July and August are months whose weather I dread. I have taken pride in the fact that for the last two years when people would complain about hot weather I shared with them that for the last two years our hot weather changed for the better on Sept. 1. Sure we had some hot days but basically the usual discomfort was past. This summer has been amazing. Who would ever have anticipated 60s and 70s in July! How blessed we are!
Another blessing I enjoy in McDonald County are the high class people I meet. For me, there are several gauges I use to determine if one is high or low class. A low class husband is one who speaks badly of his lifelong companion, in my opinion. Same for the wife, if she shares a criticism of her husband — the person she vowed to cherish and support — with the world: this is low class. And, from my perspective, few things are so attractive in a man as when he speaks highly of the partner he has chosen to be his life partner, the mother of his children.
Before I retired from my life’s work, my attention was drawn to the vocabulary of my co-workers. Young men and women joining the force, just recently having graduated from college and/or police academy were frequently proud of their own accomplishments. Narcissistic and self involved, they shared their plans for their future I was sometimes impressed and frequently amused. “No way will my wife be an at-home wife, she will need to earn at least as much as I do.” “My wife won’t be at home baking cookies, she needs to punch a time clock and bring home a paycheck.” Some realistic plans and some not so realistic.
There was, in the time I was growing up, a lot of work to just keep a home maintained. Water brought in from a well, a spring, wood in the wood box, garden to cultivate and harvest, farm animals to nurture and care for. Lifestyle changed as I moved from SW Missouri to northern California. As household chores diminished or were streamlined, different goals were established and expected. For the first time in my life we had inside plumbing, central air and heat, refrigerators and washing machines. Even though she was raising four children, my mother had time to work out and my parents ambition for their children was not just that they survive and be healthy, find a job and keep it but the primary goal was to make the mortgage payment, and see that all four children got the best of formal educations.
At that time, following the Second World War, many were the families who left the farm and located in the suburbs. Lifestyles changed, and, sometimes unfortunately so did standards of life. Listening to Amos and Andy or Jack Armstrong the All American boy and the Lone Ranger and Tonto one never was subjected to swear words or low class vocabulary. Time passed, mothers and fathers found themselves out in the wide world and subjected to a more “worldly” conversation. If a group of men were in conversation there was, of course, one standard, another if women were present. I found that working with men there was a percentage of young men who were careful of their language in my presence. Very few would revert to gutter language and if accidentally they slipped, there was always an apology, which I appreciated.
It is to my dismay today to find that our entertainment, whether television or the movies is lowering our standards to an unacceptable degree. It was probably a means to titillate to begin with. It got a reaction, regardless of the fact it was a negative one, and was that all they were seeking? A reaction? Never mind if it was positive or negative. Today, 2014, our standards are reduced to low class and getting lower. Where will it end? Subjects referred to on reality TV and current entertainment seem to be the lowest class possible. Am I the only one who blanches when a favorite entertainer shares a script with profanity? When a husband or wife expresses a negative comment about their spouse to me? Am I the only one whose day is damaged when a young person shares with me a story and uses foul and loathsome language, language he has learned from a careless adult? There is a high class and a low class and it has nothing to do with earning capacity or clothing fashion. It has nothing to do with a neighborhood lived in or the kind of vehicle driven. It has to do, instead, with the way people express themselves. Don’t try to impress me with vituperation even in an effort of comedy or humor. A friend of mine was overheard to express that “things come out of your mouth that I wouldn’t hold in my hand.” but whether or not the listener understood or not I cannot say. I would like to think that our world is progressing and it is in so many ways. There is, however, room for improvement and I would like to believe that there will be a day when titillation is no longer a goal, but, rather pride will be taken in expressing one’s self in a high class fashion. As for me, today I would like to express my appreciation for a mid summer day that is above and beyond all expectations. I am thankful for my blessings and for the many high class people who share my life.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.