‘In my day…’: Generations have tunnel vision


There are circumstances in which we stand firm. We draw a line in the sand and refuse to move it. Much as we might want to, though, we can’t enforce our standards on others.

I have noticed more and more with passing time how so many people seem to have no line established for themselves about proper dress in some of life’s most momentous occasions.

At a lovely wedding recently, a friend of Cort’s sat with me in the balcony of a church. She commented how many people seemed as though they were not dressed for a wedding, but for a trip to the back yard.

“Why is that, do you think? It’s a wedding!” she asked me.

I was speechless, unable to offer a good answer, because I was wondering the very same thing.

Sunday best

Remember when we had our school clothes, our play and work clothes and our Sunday best? We took great pride in keeping our black patent leather shoes shiny for those special dress-up days.

I remember my excitement at the thought of getting my hands on some of those pretty dresses my sisters wore. I never resented hand-me-downs; I took great delight in seeing one of my sisters dresses moved to my closet. I couldn’t wait for a big day to come so that we all could dress in our fancy best.

A man recently told me of a trip out of state to visit his aging father. After a Sunday morning breakfast, this man said his father asked several times, “Are we going to church this morning?” and the son answered yes each time.

Finally, the elder man said, “Well, where is your tie?”

The middle-aged son said, “Dad, I am dressed in a very nice cashmere sweater. I am not going to wear a tie.”

The father waited a bit. Then he got up and went to his closet, bringing back several ties from which his son could choose.

“Dad, I am not wearing a tie,” he explained firmly.

As the father walked away, he mumbled something about “back in MY day, a son showed more respect…”

Months went by. This middle-aged man was back home one Sunday morning, enjoying breakfast with his wife and college-aged son. The wife asked their son if he planned to go along to church with them, and he said yes.

“Well, how long is it going to take you to get ready?” the man asked his son.

“I can be ready in just a minute or two,” he replied.

A minute or two later, the son grabbed for a jacket and headed for the door.

“Wait a minute. Your hair is a mess and you have no socks on. You can’t go to church looking like that!” his father said.

“What’s wrong with my hair? And I am telling you right now, I never wear socks. I am not wearing socks to go to church,” this son said with conviction.

“Well, what if you meet a very nice girl who you want to impress and she sees you with messed up hair and no socks?” the father said, horrified.

“I don’t go to church to impress girls, Dad,” was the son’s reply.

So, there we see clear lines, established along generational boundaries, proof that we will forever see things from our own perspectives based on our generational ties. Maybe it really is a good thing that none of us live forever.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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