The picture is from 1971. I was 6 years old (#4 in picture) and my sister was 9 (#1 in picture). We were having Christmas with our best friends, Rhonda (#5), Wendy (#2) and Brock (#3). Our families were so close, we referred to their parents as Aunt Pat and Uncle Ron but we were not related in any way. We just did everything together. Our dads preached together; our moms sang together. I’m pretty sure us kids were even spanked together – by whichever parent happen to catch us (that was allowed back then).
Many summer weekends we would go to their house and spend most the time playing under the branches of the weeping willow tree in the front yard. The tree was a house; then a castle; then a fortress. It’s branches became whips, swords, ropes and crowns. It all depended on the moment and our imagination – the days were magical!
On one of these weekends, I was learning to ride a bike. Unfortunately, the only available two-wheeler was a girl’s bike. It was probably Wendy’s…I only remember the banana seat and curved handlebars. Somehow, while wobbling down the driveway, I managed to fall forward and hit my shoulder on the curved handlebar. I felt a funny crack and after one more failed attempt to ride without training wheels, I ended the day at the ER getting a brace for my broken collarbone.
Ah! The good ole’ days..great memories…good times!
The house was probably built in the days of the Pilgrims but when we bought it in the early 1970’s, it seemed like a new mansion! It was really just a small 2 bedroom house that the previous owners expanded with an extra bedroom and bath. We lived there for more than 10 years and never added steps to go up to the front door. I think dad did this on purpose to confuse the Jehovah’s Witness…they never knew how to approach ‘the house with no steps‘.
Winters are brutal in northern Michigan. They are cold and long. And when you live in a house that has newspaper and straw for insulation, cold mornings mean “every kid for himself“. I remember getting up for school; taking my bowl of cereal and sitting on the floor in the dining room next to the only register that produced heat. I prayed ‘hallelujahs‘ every time the heat came on and uttered Christian curse words when it would turn off. I think my sister went to one of the registers in the living room to eat her cereal – I did not know and did not care! I had my hot spot and that’s all that mattered. My brother is 7 years younger than me. By the time he was school age, I had already staked a claim on the Dining Room Register…he suffered hypothermia for the first 12 years of his life.
Ah! The good ole’ days..great memories…good times!
But why? Why do we always look back and see the past through these rose-colored glasses? I was there back then and they did not seem extra special and “good ole‘” at the time. So what changed? Time? Has enough time gone by that I have forgotten how difficult life was or how much I hated school and homework? It is like labor pains…once enough time goes by you forget how bad the pain was…and you are willing to have another kid? Maybe.
Perhaps we all just employ a bit of ‘selective memory’ when we tell old stories or look through the picture albums. There is probably an aging or ‘fermenting’ process that makes these memories rich with emotion and fondness. Whatever it is that creates this altered or selective view of our own past, I think is is a gift from God!
I have another thought about our sepia-toned pasts that bears a few moments: Could it be that when we were living those moments of our past, they did not seem like the Good Ole’ days because we were more focused on the problem of the moment and sure that every problem we faced was the biggest and worst thing possible. It is only now, 20+ years later, that we realize that our worst fears never happened; our tendency towards pessimism didn’t pan out; our assured destruction never took place. We are now able to look back and see that the bad things weren’t really that bad and the good things were actually quite wonderful!
So here is my prediction: In 20 years, you and I will both look back to this time in our lives and say, “Ah, those were the Good Ole’ Days“. Why wait? Let’s see today as the good ole’ days NOW:
- The sleepless nights from that newborn
- The angry boss that won’t let you do your job
- The appliances that keep breaking
- The sickness that won’t heal...
…it will become part of your past and you will realize that (in most cases) it was not as bad as you thought or at the very least, you survived it when you thought you could not.
Elijah was hunted by the king and in the midst of a famine. I wonder if he looked back at the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 3:3-6) as part of his good ole days? Or did he recognize protection and provision in the moments they came? If he did, then he lived each moment as the “Good Ole Day”.
Don’t wait to have fond memories or live forever pinning for the pleasant past. Enjoy today…these ARE the good ole’ days!
Open Mic: Share your thoughts
- What are some of your current struggles that need to be viewed from a more heavenly perspective?
- What are some blessings that you have today to make this a Good Ole’ day?