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Turn Back the Hands of Time with a Cultural Revolution

Updated on July 24, 2014

One Small Example

There is something about building up a comradeship - that I still believe is the greatest of all feats - and sharing in the dangers with your company of peers. It's the intense effort, the giving of everything you've got. It's really a very pleasant sensation.

Edmund Hillary

This past weekend, I was waiting in line for my Saturday morning mocha. It was a beautiful morning, the promise of heat in the air, the wind still and unlimited possibilities were before me. When I got to the counter I placed my order, chatted with my favorite barista, and when served the drink I was told that the police officer who was ahead of me in line had paid for my drink. “Pay it forward” was his message for me.

Home I went, a smile on my face, and then into the garden, where I picked some fresh kale, lettuce, and snap peas. Picking completed, I was back in my truck, back to the barista, who was jubilant when I handed her the garden bounty. “Pay it forward” was my message for her.

There was nothing newsworthy about that morning, no “updates at eleven” or front page news, and yet the ordinary became extraordinary because of the kindness of one man, sworn to serve and protect, willing to go that extra step during his work day.

A moment of reflection followed, for I am a writer, and writers observe, reflect, and then transcribe the events of life for posterity.

How sad, I thought, that a simple act of kindness would seem so extraordinary.

What has happened to our society for this to be the case?

The good old days
The good old days | Source

Some of You Don’t Remember

I have waxed poetically about the time of my youth, and I am always careful so that my vision of the past is painted in realism rather than rose-colored distortion. I believe I have been accurate. I believe it all happened as I remember.

I believe that people were kinder to their neighbors, and to strangers, and I believe that small acts of random kindness were the norm rather than an event of such magnitude as to merit an article. I remember our neighborhood quite well, and I do not believe I have misrepresented it. Neighbors looked out for neighbors. Kids were safe, bounties were shared, and when there was illness or tragedy, the neighbors banded together and did what was necessary to help those who had fallen.

There was sharing of fruit, sharing of vegetables, borrowing of tools and laughter across the fences. When a major project was being tackled, there was no need to ask for help, for help arrived without bidding, just friends helping friends with no thought of payback and no expectation of thanks.

I have written about it often, and received many comments from others who remember those days, and invariably the responses are wistful and melancholy in nature, for those times seem to be gone, passed down through the archives along with hoop skirts, Edsels, and soda fountains. And people will say what a shame it is that those days have parished, and boy oh boy, how wonderful a time that was, and we are missing so much in today’s society.

And that all leaves me scratching my head.

Humanity One World....The Revolution
Humanity One World....The Revolution | Source

Why Can’t We…..?

Let me ask you one very simple question: what is preventing us from turning back the hands of time?

Why do we speak of these things as days gone by, when we could be speaking of them as a new order?

Are we waiting for permission from our government? Are we waiting for someone else to begin so we can follow their lead?

You see, I believe that great movements begin with a single person. Throughout history, massive societal changes began with one individual dreaming of a better way, and then being the instrument of change they so desperately desire. You know I speak the truth. You all, at this very moment, can think of such a change, and you can think of the person who began it all.

So I have another simple question for you: why not you?

And the excuses flood in…..I’m too busy….times are tough….why should I when nobody else is….what’s in it for me….it’s impossible to change modern society…and on and on we go, each excuse adding to the complacency and apathy that infects society today.

Do you need a reason why those simpler days are gone?

It’s really rather simple: we allowed them to disappear.

A sobering truth indeed.

We allowed it to happen.

We complicated the hell out of life. Willy Nilly is as Willy Nilly does. We bought into the American dream, and we worked out collective asses off, and we bought those possessions, and we bought with credit, and the debt rose so we had to work more hours, and slowly the “time with family” lessened, and slowly the interaction with neighbors lessened, and then…..

Times got tough, and when the going gets tough the tough start to fear, then blame, and then the drawbridge is raised and the castle defended, and at that point, my friends, trust disintegrates, and any chance of interacting with others on more than a surface level is gone. So bye, bye, Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levy and….it sunk.

But we can still salvage it.

So here’s what I want you to do.

Simple Steps to Turn Back the Hands of Time

I’m not looking for a tidal wave. I’d be happy with a simple ripple from each of you. Take a look at the following suggestions and see if you could find time to do a couple of them:

  • Eat one meal each day as a family
  • Smile at a stranger once each day
  • Once a week, make the effort to speak to one of your neighbors
  • Spend quality time with your spouse or “significant other” each and every day
  • Watch one less hour of television each week
  • Every week, reach out to an old friend you haven’t spoken with in a long time

Please note that I am not asking for anything earth-shattering. I know how testy we all get when we are asked to make major changes in our lives, so I’m starting small here. I know, without a doubt, that every one of you could do one of the six things I suggested above, and having done that one thing, you will move closer to the “good old days.”

