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Carol Perkins: Longing for the times of innocence
"As I get older, I long for the times of innocence. We didn't know everything going on in the world, minute by minute. A conversation at the supper table might be about building a fallout shelter in the backyard for fear that Khrushchev might bomb us, but the barbershop talk was more than likely about the basketball game that week..."
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Mr. Perkins has become a tomato farmer
By Carol Perkins
Not long ago a guest on our radio show talked about playing baseball in the courthouse yard in Edmonton and how he bet that there was not another small town in the United States that allowed their courthouse yard to be used as an unofficial baseball field. "We broke out a few windows in the courthouse and a few car windows, too, but nobody said we had to stop."
Small town living is still special that way because there is a certain naivety to it all. Back then, if a ball were hit into the street, a player dashed out to save it without much thought of traffic. Cars were not going very fast and chances were the driver saw the young man leap across the iron railing in time to stop. The same thing applies to roller skating on the sidewalks as many kids did when they got their first pair of roller skates (key skates for sidewalks). If the shoe came out of the metal skates, the skater went down on the concrete and sat there until she wriggled her foot back into it and tightened it with a key. People on the street walked around her and smiled. No one said, "You better skate somewhere else, little girl."
Many boys, long before they could drive, stood at the edge of the square under the blinking red light and waited for a farmer to come to town to find workers for the tobacco patch. By dark, the boys would be dropped off at the same location only this time unrecognizable. Parents knew their sons were working somewhere, and that night over supper would find out where. Chances are they could work several days in one patch and then more days in the barn. Trusting that no harm would come to a child or teen was a way of life in a small town.
Fathers put sons behind the steering wheel of a truck (before he had a license) if he needed someone to drive while loading tobacco. Some girls drove tractors before cars and both girls and boys knew how to drive a "straight." (Most of them). That was just the way it was with no fear of a truck or tractor turning over or burning out a clutch.
The innocence of the times was possible because we didn't know everything going on in the world, minute by minute. A conversation at the supper table might be about building a fallout shelter in the backyard for fear that Khrushchev might bomb us, but the barbershop talk was more than likely about the basketball game that week.
As I get older, I long for the times of innocence for our children and grandchildren. For their chance to play in the woods, skate on sidewalks, hit a ball in the courthouse yard, or learn to drive in a field of tobacco (soybeans, corn). The older I get, the better these days look- from my rear view mirror.
This story was posted on 2018-07-18 10:08:00
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