Remember the good ole days? - James C. Bell

I guess it depends on one's age to determine just what the "Good Ole Days" were. To some, it might be those days when they could watch all those funny cartoons on Saturday morning and not have to go to school. To others, the teen fun of hanging out, playing sports or going on camping trips.

Me? I go way back to the days before T.V., when there was just radio and good old-fashioned storytelling. This is a lost art these days, but in my youth, this was what we did for fun, or actually, we listened to our parents and grandparents tell about things that actually happened to them or things they heard about happening to others.

The setting depended on the weather to some extent. If it was cold, the whole family, children, parents and grand parents, would gather around the fire place after supper and sit real close together to be warmer, as the old fire place only put out so much heat. Then, the adults would take turns telling some of their favorite stories. My dad told the same stories over and over, and we all enjoyed them, even though we knew each word before he said it.

Most of his stories came from his memories of hearing his mother or dad tell their family about different things that may have happened -- or may not have. I recall one story he liked to tell that his dad told (this dated back to around 1850). He said his dad was sitting out on the front porch of his home and it was just before supper time, when a neighbor came by and began to talk. Back in those days, folks didn't see their neighbors very often, and getting to talk was respected and enjoyed.

As they continued to talk, Grandmother was holding up serving supper and the food was getting cold and she couldn't stand seeing her food having to be warmed up, so she finally came to the door and said, "hello," to the visitor and invited him to come in and have supper with the family. One reason they were holding up supper was that this neighbor had a reputation of being a big eater and showing up to folks' home around meal time.

The man gladly accepted the invitation and sat down to a great meal of fried chicken and vegetables, corn bread, and apple pie for desert. As every one finished their full plates, it was considered good manners to ask the guest if he would like more to eat, and the man said "Yes madam, it's so good, I'll eat a little more." This happened several more times and Grandmother was scrambling around the kitchen trying to find enough food for this hungry man, when he finally said, "Thank you so much! It was great food and I ate more than I thought I would."

Granddad said, "Yes, you ate more than we thought you would, too"! There was always a moral or good manners to be learned with each story. This one taught us to have good manners, and not over-eat or over-stay our welcome when at a neighbor's home or friend's house.

We did have strong families and stable homes in those days, and this is exactly what we need in our society today. Children thrive on attention and love and the home is the right place to teach them how to get along with others and respect their rights. The golden rule was often cited in our home as we grew up: Jesus Said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

We were taught not to lie or cheat or steal and to be sure to treat others right. We were taught to be honest and to respect our elders and to be careful how we talked, and the language we used. We were taught to study in school and do the best we could and that Sunday and church were to be observed each week.

To me, these were the "Good Ole Days," when we loved our families, respected and obeyed the law and brought our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It will work today as well.

I pray you will have such good memories -- and love the Lord.