Godbey: Getting older is not so bad

Published 5:16 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

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By Jack Godbey


There’s nothing that makes us realize that we’re getting older than to look at how things have changed over the years. I decided that I wanted to pull out the family picture book and take a trip down memory lane. After fighting off a family of spiders and what appeared to be a peeved off Squirrel, I made my way into the attic to get the pictures. Just like that, there was visual proof that my childhood was not just a dream. Going through life being carefree. I recall every night when I came into the house at dark; I would have what my father called a “Dirt necklace.” I don’t know how, but I would have dirt making a perfect circle around my neck. It’s funny how that just disappeared once I realized how pretty girls were.   The pictures proved I didn’t give any thought or seem to care much about what I wore either. I normally went along with whatever my parents told me to wear. Now that I look at these pictures, my parents didn’t care too much about it either. Tye-dye britches with an orange shirt? Really? It was the 1970’s, so I’ll give them a pass. Who exactly did they get to cut my hair back then? Stevie Wonder?

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 Looking at these pictures from times long ago made me realize just how much things have changed in the world since those wonderful days of innocence. I come from a generation where if your mother says, “Keep talking, ” it means you better shut up. I’m old enough to remember when paper grocery bags were being blamed for destroying trees, and these wonderful new plastic bags are the solution to our troubles. I’m so old, I remember when I was in math class in elementary school, we didn’t learn multiplication. No, we learned our “Times tables.”

 I remember when it was my life’s mission to find and read my sister’s diary. Yes, people used to actually keep a secret diary and then they got mad if someone read it which is exactly why I wanted to read it. Now, people put their personal and darkest secrets on social media for the world to see, and they get mad when people don’t read it. I liked it better when things were secret.

 I remember once, in 1977 or so, I begged my father to stop and get me a milkshake after church. His response was always the same, “I don’t have any money for that .”At the time, I just couldn’t understand. However, I now believe it when someone says they don’t have any money to spend even though yesterday was payday. I get it now.

I don’t mind growing older. Sure, there are advantages to being in your 20s. You can have your six-pack abs; I’m happy with the keg that I carry around on my stomach. You can have your flowing head of hair. I’ll keep my bald head. Think of all the time I save with that whole combing and washing nonsense. I’ve got something better than youth. I have experience. I’ve done things that the 20-year-olds need to learn about. For example, I know what it’s like to have a house phone on a party line. I’ve sat by the radio for hours waiting for them to play my favorite song so I could record it on a cassette tape. No internet is necessary. Yes, I’ve sat next to a black and white television with aluminum foil on top of its rabbit ear antennas. I know blowing into my old video game cartridges will fix any issues. It just makes me appreciate what I have today. Besides, getting older is a luxury not afforded to everyone.