Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Perspective

To prefer one thing over another does not make the unpreferred bad, or unhealthy, or criminal, it just means you have found something better for you

A few weeks ago a special interest news story ran saying that 60 years ago the Beatles came to the U.S. Several news outlets reported it so apparently it was big news to someone, or more likely simply interesting. I was visiting with a group of friends that day and the question was posed: What difference did that make to you?

This group is pretty diverse in age, the youngest being fiftyish, and the oldest “really, really old.” Suffice it to say we touch all the decades between 50 and 100. And the conversation showed an interesting dynamic reflecting that diversity.

We old guys who were busy getting on with life in the ’60s said we hadn’t noticed at the time, and only sometime later did they come to our attention, mostly in a “Who?” attitude. After all, we had welcomed Elvis and Jerry Lee and Johnny Cash. What more could music need?

The middle group, who were teenagers of varying years 60 years ago all remembered the time with various responses, from “I adored them” to “I was pretty young but my sister loved them.”

The youngsters, those fiftyish, said the Beatles had no impact on their lives, which is like saying the internal combustion engine didn’t contribute anything to my life at all. It has always been here and I have no concept of life before that. Those “kids” didn’t know any popular music before the Beatles, and no matter what anyone thought of them, they have been a major impact on every performer who followed them.

That led us into talking about other popular musicians and what we remembered. Some of us talked about listening to Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, some remembered Willie in a suit on TV. We talked about vinyl records in contrast to streaming on your phone, but no one mentioned 78s or 45s. The difference in perspective was interesting, considering we are a group with many of the same interests and attitudes but a widespread age difference.

Another conversation along the same line I was party to was some “kids” streaming “Rawhide.” They were watching it thinking of Clint Eastwood as being the main character. I remember “Rawhide” very well every Friday night for many years. Can probably still sing the theme (rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ keep them cattle goin’, Rawhide!)

“Head ‘em up, move ‘em out” was my mantra for years trying to keep four rambunctious kids under control. Clint Eastwood was at best the sidekick. In later years he took on a slightly more leading role, but Eric Fleming as Gil Favor was forever the lead character. When Rowdy Yates became the trail boss after Fleming left (I think he was fired. Later accidentally drowned) the ratings for “Rawhide” went down and eventually cancelled.

Of course that was good for Clint Eastwood, as it led into the spaghetti westerns and onward and upward. His talent as an actor and director are never in question, but in “Rawhide” he was simply Rowdy Yates, trail hand. Again, perspective comes from where you came into the picture.

And I know that is where all the differences the millennials presume come from. For instance, using liquid soap because bars are unsanitary. Full disclosure: All the sinks in our house have a pump bottle of hand soap setting there and bath gel in the shower but I still buy bar soap. Liquid soap has been around for years, so the millennials didn’t invent it, as they might believe. Nothing better than a quick squirt of dishwashing liquid in a filling bath tub for bubbles to entice the youngsters to get in and get clean and a drop or two on a grease stain before putting the garment in the washer always helped. But how do you teach a kid to bathe in the creek when out camping without a bar of soap and what do you put into the lingerie drawer to make the unmentionables smell nice? Likewise your shoes. And frankly, I prefer a bar of soap in the tub rather than the gel.

Again, perspective is all. To prefer one thing over another does not make the unpreferred bad, or unhealthy, or criminal, it just means you have found something better for you.

But back to the Beatles, (that was the long way around). Their influence on the music we enjoy can not be denied whatever our thoughts when they came on the scene. I’m wondering if, in the future, news media will report the anniversary of Taylor Swift sweeping the music awards or maybe the time she went to the Super Bowl. Some kid will say “I don’t remember her.” and Someone a little older will reply “Only the greatest singer ever!” and Grandma, listening in will add “Upstart! Stole all her acts from Dolly Parton!” and the youngsters, in unison ”Who?”

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