Change is the only constant in life

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 12/13/19

Funny, isn’t it, how things change as we move through life.

When I was a little guy, I was pretty sure my mother was out to torture me if we sat down to the supper table and she didn’t have …

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Change is the only constant in life

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Funny, isn’t it, how things change as we move through life.

When I was a little guy, I was pretty sure my mother was out to torture me if we sat down to the supper table and she didn’t have corn or mashed potatoes or French fries to go along with the fried chicken or roast beef or the hot dogs we were having.

It was, I was sure, either the end of the world or grounds for a Social Services investigation into child abuse, if I had known what that was, if our meal consisted of cabbage and turnip greens and black-eyed peas and cucumbers and onions in vinegar and no meat. I would beg and plead with her to let me have at least a peanut butter sandwich and some milk with molasses mixed in. Sometimes I would also plead for a couple of my almost-famous (to me) bologna and peanut butter and cheese and mayonnaise and catsup sandwiches.

Today, while I still like corn and potatoes, I rejoice when Better Half puts the cabbage and greens on the table. Shoot, I’ve even been known to order them on purpose when we go out to eat.

I’m not sure when the transition occurred. I just sort of realized one day I liked that stuff. I just remember Mama telling me that she was pretty sure one day I would when I got old enough to appreciate them.

I’m there.

Same thing with other things, as well. Coffee, for instance. For a long time I wouldn’t touch the stuff. Then I tried some of the instant brand my folks used. Didn’t do much for me except that I thought I was being really cool by drinking coffee. If I put enough milk and sugar in it, I could get it down.

In time, I started hitting the coffee bar at Dan McCrimmon’s drug store in Pittsboro, years after I had retired from being a high school soda jerk there. Again, the cream and sugar made it go down really well. Then I discovered I was being affected by 20 cups of sugar a day, as in my pants were getting smaller in the waist. So then I stopped with the sugar and learned to make do with just the milk.

Eventually, I think it was because they were out of milk, I drank a cup straight up. Wasn’t bad. So finally, I just started asking for it black. Then I discovered the various flavors available today with my one-cup maker and today there’s no such thing as coffee that’s too strong. If, for some reason I can’t get it all down, then it can go into my truck crankcase in place of the 10W30.

I say all that to say that it truly is amazing how some things do change and how our perspective changes with that. When I was a youngster I lived and died by UNC athletics, as well as the Brooklyn Dodgers before eventually morphing over to the St. Louis Cardinals. I knew everybody’s vital statistics from minutes played to ERA. When my boys went down to defeat, I was down in the dumps for at least the next week.

Just like the change for cabbage and turnip greens, however, one day I realized those guys didn’t know me from Adam’s housecat, if he had one, and it was foolish for me to let my world go up and down on whether Michael Jordan made a free throw.

Today, I still holler at the television but something’s different. From time to time I watch my Heels play something on television, although it’s getting harder as I see more and more that they play around with integrity and so forth. Still, I watch and listen, usually watching the television while listening to the game on the radio. I will listen and watch and fume and fuss until the last whistle blows. Then I get up, go out to cut wood or feed the heater or rake leaves or something similar, take a shower, go out to overeat and come home and sleep like a baby.

I won’t lie to you...I still like it when my boys win. But like the little poster that once graced the wall in the basement of my growing-up house that I turned into my own little world said, “We get too soon old and too late smart,” I hope I can remember what’s really important.

It certainly took long enough.


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