The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Mike Sunderland
Thoughts from a Grey-Haired Point of View 

Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!


February 17, 2021

How things have changed, and not necessarily for the better. Since retirement I’m trying to stay out of my wife Dorothy’s hair and not get on her nerves. (But that’s another story!) Like many in my age group I’ve accumulated boxes and boxes of stuff, aka priceless mementoes of days gone by.

When I have nothing else to do, I drag out a box or two and rummage through them to see if I can force myself to get rid of an item or two… results to day: a few pieces of packing material pitched.

The biggest outcome has been a trip down memory lane, and a comparison of the state of affairs of yester year with today. Sorry to say, the result of that has not been very encouraging. Allow me to relate a few…

I spent a large part of my youth traveling with my parents up and down the Alaska-Canadian highway. Result: hundreds of hours of boredom and not an internet connection in sight. But I survived and learned how to entertain myself without a cell phone, computer, video games, ad infinitum.

My teen and young adult years were filled with loads and loads of exciting and challenging things.

Just a few of those include: being in Fairbanks when Alaska became a state; and there when Anchorage and southwest Alaska was ravaged by the Good Friday Earthquake (even some 400 miles away we felt it in Fairbanks.) Oh, yeah… delivering newspapers door to door in 50 to 60 below zero weather, and surviving the Fairbanks flood of the mid-1960s.

In between times, I was part of a state championship high school debate team, involved in politics as a 17 year old campaign manager for a state legislature candidate (we lost), a quest speaker for the Chamber of Commerce businessmen’s group, helped dad build a house with hand tools all the while living in a tent, among a raft of other activities.

Later on as a young adult, I received a medical discharge from the U.S. Navy, joined the mom and dad in starting and running a successful newspaper in Winnemucca, Nevada. It’s still in existence by the way. I ran for a county commissioner seat in Humboldt County, NV and lost! Helped start and train a successful search and rescue organization in the county, along with a range fire fighting team. And there is so much more.

Here’s the take away… I was never bored. I always had something worthwhile to do. And here’s the big one: I took personal responsibility for my words and deeds, and never resorted to violence when I felt change was needed. Unlike many in today’s nanny state world, most of my generation went to work to effect change by making sure we peacefully supported candidates who believed as we did.

We took responsibility for our actions and most of us did not whine to government to bail us out when things didn’t work out right. Yeah! I know all about that because Dorothy and I lost a business to bankruptcy. It took us over 10 years to recover from that and we did it without government assistance.

Is this sounding a little brutal? To many of today’s generation maybe, but to my generation most of us took responsibility for our own actions, even when they failed!

Most of us did not blame society, government, history, or anyone or any thing else.

Unfortunately, we seem to have been unable to pass on to many of our children and their children the same standards we grew up with. And, the result has not been pleasant. Just look at the state of affairs in America today.

Hopefully, this gets some folks to thinking and, at least, trying to come together to find a good, reasonable solution. May I suggest a return to being able to take responsibility for one’s own actions and words, i.e. not blaming someone else!

As before, I’ll end this for now, get hot cup of coffee or two and think about what I will write about next time. I haven’t even begun to relate all my stories!


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