Remembering way back
to a time in our past
when every school day
started with a song
“his truth is marching on”
and the Pledge of Allegiance
“liberty and justice for all”.
We - us children
played marbles in the school yard
and dreamt of our heroes
Daniel Boone – Davey, Davey Crockett
and never missed
a Sunday church service -
summer bible camps
games of hide and seek
playing with our friends
peeking around corners
with big eyes – itchy fingers
taking life in and on
a little at a time
nothing much changed
at first – until television.
The world in our living room
and music – the Beatles and the Monkeys,
the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five
and within one month
of those first Ed Sullivan shows
we wore paisley shirts
and pointed shoes –
with higher heels
our hair grew considerably
and funny how seeing
those young girls
react to those young boys
and the music changes us
“love – love me do” and
“all my loving I will give to you”
along with those commercials
“things go better with coke” or
“Winston tastes good –
like a cigarette should’.
It seemed like –
it changed us all
and soon junior high
was a little boring
compared to our changing world.
How could summer Sunday school
compare with “James Bond 007”
or “Beach Blanket Bingo”.
So exciting and a far cry
from everyday life
or so it seemed –
changes every day.
The growing drug culture
and beer sales sky rocketed
“tastes great - less filling” or
Bud – “the king of beers” and songs –
Willies’s “Whiskey River”
and Neil’s “Oh I Love My Rosie Child”
and then Woodstock,
V.W. buses, and the Grateful Dead
Joe Cocker’s “I Get High,”
“With a little help from my friends”
and Janis and Jimi
all new – loud and fun
but with a dark side.
America’s heroes, getting high,
fast cars and guns,
Clint Eastwood - “Porkys,”
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High,”
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
and millions of sports fans
wanting to make their teams
their religion – their Messiah
and all these new heroes
hawking soft drinks and tenners
and size six super models
air brushed to perfection to give you –
and impossible goal
and lots of sexiness
because we are
the sexiest of societies.
So finally if you are
lucky enough
to survive all this hype
and actually become a normal – Love God!
Love your fellow man –
human being – who is not
addicted to drugs or booze,
a chain-smoker or other bad habit
and does not carry a gun
everywhere you go
and loves your family
and helps your community
you should congratulate yourself
on becoming the honest, kind person
you were always meant to be
against all the odds
and the manipulating forces
of this crazy world
and with this simple act of defiance!
You stayed true
to your childhood dreams -
your family and God!

MTA Poet Laureate, Jim MildrenJim Mildren is the longtime manager of the Gogebic County Transit system in Ironwood, Michigan at the westernmost point of the Upper Peninsula. He is an avid outdoorsman, bicyclist and runner and enjoys writing about nature and the world around him. Jim traditionally reads a new poem or two at every state transit convention he attends and is considered the Poet Laureate of the Michigan Public Transit Association. He and his lovely wife Ellen reside in Ironwood and have two grown children and a grandson out-of-state who they love to visit whenever possible.

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