In my last story, I wrote of the Good Old Days and how some people remember it as a special time in their lives. For others I spoke with, to revisit the Good Old Days took them back to something they experienced that made a lasting memory.
The experiences of those I talked with often involved others in those good memories. Perhaps it was a time when families were closer and spent time together. Before electronic games, and cable TV with hundreds of channels, people shared the experience of joy on weekends with picnics and reunions. Most evenings the family meal was spent together talking over the happenings of the day. The experience of togetherness was a common response to my question.
For a couple of people they smiled as they talked about life on the farm growing up. They were not above pointing out that although the life on the farm brought back good memories, it also brought back memories of hard work and the struggles to keep a family farm alive. Those that remembered also acknowledged that the life they left behind, when they left the farm, has been lost in today's world.
It may not seem like a good memory to some, but when they told me of the experience in the fall of the year, the season to butcher was a good time. Family, friends, and neighbors would come for a day of hard work and long hours which were made easier by the coming together of them all.
They remember that Uncle Billy kept the fire burning under the drum of boiling water. Papa who always pulled the hide from the cow being butchered and cousin Willey who always talked about how much work he did at butchering time, when all knew it was just another one of his tall stories.
Inside the house some of the women would be preparing a meal for the gathering. Others were busy working up the meat to be canned or frozen for the upcoming winter months. One man commented that he remembered the women all wore dresses with a checked pattern. He wondered if it was tradition or by coincidence.
When time came for the prepared meal, each person would find a place to sit and eat. Always before beginning they took a moment to say a word of thanks to him that helped hold the family together for another year. When the man finished telling me of those long gone days he paused and looked out over the passing river. Then he spoke once more, "It has been a long time since I remember those Good Old Days." A smile came over his face as he sat there quietly.
The good old days for some were the experience of children playing. It was a time when people talked of how carefree they were in their play. Some talked of the good times at Bruce Park in the pool on hot summer days. They remember when they cannon balled from the high dive and the sting of the cool water as they landed in the pool with a great splash.
Do you remember make believe times? For some they remember playing Robin Hood in the woods near their homes. Or talking about when they and their friends use to play circus in the street and the smile it brought to their face in the telling. It was a time when their world was made up of dreams of a child and their imagination. Dreams that faded when we grew into adults.
For some I talked with the Good Old Days were not so far away. The technology I believe that sometimes takes the place of our time spent outside is the very thing a few felt made these the good old days. For one man, the fact that nowadays his car starts every time is a good thing. He remembered back to a time when cars that are so needed to get us around were not always dependable. For another person the technology of computers and electronics made today the best of days.
There is no doubt the things we depend on each day have come a long way in being reliable. The dependability of those many electronic items around us is undoubtedly a good thing. When serious illness or injuries happen in our lives, the wonder of modern electronics makes it possible to recover more quickly. For those who answered that today's technology is the good old days, they are correct. We all benefit from the improvements in the world around us.
Good Old Days can be the experience of sharing with others a piece of ourselves. Sharing a skill or ability with others is something special we each can strive to do. It may be to teach someone how to raise a garden and harvest the crops they grew. Or it could be the skill to build a tree house for our children to have a safe place to fight off the bears and wolves in their make believe world. Or it could be as simple as how to catch a fish.
Not long ago I was sitting at the dam with a four-legged friend of mine named Ginger. She chased the birds as I watched the people fishing in the waters below the dam. After a while a gentleman that had been fishing came up the hill to retrieve something from his car. As the man passed he spoke, "Fine looking dog you have there." He was a pleasant man who was easy to strike up a conversation with. After a few minutes I posed my question to him about the Good Old Days.
He smiled and pointed down towards the river where two other men were fishing with him. "Now is the good times." He told me that he was fishing with his two adult sons and how much that meant to him. He beamed a large smile and explained he had 12 grandchildren and they all fished. Over the next few minutes he talked of family and a tradition of fishing together. I learned as he spoke of sharing a passion of something with family and the great satisfaction it can bring in someone's life. The man took some time and introduced his two special sons to me that day. I realized it was not necessarily the fish they may have caught that made this special for them, it was that they did it as a family.
The Good Old days can be the simple gift of sharing our lives with the people around us. As time passes that moment shared becomes a memory of special experience in our lives that was made better by friends and family. Perhaps they will become part of our own Good Old Days as we look back Thru the Lens.