MISSOURI, October 10, 2014 — Words and phrases from the past can be rich in meanings to those who remember them, but lost to most of us today.
Burma Shave signs were once a staple roadside entertainment. They were clever, a truly enjoyable read, some with messages relevant still today. But we shoot down the highway so quickly, with our kids watching movies rather than looking out the window, that few of us would notice them today — if they still existed.
DROVE TOO LONG
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING
THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
OF PAUL FOR BEER
LED TO A WARMER
Those signs are gone, another delight of years gone by that seniors truly miss. They are just another little thing that we remember that make us truly glad that we grew up in the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Today, highway overpasses and city buildings are covered with graffiti. The closest most of us came to graffiti decades ago was chalk on the sidewalk for hop scotch, which when one thinks about it is not seen that much today. Children are watching television or playing computer games rather than outside exercising their bodies.
A billboard once caused serious outrage. It was on top of a building near a major theatre, advertising a well-known milk company. It had a picture of a mother holding her baby in her left arm, feeding her a bottle of milk sold by this milk company. It was charming, except for one thing: The mother did not have a wedding ring on her finger.
This wasn’t deliberate, just a human error. The public noticed, though, and the company immediately corrected the error. Would this would be an outrage today? Would anyone care?
Each generation has its type of music. The exception is the classical music that has survived all generations, but each generation has had its own popular music. Today’s older generation had Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Diana Shore, Kate Smith, Dorothy Danbridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole — the list goes on and on. The common thread was that people could understand the lyrics. Today’s music is hard to understand. In those cases where you do hear and understand the words, you find that some songs contain vulgar words, unpatriotic messages, and threats against law enforcement officers who have and continue to lay down their lives for their country.
When driving, you sometimes hear booming noises which at first you think are a sonic boom from a military jet flying overhead. Then you realize it is car radio somewhere nearby. How they are able to understand the words in that music — not only because the words and lyrics almost seem sung in an alien tongue, but because the sheer volume is deafening — is a mystery. The 60s generation that first fell in love with ear-splitting music is already sporting stylish hearing aids. That’s a fashion accessory that is obviously going to be with us for a while.
We might hate the words of popular music today, but the Constitution guarantees Americans freedom of speech. However, in this time of terrorism and the threat from outside forces, we ought to love our country and its freedoms enough that we raise our patriotism and language to a higher level. We should remember the standards of years gone by, then remember that the words and phrases that come out of our mouths are representative of our character.
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