By 1965 cars will be flying. Such was just one of the predictions of a twelve year old neighbor kid in 1961.
For me the next four years were light years away. I was nine and I had no reason to doubt that he knew what he was talking about. I mean after all, he was almost a teenager and nearly a foot taller than me... and he did say that he read it in a magazine.
The future, just four years away. Wow!
Fast forward fifty one years, decades past my own clumsy teen years, a few marriages, three sons a couple of careers and then waking up on this day in 2012. Not only were we supposed to be flying around in automobiles and dressing like the Jetsons now, we were supposed to have telephones that would fit in our pockets and did not need cords. Okay, we have those but I'm still wearing blue jeans and my car does not fly.
So much has happened in my lifetime that I often wonder how I did actually make it this far. For example; there is no way that the thought of losing my parents ever crossed my mind then, and certainly not in 1961 when that kid down the street was telling me what the magazine knew of the future. But I did lose them, Mom was the first to pass away in 1997 and I lost my dad the following year.
I always believed that they would outlive me because I would live some life of danger and that I would never be alive when this century rolled around. But here I am and I really cannot say that I am happy to have made it this far. As a kid I imagined the future as being a much better place than where we were then. A world full of excitement filled with people much more interesting than those I took for granted back then. Boy was I wrong. Instead of that I am in a world that I really don't think I will understand, one that disappoints me daily.
In this one where we are held hostage by oil companies who delight in draining the wallets and bank accounts of Americans by constantly raising prices at the pump, and where we celebrate promises of a better America that is coming. You know, the one that will never rival the one us older people remember from decades ago.
Back when anyone who wanted a job could find one if they looked. I mean one that would allow them to provide for a family instead of accepting some minimum wage job that offers little or no benefits.
Attitudes have changed in overwhelming ways that many would argue are for the best for all of us. That argument gets bagged and put out with the trash anytime someone wants to waste their time presenting it to me. Aside from advances in the medical field that fewer and fewer people can afford to benefit from, or safer cars that fewer and fewer people can afford to own or maintain, there isn't much that has changed to make my life, or for that matter the lives of too many others I know "better."
Changes in attitudes and community policies have made it much better for some, but not for me. Somehow the years have passed too quickly and now I am the old guy on my block. I am surrounded by neighbors, most of them younger than my kids who dwell in expensive homes and drive expensive foreign made automobiles. They let me know every day that anything I might have to say, even a simple greeting like "hello" isn't important enough to respond to. I can say it but they usually pretend they don't hear it.
The people who used to occupy those homes who have long since passed away not only spoke often to each other they knew everyone's name. They drove American made cars and most of them worked blue collar jobs and raised kids in those houses. I don't know the first or last names of eight of ten of my neighbors. It isn't any of my business and I have grown to not care about that. I don't have to worry about their kids because none of them have any- and they all wear suits and ties when they leave for work...even most of the women. I haven't seen a neighbor in a dress or a skirt for years. It is as if we are now a unisex society.
I really do not like this future I am stuck in and sometimes I am not sure why I have lived for as long as I have, but I do know this, I miss where I was. At the end of every day when everything around me has settled down, and then again every morning when I wake up I wonder where it all went. The people, the landscape that surrounds me and even my own identity.
However, this entry into my life's log is about that white dog shown in the photo above. The best friend I ever had or will probably ever have. You see, this is the one thing that has never changed, regardless of how hard we try to screw things up around us or how often we turn our backs on what made us a great people or on what should be important. The pets who share our lives. Those creatures who have replaced the ones we have loved and lost through the years.
I had a dog in 1961 and many others since. They have all been the one constant that I could always rely on to be there when I wanted them to be, but more importantly, when I needed them to be. Non judgemental beings that accept me and everyone around them and who expect little more than to be cared for and shown affection. None of my dogs have ever disappointed me except when they had to die. And now this white American Bulldog whose name is Dee Jaye is the reminder in my life that a few things cannot be changed by anyone else's efforts to do so.
Had I gone into a coma fifty years ago and then woke up today as it sometimes seems, I would feel better about it knowing I have this dog. I cannot imagine how dismal life would be without her, especially now in the late autumn of my years on this planet.
When I took this picture I was thinking about that. I studied her as she relaxed on the back porch and I remembered the other dogs who used that as a favorite spot to snooze on warm afternoons. I was captured by a very strange feeling, one that really made me ponder my good fortune of finding this one here in the future, not the one I imagined, but like I said, the one I am stuck with. The one that if I had just woken to after a long, deep sleep would scare the Hell out of me.
A place where the price of everything is ten-to-thirty fold of what they were then and where familiar neighborhoods close by have fallen into ghetto status with boarded up and burned out homes- and where dangerous people move about, ready to take what isn't theirs. And where most of the people I knew and cared about then are now gone.
Thank God that when this time came around and I was still in it, this dog was here,