Echoes of a Not So Distant Past

I have come into contact with many new people the last few days while visiting home improvement stores, talking to movers, saying hello to new neighbors.  Funny that the older people are friendly and happy to greet you for the most part, but for the younger generation courtesy seems to be optional.

 It kind of makes me sad and stop to wonder what is happening with society?  Are we so caught up in ourselves that we can no longer spare a moment to be kind, or just stop and say a few words? 

 Perhaps it’s just me being nostalgic again, but I grew up in a different time.  My parents didn’t pay us for every chore we did, yet we did them anyway.  We were taught to go to the neighbors and ask to mow the lawn, or ask if they needed help with washing the car, that’s how we earned our extra money.

 There was a lady about three houses up the street from us who loved fish.  She had 15-20 fish tanks with all different kinds of fish in them.  She would let me help some when cleaning the tanks and sometimes she would let me feed the fish.  She had some black molly fish that were my favorite to feed, because she would let me get a little bunch of fish flakes to pinch between my fingers and hold in the water while the molly’s had a feeding frenzy around my fingers.  It was fun to learn about the different types of fish she had too.  She had angel fish, guppies, goldfish, Eels, Koi, Neon Tetras, Swordtails, and Hifin Platies.  She had them all sorted, lights on some aquariums and not on others, some had heaters, some were salt water, and some aquariums had plants.  It was a fascinating place because she had books and pamphlets on how to care for the different fish and what was required as well as a lot of different types of fish food.

 Mrs. Garvin was always nice and patient with my questions and curiosity.  I valued her friendship, knowledge, and most of all that she took time to show me things that I otherwise might not get to experience firsthand.  This friendship started partially because my brother played baseball with her sons, but also because when she would carry in bags of groceries, if I saw her, I would run over and help her in the door with them. 

 I suppose people are more cautious now and to some extent it is necessary to keep a watchful eye on adults and children in order to protect our own kids, but we should be mindful to not let kindness and consideration for our neighbors become a thing of the past. 

 It makes me smile when I see a teenager or pre-teen offer to open a door, help with groceries, or do something nice “just because.”  I have to stop and be thankful that kindness still lives and is still being passed down from generation to generation.  Though the courtesy and friendly greetings on the road and in the parking lots at stores are nowhere near as frequent, they do reappear now and then. 

 We should, each and every one of us, make a point of showing courtesy and kindness at every opportunity, take care of how we treat the younger generation as they will one day be our age and we will be the older generation.  I may not have always agreed with my parents, but I always respected them.  My children do not have to always agree with me, but they must always respect me and their elders

 Cherry Coley ©