet. Are you kidding me? Ten million years from now, when this planet is visited by aliens, they will uncover one of my polyester suits from the seventies. Those things were completely indestructible. I had a polyester tie that glowed in the dark and repelled mosquitoes.
It is often said that the best things in life are free. Well, nothing is actually free, but I think the best part of life is the friends you make over time. Don’t let time pass you by without taking note of the positive impact your friends have made on your life. And if you have a few that affected you negatively, well just smile and thank God you have the wisdom to overlook them. We have lived in a land that enabled you to live out your life in an era of individual freedom. As humans we are not part of an ant colony. The fifty’s, sixty’s, and seventy’s could not have happened without the freedom of expression we enjoyed. Those freedoms that made this the greatest nation ever to exist on the Earth are slowly being eroded.
(Larry Oscar is a graduate from the University of Tulsa and holds a degree in electrical engineering. He is retired and lives with his wife on a lake in Oklahoma where he brews his own beer, sails, and is a member of numerous clubs and organizations.)