Don’t know much about history is a line in a song on Sam Cooke’s 1960 album “Wonderful World.”
The line is more common than the song title itself.
When that song was popular, I was in high school and I can say that in my 12 years of primary and secondary schooling, and four years of college, my sentiments were closer to “Don’t care much about history.”
Yes, when it came to history I was an indifferent student and puzzled about what the necessity was in covering old ground.
Forty-five years later, my attitudes on quite a few things have changed.
For example, my preference is mustard on my hamburger when back then ketchup was what I used and the thought of using mustard was incomprehensible.
And another thing I have learned is that the best part of the potato is the skin.
It is that same skin I would avoid eating, saving it for last and hoping I could just toss it in the garbage.
By now, you have most likely figured out that I have become a history fan and that is true.
I enjoy dates, places, and names to the point I have a hard time reading anything fictional.
I am not sure when or why the change in attitude took place, but when someone wants to tell me something that happened years ago, I am ready to listen and take it all in.
If it is really good, I will want to remember it so I can repeat it sometime in the future.
This probably has something to do with my love of a good story. It does not matter if it the subject is one of my relatives, neighbors, or someone famous as long as it is interesting.
I am not one who enjoys listening to or repeating gossip. I only want the facts; just tell me what happened. Even with that I know I am listening to one person’s interpretation.
One person’s gain is probably someone else’s loss. One person’s hero is someone else’s villain.
The Fourth of July weekend that just passed is a good time to recall the people and events who contributed to get us to where we are today.
Peace time, war time, boom and bust, times of joy, times of tragedy, there will be a time when today’s events will be told as history.
We are going into a time during the summer when power shows are held showing how things were done long ago.
My dad would remember threshing oats using a separator powered by a tractor and a long belt; I do not.
I remember a mounted corn picker harvesting corn on the ear, two rows at a time, using a flare box; my son would not.
As antiquated as they seem now, when they were new, they were considered a great improvement over the previous method.
So, to all my history teachers who tried to teach me something I was not interested in back then, I apologize for my lackadaisical attitude and would like a second chance.
I will see if I can let my grandchildren know that history class is not the bore they may think it is and to sit up and pay attention.
Having just turned 67 years old, I am still trying to get smarter. These things take time.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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