Back In The Day

From Garrison Keillor’s O’ What a Luxury


Back in the day, my little daughter,

We didn’t pay for bottled water,

Back when Elvis was alive

And coffee didn’t cost three ninety-five.

Back then there was no Internet,

Google hadn’t been invented yet,

There were no chat rooms to go to —

We just sat around and talked to people we knew.


Back then there were no cell phones.

When you left home, you were left alone.

A man didn’t always feel connected he

Didn’t walk down the street and get a call from Schenectady.

There were no seat belts, no air bag.

You stood on the front seat next to your dad

As he drove down the highway drinking his beer

Or you sat in his lap and helped him steer.


In school, we had Christmas every year

And sang about the Midnight Clear

You believed in God or said you did

Unless you were a communist kid.

We made planes from balsa models.

There were no safety caps on aspirin bottles,

Labels didn’t warn about safety risks,

And music came on black vinyl discs.


I was autistic back in the day

But I didn’t know it so I was okay.

There were no play dates, we just ran wild.

If you cried bloody murder, your mama smiled

And said, “Don’t you come bawling to me.”

Kid were tough cause we had to be.


Every year we went to the Fair,

Spent five or six dollars there,

Went to see the stock car races,

Dropped pingpong balls in plaster vases.

Saw the fat lady and the Siamese twins

And the Penguin Boy with a set of fins.

And I looked at Dad, and deep in my soul

I could not imagine ever being that old.


I’m not nostalgic, darling dear.

I am happy to be here.

I just thought you ought to know

How it was in the long ago.


About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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2 Responses to Back In The Day

  1. doctuhdon says:

    There were no play dates, we just ran wild.

    I love it ! He hits the nail on the head.

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