Thursday, 26 August 2021 23:50

COLUMN: Back in the day

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Boton family in the early 1950s. Boton family in the early 1950s. J.A. Bolton

In the 1950s and '60s, things here in the South won’t so fast paced. Why, you could still enjoy a Sunday evening ride without someone riding your tail or honking their horn. It was a time when you could see the night sky instead of city lights and a time when you knew all the people in the neighborhood and their families, too. A time when a handshake sealed a deal or a person’s word was his bond.


Hank Williams was singing “Your Cheating Heart” and “I Saw the Light” on the jukebox. A young man by the name of Elvis was starting to change musical history for the generations to come. "The Ten Commandments," "Ben-Hur," "Ol’ Yellow," "Journey to the Center of the Earth," and "Cinderella" were just a few of the family movies featured on the big screens. Television was an up-and-coming thing while people were still talking on telephone party lines all over the land.

Back then, families dressed up and went to church on Sunday morning; no matter how late you stayed out on Saturday night or how much Cain you raised. The preachers preached right out of the Bible and didn’t mind stepping on people’s toes and calling sinners out.

Yeah, “back in the day,” that’s what old folks say.

Why, in those days, pot was something you cooked in. A joint was where your bones came together. Weed was something you pulled out of your garden. High was how far you could go up in a tree. Grass was what you mowed. Coke was something you drank and crack was a place in the wall.

People kept their pants up and their hats straight. Knee-highs (Nehis) were soft drinks. Men married women and gay meant that you had a good time. 

Yeah, country was still country “back in the day.”

Dinner was at 12 and fast food didn’t exist. Wendy’s was the girl’s house down the street and a Happy Meal was when your whole family came to eat. Fried chicken was finger-licking good but it probably came right off the backyard. While a Whopper, well, it was just a big ol’ lie that someone told to catch you off guard. All the while, the word Corona was a name for a nice long Cuban cigar.

Why, in school, we stood at attention and said the allegiance to the flag while prayers were prayed over the intercom each day. We were taught to respect our teachers; and “Yes ma’am” and “No sir” were the rule of the day. Math was done on paper and added in your head — that being the only way.  

Yeah, “back in the day.”

Why, folks visited their grandparents but were not raised by them. Children didn’t kill children just because they didn’t fit in. When people got old, they weren’t abused, they were just amused while talking to their friends.  

Politicians of today want to be politically correct even though our country is on the verge of hitting the deck. Morals and respect for others seem to be on the decay. Don’t quite know what’s happening today for it seems the Devil is having his way. 

Why, it seems like people never change from day to day because, don’t you reckon, the generations before probably felt the same way “back in the day?”

J.A. Bolton is the author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and just released his new book “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories,” all of which can be purchased on Amazon. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..