Saturday, July 27, 2019


My dear wife and I live in a community--Newberg, Oregon--that celebrates "the old days" every summer.  The Newberg Old Fashioned Festival is in full swing this weekend, July 25-27. It's a weekend of summer fun: kids towing their homemade floats in the parade, jazz band entertainment, and aisles of booths with vendors selling things old and new, including food items like "elephant ears." 

Ever had elephant ears? What are they? A sort of thick, pliable pancake. Perhaps you've seen them--at your state fair maybe. We ordered one elephant ear. We decorated it with toppings. One elephant ear divided equally between our friend and the two of us and we were absolutely stuffed!

A week earlier my wife and I noticed perhaps thirty-some antique cars in a parking lot a half-block from our house. What had brought them to our neighborhood? we wondered. We walked over to the display to find out. We examined cars from the 1950s and even earlier. Obviously their owners had restored them to tip-top shape and now were making them available for inspection (but not for rides unfortunately.) 

These cars brought back wonderful memories of our own youthful days. My wife posed beside one old Chevrolet that reminded her of a car she'd owned for a couple of years just after her college graduation.

Next and below, a makeover of an even older car and its owner.  Beside it, a restored delivery van. And so on.

Finally, me, beside another oldie. A Chevy again.

We were filled with joy there, amongst these beautiful restored old cars. It was like we'd seen them before. Just the sight of them brought back tons of memories.

But we still wondered, why were they in this parking lot on this day? When we asked someone, we found that the cars really were there for memory care patients, residents in a specialized memory care clinic across the street. With that we realized, of course! Relatives and care staff were bringing the patients--most of them in wheelchairs--from the clinic to the car show, where they could exercise their memories of cars like ones they might have used decades ago. The car club, we learned, showed their cars here, annually, to help memory care patients re-kindle some images from their earlier lives. 

Why not go old-fashioned for a day or two on a fine summer afternoon/evening time? 

I'll tell you that for us our city's old-fashioned days gave us these three really valuable experiences:

  • 1, remember trips from home to college, dormitory to drive-in or to the movies, in cars that resembled some we'd seen in the display;
  • 2, appreciate community support of patients who've basically lost their memories but will re-discover some if prompted by sights like the old cars; and 
  • 3, an experience away from our house, away from our devices like phones, computers and TVs, to get out in the open air with others of every age, having fun with varied age groups under a glorious blue sky dotted with white cumulus clouds.

You CAN really help keep your community or nation healthy and great. Bring people together over social/class/racial lines to celebrate something in common, such as the best of the old fashioned days.

Are we ridiculous for lifting up community-building while leaders on the right bash critics with wild words of abuse that have never been equalled in the U.S.? You decide.

For me, it's better to recall, build, face the future with memories of the past to guide you.  Build on that foundation. Make your community and nation great.

P.S. I try to post each weekend: building community and society with positive ethics and values.

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