Memories of The Great One

There could have only been one Jackie Gleason – and no matter how old you are, you know this great performer whether you were alive during his time or not. Even young people today, who never witnessed “The Honeymooners” or “The Jackie Gleason Show” back in the day know who this man was.

Boomers remember and love “The Great One” for the entertainment he provided at the dawn of television. Gleason also exhibited his greatness on the big screen in a wide variety of diverse roles. Gleason’s very soul and creativity came right out of his Brooklyn, New York roots. He was a street wise city kid who learned the ropes early. He grew up without a father under the love and tutorage of his mother. He understood hard times and learned via raw tenacity how to forge his way to the top.

Gleason understood working class New York and modeled his many characters after the people he grew up with on the streets of Brooklyn. Gleason was Ralph Kramden and Ralph Kramden was Jackie Gleason. Gleason dropped “The Honeymooners” after just 39 episodes because he knew it was time for him to move on.

Most memorable was “The Jackie Gleason Show” developed from The Honeymooners from the late 1950s well into the 1970s. Gleason was Mr. Saturday Night for decades. The show endured well beyond its time as a variety show because we just couldn’t get enough of The Great One. The Gleason show originated from New York’s Park Sheraton Hotel before moving south to Miami Beach in 1964.

Johnny Olson opened the show every Saturday night on CBS with, “Live from Miami Beach, it’s The Jackie Gleason Show!” and boy didn’t we know it. Gleason didn’t do anything low octane. His monologues have kept us laughing as did his many characters for decades. My personal favorite was Joe the Bartender. He did Joe so well we’d forget he was Jackie Gleason. Frank Fontaine would wander in and strike up a conversation after Joe stuck his finger in the middle of his beer foam.

We laughed hysterically at Reginold Van Gleason III and his antics in the world of fantasy with a smattering of reality. The Poor Soul was vintage Gleason. We felt such great empathy for this Gleason character. Sometimes, we wept. On the big screen, Gleason moved us with a wide variety of characters. Minnesota Fats up against blue-eyed Paul Newman in “The Hustler.” Requiem For a Heavyweight” was another memorable Gleason flick.

Who could forget Gleason’s “Gigot” film where he played a Parisian custodian and laborer, a mute, a simple man with a big heart who was the butt of jokes by society who didn’t understand him. Gigot was a sweet tender man embraced by a prostitute and her daughter. He took them in, gave them shelter, and they became something of a family though perhaps short-lived.

Gleason is probably remembered best for his “Smokey and the Bandit” role as Buford T. Justice, a hysterical character in hot pursuit of Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in a hot Trans Am. Though certainly not Gleason’s greatest role, he made us laugh.

Gleason had a secondary career in his “Music for Lovers” franchise in the 1950s and 1960s. Many a life was conceived to his soft mood music on the turntable. “Music For Lovers Only” remained on the Billboard Top Ten Charts for 153 weeks, with his first 10 LPs selling over a million copies each. He was not a musician, nor did he even know how to read music. He knew how to convey a mood and he understood how to unite lovers with his work. I can still see his Capitol Records labels on my father’s Hi-Fi while my mother prepared dinner.

Gleason’s final wrap-up was the obscure 1986 Garry Marshall film “Nothing in Common” with Ton Hanks, Bess Armstrong, Eva Marie Saint, Hector Elizondo, and Barry Corbin. “Nothing In Common” was a great tribute to Gleason and his work. With the debut of “Nothing in Common” we said goodbye and “so long” to The Great One, who was very sick with stomach and colon cancer who, despite how sick he was, never failed to deliver a great performance.

There Was Only One Queen

Baby Boomers have had the good fortune of growing up in The Jet Age. We’ve managed to see a whole lot of firsts in commercial aviation – from props to jets to the jumbo jet. My first jet trip was in 1961 on a United Air Lines Boeing 720, which took my family and me from Baltimore’s Friendship International Airport (now Baltimore-Washington) to Kansas City’s old Municipal Airport to spend Christmas with family before heading off to San Francisco and Hawaii for a two-year stint with my father on Oahu with the NSA before jetting back to the Washington, D.C. area.

