I read a quote this morning by an African gentleman. I will not even attempt to write his name because I will butcher it. I just wanted everyone to know that this is not my original quote. He said,” Show me the heroes the youth of your country look up to, and I will tell you the future of your country.” When I look at the heroes of our youth today, this quote makes me shiver. This quote also was extremely poignant to me as I attended the funeral of one of my heroes and mentors of my youth. He is the next to the last of the “Greatest Generation” left in our little rural community. The really scary thing to me is after the last one goes, my age group will be the oldest generation in our church and community. I am already in a Sunday School class where my only promotion left is across the road to the cemetery. As an old preacher of my youth once said,” Heaven is my home, but I ain’t homesick yet.”
This coming September, my Dad will have been gone to be with the Lord for 10 years now. As we buried Mr. Buddy yesterday, I recalled so many pieces of wisdom that Pop, Mr. Buddy, Mr. Donald, and Mr. Brewer Pope imparted to me. I know for a fact that Mr. Buddy was the only one who could teach me how to throw a curve ball. Once when I cut my hand on my pocket knife, Pop told me to “pee on it and put turpentine on it”. These were hard tough men who made it through World War II. Some saw more action than others. But when they came home, they raised their sons to be men. I also vividly recall being injured in a football game, and my Dad eased down to the sidelines and asked me if I needed a little sympathy. When I nodded “yes”, he told me to look it up in the dictionary when I got home that night, and that I would locate it between s- – t and syphilis. He then told me to buckle my chin strap on and get back in the game because the team needed their defensive captain rather than a whiny bucket.
So, where have we failed in this country today in the raising of our young men to be men. I somehow think that it all goes back to the 60’s generation when the hippie movement came in. As a country boy, I never felt drawn to this movement in college. I was also petrified of drugs since even a bit of marijuana was a felony back then. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my Dad would kill me if I got caught smoking dope. But this generation of Peace& Love had children. By and large, they did not pass their parent’s value systems on down to them. Rather they passed their” if it feels good, do it” value system along to their children who now have children of their own.
Many of my generation avoided this courtesy of our favorite Uncle Sam. If you don’t think that a 6’6” drill sergeant standing in your face screaming at you about having a good attitude will not get your attention, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona that I would like to sell you. Our love of country and respect for our flag were reinforced there. We also studied about the great military heroes of the past, and the young lives who died on foreign soils so that we could live our pampered life styles. Several years ago, Martha and I visited the American Cemetery at Normandy. We were each given a white rose to lay at a grave. We found two Georgia boys, gently laid the flowers at the base of their crosses, and both cried unashamedly. Maybe we need to reinstitute a mandatory two year military draft. That should put some hair on a few millennia’s chests.
OK, y’all know that I can’t stay serious for too long. The gnats that lulled us into complacency in April and May have attacked with a vengeance in June. Since sweet corn prices are so abysmal we are offering a special deal this week. Buy a crate of corn, and we will throw in two gazillion gnats for free. Speaking of buying things, I read where a bookseller was conducting a survey and ask a woman,” Which book has helped you the most in life?” The woman replied, “ My husband’s checkbook.” I think that I resemble that remark.
In closing, let me say that this has really been a great summer for the quail hunting business. We have received abundant rainfall, but not too much. Our trees, cover, and food plots look great. I know that the thought of a hunting trip may not be at the top of your list in the dead of summer, but don’t wait too late to call if you have not already reserved a date because the reservation calendar already looks strong. I hope y’all have a great summer!