Good Things About Getting Older, Which Included Fireflies

Published December 2, 2011

I know what you are thinking about the title of this blog. "Yeh right, who are you fooling!" It is common to focus on the aches and pains of growing older, the saggy skin, the wrinkles, those bags under our eyes, the dreaded cellulite. Enough!! I like to think of the good things about growing older. One of the good things is that we have had experiences that are impossible to have in today's world.

For example, I remember when you could leave your house unlocked. You always left the keys in the car, even when it wasn't in the garage. Running into the grocery store was no problem. Just leave the keys in the car, even in the ignition. There was no problem and no risk of theft.

My younger friends have no concept of how free we were. At Halloween, as a teenager, it was fun to go to town and hang out with my friends. The town was Hearne, Texas, population approximately 5000. In those days, we thought nothing of walking the streets at night. It was fun and it was what Halloween was about. While roaming the streets at night, we might consider wrapping someone's house (usually a teacher's) in toilet paper. This was not considered recycling.

We did have a form of Recycling. You got soda pop (yes, that was what it was called) in glass bottles. A kid could make some change by returning those bottles to the grocery store.

We had telephone party lines. The youth today have no concept of the joys of a party line. I grew up in the country. The country is not the same as suburbia. The country had no streets except for a farm to market road. There weren't any subdivisions. It was just cotton fields and cows. If you needed anything, you had to drive to the nearest town, the big metropolis of Hearne.

If you lived in the country, you shared a phone line, also known as a party line. This meant if your neighbor Sam was on the phone talking to someone, you could listen in by simply picking up the phone. Not that I ever did that! You knew when someone on your line got a call, because everyone on the party line would hear the phone ring. Each family had a different ring. Our telephone ring was one long ring followed by a short ring. If the phone rang two long rings, you knew it was a call for neighbor Sara. When you are on a party line, you quickly learn diplomatic skills. Teenagers like to talk on the phone for hours! So it was imperative to have the skill set to prevent your neighbors from going ballistic because you had the phone tied up for hours. Little did I know, I would be using my party line skills in my legal practice.

Food used to be different too. It had not been engineered to allegedly be "better." Food tasted better naturally. You could get a tomato at the grocery store that tasted like a tomato. No more. Tomatoes have been engineered to have a longer shelf life. The only problem is they taste like nothing. Who wants to eat nothing?

Watermelons had very thick rinds and would make a pleasant sound when you cracked them open. Plus, they had lots of big black seeds that were perfect for spitting out on your sister. Today's watermelons have thin rinds, no seeds, and guess what…..no flavor.

Fireflies are another good thing about getting older. We remember them. Sometimes we called them lightning bugs. Fireflies are these cool little bugs that flew at night with their bodies emitting a phosphorus light. Those fireflies were magical. The back ends of those lightning bugs lit up the night with a greenish glow. We miss you fireflies.

Kids today don't get dirty like we did. We made mud pies and ran around all day outside. Our parents weren't worried about kidnapping. They just wanted us out of the house and out of the way. Being stuck outside opened up numerous possibilities to get dirty and explore outdoors.

My young friends don't remember that milk used to be delivered to our door. Now they have to go to the store for that. I will concede that the youth has us beat on the computer. Even kids in strollers are more computer savvy than I am, but they haven't seen fireflies.

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