Jet travel became possible thanks to great visionaries like Pan Am’s Juan Trippe and Boeing’s Bill Allen. Trippe made air travel possible around the world with a succession of aviation firsts. He took big risks. It seemed there was nothing he couldn’t do. Boeing had a good grasp of how to build jets with the B-47 and B-52 post-war bombers. The problem with the B-52 was the sluggish KC-97 piston tanker, which struggled to keep up with Boeing’s eight-engine 600 mph bomber.

Allen saw this issue and bet the entire worth of the Boeing company on what was known as the “Jet Demonstrator” 367-80 “707”prototype – which led to the KC-135A jet tanker and ultimately the Boeing 707 commercial jetliner. Britain’s misfortune with the failed Comet program (catastrophic crashes from airframe failure) was Boeing’s good fortune. It enabled Boeing to bring high speed jet travel to the flying public.

On a chilly October evening at New York’s Idlewild International Airport (now JFK), Pan American World Airways warmed up a new Boeing 707-121 and jetted for Paris, France at dizzying speed at an altitude unheard of with Pan Am’s classic piston propeller Clippers. Overnight, jet travel was upon us to just about anywhere you can think of around the world.

It wasn’t long after the 707’s inauguration Trippe sent a missive to Allen asking for a really large 600 mph jetliner capable of hauling 400-500 passengers. As in the early 1950s – both men took huge risks to develop the most enormous jetliner ever built – Boeing’s 747 Jumbo Jet.

To build the first 747 prototype, Boeing needed a really big building. It carved out a huge section of forest land outside of Seattle in the middle of nowhere in a place known as Everett with a team led by Boeing engineer Joe Sutter known as The Incredibles. In roughly two years’ time, with strict deadlines and its share of setbacks, The Incredibles rolled out their 747 on September 1968. It took to the skies the following February and the world hasn’t been the same since.

Boeing’s very last 747 – one of the 747-8 freighters, rolled out of the Everett factory amid fanfare and sad farewells and took to the skies several weeks later signaling the end of one hell of an era of air travel. For Boeing and for the flying public, it wasn’t the end – but a new beginning with better technology – the updated 777-X (777-8 and 777-9) which will enter service in 2025. Get ready for a new age of quiet high tech jet travel where the world will become even smaller.

The 777 has already changed the world and been flying vast distances across the globe since 1995. The 747 has gone down in history in more ways than I could ever get into here. Salute! It took a Boeing to shrink the world in wide-body comfort and extraordinary style.

The Life and Music of Burt Bacharach

Most of you are familiar with the work of legendary composer Burt Bacharach even if you don’t know who he was. If you grew up in the 20th century, you’ve heard and remember his music. His music is a reminder of the times of our lives – our memories. You heard his music from an AM radio in your first car. You danced to his music at your senior prom. Walking the mall – you hummed to his work. Burt Bacharach’s music touched our lives every way imaginable.

The birthplace of such great American pop music has passed at age 94. Few lived a fuller, richer life than Burt Bacharach. You would need a sizable spreadsheet to document his work and the many performers who brought it to life. I figure his music is on the air at any moment throughout a given day around the world. His music will continue to be heard for generations.

Burt Bacharach was born to our world in Kansas City, Missouri May 12, 1928 deep in the American heartland. It wasn’t long before a very young Bacharach found himself in New York City. His mother, Irma Freeman, an artist and songwriter, encouraged him to pursue his God-given talent at a very early age. His father, Bert Bacharach, was a newspaper columnist who took a job in New York.

The younger Bacharach never missed his mother’s message. He learned his craft at the Mannes School of Music, McGill University, The New School for Social Research, and the Music Academy of the West. He was highly educated at what he loved most. He also served in our armed forces where he never missed a beat. He mixed his military duties with his intense love of music.

Bacharach worked closely with composer Hal David. Together they created the music of our memories – “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Reach Out for Me,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,” “You’ll Never Get to Heaven,” “Walk on By,” “Trains and Boats and Planes,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “What The World Needs Now,” “Here I am,” and goodness knows a host of others that escape me – yet trigger our personal memories. You can’t think of Bacharach’s work without thinking of Dionne’s Warwick who put his music to voice and words. She did this so many times, further enhancing our memories.

I supposed it can be considered ironic Bacharach wanted to be a sports athlete. Imagine if he had pursued sports instead of music and how different our lives might have been by not growing up with his music.

