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McCanless column: Search for the good

My darling daughter says one of my flaws is the fact that I am a very optimistic person. Well, personally, I don’t think this is so bad. Sometimes all we have going for us is our outlook.
According to Tom Brokaw, I am a member of the Greatest Generation, and as such, I have long looked at things with a glass half full type of mentality. I was not around during the Depression, and came along about midway through the second World War, but I can remember, like yesterday, my mom fixing milk toast for breakfast when we had nothing else. We only had one car, and my dad always had that, so gas rationing was not an issue with us. If we wanted to go somewhere, mother would take us on the bus or the streetcar. One of my uncles drove a cab, so on very rare occasions, we’d take a taxi, with Uncle George driving it.
We never even lacked for entertainment; there was radio every night. All the good stuff, like The Lone Ranger, Lux Theater, Inner Sanctum, and a host of others, including all the great comedians: Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Allens Alley, Fibber McGee and Molly. We listened to them all. If we got bored, and there must have been the rare occasion when we did, Mom told us to go read a book ó and we did.
As a kid in the ’50s, I read a Nancy Drew mystery story every Saturday. When I finished the entire series, I started on the Sue Barton, Nurse books. Plus, there were always games to play out back in the alley (or someone’s yard) every weekend , or our bicycle to ride.
Our family was just like other families on the block, and we were very creative when it came to managing our lives without all the electronic gizmos that are around now. Sometimes we had a television set, sometimes we did not.
I get a little disconcerted when I see reports of accidents because some teenager was text messaging while driving an SUV to and from school. If my father were alive today, he would shake his head and wonder what a teenager was doing with a cellphone and why were they driving a car. I received my driver’s license at 18, because that is when my father said I could. I drove the sole, family vehicle if and when I had my father’s permission.
I am not suggesting that people change their ways and return to the ’50s, although I wouldn’t mind. But I think our technology needs to be adjusted with reason, and we definitely need a realignment of our sense of personal responsibility.
Times are tough, sure, but we’ve all been through them before, we managed, and we lived through it. When we are down and out, the only way from here is u!
I can’t help but take note of the fact that families and individuals are now doing what they should have been doing for the past 30 years; that is, spending wisely and conservatively, doing without the unnecessary, recycling, and cutting back.
I read a magazine article the other day that told how some families are now dining together at night, as opposed to everyone going their own direction, home cooking is making a return, families are playing games together at night, watching movies with a bowl of popcorn to share.
I am living proof that one CAN live without a cellphone, an iPod, a Blackberry and flat screen TV. Many years ago, I decided to simplify my life by getting rid of the things in my life that were not vital to my existence ó dustcatchers I called them, and how liberating it was to say goodbye to it all!
Search for the good, and you will find it. Happy Hunting!

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