17 May, 2008


Today I saw a driverless truck, and kind of grinned.

Sure enough, there was the tiniest grandma ever behind the wheel of a brand new, fire engine red, full-sized Chevy pickup with big-ol' step-side running boards. I don't believe she could see me as I passed her, but I kept an eye on her in my rear-view. She seemed almost to notice and slow down a little for the 8-sided sign she rolled through.

And I got a little sad.

In the little town of 3,000 in which I grew up, I'd have marked that truck and made sure it was never broken down by the side of road, or in any danger of being hit if it rolled in front of me at some 4-way stop. Before long, the whole town would have just naturally noticed and made little allowances. I'm sure somewhere in smalltown America, there'd be some wannabe macho man roll through town in a fire engine red Chevy, wondering why everyone seemed to move over a little bit for him.

I'll never see that little lady again.

I wonder sometimes just how poor we really are.


Milly said...

Now you’ve brought me to a bit of nostalgia. I lived in a very small town. The main street ended at the church or D’s house. Not a single street light, we didn’t have need for one. We all knew that the old man was going to be walking in the middle of the road on our way to school. I wonder now if he didn’t do it to slow us teenagers down. I wonder if he didn’t smile a bit at the sound of our cars coming to a halt as we crossed the highway. As you drove around this little country town folks nodded as if they knew ya. It was common place to get a tip of the hat from a man. I don’t remember hearing a lot of curse words from folks mouths and I’d guess that on Sunday’s most folk went to church. Some in their overalls. They felt no need to act as if they had more than they did. I remember running out of gas in a smell neighboring town and some very kind people giving me enough to make it to a town with gas pumps. (My gage on the 67 Mustang was broken.) Folks don’t help now because we are too busy and too afraid.

Yep we are poorer.

Kansas Bob said...

I'll add my story to yours and Milly's:

I grew up on Staten Island.. the once largely rural borough of NYC. I grew up in an area where everyone knew everyone.. we were all friendly.. I played baseball with kids on the local sandlot.. basketball on the local school playground.. it was an innocent time.. life was simpler.. I felt a part of small time America in a town of 9 million.. after all you did have to take a boat to "the city".. I took a bus, boat and train to High School.. but came back every night to a quieter life.

Times are different and I rarely go back to those times.. thanks CP and Milly for helping me go there today.

Kansas Bob said...

And we didn't have very much money.. but we certainly were not poor.

Anonymous said...

We are only poorer if we are longing for a time that may or may not have existed, and yet not creating a good life around us. We long for a time in which others cared for one another and us for them. But do we care for ourselves and our neighbors? Do we take the time to help strangers?

I don't. I don't like to be bothered by others and I don't want to spend time and energy helping them, getting to know them, bearing their burdens. Yes, not really the Christian way. I do help, at times, those few I have placed value on. I can do more, but often I don't have the time and energy. So you can blame me for the current state of life as we know it.