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Good Old Days and Memories

By Chuck Clegg - | Apr 2, 2021

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 that they experienced that made a lasting memory.

The experiences of those I talked with often involved others in those good memories. Perhaps a time when families were closer and spent time together. Before electronic games, 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 query.

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.

For some, they talked of the fall butchering season and how it brought back fond memories. Family, friends and neighbors would come together for a day of hard work and long hours which were made easier by the gathering.

They remember that Uncle Billy’s yearly job was to keep the fire burning under the drum of boiling water. Papa took great pride in removing the hide from the beef cow without cutting it. 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 farm house some of the women would be preparing a meal for the gathering. Others were busy working up the meat to be canned, or to be frozen for the upcoming winter months. One man commented that he remembered the women mostly all wore aprons with a checkered pattern. He wondered if it was tradition or by coincidence.

When time came for the prepared meal, each person found their place to sit.

Sometimes a chair was left unused, if its owner was no longer with them. Always before beginning, they took a moment to say a word of thanks, and remember those who were missing. When the man finished telling me of those long gone days, he paused and looked out over the passing river. Then he spoke, “It has been a long time since I remembered those days.”

A smile came over his face as he sat there quietly watching the passing waters. Maybe it reminded him of time passing him by.

The good old days for some, were children playing. It was a time when people talked of how carefree they were.

Some talked of the good times at Bruce Park. They remembered the smell of chlorine from the pools crystal clear waters on hot summer days. They remembered cannon balling from the high dive. And as they landed with a great splash, they felt the sting of the cool water.

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.

One person spoke about how dependable their car starts these days. He remembered back to a time when his car was not always dependable. His old Chevy was temperamental on cold mornings. Setting the hand choke had to be just right.

Next, pressed the gas pedal twice and it would start. But if he pressed it three times, the engine would flood.

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 wonders of modern electronics makes it possible to recover more quickly.

For some who answered, today’s is now the good old days, they may be correct. We all benefit from the improvements in the world around us.

And the good old days can be the experience of sharing a memory of our lives. Sharing a skill or ability with others is something special we each can strive to do. It may be to teach our grandchildren how to raise a garden and harvest its crops. Or it could be the skill to build a tree house. A safe place to fight off the bears and wolves in their make believe world. Maybe it’s a memory of how to catch a fish.

Some years back I was sitting at the dam watching people fish. As I watched, an older gentleman made his way to where I was sitting and sat down. I asked this man I had never met before about the Good Old Days. He smiled and pointed towards the river where two men were fishing.

“Now is the good times.” He explained he was fishing with his two adult sons and how much that meant to him. He beamed a large smile and explained he also had several 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 with family and the great satisfaction it can bring in someone’s life. I realized it was not necessarily the fish they caught that made this special, it was the fact they did it as a family while creating memories.

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 experiences 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 Through the Lens.