Our current good old days
Our current good old days | Source

This Is Important, so Listen Up

America is the first country... that can actually have a bloodless revolution.

Malcom X

Change is constant in life. Helplessness is not. We have watched society change drastically over the past fifty years, and we have grumbled about it, and we have mourned the loss of innocence….but it never occurred to us that we could change things back again.

We not only can change things….we must!

I’m looking for a revolution. Will you join me? Do you miss those good old days enough to take the steps necessary to regain them?

Come on over to Olympia, Washington, and join me in some neighborly love. I’ll get the barbecue out, and we’ll have a cook out with a few million of our closest friends, and after the meal we’ll sit around and get to know each other. It’s B.Y.O.B., but not R.S.V.P, so drop in any old time and you will be welcome.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Beautiful Bill and am with you on what is indeed stopping us from turning the hands on that proverbial clock back and just live a bit simpler even once a week if not once a day. Thank you always my friend for those types of reminders and going to try to do so more often myself. Happy Thursday and one more day to the weekend now!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Thursday, Janine, and thank you so much. Just a little change from each of us...that's what I'm after.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      we were talking about this last night with some friends. Life has changed so much and is down to texting and cellphoning. People rarely talk. I also think people are working hard at surviving--sometimes missing the forest for the trees here. Every time you go to the grocery store prices up and service down. People who really care are sometimes becomng extinct.

      Life has become very complicated and almost chilling in some ways. respect is disappear --family type mostly. Great hub about what is really happening. I don't you have prettied up the past at all.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Carol. I worry about that, that maybe my memory and mind are faltering. I needed confirmation from someone this morning...yes, times are tough, but they were tough during the Great Depression, and people came together instead of drifting apart. I don't know my friend. I just know I have to do my part.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Sigh. Coincidental that we're thinking along the same lines with this! Yes, it's changed so much, hasn't it?

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

      I agree with everything except I think we should throw out the TV or instead of watching 1 hour less only watch 1 hour completely!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is interesting, Michelle, that we had the same idea...maybe there are a lot of us out there.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brie, we don't even have cable...I haven't owned a television in eight years....but I'm hoping to get people to start small, and taking their tv away from them....I would have a riot on my hands. LOL Thanks for your idea, which I would love to see happen.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

      Awesome! Yes, it's a difficult thing, I totally understand because if I had cable and a TV I would watch it all the time, which is why I don't have it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brie, you and I are officially social outcasts. Be very careful who you tell. I don't want to read about you being burned at the stake as an anti-television witch. :)

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 2 years ago from Manhattan

      LOL, funny you said that because I have always thought that I might end up in prison or executed for something rebellious like that! I am not afraid because heaven is much better than earth. And, on top of that, it's wonderful living life free from fear.

      Having said that, I would prefer a different sort of execution than being burned at the stake...something a little quicker ;)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I already do four of the six. I don't have a spouse, so that's out. My son's work schedule doesn't allow for us to share a meal but once a week, if we're lucky. I do try to take advantage of those days. One thing I need to work on is reaching out to old friends. Actually, I did that last night, but the times are too few and far between.

      Thanx for the reminder, my friend.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

      Wonderful Billy and as always your wose words enchant and teach me. Teach me to remember the simpler things in life;things we overlook and its these simple acts that enrich our lives to a greater might. Great hub a salways and lots of love to you and Bev.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh my yes, Brie. Burning at the stake is highly overrated. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I knew you already did these, Sha, but while I'm preaching I might as well reach out to everyone. :) Thanks for being who you are.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, I have no doubt you do these things already, but thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      billy

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      Jhamann 2 years ago

      Rock on Bill! We need to gather people with similar thought under a different forum! Jamie

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Awesome Bro.......and I sooooo am on the same page. The current state of "stranger-danger" makes me sad too. I make it a point to seek out the most grumpy and/or loneliest-looking person in a crowd....I smile big and say "Hello," in my friendliest tone. Once when I did this, an elderly man looked at me with a visible question mark above his head....and he said, "Do I know you, young lady?" I said, "Well, I'm Paula. You know me now.....and since you referred to me as "young," you can be my best friend." He laughed so hard and took my hand and said, "Thank you, Paula."................Damn! I nearly cried.

