‘Coldwater’ shock to the system

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A man went to visit his 90-year-old grandfather in a very secluded, rural part of the state.

After spending the night, his grandfather prepared breakfast for him consisting of eggs and bacon.

The young man noticed a film-like substance on his plate and he questioned is grandfather.

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“Are these plates clean,” he asked.

“Those plates are as clean as cold water can get them, so go on and finish your meal,” his grandfather replied.

That afternoon, while eating the hamburgers his grandfather made for lunch, he noticed tiny specks around the edge of his plate and a substance that looked like egg yokes. So, he asked again, “Are you sure these plates are clean?”

Without looking up from his hamburger, the grandfather says, “I told you before, those dishes are as clean as cold water can get them. Now, don’t ask me about it again.”

Later that afternoon, as the young man was on his way out to get the paper, the dog started to growl and would not let him pass.

“Grandfather, your dog won’t let me out,” he complained.

Without diverting his attention from the football game, his grandfather shouted, “Coldwater, get out of his way!”

Sometimes not knowing the details is a good thing. It can block our view of enjoying the end result.

Like the man in the story, there have been times in my life that I wish I’d left well enough alone.

But, looking back I realize those situations turned out to be the best learning experiences of my life.

About 15 years ago I moved to a quaint little town of Taylorsville in south-central Mississippi. The house we lived in was ideal for a new family – an old Victorian-style house overlooking Main Street. The streets were relatively quiet. Children were playing throughout the neighborhood. Everyone knew everyone and we felt extremely safe and secure raising our kids there.

I remember how that sense of security was shattered for me once my eyes were opened to some very real issues affecting our community.

I was the editor of the local newspaper and a member of the area drug task force invited me to ride with him one evening and see for myself some of the plight they were up against. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was extremely shocked when some of the worst spots he pointed out for drug activity were only a couple of blocks from my house.

Too many times we would rather not know the dangers around us or in the lives of those we love. We never want to see the worst. I would have been more than content to have never known what was around the corner and live in total ignorance, but that would not have made my family any safer.

Over the years I have seen a lot of names come through the arrest reports. I have seen many who were the sons and daughters of very good and decent families. Drugs can grab a hold of anyone regardless of who it is. The warning signs are usually there, just as they had been for me in the neighborhood I lived in. I was simply unaware because I wanted to believe I lived in a Mayberry atmosphere.

My point is: it is important for parents to open their eyes and see what their kids may be getting themselves into before it becomes a problem out of control. Stay informed, know what they are doing, where they go and be nosey.

They will thank you for it later.

John Few is a reporter for the Demopolis Times.