Times aren#039;t changing, they#039;ve changed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sometimes I wish I had been able to capture a thousand images of Greenville when crossing the Interstate was like entering a wild, untamed frontier, and a drive-in movie theatre existed where the baseball fields are. That, for many still living, and those no longer with us, was the Greenville of my youth.

What would our dead say? How would they react to come back and see a city that little resembles the one they left behind? The traffic would probably scare them dead again. The traffic nearly scares me to death, so they really wouldn't have a chance.

Is it bad to want to go back to that?

I mean I've always heard &#8220Move forward. Progress. Progress. Look to the future.” But sometimes I don't recognize this town I grew up in and it scares the hell out of me. Buildings have fallen. Businesses have closed. I see the faces, but I don't see the people. I don't know them. A look or an expression catches my eye and I know that man, I say, or I know that woman, but the name is buried beneath some long lost vault marked with the letter &#8220T” for &#8220Too Long Ago To Remember.” I hate these moments because they make me feel old.

I look out at Gateway Plaza and I see Fred's but I remember Elmore's. I remember a little boy climbing up at a lunch counter beside his mother and eating the most glorious freshly cooked hamburger he'd ever eaten. I drive through the ballparks at Beeland and see three baseball fields, but I remember a drive-in where I saw Star Wars for the first time, and Rooster Cogburn with John Wayne. The old house I grew up in is still standing on Perdue Place, surrounded on both sides by apartments, but I remember a big pasture that I tried to run away through the first day I ever went to school.

That, my friends, were the &#8220Good Old Days.”

And every generation has them.

They're called the &#8220Good Old Days” for a reason, remember. First, you're young. The &#8220Good Old Days” always coincide with youth. Second, you usually don't have a care in the world. You're fed, clothed, housed by your parents. Third, the future really is a promising frontier of undiscovered knowledge and wisdom. The problem is, once you discover all of this undiscovered knowledge and wisdom you're too old to do anything about it. Except pass it on to the next generation, who may or may not (most likely may not) listen and learn from your accumulated years on this Earth.

The years, then, become months. The weeks become days. The days become hours. Once you're old enough to realize you're going to die, your life gets put on the fast track.

Carpe Diem.

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: editor@greenville.advocate.com.