It was difficult to learn of the passing of Burt Bacharach. Burt Bacharach has been us and we have been Burt Bacharach for decades. Personally, I remember him most from my youth – Teen Club on Friday nights in high school, cruising the drag in my hometown, listening to his pop tunes at the retail clothing store where I worked at the mall, enjoying a much-anticipated hot date on a warm summer night, and sitting in the living room with my mom at dusk absorbed in Bacharach’s talent gazing at the stereo’s red pilot light and softly illuminated dial.

It can be safely said Bacharach has made great contributions to the world of music and the memories we hold dear. As we bid farewell to a great American composer and musician – I will sign off by saying what the world needs now is more Bacharach.

To Every Life, There Are Seasons

Each and every day—I think of the journey—the time span that encompasses our lives from birth to the moment we pass.  I think of each life as chapters or phases—periods of time that come and go in our lives.  One ends and the other begins.  Sometimes two melt into one—a continuance.  Experiences are either positive or negative.  Sometimes—they’re somewhere in between. 

I’ve had a good life—more good than bad.  The bad, however, has surely been life changing.  Some of it permanent—forever—never to return to what it was before the trauma.  Sometimes, it is best to take three steps backwards to move forward in a more positive way.  And sometimes, we must circle in an altitude hold until we can sort out where we are going. 

Sacrifices made in order to have a better life. 

My father always stressed cutting your losses and knowing when to quit and move on—and he was in no way a positive man.  My mother always termed him a “man’s man…”  Well, what the hell did that mean?  That he never let anything bother him?  Didn’t mean much on a personal level.  He was not the guy to go to when you were feeling beaten and needed someone to tell you all would be be okay. 

My mother was good for that.

My dad was a product of his experiences – the rough and tumble way he was raised during the Great Depression and the damage done to his psyche’ during his formative years growing up in Kansas City. He didn’t know any different but to tell you to buck up and deal with it much as he was told as a child.

We heal by taking a bad experience and gaining inner strength from it, which is easier said than done.  Pain is pain. It teaches and it remembers.  It makes recovery challenging when we’re feeling so badly.  Because we have a memory and store memories of the past, we tend to relive pain again and again.  However—to become stronger from what we’ve been through, we have to look pain in the eye and commit to beating it.

Some experiences are harder than others.  A traumatic experience is challenging to recover from.  When I go through a bad experience, I get into head work for my very survival—to remind myself it is over and that there’s nothing I can do about it.  Once you understand there’s nothing you can do about a bad experience, you empower yourself by grabbing it by the throat and shaking the life out of it.

When all else fails – have a cookie…

Lyrics: Turn, Turn, Turn!

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Take Heart…You’re Still Here…

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably 60-plus.

I crested 60 nearly seven years ago, which means I am on the downhill side of my sixties. Isn’t 60+ something your parents were – or your grandparents? Never you – right? How can it be? Our parents and grandparents are gone – or at least most of them are gone now. If you were born of long-living kinfolk, you may still have a parent around – well into their nineties – perhaps even 100.

My mother would have been 100 next December. She passed at 84 in 2008 peacefully in her sleep.

Whenever I hear myself cough, I hear the same harmonics in my cough that I heard from my mother’s larynx thousands of times when she was alive. When my oldest son laughs – I hear my mother’s laughter. My beautiful niece, who is nearly 40, is a reflection of my mother’s beauty.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Each of us is a miracle of evolution – survival. Each of us is the result of the amazing fluid process of genetics. We are each the sum total of who our ancestors were. Look at your hands and see your grandmother’s. Blow your nose and hear the same resonance of your father’s when he blew his. Behold your receding hairline and see the ol’ man’s. Blow up in the heat of anger and recall your grandfather’s demeanor when you were in trouble.

I hear a lot of you bemoaning the passage of time. We’re not young anymore – not by any means. We were the youth movement a half century ago. We were never going to grow old. Never trust anyone over 30. Remember that? Old was something the generations before us faced – but never us. And here we are – lamenting the passage of time and old age.

Well consider this – and feel good about it. Life is best when viewed as a book of chapters, only you’re not allowed to page back. You’re only allowed to turn back the pages via pictures, home movies, tape recordings, video and your sweet memory.

As you enter life’s twilight, embrace the moment and the wisdom you’ve gained via experience and all of life’s ups and downs.

