There are moments when my naivete has served me well. I've never been one "of this world" as I remember mama warning me against. I was always the one in high school without a date on Friday night, and I never went to prom. (the horror!) I remember my first kiss like it was yesterday; I'm sure the young man does not. and by the way, I don't fault him for that. I was never part of the in-crowd who tailgated during college,
inhaled pot, slurped kegs, and, I was never invited to. My second home during all of my college years was the BSU (that's the 'old' Baptist Student Union - I suppose now the name has to be more in tune with the times for there's a new name plastered on the UGA building) and felt safe from the world's odd quirks. I went to church on Sunday and Wednesday, and I felt right at home in my skin. Frankly, I knew no other skin, no other way of life.
My Southern roots run deep, and for the life of me, I can't imagine letting go of them. Even though I admittedly lived a sheltered existence growing up, I learned truths and values that have become cornerstones for the life I lead at this very moment. Don't get me wrong, I did battle with mama's outrageous rules regarding too much TV, drinking those nasty cola sodas and going to moving picture shows, but as the only kid in the house, I conceded. Mama won every battle; one might say, she won every war. The old ways, as I like to say, have served me well. Unfortunately, I feel like the odd man out these days, but I know I can't be the only one that clings to a simpler time. I recently conversed with a youngster at the Cigar Shop in Athens; as he smoked his vintage 1950s pipe, he told me of building his own home and living like his grandparents did. Then, there's the bee guy who praises the days of old, "living off the land" and oozes happy! Makes my heart sing when I hear that these young ones "get it."
I worry about people who are like me who were raised to be one way and now the world tells us we must be another. If our parents and grandparents were called America's Greatest Generation, why are we forgetting the lives they led, the ways they taught? Am I becoming cynical of this new world? Is this a product of the double-nickle age? Do I hide my values and traditions inside a secure bubble so they will not be broken and people will not disappoint? People tell me times are different. I agree to a certain degree, but I hold on to the fact that the human heart still yearns and beats in the same rhythm it did a 100 years ago. I don't want to forget dinner-on-the-grounds, Tupperware, sauerkraut in the jug on the back porch, saying prayers and knowing that because of those prayers lifted skyward, everything will be alright.
I like to think that there are people like me.