by Pettus Read
All across this great state of ours, change is occurring in many ways each and every day. Some changes are the result of progress, others the result of detailed planning, and many just the results of time. Change is going to happen whether we like it or not. And, if we don't get on board with what's happening around us, change will leave us standing at the garden gate without a clue of what is going on.
I grew up in the rural south during the 50s and 60s at a time when change was somewhat slow. Of course, I was a child and time seemed to always move slowly back then compared to today. Christmas seemed to take years to arrive on the scene for a small boy. Today, as an older man, Christmas arrives right after the Fourth of July sparklers have cooled off. But, change was something you did back then whenever something else quit working. You got a different car because the old one died on the way to the store. Not because the ashtray is full, the new models are out or your current color is no longer acceptable for being seen in at the mall. Cars were members of the family and often were named just like a pet. We had Greenie, Gracie (which was gray in color) and "The DeSoto" which had a wide back window that I could lay totally reposed in as we traveled along. I always enjoyed seeing where I had been rather than where I was going. It was also before seat belts, air bags and child restraint seats as well, which is a good change in my opinion. "The DeSoto" was built like a tank and was the SUV of those days. You could haul cow feed, hay, four coon hounds and a block of mineral salt with room left over in the trunk. I do remember that the seats were covered with a material that scratched the back of your legs if you were a kid in short pants. I guess that is why I hung out in the deck of the back window.
We also very seldom ate out. In fact, us rural folks never ate out. Why should we? We had three meals a day with great food prepared by numerous mothers who stayed at home and looked after us kids. There was no cholesterol, the food pyramid was basically three food groups, and with all of us coming from farms, exercise was something that everyone received plenty of without the need of health clubs. We only went to town on Saturdays and everything you needed was located on the town square. I always wondered what term the folks who lived in town used when they had to go to town. If you are already there, you can't say you are going where you are already at. Just a thought.
With all the change we are experiencing today, our lives have greatly been altered from only a few years back. Every day it seems like we are going to town. In fact, town is now coming to us. We all eat out on a regular basis, exercise continues to be a health concern, and everyone is wearing a harness on their wrist from over use of a mouse with their computers. Fifty-eight percent of farms have computers, ninety percent of all farmers use cell phones, and GPS technology has become a way of life for most of your rural population.
In 1950, it took us to the middle of April to earn enough disposable income just to pay for our food consumed at home and away from home for the entire year. This year we will be able to reduce that mid-April date to February 6th, where as the time it takes us to work to earn enough dollars to pay our taxes has increased to more than 100 days. But, I'm just glad I can still eat and pay my taxes. Taxes are not that bad of a deal anyway. I sure can't afford to build a road from my house to town all by myself and I sure would hate to miss a trip to town. I sure appreciate everyone's help in paying for my roads, schools, space shuttles and other little items that I enjoy and can't afford to pay for by myself.
Yep. Change is going to happen. But, if you keep your eyes open and pay attention, just maybe it will not pass you by. However, I still wonder what town folks say when they have to go to town.