      Tell you what......not a damned thing bothered me that whole day. I just kept picturing the old man's smile..........UP+++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm thinking you are right, Jamie! Thanks my friend.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      My mother and I were talking last night about how her life was when she was young, and it fits perfectly into the things your wrote. Why can't we make some changes back to the way things were? We were happy as I recall. We sat on the porches of our neighbors and they came over to our house to give us time to visit, laugh and talk. I have been doing something over the past year, or so and it works so well.

      I always greet, smile and look each cashier in the eye when I go into stores. I almost always get a smile and usually good wishes in return. It makes such a difference when we treat people the way we want to be treated.

      The hub is awesome and you made numerous great suggesstions. We do not have to be like everyone else. We all have a choice. Voted ++++++

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 2 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Just yesterday, I was talking to an old childhood buddy that we both have worked hard to keep a steady line of communication with each other throughout our lives and we were discussing this very topic. How we grew up in a neighborhood that you would have a hard time finding these days. It was a rural neighborhood that sugar and milk was passed around when they needed it. Mowing the widow lady's lawn down the road was done by a few of us kids who always got nothing more than a couple of cookies and a cup of milk. We could ride our bikes down to the creek and not come home until supper time.

      It was as if it was a different world. We had somehow crossed into another dimension....

      I would NEVER let my kids even get out of my sight, let alone go a mile or two down the road on a bike and not be back until evening...

      My neighbors are nice, but are on the go all the time, just as we are. It is usually a wave and a nod at best.

      It saddens me that my kids will not have the opportunity to have the childhood that I had.

      It is a different world..........

      But Billy you are so right..........it really doesn't have to be that way...people are still good, I really believe that. I think too many are just waiting for the other to make the first move.

      You always have a way of inspiring me........

      :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, you are a gem. I love it, and I can just picture that man laughing the rest of the day. Such a simple thing to do my friend, and so few do it. Thank you for sharing that....I'm sure proud to have you as a sister.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. I feel strongly about this in case you couldn't tell. This is such a simple thing to do....but we all rush home, watch tv, live in our little cocoons, and then moan because the good old days are gone.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CMerritt, I believe what you said too...people are good. Sure there are bad apples, but I truly believe that people want to do good and they want to be friendly. It's like everyone is waiting for the other guy to start. :) Thanks for your memories and thoughts.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 2 years ago from Hudson, FL

      And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. Or so I've heard.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      There are good people and bad people. I learned how to recognize the good people a long time ago and I reach out to them and am grateful they exist in my world. We can tun back the hands of time, one simple act and one person at a time. Love this hub, billy. Voted up, beautiful, awesome, interesting and useful.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      A cultural revolution indeed!! What has happened to the good old days? The current external situations has affected the minds and hearts of good people. Let us try, you and I and members of this community. Let us try. Thanks for the great memories.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I still believe that, Lizzy, and I know you do as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you breatfastpop...I hang with some pretty good people here at HP.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, the good old days are inside of you, waiting to bust out my friend. Let's open the doors and let it out.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I feel as though we are doing exactly what you are suggesting right here on HubPages... to me, so far, it has been a MOST courteous and friendly experience. It reminds me, each day, to care the same feeling into the outer world, as well. Thanks for the challenge, and reminders! ;-)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      I couldn't agree with you more. There are so many simple things we can do to make things like they were when we were younger. I think some people will be surprised how far something as simple as a smile can go. We smile at one person and that makes them happy so they smile at someone else and on and on it goes.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great point, Bill, and I agree with you. That's why I've been here as long as I have. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Such a simple thing, right, Sheila? So why is it so hard for some people to do? I guess you and I will have to work overtime my friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I well remember the ' good ole days ' We lived on a street where everyone knew each others name. I remember women coming to borrow a cup of sugar, sitting on the front porch in the evening, neighbors gathering around. We kids played kick the can in the street, no fear of muggers or pedophiles. Of course we didn't have a T.V. we actually got some exercise. I can't remember one obese child, now there is an epidemic. Your six suggestions are a great start. I'm in......

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you brought up an interesting point...I can't remember an obese kid in our neighborhood either...hmmm...I wonder why? No, I really don't...I know why. Thanks for that reflection.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Beautiful! We in this generation had better make the effort, because the next generation already seems lost. There is a young man who walks through my yard picking papayas, guavas, spinach leaves-whatever is available for nothing but a smile and a thank you. Last week, I forget to take out my garbage; he offered to do it for me if I give him $5.00 each time. Caribbean grandparents would turn in their graves at an attitude like this. I'm all for modeling the "pay it forward" principle.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I don't even know what to say when I read something like that.....but I know your heart is in the right place even if that young man needs a lesson or two. Thanks for sharing that.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Yes, people were neighborly in the village where I grew up, so long as you were white, heterosexual, and Christian. Going back to that seems neither feasible nor desirable. Going forward to a global village in which if you're an earthling you're a neighbor is what I hope for. Today on a networking site I read a post by a housewife somewhere, "I try to show a little kindness every day." A kind heart; a community spirit; a culture of spontaneous giving, as in your hub -- such are the elements needed.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Yep billybuc, what that officer did for you has gone a long way! You've put it in writing besides returning the act of goodness. Hopefully, it'll catch on around the world. Going back to those good ole times would be so refreshing.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      A hard hitting reminder to us all to spend that time with a neighbor, ring that long forgotten friend and make that time for our partner and our family. This message Bill has really hit home to me funnily enough these past 7 months and I made contact with several friends I had not seen or spoken to for years. It felt great catching up and seeing how their lives have changed. You are dead right saying how these simple acts were the norm and not exceptional.

