Herald Journal Columns
May 27, 2002 Herald
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Smoked by an elderly gentleman


There's nothing like being mowed down by a 70-year-old gentleman, and last week it happened to me.

Oh! How pride is brought low.

I am speaking about Jim O'Leary and how many "hits" he receives on the Internet for his column "The Waverly Star."

O'Leary smoked me, since I received about 352 hits since February, or about four each day (probably my family or Jan Fitzpatrick at Humphrey Elementary, bless her heart).

Jim packed in about 2,005 hits for the same time period.

Not too bad! I hope that I pick up steam like that when I get older.

My column ranked near the high school minutes, or right behind the government search entry. No, I'm not kidding you one bit.

In fact, Denise Rosenau and myself will commonly hoot and crow about every single person who mentions they read our columns or have even heard about them (or have cousins or family members, or even total strangers who read about it).

I remember visiting an older couple near Lake Ann last year, where a lady told me she read my column, along with her husband.

I ran back to the newspaper office and announced "NUMBER NINE AND TEN!" That is, number of people who actually ready my column, since I count them as I go along.

Often, I've wanted to say hello to Jan. "Hello Jan! Thanks for reading my column!" :0)

. . . Alas, now I know the truth ­ that my column is decorative, while everyone else gets to the potatoes and gravy at the bottom of the page. You just used up eight perfectly good minutes that could have been used on the Waverly Star!

Guess grandpa's age

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events.

He asked what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The granddad replied, "Well, let me think a minute . . . I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees, and the pill.

There was no radar, credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens.

People had not invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers, well the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and no one had yet walked on the moon.

Your grandmother and I got married first ­ and then lived together.

Every family had a father and a mother, and every boy over 14 had a rifle that his dad taught him how to use and respect.

And they went hunting and fishing together.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than I, 'Sir,' and after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, 'Sir.'

Sundays were set aside for going to church as family, helping those in need, and visiting with family or neighbors.

There was no computer-dating, dual careers, day care centers, and group therapy.

Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.

We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living here was a bigger privilege. We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.

Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends ­ not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriter, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings. We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the president's speeches on our radios.

And I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan' on it, it was junk. The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam.

Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 and 10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.

Ice cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel. And if you didn't want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.

You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one?

Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon. In my day, 'grass' was mowed, 'coke' was a cold drink, 'pot' was something your mother cooked in, and 'rock music' was your grandmother's lullaby.

'Aids' were helpers in the principal's office, 'chip' meant a piece of wood, 'hardware' was found in a hardware store, and 'software' wasn't even a word.

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us "old and confused" and say there is a generation gap. How old do you think I am?"

ANSWER: Grandpaw would be only 59 years old!

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