2017-09-09 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

BY HOWARD ‘MAC’ MCDONALD

There are signs that tell you that you are no longer a kid. One of them is when you are asleep, but others worry that you are dead.

Your social life is governed by your back. It goes out more than you do. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week. It used to be the night when you and you sweetie went dancing cheek to cheek.

Everyone tells you to enjoy your golden years, but the only thing golden about them is your pee.

In 1948, a joint was a bad place to go. When you talked about good grass, you were discussing your neighbor’s lawn. Pot was something your mother made soup in, or it was a reference to your dad’s protruding belly.

We can lament it all we want. At least we’re still on the right side of the daisies and, in most cases, still standing despite traveling a rocky toad.

My grandson used to ask me about my days in school. My memories are dim except for the things I wouldn’t want to tell him about. The only thing I seem to remember is that I had too much of a good time in high school.

He never talked much about his high school days in Apache Junction, Arizona. School today is a whole different ballgame. The drug culture and lack of respect have eaten away at the younger generation. I worry about their future.

So many of today’s kids do not have discipline or role models in their homes. They are indulged with the latest entertainment devices. Many of them never have any real interaction with adults, including their own parents or grandparents.

The family is no longer the center of a child’s life. My wife Shirley did a good job raising our boys, since I was usually gone 20 days a month. I can only hope that they still love me after I was absent for so much of the time they were growing up.

People back east have shut down their swimming pools. Out here in Arizona you can use your pool into October.

We have a heated pool and a heated spa here at the over-55 mobile home park. If you hang around the pool thinking you might catch a glimpse of some bathing beauties, you are at the wrong pool. The snowbirds will be coming back soon, and unless one of the guys caught a gold digger the scenery will not change.

If you read the Jim Zoschg and Dave Wolf outdoor columns in Endeavor News then you have probably noticed that people are starting to talk about the upcoming deer seasons.

One of the stories pointed out that more hunters are getting into archery. Those deer-kill numbers keep rising while the rifle season numbers fall.

This is not your grandpa’s sport of archery. The bows these days are high-tech machines that pack a big punch.

There are still those hunters who prefer the flintlock muzzleloaders. I don’t have to remind them to keep their powder dry. They like the challenge of the hunt. Those weapons have also been modernized in recent years.

The most important part of deer hunting is safety. If you are heading out, use your head and always be alert.

When I get the chance to read the Farmer’s Almanac, I try to remember the little tips of wisdom in its pages. I am listing some that stuck in my mind.

First and foremost, “Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.”

Here is one for the ministers: “The best sermons are lived, not preached.”

One we should all pay attention to: “Don’t judge people by their relatives.”

Here’s one I really like: “Don’t interfere with something that ain’t bothering you.”

And last but not least: “Live a good, honorable life and when you get older you will be able to enjoy it a second time.”

As the year of 2017 enters its ninth month, I am having a hard time forecasting how it will be recorded in the history books. Are the man-made conflicts and divisions of today really as bad as they seem? Only time will tell.

One story line that never makes the news is the way we are failing our children by underfunding our schools and putting the squeeze on the administrators and the teachers. We’ve consolidated schools to the point where our kids ride buses for an hour or more twice each day. When they arrive, they get lost in the classroom crowd and get no individual attention.

Then they spend most of their time getting the kids ready to take standardized tests instead of teaching them the basics. That is because the schools don’t get the funding they need if their test scores are too low.

I could write a lot about the news of the day, but the editor would probably bring out his machete. That is his job. I have some opinions that you can probably guess when it comes to race relations, the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the speech police and do-gooders, and some of the other topics those talking heads on the TV news programs will blab about 24/7.

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of Houston and other parts of Texas kicked a lot of the political babbling off the airwaves. Disasters usually bring out the best in some people and the worst in a small minority of people. Many good people have stepped up to help. Private boats and rafts were responsible for getting a lot of flood victims to safety.

It reminded me of World War II and the rescue of the British troops at Dunkirk. The civilian boat people saved most of them.

Some of the bad things that happened included the price-gouging by the gas stations and other businesses, and the scam artists who were collecting money that they claimed was going to be used to help with the recovery. We gave our donations to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Sadly, some folks will never be able to return to a normal way of life. They were lucky to get out with the clothes on their backs.

I’ll bet there is not much dry powder in that area and their muskets are under water.

Return to top