You’ve survived…

Procrastinators Unite – Maybe…

Old Adage: “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

What makes us put things off until tomorrow? Or…next week? Next year? I think of my own life when I ask this question. I have a stack of medical referrals from my HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and I need to make appointments.

I’ll think about that tomorrow – maybe…

Psychology Today says, “Everyone puts things off sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination tends to reflect a person’s struggles with self control. For habitual procrastinators, who represent approximately 20 percent of the population, ‘I don’t feel like it’ comes to take precedence over their goals or responsibilities and can set them on a downward spiral of negative emotions that further deter future effort.” It becomes a continuing struggle until we become disciplined enough to shake it.

What makes us put off what needs to be done? Personally, I think people tend to put off what is challenging or going to consume a lot of time. Truth is, procrastination is the absence of self control. We let circumstances control us. Instead of doing what must be done, we simply put it off because it isn’t something we really want to do.

Tax preparation is a big one for procrastination. My tax accountant knows to expect nothing from me until October – the drop-dead date for tax filing. Every year I promise her better and, every year, I lie.

It is a given.

Oh…and did I tell you I am Attention Deficit? Not an excuse – a fact. This year will be different – I hope. I try… I write down what must be done each day, then, I tackle the list. I get some of it done, but not all of it.

Housecleaning…now there’s a big one because no one wants to do it. I feel a certain sense of satisfaction when I clean house. I look around and the place looks nice. Feels good to be clean and organized – when it happens…

What to do about procrastination? I am inclined to think about that tomorrow. However, life waits for no one. If you put things off, please understand you are likely to miss out because life marches on without you. You make plans with a friend for lunch but keep canceling because you just don’t feel like lunch that day. That evening, you learn your friend succumbed to a heart attack or car accident. Or perhaps you fell upon misfortune and will never have the opportunity again. This logic can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios.

When you procrastinate you miss out.

I’ve found, though I don’t always practice this, to do things when I think about them. In short – do it now. Then, it’s done, and you don’t have to think about it anymore. Procrastination is a tough egg to crack if you’ve been doing it all your life. There are challenging elements we are born with that make procrastination hard to beat.

Take your procrastination issues one step at a time. When you’re tempted to put something off, grab the task with both hands and jump into it with both feet. In 21 days, I’ve been told, it becomes habit.

Regret Keeps Us from Moving Forward

Funny thing about the past. It tends to keep us trapped. Sometimes, our memories can be our worst enemies. It is the remembering. The regretting. Feeling guilty for what we’ve done.

Failing to instead look at what’s ahead…

I’ve led a charmed life in so many ways. Blessed… I’ve also had dark moments where I wondered who on earth I was. As we cruise into the twilight of our lives, we tend to wonder how we got where we are. We have our regrets – moments that left us different people than we were before. Regret is the hand cuffs that keep us from moving forward because excessievly looking back has never been a healthy option.

Life is a series of chapters and events. When we are so very young, we are a blank canvass – a clean sheet of paper – with our future stretched out ahead of us. As a child, I used to gaze out into the night sky through a frosty window wondering what was out there waiting for me when I reached adulthood.

I couldn’t wait to grow up.

Suddenly one day you’re out of high school wondering what to do with your life. I remember my last day of high school in my hometown of Bowie, Maryland. I took the wheel of my 1967 Mustang and pulled out onto the main road that ran past my high school. It was a sad moment for me though I hated school with a passion and was a terrible student. I don’t even know how I graduated.

That chapter was over.

I’d find my way into adulthood one step at a time. I knew I loved aviation and determined that’s what I wanted to do. I decided to join the United States Air Force and learn how to work on big jets. I saw this as a life passion. I believed I would separate from the USAF and be working for the airlines. I would learn miserably after four years getting experience the house was full. There were no airline mechanic jobs to be had.

Life had other unrelated plans for me.

What I didn’t know then was, my life was about to change from bending wrenches to writing about how to bend wrenches. I had a deep passion for automobiles. I also liked writing. By pure dumb luck, I stumbled into automotive journalism in a start-up publishing house in Florida specializing in niche publications dedicated to the coming muscle car craze. It wound up being an opportunity I will never forget.

I took my experience as a mechanic and turned it into a writing career.

