Occasionally, we will publish “guest” editorials from members of The Schilling Show Blog community. Here is our first:

The Native Alien
by Hank Martin

In the book of Exodus, Moses names his first son Gershom, for he had been a stranger in a strange land. I do not know about you, but I am feeling the exact same sentiment these days. Each day, as I go about conducting my business, I can not help but to remember, with both fondness and with sadness, how things used to be.

I am forty-five years old, but I might just as well be one hundred and forty-five. A native of Charlottesville, I can recall going with my mother to fill up our car. It was at Haney’s Filling station, where Kegler’s is now. One could walk in and buy a soda and a snack. There were no complicated vending machines that more often than not, would take your money, and not drop the desired drink or candy selection. No. The drinks hung by their glass-bottled necks in a refrigerator. I simply dropped a dime in the cardboard box beside the cooler, stuck my hand in and slid the bottle off the rack. The same was true for candy and snacks. One simply dropped a quarter in the box (which was not locked or bolted), and simply took the snack you wanted. No one in my sphere of interaction would think, nor remotely consider, stealing a snack or drink. Why? Was it because we were fearful of our parents applying the board of correction to the seat of our problem? Yes. Was it because we were fearful of being caught and having to face the local storekeeper, knowing that every time we ever entered that store again, there would be a label upon us, one that we placed upon ourselves? Yes, that was part of it as well. However, beyond everything else, we did not commit such an act, because we knew it was wrong. We knew it was dishonest. We innately recognized that there would be a witness to our acts, even if no human ever saw us. Deep down, we know that ultimately, God was watching us.

The manner in which we conducted ourselves in simple civility was different. I was well into my thirties, before I relaxed the habit of saying yes sir and no sir. I still hold a door open for someone older than myself, and always for a woman. I participated in the Boy Scouts, and though that organization is made fun of and worked against, on so many different levels, today you can not help but wonder how different may it have been, if there had been more Boy Scouts on Wall Street and in Washington DC.

It would be a challenge for any liberal to prove to me, that man is better off now, than he was before. Daunting it would be, to make me not believe that our country has paid an untold price for this supposedly new found freedom. A freedom that in actuality has been in existence since man erected the first tower to the sky at Babel. No board, foundation or individual, can make me believe that the life we have today is anywhere near the form of life our parents and grandparents knew—a world where children could keep their innocence and were not murdered and molested. A world where men treated women as objects of honor, worthy of protection, not viewed simply as simply objects of lust. A world where the celebration of a half-century of marriage was the norm, not the exception. Lastly, a world where individuals were self-disciplined, and did not require the sword of the state, to be told how to live.

The old sixties folk tune “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” questioned the need for war. Likewise, were a similar ballad to be scribed today, it would inquire as to where did my county and city go? Even more so, where did my country go? Laugh at those of us who unashamedly practice the worship of God all you want, I would ask you, when you look at the cultural landscape these days, would it really be so bad to offer up praise and supplication. Could it really hurt anything, to spend some humble time upon our knees?

2 COMMENTS

  1. I understand where Mr. Martin is coming from; civility has declined and our area has certainly declined in quality of life (I have lived here for 40 years). Haney’s still exists. It’s a few miles farther north than the location you mention and has been since I’ve lived here. But I must make some points about “the good old days”.

    Children most definitely were murdered and molested, it just wasn’t as talked about or punished as severely. “A world where men treated women as objects of honor, worthy of protection, not viewed simply as simply objects of lust.” But OBJECTS nonetheless. Women are people of equal capacity and responsibility in today’s world. “A world where the celebration of a half-century of marriage was the norm, not the exception.” People married A LOT younger and women had fewer options. “…a world where individuals were self-disciplined, and did not require the sword of the state, to be told how to live.” Yes and there was much less tolerance of diversity. Which brings me to another small difference between now and then: we have progressed to a point where a man with dark skin can be the President of the United States. In “the good old days” this would have been unthinkable.

  2. I am a lifetime resident of this area and I have not witnessed any new sins. Remember, Charlottesville’s history includes a former mayor who was hanged for killing his wife in the Park Street area ON A SUNDAY. Some believed that his girlfirend or her son, who was believed to be the mayor’s also, actually committed the crime.
    I find a major difference between then and now is the public face presented by the residents. Now the faces are much uglier. Another major difference which has grossly affected family relationships is the wide-spread use of welfare programs.

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