LeRoy Collins Commentary 154

Commentary #154
1 April 2008

Those Born 1920-1979

Friends, here are some observations you will enjoy. Please read my personal comment about one of them. At this stage in my life, it is fun to recall such signal events which helped make us what we are.
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.

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This is for...Those Born 1920-1979


TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants &children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Cool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because, WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computer's, no Internet or chat rooms.......

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

A PERSONAL NOTE ON THIS ONE: The Spring of 1951, I was a Junior (11th Grade) in Leop High School in Tallahassee. I had “hopped up” my Dad’s 1951 green Ford coupe so that the 100 horsepower engine had about 50% more power than the stock version. On a Friday night a friend of mine and I had taken home our dates, yet we had about 45 minutes before my midnight curfew expired. So, we went “riding around“ listening to the AM radio (only 2 in town in those days). Our idle ambling took us down the hill….in front of the Capitol,…..on South Monroe Street,…..under the railroad overpass, ….. to the next stoplight,….which was red. A look up ahead for almost a mile revealed nothing in sight. What a great moment to accelerate south and put all those horses to work. The light changed to green and I pushed the accelerator to the floor and we instantly felt the exciting power of acceleration pushing us into the seat as we flashed past 20, 40, 60…..and more (!)…..in a 40 mph speed zone. About that time I saw out of the corner of my eye the unmistakable presence of a police cruiser parked alongside a used car lot,…..waiting for a venturer like me on that tempting straightaway. Well, I promptly abandoned the solo dragrace and coasted to a stop alongside the curb next to Rocco Pipe and Supply Co. Sure enough, the cruiser came up behind us. “ Young man, I do not know how fast you were going, but I know it was too fast, and we call that reckless driving”. After showing my driver license, he showed me the Citation with his autograph. My friend and I still got home in time for curfew (Mom was still awake and checking the clock….and my sobriety). The rest of the night was uneventful, but the next morning would be the confrontation with my Dad. At breakfast I told him; he asked for the Police Citation. He saw that I had a court date about three weeks hence….with his boyhood friend, City Judge Julian Alford, the same local leader who had awarded me my Eagle Scout badge about a year before. I thought to myself this might work out OK, after all my interim anguish. At dinner that night, Dad told me he had spoken with Judge Alford about my case. He had told the Judge he had my Citation which instructed me to appear before the Judge, And, …..he told the Judge…..”Julian, if from the facts you determine my son is guilty as charged, you will do him, my family, and the public a great favor, if you will “SENTENCE HIM WITH THE MAXIMUM PENALTY ALLOWED BY LAW!”. Not at all what I had in mind. Dad accompanied me to court; when my case came up, the Police Officer testified, I was asked if I had anything to say in mitigation. I said something but it was lame and some form of irrelevant. Judge Alford next launched into a beration of my conduct, an expression of his great disappointment in me (with Dad standing mute beside me), and that he was taking my license away for 30 days, and he did not want to see me back there again. My embarrassment was so complete, that I did not ask for my license until 60 days had elapsed, which spanned some of the most socially-prominent occasions of the school year. Dad said later he was quite surprised I added the self-imposed denial after I had served my penance. You do not see much of that attitude by parents or their children anymore. It was chastening, indeed, and I never forgot it. LC

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them..CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:

'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us...go ahead and delete this.

For the rest of us...pass this ON!

Live well, Laugh often, & Love with all of your heart!

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/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.


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