The good guys are slowly leaving us

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I don't know about you, but I'm finding it harder to believe each and every day the direction our moral standards are taking. Not saying I'm a angel, but times they are a changing.

Who would have ever believed back during the days of Andy, Barney and Mayberry what is being shown on television in the year 2007. I'm not talking about the regular programming that is filled with words that my mother would have washed out of my mouth with lye soap, (Ivory soap for dirty words, lye soap for things that are too dirty for Ivory), if I had said what they say now on national TV as just everyday talk. I'm talking about what is being read and shown on just the nightly news programs. They discuss things openly these days that only a short time ago would have been considered X-rated in most American movie theaters.

I really wonder if our citizenry wants ALL of the details of every investigation and court action taken in this country. There are some things that should be left to an individual's imagination. It worked years ago, why not now?

The good guys continue to take major hits. We have lost so many over the past several years, it makes you really wonder who will take their place.

Being a child of early TV, I have suffered major set backs the last five years with the loss of some of my childhood heroes. We have lost Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, but his loveable characters continue to live on just as Jim Henson's Muppets continue to entertain. Mr. Rogers was an all around good guy who in real life was also an all around good guy. However, there are others who have left us and their good will be missed for the next generation.

Actor Dabbs Greer left us on April 28, 2007. Now you are asking yourself who Dabbs Greer was and what did he do so great. Well, he was the first person rescued by Superman in the TV series and played the minister in Little House on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch and Picket Fences. Not big parts, but important ones.

Bob Evans passed away on June 21 and he did something as simple as making good sausage and started a restaurant chain. His name and red-fronted stores are known nationwide.

Edwin Traisman died June 5, 2007. He helped to develop Cheez Whiz for Kraft and improved frozen french fries for McDonald's. That makes him one of the good guys to me.

Roy Rogers and Gene Autry left us a few years back, but their passing still leaves us without a white-hatted hero to save us in the nick of time. We need more heroes in white hats and less role models being paid huge sums of money and making the nightly news for being first class brats.

In 1998, story teller Jerry Clower died. I had the chance to sit beside Jerry one time at a Farm Bureau banquet where he was the guest speaker. It was quite an experience and one I will remember for a lifetime. He could make you laugh without using anything off color or by using inappropriate language.

One story Jerry used to tell may be appropriate for our current stage in the national political arena. I can't tell it like Jerry could, but here is an attempt to give you the gist of what he would say.

A great flood hit a town in Mississippi and the National Guard was called out. An old gentleman was on his front porch with the water rising as a guardsman approached in a boat. The guardsman said, "I'm here to save you, get in the boat." The old man just smiled and replied, "No, God will save me. You go help someone else."

As the water continued to rise the guardsman returned in the boat as the old man hung onto his roof to keep from drowning. Once again the guardsman said, "Get in the boat, please." Once again the old man said, "No, God will save me."

The old man was later seen standing on top of his chimney, with his house slowly being overtaken by the water. A helicopter was sent to rescue him. The pilot once again called to the old man, "Grab the rope and we will save you." The old man again answered, "No, God will save me."

The scene changes to the gates of heaven as the old man enters the pearly gates and meets God. The old man says to God, "It's good to be here, but I waited for you to save me from the flood. What happened?"

God answered, "What do you mean? I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?"

As in Jerry's story, it may be we have been sent a boat or a helicopter, and it is time to start getting on board.

Pettus L. Read may be contacted by e-mail at