I remember asking my wife’s grandfather about the things he did growing up that all kids did, but shouldn’t have. Being born just after the turn of the century, (not the last one, but the one before that,) I will always remember his response: “I was as bad as what I had to be bad with.”
Is that true with about any generation? I have always heard what is over the top to us, our kids will embrace.
Growing up in Hoagland during the ’70s, the “Butler boys,” as we were called, were no exception. Whatever we thought of doing usually happened. There were no cell phones, no internet, and we only had three channels to watch on TV. And there was only one TV in the whole house. We were forced to be outside a lot and interact with our family or the rest of the people in the area. There wasn’t a lot to distract us.
There was an older lady that lived across the road from us. This lady was very expressive with her feelings. At that snippet of time, it was very common for taxi cabs to come out in the country and give folks rides to wherever they had to go. Caller ID was yet to be discovered, so prank calls were something we did. We would call Roonie’s Taxi and order a cab for our neighbor. We would then go outside to play ball and within 10 minutes or so the fireworks would begin. Yes, I know that was wrong on so many levels, but if you think like an ornery kid, it was priceless. And like anything else, the more we did it, the better we got at it.
There was a large tile that went under the road on U.S. Route 50. To us, it was at least 20 feet tall. I looked not too long ago, and it was maybe four feet at best. It seemed so much larger as a child. How can you get a prank out of that? There were many options for us. The best one was taking one of my mother’s purses and tying some fishing line to it. We would sit inside the tile and the purse would be on the road. If a car would stop — and they did — we would pull the line and the purse would disappear. Again wrong, but fun to a kid.
Now, whenever it snowed our focus changed from our three channels to the radio. An all-call system did not exist. The local radio station would announce the school closings. We would listen intently, hoping to hear Will Parr announce those famous words: “Hillsboro City Schools closed.”
In 1978, all schools in the county were closed the whole month of January. I remember listening to WSRW on the radio for a few nights, but the blizzard had rocked the world as we knew it, so we just quit. We knew without even hearing the words that there would be no school.
The outcome of that blizzard is just a little like what we are having in the world today. Both events have forced us to spend more time at home. Both have helped us all to look outside ourselves — to look at ways we can help others. During the blizzard we saw people getting others food, clearing roads, folks staying at the homes of others until the power was back on. Prayer and God became more of a public topic than it was before. Are you seeing that today as well?
The blizzard shut us all down only for two to three weeks. That sounds very minor to what we are seeing today. If even part of the predictions come true, there will be more issues we will all face.
Both events have shown us, or at least me, that our relationships with others are far more pressing and important than the “stuff” we all have in our lives. We have let that “stuff” slip in and take that No. 1 spot. We have seen just how little of importance our “stuff” really is.
That’s not all bad.
Just to give you one more adventure the Butler buys tried… Will Parr never believed us when we called the radio station pretending to be Hillsboro High School Principal John Burton and telling Parr to announce that schools were closed. I guess we weren’t as good at it as we thought.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.