The good (?) ole days

My friend Jonathan looks me up every time he is in town.
He lives in New York City but has relatives in Wilkes-Barre and visits four or five times a year.
Typically we will meet for coffee and catch up.
I taught Jonathan at LCCC and we’ve kept in touch since. I guess he’s about 25 years old now. After earning his Associates Degree he returned to New York, where he grew up, completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Hunter College and currently is writing music. I’m glad he’s writing because he is really, really good at it.
We always have plenty to talk about — books, old friends, movies, our personal lives — but inevitably we wind up discussing sports. Jonathan is a Mets and New York Giants fan. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals and Green Packers fan. We have great respect for each other’s teams and will root them any time they are not playing each other. Then, as with the past NFL playoffs, we’ll joke that our friendship may not survive the upcoming game.
After a recent get together at the Dunkin Donuts in Wilkes-Barre, while Jonathan used the men’s room, I lingered in front of a large black & white photo of a Dunklin location in the 1950s. I could guess at the time frame by the cars. The photo took me by surprise. I hadn’t known Dunkin went back that far.
I tend to think of the ’50s as a better time, a simpler time, a safer time.
I said so to Jonathan when he came over and joined me at the photo.
And then I caught myself.
“No,” I said. “It was not a better time.”
If things were still the same as they were in that photo, I told Jonathan, you would not have been there sharing a coffee with me.
Jonathan is Latino.
True, much of the “good ole days” was good. But not everything.

Ed Ackerman