by Robert Stealey
The differences in the way things are done today seem to me to be worlds apart from those of 40-50 years ago.
It would boggle the mind to ponder those differences if you could have a videotape of the exact same situation as it was handled in, say, the '50s and '60s and that of today, the 21st century.
Just thought I'd share with you a few of them that came to mind this week. Here's my list:
-- Common highway courtesy. You'd never see drivers cut off other ones on the freeway as they do today, mainly because at that time four-lane roads were a novelty in "these parts" and entering an expressway was a cautious experience.
-- Watching football. To me, it doesn't seem that the crowds at high school games on Friday nights are as big as they were in the '50s and '60s.
-- Neighborhood playgrounds. Except for very special occasions, you seldom see kids congregating on playgrounds to have fun ... not like they did 40 years ago, anyhoo.
-- Job tenure. Used to be that when you took a job, you were advised to stay at it as long as possible and someday you'd climb the ladder to a higher position. Not any more!
-- Eating out. It used to be a treat. Now it's a matter of daily habit for some folks. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not knockin' it.)
-- On the ballfield. Youth sports competitions were played by the kids, not manipulated by the parents, as too often occurs today.
-- TV programs. Prime-time television shows once were clean and free of profanity and violence. It's virtually "anything goes" anymore.
As I mentioned, these are but a few of the things I could suggest.
There's something I'd like to add to my comments in Wednesday's Bob'n'Along about "the Man in Black," Johnny Cash, who died last week after a lengthy illness. My ol' friend Lew Dobbins dropped me a line to clear me up on something I'd said. And I'm mighty glad he did.
It deals with my favorite Johnny Cash song, "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," popular in the fall of 1970. My column stated that I didn't believe that song ever hit it as big as some of his other songs. Turns out, it was the country music "Song of the Year" in 1970 and was actually one of Johnny's biggest hits.
One time, the song's writer, Kris Kristofferson, said network officials had a problem with one line in the song, the first line of the chorus: "On a Sunday mornin' sidewalk, I'm wishin' Lord that I was stoned."
According to Lew's account, the word "stoned" had show producers worried, and remember, this was the early '70s.
Lew wrote: "The network bosses met with Cash and Kristofferson and informed them they needed to change that line before taping because of the word 'stoned.' Although Kris strongly objected to the change, he left it in the hands of Johnny to change it and/or do as he saw fit.
"When Cash walked out on stage and started the song, Kristofferson, who was sitting in the balcony of the Rymen Auditorium, watched and listened in suspense for the chorus. Johnny sang, 'On a Sunday mornin' sidewalk, I'm wishin' Lord that I was stoned,' and on the word 'stoned,' Johnny looked directly into the audience at Kris.
"That was Johnny Cash. He always did what he felt was right, and this time it was to perform the song exactly as it was written, with no changes."
Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at 626-1438 or by e-mail at email@example.com