Do those words sound familiar? They should if you were a product of the late 20th. century. They were spoken by former president George H.W. Bush in his desire, I believe, to take us back to a time that he remembered as a child. He was never able to do that nor will any future leader or leaders of our country as long as we continue to embrace a decadent and disruptive lifestyle, a lifestyle of catering to the demands and wishes of the few brought about by an addiction to the enticements presented by the “nanny state”. I believe it was Ronald Regan who said; “I wonder what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses would have had to present them to the U.S. congress for passage”. They most certainly would have looked a lot different, probably couched in language that only the lawyers and sometimes not so wise supreme court members would have understood. I am certain the first thing they would have removed would have been all of the “That Shalt Not” placed there by God, very much as they have either changed or ignore the rules set down by our forefathers in the very documents establishing the rules we should govern or be governed by.
What got me to thinking about a lot of this was a simple letter written to a newspaper and published on the editorial page. Incidentally the subject paper is an extremely far left news paper in both its editorial policies and it’s one-sided reporting of the news. The letter had to be written by an older person and I am going to tell you why I know this. He or she was writing about sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair at a Cracker Barrel restaurant following a meal. He talked of the many people from many states that he was able to relax and fellowship and converse with, who, like he was practicing what I like to call “rocking chair philosophy”. You know, if you have a full stomach, are rocking in a comfortable chair, and having a pleasant conversation, it is pretty hard to start a fig;ht, riot, or nose in some other countries problems and start a war. There is not a lot of drug usage, pornography, excessive consumption of alcohol, or road rage that occurs on a Cracker Barrel front porch.
A lot of the problems can be attributed to the fact that a lot of young people grow up today not even knowing what a front porch is. Look at the houses being built today. How many have a front porch. Sure there is a patio in the back yard, with perhaps a pool, a hot tub, and maybe even a fire pit for toasting marshmallows. It’s pretty difficult to converse with neighbors and passing by when you are hiding in your back yard. You also have a lot of activities going on back there that prohibits you’re sitting down and talking about what’s going on in the world, your life, or your neighborhood, and potential solutions.
Did you ever think about asking a young person if they know what a rocking chair is? Do you even own a rocking chair? John Kennedy, in his short time as president, recognized and maintained a rocking chair in his office. I believe it was given to him by a Kentuckian. Everyone has a chair that they sit in that is their favorite chair, but does it rock? Does it move you back and forth in a gentle manner that soothes the soul and aids in the digestion of the rich meal that you have just eaten? Probably you don’t. You may have something called an “anti gravity chair”. Anti gravity my foot! Get leaned back in one of those devices and try to get up in a hurry. You will end up in a tangle of lets, arms. chair, and perhaps other body parts. They have even taken the joy out of an old lever operated recliner. They are now powered by an electric motor that operates very, very slowly. Just when you are leaned back and comfortable the phone rings and by the time you get the thing in an upright position, the caller has hung up. You then sit and wonder and worry if the caller might have been calling to tell you that you won the lottery, or was a relative or loved one in trouble and needed help, or was a friend perhaps calling for a friendly chat. None of the above would have happened if you had a simple old rocking chair.
When I was a kid, a lot of people made things that were used around the house. This was particularly true if you lived on a farm. There were lots of hickory, willow, and other varieties of trees that grew that were pliable, and if you were handy with simple hand tools, made wonderful rocking chairs. They were both comfortable and durable. They were not made to become a decorative item of furniture but to be used as a place to sit, think, and discuss world problems and solutions with neighbors, family, and friends while gently rocking back and forth. Today we go to the Crate and Barrel, Wal-Mart, or some other local furniture store and buy a chair simply for its appearance, with no thought given to the comfort and fellowship it should provide.
As a child growing up, early on I recognized that there was a “pecking order” to things. You were at the bottom of the proverbial “food chain”. We were fortunate to have a grandparent living with us throughout my childhood. Back then you did not ship a grandparent off to someplace called “an extended care facility” or some other fancy name, supported by the government or some social service agency. You took care of your own. Next in the pecking order were your parents followed by you and your siblings. If you were the oldest child or the youngest child, you got “cut a lot more slack” than the child that was born in the middle. They got things because they were older or they were the baby. That order of things held true even when sitting on the front porch following chores and supper. Grandparents got first choice, parents second, and then what was left to sit in was occupied by the children. If you were the baby you of course got rocked in a rocking chair, to the envy of all the other children.
The adults would sit and rock and discuss matters of the world that were of importance to them. Those discussions were pretty much limited to what went on within the county lines or the household. There was no government news regarding how many billions of dollars this or that tyrant of some obscure upstart nation was going to get or scandalous news regarding the life style and activities of some crooked politician. I am sure that they did have concerns and questions about feeding and clothing the children and aspects of daily life, but you know they sat there in their rocking chairs and figured it all out. They did not run to some governmental agency or program who was spending ninety percent of what they were getting in their budget for personal benefits and salaries. That folks is called independence and solving ones own problems. And it all came about as a result of an old rocking chair.
So, I guess my point is as follows; Let’s get some government money and build a bunch of rocking chairs and send them to Congress and move them out of their air-conditioned surroundings int the fresh air on a big front porch and let them think a while about how they got there and what they were sent there to do, all the while rocking back and forth.