I thought this classic muscle car craze was a flash in the pan and would be over in a matter of time. That twist in the road became a career lasting more than 40 years. We don’t always recognize the significant moments in our lives when they happen and what they mean to our future. I sit in my shabby little office at 66 remembering that moment in time at age 28 when life changed forever.

I have my regrets. We all do. I’ve had two failed marriages. Made my share of foolish mistakes typically when I thought only of myself. With any luck, our mistakes and foolishness are few and we find a way to learn from them.

What Are You Going to Do with Your Time Here?

Isn’t the passage of time remarkable? Fluid… Never stops… Moves forward – never backward. At the cusp of a New Year – 2023 – do you ever think back to “Y2K” and all the concern over the new millennium? Computers would crap out. The lights would go out? At the stroke of Midnight in 2000, nothing happened.

Darnedest thing isn’t it?

I am a nonstop thinker. I lie in bed at night and think about our journey here – fleeting though it may be. We’re dancing on this apple just so long – then, we pass. Where we go I do not know. Where we come from….I don’t have an answer for that either.

We all have our religious beliefs. I have mine. I believe in God – our creator. Beyond belief in a divine creator, I don’t know. Who put us here? Beats me buddy… I will respect anyone’s religious beliefs. Anyone’s… I will never tell anyone what to believe nor would I ever force my beliefs on anyone. It’s personal… When it comes to our purpose here – I keep an open mind. If someone tried to explain why we are here – we wouldn’t possess the knowledge to understand.

We’re not that smart.

With each of my blessings – and I have many – I say…”Thank You, Father….” “Thank You for what I’ve been handed in life…”

And thank God for the people I have known and befriended.

I know my value as a human being. I know my worth. No one in this world is going to make me feel bad about myself. I have a conscience and a strong sense of right and wrong to do that for me. That said – look to your own conscience for guidance.

When I do wrong – and I have from time to time – I understand that what I’ve done wrong IS wrong. Sometimes – we get caught up in what we want that we forget to think of someone else. As long as that isn’t a matter of practice on a regular basis – you get to learn from it and hopefully never do it again.

I want to thank each of you for being an integral part of my Life experience – for sharing your thoughts both good and bad – for touching my Life in your own unique way.

And – thank God for the love of my family and for sticking by me when I have been impossible to live with.

We’re not always going to agree on the issues – and there are a lot of issues to discuss. It is the art of disagreement and being okay with that that is our challenge. We’ve forgotten how to disagree and respect another’s opinion with dignity.

We’ve become mean…mean in our minds and hearts.

It is time to pause and reflect on why we are here. We are here to serve one another – to give and graciously accept. It is a learning curve we hopefully gain over a lifetime. Our time here is short. Short when you consider Mother Earth is 6 billion years old and been through a lot long before we arrived.

I wish each of you inner peace and a good life as the year unfolds. And when things get rough remember – you are always being tested. Fight the good fight and don’t waste energy on the things that have little meaning and no one will remember a century from now.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Take a good look at this “Earth Rise” image taken nearly six decades ago. That is us in 1968. Think of the lives that have come and gone since. Remarkable isn’t it?


I’m Getting Neurotic Over You

I like the Big Band era song “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You…” trumpeted by the late Tommy Dorsey of Dorsey Brothers fame. Herb Alpert gave it new life in the 1960s on Side 1 the TJB’s “Going Places” album. I’d like to write an updated version of this timeless tune titled, “I’m Getting Neurotic Over You…”


Baby Boomers like to obsess. It is who we are. We obsess about everything from politics to personal relationships. We are a neurotic bunch. Have you ever had a serious obsession over someone or a situation? Unfinished business?  You’ve had a falling out and haven’t been able to make peace

It is eating you alive. 

Could be a lost love and you just can’t stop thinking about them. Perhaps there was this especially difficult boss and the two of you could not agree on anything. Suddenly, you find yourself in the street – especially if their name was on the building and there was no spirit of compromise.

Maybe it was a problem neighbor with a noisy dog (that also crapped on your lawn), loud music, or the idiot who just kept revving their engine day and night.  Makes your blood boil just thinking about it even though the creep moved away.

So, what about that?

I am one of these neurotic boomers who perceives I have to make everything right even when I know things will never be.  I revisit bad experiences again and again for years in hopes of finding inner peace.

Sometimes – you just have to find your own peace.

