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A simpler time


Ralph Thomas


  I often think we get so caught up in information overload that we fail to recall the simpler times. These are the times before instant communication via cell phones, texting, twitter, Face-book, etc. It is almost as if we would be shirking our duty if we didnít immediately know of some occurrence in a location ten thousand miles away ... in a country we have never heard of.

  We have instant notice if a serious weather storm is headed our way, even though it will not arrive until next week, if at all, and as if we could do anything about it if it does arrive. The news item flashed on the television that there may be a shortage of sugar ten years from now or that some distant volcano may erupt within the next fifty years only adds to the list of things someone thinks I should worry about. Of course, at my age it is folly to take the long view. That is why I donít buy green bananas. All of these intrusions on our sanity chip away at our sense of peace and tranquility. When added together, it is no wonder why it is common to hear someone say they are ďstressed out.Ē

  I have some worriers in my family. Some of their worries are justified, most are not. In fact, most likely ninety-five percent of what they worry about will never come to pass. But, for some reason, worry they must. I think worry is like taking a ride in a rocking chair. A lot of energy is expended but you donít get anywhere.

  Donít get me wrong, I think television is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, much of it is senseless. There was a time when journalists, print and otherwise, reported the news ... truthfully. Now,  one must read or watch the news with suspicion. Reporting the news has been replaced with making the news. The role of ethics in news broadcasting has taken a beating since it was discovered that readers and listeners fed on the perverse or excitement, real or otherwise.  But, there is hope.

  We are blessed by living in or near a town that has a courthouse square, an image of what I think reminds us of earlier times and ... simpler times. The McDonough Square is one of these places. My wife and I occasionally have supper at a prominent restaurant on one of the corners of the Square. We can sit inside and observe people walking about or we can, in favorable weather, sit outside and be even closer to the action. This is one of the few places where my dog Molly, is allowed to have supper with us.     

  Watching couples holding hands as they stroll about the Square or parents pushing strollers and pointing out to the riders the colorful and whimsical display of Halloween characters reminds me of my home town of seven plus decades ago ... a simpler time.

  For me, the McDonough Square is a magical place. If one takes the time to sit on one of the benches on the Square, day or night, and really see the beautiful courthouse and the majestic oak trees and listen to the soft murmur of children laughing and couples speaking softly as if in a sacred place I feel blessed to be alive.

  I know my priorities have changed over time. Now, like a clock winding down, the important things in life become even more so. The need to know immediately what is happening throughout the world becomes unimportant. Loving our Creator, loving each other, caring about each other  ... these are the things I think about while sitting in the Square.


  Ralph Thomas is a Locust Grove resident and the author of Doing Great, but Getting Better and Getting Old Can be Fun.




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