Like John Boy Walton

Blog 2139 – 08.04.2021

Like John Boy Walton

From 1972 to 1981 television audiences were entertained weekly by episodes of The Waltons on CBS. Each week the drama of a large farm family in nineteen thirties Depression Era Virginia was told through the eyes of the eldest son, and aspiring author John Boy. The famous nightly ritual of the parents, grand parents and all the children throughout the house saying goodnight to one another touched the family based American psyche.

Like John Boy Walton, I grew up in a poor home but not in the nineteen thirties but rather the nineteen fifties and not in a home that included grand parents and many siblings, but one with just a mom and dad and only one younger brother, and me. Our goodnight ritual was much shorter and usually consisted of one parent or the other saying “Sweet dreams” and one of the two of us boys saying, “Stay on your own side of the bed and stop pulling the covers.”

Like John Boy Walton I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time that I learned my ABC’s and how to form them into words and short sentences. John Boy kept a nightly journal. I have always preferred writing first thing in the morning. His writing was mostly looking back at the events of the day just ended and mine I hope has a bit more futuristic and progressive out look.

Like John Boy Walton I grew up in a part of the country where the theme song is “Old times there are not forgotten.” Some old times perhaps should be forgotten – times when people thought owning other people was okay and that one group of people was more entitled to prosperity and opportunity than others, a time Margret Mitchell in her novel described as a time of knights and their ladies fair a civilization gone with the wind. It was a plantation society brought from the old country where kings, queens, and the gentry lorded it over everyone else thinking them their lessers. Slavery and the little kingdom plantations of the south were a problem from the beginning of this American experiment in democracy that barely sixty years into our history as an independent nation flared up into a terrible Civil War. Wars are never civil, but this one was especially horrendous as it pitted brother against brother, father against son and saw mothers and fathers watch their children perishing on both sides of the conflict.

Abraham Lincoln, whose election to the Presidency sparked the flames of that terrible war, said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” There are some today ready as they were then to burn the house down and return to a society where only the chosen few get to call all the shots, get the largest slice of the pie, leaving only the crumbs for the rest of us. A society where the color of your skin and your class at birth determines for a lifetime your station and limits your dreams.

Like John Boy I grew up believing in the American dream, no not the advertiser’s version of a wife, two kids, a home with a white picket fence, with a dog and a cat, and all the latest gadgets, but the real American Dream, the one our brave military people fought to secure and to preserve, written so eloquently in our nations founding documents: “that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Like John Boy Walton I believed I could go to college and one day be a writer. I am glad and grateful those sort of dreams still can come true, this American Dream that once people around the world aspired to as well.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

Living the Dream,

David White

A Million Dreams

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