Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rock of Ages

Those of us on the cusp of geezerhood often wonder where the years have gone. The world has changed so much in my lifetime. Though I don’t feel old, I find myself out of step with my co-workers, and contemporary society in general.

Growing up in the 1950’s and ‘60s, the generation gap separating me from my parents was expansive. Rock-and-roll music was something they did not appreciate. Transistor radios were new and we listened to WLS day and night to get the latest hits from the likes of Dion, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Four Seasons, and Beach Boys. I remember my cousin Greg appearing to study intently at his desk in Catholic School, his chin resting on his hand to hide the earphone wire protruding from his shirtsleeve.

The sixties were a time of innovation. Technology was improving. Stereo was the new thing and record producers broke new ground, with new sounds, new instruments, and some great songwriting. When Beatlemania swept the nation, the generation gap widen even further. Ford and Chevy were the popular cars in my town, since those were the only two dealerships we had. Each year, we looked forward to the new models coming out in October. It was a big deal. The new cars arrived under covers so no one could see them until the highly anticipated unveiling. We kids knew our cars, especially the Chevys. We could all tell a ’62 from a ’63, a Biscayne from a BelAir, and even a 283 from a 327 by the badges on the fender.

Now I know how my parents must have felt. Today’s music on the radio all sounds the same to me, as it probably did to them fifty years ago. From my perspective, all the good music has already been done. There is nothing left to say in song. Oh, I realize I am out of touch. Good contemporary music is likely out there, but not worth my time to seek it. Most bands I see on television have two or three guys jumping around the stage shouting words I can’t understand. The songs all sound alike, the cars all look alike, what more can I say? Yeah, I know I sound like my dad.

This week, we will be traveling to celebrate our granddaughter’s second birthday. I wonder how much the world will change during her lifetime. The music, transportation, and technology are minor concerns when we realize our society’s moral compass has become an unreliable navigational instrument. We are becoming less civilized. Neighborhoods are not as safe as they once were. Inner city children cannot play outdoors for fear of being shot. Violence punctuates conflict, and not with a period.

Evil has existed throughout history, but a strong faith in God served to keep it in check. With little regard for Jesus and His Church today, we are sailing on a ship without a captain. What will the world be like when my granddaughter reaches my age? I don’t know. She could easily live into the twenty-second century. We must do all we can to instill a strong faith in our children and their children. The second coming will be a shock to many.