Today, while enjoying lunch with my husband and oldest son, I noticed a late-model Buick LeSabre that seemed to be in mint condition. It was green and had no scrapes or nicks. The body was flawless and shined as if it were just washed. In the front seat was an elderly couple. The husband drove, what seemed to be their grandchildren. We later learned it was a couple, maybe a grandchild and their date. As they exited the car, I could see the interior of their car was impeccable. Only the seats, interior doors, and dashboard were visible, but it was enough to know the car was well-taken care of.
After they all got out of the car, my attention brought me to the elder couple who was at least 70 years old. Their behavior intrigued me and I smiled at their show affection. Once arriving near each other, they quickly held hands and walked toward the establishment proudly. Now basking in the ambience of their lasting love, it was their pride that most intrigued me. It was a certain aura about them, that had nothing to do with race or class. The closest similarity I can describe is the pride of Americans shortly in the 60’s.
The United States citizens took pride in what they produced, their surroundings, their households and themselves. They understood the value of hard work. Business owners stood behind their products. Sure, there was disparity between races, crime equivalent to their times, and the “American Pie” seemed distant to many low-class Americans. But people still had values and morales. Those who could own stores, paper routes, warehouse jobs, and positions we could not even fathom, knew the craftsmanship was done with finesse and care.
I talked to my husband and son about how America has changed. The funny thing is, none of us were old enough to have lived in that era. However, growing up in the seventies has afforded my husband and I the opportunity to see some of the life that still represented that era. No longer are the family owned corner store owners that knew your first name and could trust your bill will be paid on your next payday. Gone are the car manufactures that believe what they build is supposed to last. Now we get warranties for everything from electronics, to vehicles and tires, to appliances and homes. Pride in craftsmanship and personal property, care for neighbors and your neighborhood, and believe in standing for something; that is what is gone. People do not cherish relationships, care for their neighbors, or carry a set of values and morales they can reflect on situations.
We were all looking to the future, screaming for change. We are bearing arms and preparing for war against our brothers and sisters. We constantly state, behind closed doors, “it is not my problem”. We live in excess, forgetting our values and morals to have the most stuff; never caring for the things already acquired. Granted there are some things in the past, we would all wish never happened; but some are worth remembering and repeating. Chivalry, respect for self and others, care, and value in the things that represent you: God, family, home, and others.
That couple represented all that was good in people. From the moment their car rolled into the parking lot, I could see the pride in their car. How they exited the car and held hands, they were still partners in the struggle. How the elder male held the door while the family entered, he insisted he be alpha male and ensure everyone was cared for. And even how the elder wife waited few steps into the restaurant, while her husband held the door. Despite the difference my husband and I have with this couple, it was refreshing to see what my husband and I could aspire to be in years to come.