I’ve heard it throughout my entire life from people older than me, things were better when they were younger. My grandparents like to tell me how life moved at a slower pace when they were younger and therefore you had more time to enjoy it; however it should be noted they also never miss an opportunity to mention how times were tough and how hard they had to work.
When it comes to my mama and daddy, they like to tell the stories of how much more freedom they had as children than my sister and I did. Their parents didn’t think twice about letting them ride their bikes alone to town for a movie with their friends, which would never have happened for us. They also like to rub in that they were able to seem many of my favorite bands before the groups broke up at a fraction of the cost that I have to pay for tickets now (that is if they are even still alive and touring). I knew there would come a day when I too would be the one telling those younger than me how much better everything was growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, however I didn’t think I had reached that age just yet. I was wrong.
Over the years, I have had several conversations with friends about how cartoons were better when we were younger and toys were cooler because they made us use our imagination instead of just playing a video game. But it wasn’t until last Friday night that I remember actually uttering the words “It’s just not as good as it used to be, you really missed out,” to my nephew Brayden. Allow me to explain how those words came out of my mouth.
After watching the Homecoming Parade last week, I went up to my parents house in Griffin to go with my whole family to the fair, which I was excited about because the fair was always one of the highlights of the fall, in my opinion. It meant a night of eating Korn Dawgs (that’s how the Kiwanis in Griffin spell it), a candy apple and riding all of my favorite rides as many times as mama and daddy would let me. There was the anticipation of seeing if I had won a ribbon for any of the exhibits I put on display through 4-H and the excitement of watching the pigs race around the track for an Oreo as their prize. By the time I was in middle school and high school, it was THE place to be seen with all of your friends for the week and a half it was in town. I have so many memories from the fairs over my lifetime that I lose count.
This year marked Brayden’s first trip to the fair and even though he isn’t old enough to ride anything (he is only eight months old) he liked looking at all the lights on the rides. However, for me it just wasn’t the same. Gone are many of the animal exhibits and with them the pig races, several of my favorite rides have been replaced and the Korn Dawgs don’t seem to taste as good as they used to. After a rather uneventful hour and a half at the fair, we called it a night and it was as we were walking to the car that I said those words to Brayden as I carried him. He seemed unfazed by my statement and merely continued trying to pull my earring into his mouth.
After I said it, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself for doing so. I have rolled my eyes many times when someone has said those very words to me and now I was doing it to the next generation, before they can even walk. Maybe my lack of excitement is due to the fact that I’m getting older or maybe the fair is really lacking compared to what it once was. Yes, when I think about it, it has to be the latter of those two options. Too much time can’t have passed since those days can it? I mean, 1990 was just 10 years ago, right?