George Smith: Back in the good old days when things were bad
Oct 20, 2013 | 2613 views |  0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Back in the good old days when things were bad” is a line I’m plagiarizing from a Merle Haggard song, but it’s what got me off on this morning’s kick … that and the fact that along about sundown Saturday I had absolutely no idea for a sermon . . .
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-- Back in the good old days when things were bad you could get a hot baloney sandwich at Doc’s Café in Ohatchee, but if your credit was on hold at the time you just turned around and walked the three miles home.

-- Back in the good old days when things were bad you didn’t leave home without a lug wrench, a jack, and two “hot patches” for “fixin’ flats.” When’s the last time you saw a car on the side of the road with a flat tire?

-- Back in the good old days when things were bad your grandfather bragged when he got 10,000 miles on a set of tires. Now if you don’t get 50,000 or more, you’re driving recaps.

-- And while we’re on that subject, the peeled tire rubber you see alongside the Interstate is from truck recaps … they’re a lot cheaper and can be used safely (unless one flies off and into a following car) on the trailers with non-powering wheels.

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SOME OF the good times when things were bad was sitting on the running board of a Model A Ford watching your grandfather whittle on a piece of wood. James Houston Smith was an artist, but it was a skill I never acquired. Fact is, I’m the only “boy” of my generation that NEVER carried a pocket knife.

-- A Sunday afternoon pastime was sitting on the front porch and waving at passing traffic. Whenever a big, black Buick would come by, someone would invariably say: “Y’all know rich folks are miserable, don’t you?” I was on the poor side of the crowd and I always thought being “rich and miserable” would be a better deal than the one I had.

-- Air conditioning brought “Yankees” south to stay, but I’d rather have the AC with Yankees than a church fan on a hot Sunday morning listening to the preacher chase pagans, infidels, and agnostics for an hour or so … and that didn’t count the additional 20 minutes he spent on the benediction.

-- Today’s boys keep copies of Playboy hid under their mattress. Boys of my day kept sheets from the lingerie section of the Sears ‘n Roebuck catalog hidden away.

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THERE’S NO ONE alive today that can cook a fried peach pie as good as my paternal grandmother, Hattie Cook Smith. But I do have an aunt by the name of Lois Phillips Cobb who can turn out chicken dumplings just like my maternal grandmother, Ludie Banks Cobb. Could be that Grandma Cobb living with Aunt Lois for 15 years or so had a lot to do with that. Some times really were good, very good, back in the good old days.

-- If you had your choice between today’s shoes and shoes back in the good old days and don’t have an answer that means you are NOT of my generation. Shoes back then were like putting your feet in a torture chamber. Happy days came in the spring when you began months of going barefoot. After two weeks, to paraphrase Tom T. Hall, “I could run barefoot down a graveled road.”

-- Back in the good old days you believed in Santa Claus. Now you believe in your son-and-heir and the credit card his mother gave him. Thing is, he’s out there spending his own inheritance.

Now, if you’ve read any of this before it’s because the older a man gets the more he repeats old stories. Nothing new ever happens to him and … so …

But in editing this, it comes to me there were good times back in the good old days … but I still like today best.

Thanks for visiting.

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George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email:

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