      What a lovely thing to happen in the coffee shop!

      You are an example to us all and boy do I wish I were on the same continent and in the vicinity of Olympia . . .

      Have a great weekend with Bev, sending you a big hug!

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      As I was reading this, I couldn't help but remember the old drug stores that had places where you sat down and had coffee and talked to the old guys that came in every morning. I used to go with my father every now and then. People don't socialize like they used to. Perhaps it's fear - there's a lot of violence in today's world.

      Yet, as you say, there is nothing wrong with a smile now and then and saying hi to people as they pass by. I still do that. I can't imagine going around being grumpy all the time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, I rarely have to add anything to your comments. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Word....it all seems so obvious and clear to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, that would be marvelous. We really do have to get you and MJ over here for a visit. Until then, hugs coming back your way my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I have fond memories of the old drug stores and soda fountains, and you are right, people don't seem to communicate....well, we do in our neighborhood, so that's a start. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      I always said I would never use that phrase - 'in my day, those good old days.' Now I seem to say it continually. Really can't recapture the past or turn back the clock though it would be nice. Just this week got abused parking my car, road rage is out of control. I agree with all your points and live by most of them. Confess about the TV though. My priority would be that meal around the table, a way to discuss and interact as a family seems to have disappeared. How sad. Looking on the bright side I am lucky enough to watch many young people in my life choosing to work with the disabled, with migrants, nurses, teachers. Much comfort that all is not lost

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      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      billybuc: It is easy, but people won't do it because they're afraid whoever they smile at or help in some way will think they have an ulterior motive. Unfortunately that's something else we have today we didn't have years ago - too many people thinking the worst of a kind gesture.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Travmaj, I refuse to believe all is lost. Like you, I see signs of good, so I know there is hope. Road rage? My goodness, it is out of control no matter where we live. Thanks for your thoughts my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Valid point, Sheila, and I agree.

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Beautiful! I'd love to drop in for a barbie, bill. I too remember a childhood like yours, full of kind gestures from neighbours and gentle manners and thoughts from family and friends which I was expected to return and did so happily.

      Materialism and all the shiny gold has taken away our innocence, our happiness and our values.

      I'm happy to say that I often do most of your list; I'm not bragging, it's just the kind of thing I think is important. It makes me feel good to do those things, so maybe it's selfish!

      I yearn for the simple of life of the 50s which made me so happy and bit by bit I'm pulling it back within reach through my slower lifestyle, through my grandchildren and through looking around me and appreciating the good things that are still there if we want to see them.

      Thanks for the reminder, bill!

      Ann

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      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Bill! Awesome hub!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 2 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Comradeship it is, Sir Bill. We call it 'bayanihan' here in the Philippines or simply helping somebody through group effort without asking in return.

      Materialism is not yet the forte of the old gens, unlike today.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, Happy Saturday to you. Sorry I'm late. We were busy in the garden today, and we went to a movie.

      We may not be able to change society, but we can make a micro-society like we remember, and like you, I'm working on it.

      Have a brilliant Sunday

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you vkwok. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Travel....I will remember that word...bayanihan...thank you my friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I would love it if we all watched TV for only an hour each day. I love your suggestions for bringing back the good old days. Life just made more sense back then.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes it did, Dianna, and I aim on bringing those days back. Thank you dear friend.

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I grew up in a small town of 300, so maybe close neighbors had something to do with it? I recall those days of everyone getting together and helping each other out. The men would get together and burn blueberry fields for each other, so the following years crop would grow better. The women would can and make preserves, then everyone would trade off. People would hunt and share the bounty with each other. Those WERE the days. I miss my small town and wish I was still there.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, you lived a dream childhood with that description. I would live in that small town for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Don't know who thought up paying forward, but I like it. Your ideas are surely worthy of our effort.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you tirelesstraveler...it is definitely something I believe in.

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