Sweet Simplicity

By: Dennis Bates

When I was a kid this was my favorite time of the year. School was starting again, and yes, I was one of those who loved school. I looked forward to it and liked just about every part of it growing up. I liked seeing all my friends again, I liked all the activities, I was excited that now I got to use the books that all the big kids used to carry.


I wondered who my girl friend would be this year, and I always had one, although having a girl friend back then was more of a declaration than an action. You simply said “you’re my girl friend” and if the girl didn’t say “Oh yuk” or something similar, the two of you were an item. It was as simple and sweet as that. The really daring among us held hands once or twice, and I can remember to this day a quick, giggly kiss on my check on the stairs one Valentine’s Day from a girl I gave a valentine card to. I think she did it on a dare from a friend, but it didn’t matter to me; I was transported to another realm altogether by it, and the fact that I still remember it some 50 years later, tells you what an impression it made on me. I could even tell you what the girl’s name was and pretty much what she was wearing that day, but in case she or somebody else that knows her reads this, I’ll withhold that information. She might have had second thoughts about her momentary indiscretion that day.


Although there are a few moments I would just as soon forget, for the most part I had an incredibly happy childhood, and have a heart full of great memories because of it. I never knew that others didn’t have the same kind of experiences or feel the same way. I thought everyone felt as happy as I did.


I was one of the leadoff hitters for the Baby Boomer Generation having been born in 1947. I grew up in a modest home with a younger brother and sister, and two parents who taught us that if we built our lives around family, church and a good education, we couldn’t go too far wrong. As I grew up, I found that to be true. There was a  sweet simplicity in our values and the way we applied them that was not dissimilar from that sweet kiss on the cheek that I received on the stairs in fourth grade.


That sweet simplicity has served me well and it isn’t dependent on foreign or domestic oil supplies, smart real estate investments or having a retirement savings account that keeps pace with inflation. Moths and rust cannot consume it and thieves can’t break in and steal it because in the last analysis what gives my life meaning is remembering the sweet simple values I was taught as a child and the euphoria of a kiss on the cheek in fourth grade that I will never forget. 


Try to download those things into an iPod.

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