SAFE IN THE BED OF A PICKUP TRUCK
Someone inquired if my generation was the best … ever. No, probably not, but it is hardly the worst. It is all so subjective yet I can sincerely say we were blessed. Life was simpler and sweeter then, and people were far less judgmental. Addiction was rare. An example of the sweetness? Well … My Little League team traveled in unison to road games in the bed of Jim Young’s pickup truck. Can you imagine that today? There was no one sitting on the humps. All 12 of us were squished together like sardines in a tin can. Was it safe? In my three years we never had an incident. Jim drove the speed limit; we remained still as if seated on glue; and nary a driver was distracted by texting or talking on a phone. Baseball was my passion, but I also enjoyed fishing, shooting hoops, and playing “tag”with my friends. They were inexpensive endeavors. Stress was minimal; smiling was a popular pastime. Vietnam didn’t rear its ugly head until I was in my teens. Yes, I witnessed divisiveness among the citizenry and criticism was harsh and rampant. Still, my draft number was in the 300s. It was very unlikely I’d be shipped to Southeast Asia. By the time I arrived in Bloomington and my first year at Indiana University it seemed a novel invention forged to the forefront every single day. Life was changing rapidly. If you blinked, you missed something. I believe we traded a number of simple treasures during that era of technical “advances.” Suddenly, people were busier and more focused on finances than the family. As a child I felt more secure, less worried about critical, worldly issues. Some of that had to do with my blissful ignorance. When I was a youngster we journeyed to the moon; a chicken was stewing in nearly every pot; and the future appeared bright and unbridled. Today, the world is larger. It is global, thus inherently complicated by a vast array of diverse religious and societal beliefs. It will take great leaders to navigate the rough waters ahead. For me, I picture myself seated in Jim Young’s pickup truck with my pals, safely en route to the game I cherished most. Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.