You’ve probably heard this before but – no use obsessing over a situation you can do nothing about, especially if it happened ages ago. This takes a whole lot of practice and muscle memory.

You have to start somewhere.

Best place to start is at the beginning within yourself. I’ve learned in cognitive therapy change begins within. It is the only way to even begin improving your own dynamic. Keep in mind the failure of a relationship wasn’t always your fault.

Difficult people are difficult people – even if the difficult person is us.

Self-exploration takes a lot of work and the courage to face your own shortcomings. If you continue to encounter the same issues again and again with different people, cognitive therapy can be a good step toward self-improvement. Cognitive therapy involves looking at ourselves and how we respond to situations. Others also have to be willing to make changes for a relationship to work.

There has to be two participants for there to be positive change.

If you are faced with an impossible situation that doesn’t have a prayer and the two (or more) of you aren’t willing to put in the work – move on. Sometimes, all that work isn’t worth the energy when you are so far apart.

The courage to move on? That takes work too. This is where you have to put yourself and your own wellbeing ahead of all else because if you are not happy inside, you will never be any good for anyone.

Reflections Of…

Isn’t it remarkable how we reflect upon the old days like they were better than the here and now?  Do you remember growing up in the mid-20th Century? 

I do… I think most of us do.

It wasn’t always that great.    

We romantically look back to a simpler time when life was less complicated.  However, we forget we were kids and our parents had to shoulder the worries and complexities of the times — paying bills, housekeeping; making sure we were bathed, clothed, and fed; and then going off to work each day. 

Our mothers never got enough credit for the time and energy that went into housekeeping, doing the laundry, planning meals, picking us up from school, and making sure the ol’ man got enough attention.

You could tell when the ol’ man wasn’t getting enough attention. 

What is it about the past that it looks so good to us today? Because we tend to forget what made the past difficult and challenging at the time. When we were very young, the times weren’t the good old days then. We wanted to be grown and couldn’t wait to get there. We couldn’t wait to get out from under the parents, school, and those miserable schoolyard bullies.

What made the 1960s the “good old days” was how most people chose to treat one another.  Common decency was more the norm—holding the door for the person behind you, rendering a “thank you” when something nice was done for you, limited foul language, not exposing children to elements they should never see, using a fork instead of your fingers, dressing up to travel by air or rail, being considerate of your neighbor, block parties, spending the holidays with family, and holding one’s tongue in the heat of anger just to name a few. 

Grace has become a lost art.

Karl Lensler Photo

When I consider what we didn’t have 50-60 years ago, it is remarkable.  Today, you can deposit a check without going to the bank.  You can get just about anything imaginable overnight.  Cars and trucks have electronic engine control and long maintenance intervals.  Turn the key or push a button and you’re on your way.  What would we do without cells phones, personal computers and television? We’d be bored out of our minds or be forced to actually read a book. We’d have to sit around a campfire and chat instead of texting.  

You can jet off to just about anywhere in the world today including Australia and New Zealand, South America, Asia—and be there nonstop in hours instead of days.  You can make a long-distance call to nearly anywhere with telephone service and speak with someone 12,000 miles away.  Keep in mind what time it might be there when you call.  No use upsetting someone down under, “Mate! It’s 3 a.m…” 

What we learn from this nostalgia mindset is the old days weren’t always all that great. We had our struggles just we have today. Some things were easy while others were hard – just like today. We have technology on our side today, which we did not have in the mid-20th century. At the time, we had a long way to go.

By contrast, we’ve lost the human touch that comes with technology. Social Media has become the birthplace of bad information and insulting comments because you don’t have to look at someone’s face. Common decency has been laid to rest and “mean” has become the norm. You see it everywhere.

I can come up with all kinds of reasons to practice kindness. However, society has to be a willing participant. Our country suffers from failed leadership – both sides of the aisle – that isn’t setting a proper example for common decency. If you as a public figure exhibit language that makes you sound like you just walked out of a pool hall, you shouldn’t be running the country. “Give ’em hell Harry…” has nothing on what we have representing us on Capitol Hill today – not to mention state capitals, local government, and Hollywood. We need to clean up our act as a generation and leave the good Earth better than we found it.

These are the good old days. We just won’t know that for decades.

Happy New Year, Everyone… May yours be blessed.