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Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Miss the Joy


I suppose I have experienced my share of unadulterated joy in my 59 years of life. I have been extremely fortunate to be raised by good people in a good area, and these advantages have given me the opportunity to explore the tremedous opportunities of life and abundantly reap the happiness in living. Much of the joy I have enperienced has stemmed from unexpected moments of good fortune, and very often in the midst of work or adventures with friends.

For example, I can't imagine someone who did not have the tremendous opportunity to play sports with a good, winning team of friends. Or, who cannot remember the joyful experience of the awesome sights, sounds, and smells of spending a hot day at Dreamland (then, the Terrace Club) pool? As I pass the now weed-covered parking lot of the Scioto Breeze Drive-in Theater, a million old memories flash through my head about this once affordable family and dating attraction. And, who doesn't miss the Friday night crowds and department store shopping on Chillicothe Street as many residents just "went to town" with a little money in their pockets to initiate a great weekend or to congregate with friends?

I miss the Mustang I drove, Lake Margaret where I swam and worked, the competitive young rock band scene at places like the Armory and the CAY, and the numerous gas stations where many males congregated to meet with friends in the community. Most of us then, years ago, were happy with the state of our hometown, even in the face of one of the most turbulent times in U.S. and world history.


It was a simpler time, a time of fewer options, and a time that stubbornly held onto innocence and obligations. People spent more time in reflection then and less time keeping up with a rapid, time-devouring life style. Then, most of the unthinkable segregation of this past was beginning to break down as effective, influential leaders emphasized the importance of civil and basic human rights. Causes were popular, and the youth often fronted the battles for a better life because they felt as if they were a needed cog in a new and better mechanism of societal interaction.

Perhaps, most of my joy resulted due to the feeling that I, as a young American, could make a difference as part of this powerful group of baby-boomers. Sure, the young often encountered solid opposition, but with the support of their strength in numbers and their vitality of their youth, the younger population by the thousands responded to issues they believed most needed addressed.

Imagination -- in science, in the arts, in self-expression -- was valued and encouraged, so far-reaching discoveries emerged. At that time, technology was more a slave to the people and the people were less a slave to technology. I think people actually believed they had discovered a new, joyful horizon and they were steering the course toward that communal rainbow port. As time would prove, however, their false belief that chemicals and drugs would enhance the journey was a revelation too late to save many useful pioneers. Mistaken ideologies took their tearful toll in the best of times.


What do I miss? Where is the joy? I miss the thoughtful, educated beauty more than I celebrate the flawless, show-all, magazine ideal. I miss the rugged, honest, strong-willed male more than I respect the tough, threatening, body-talking man. I miss the opportunity for expression and the ability to be misunderstood without dislike more than the totally guarded, seemingly over-examined search for imperfection in a person's direct expression. I miss the broad range of acceptance and toleration exhibited by the public more than the absolute desire to categorize and stereotype others.

I miss V-eight summer night drives with the windows down.
I miss the excitement of the unknown on the edge of town.

I miss the kiss of a baseball on the sweet spot of a wooden baseball bat.
I miss long walks to the river through plowed bottoms to catch monster cats.

I miss the way the colors on the hills blazed brighter in the days of fall.
I miss the days when home was the only place to reach people with a telephone call.

I miss holding onto a tentative hand.
I miss the thrill of exploring the foreign land.

I miss a second and a fiftieth chance.
I miss the times that life was a new dance.

I miss the  loyal friend.
I miss the good end.

I miss being more.
I miss the recognizable, essential core.

I miss the old joy.
I miss it more and more.

I miss the joy.

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