I grew up in an area that to me was free of predjudice when I was young, simply because there was no one to be predjudiced against. As I grew to adulthood, and made freinds with people of every nationality and race that I met, I was truly amazed at the real predjudice in my home town. There was never any violence, and yet, the bad feelings could be found.
I am ever thankful that I wasn't exposed to it as a child, and was able to find good people wherever I went. To be sure, there were people who hated me for looking white (though I'm more Native American than anything else). And I had to sprint with a freind away from some very large and mean looking characters from his "hood", after visiting with him and his family. But the majority of people were warm and freindly. I loved my time in some of Memphis's ethnic neighborhoods.
The "Good Old Days weren't always so good. There were bullies who made life miserable. There was prescious little money when you made a buck and a quarter an hour. But then, gas was 40 cents and my motorcycle got 100 mpg. And I could get a 3/4 pund cheeseburger for a buck-25. And I had freinds who were adventurous, and maybe a little crazy (Ok, canoing accross the St. Mary's river after dark, without so much as a flashlight, and having to outpace 1000-foot lake freighters might have been considerd a more than a little crazy
). But we had a blast and bode no ill will toward anyone. And outrunning lake freighters built strong muscles, especially when you knew they couldn't see you and would run you right over if you couldn't get out of the way.
And now, the streets are meaner, and the downtown commerce no longer exists. Most people eat at Mckey D's or some other fast-food joint. But I can still find the good stuff. And more importantly, I can make the good stuff, and I'm not just talking about food. Time spent with my family, doing anything, is amazing time. My children bring me more joy and fulfillment than anything else ever could. And yes, even though they range from 28 to 20, I still worry for them. But I know they are doing fine.
The good old days, as fireweaver said, are being crafted right now. I hope we all strive to be good craftsmen and women. And do I have to be pollitcally correct? Can't I just say good craftsmen and mean both genders, as I was taught in my old English classes?
I enjoy all of you. Like my children, you touch my life. You are freinds, and help me to craft the present.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
P.S. I took a double-recipe cheesecake to the family of a freind who passes away. The funeral was yesterday and I was asked to bring a dessert for the gathering that was to take place afterword. It was suggested to me that I quite my current job and open a cheesecake buisness. The swelled head feeling, of which I am so fond, helped make saying goodbye easier. I wasn't looking for it, and of course played everything down. But it still felt good. And my freind, she introduced to me, and shared with me some home made cheese she had made from unpasturized milk from her milk cow. So I thought I would give my best, and it should contain cheese. It was fitting. My eyes are still misting up when I think of this special lady, who was an example to me by her steadfast example of how she lived her life, always maintaining her faith, in spite of multiple cancers and diabetes. She would have none of feeling sorry for herself and remained a very active lady to the end. She will be missed. Though she was ten to fifteen years my elder, we shared a spiritual connection through faith.