Old Hippies and What We Learned From Them

Driving through the streets of my little town, I see all types of people.  I suppose, in that way, it’s no different from other towns.

It has its peculiarities, I must admit.  Because of the Veterans Hospital across the bridge from downtown Apollo, it’s not unusual to see men driving motorized wheelchairs down the side of the road.  And, if you are lucky, you might even see a motorized bed rolling into a local fast food drive-thru.

This always makes me smile.

They all seem to be the same age.  We have a lot of Viet Nam vets walking around our town.  Who, since their time of service, have returned to their former selves.

Hippies.

Old hippies.

I saw one the other day, walking down the street with his long hair blowing in the wind.  He was using some kind of tall, walking stick to guide himself down the sidewalk.  I don’t think he really needed that walking stick, tho.

I think he just liked using it.

He had the typical wire-framed glasses that the hippies used to wear.  He appeared to be in his late sixties, or early seventies.

And, he still looked cool.

I’ve always admired hippies.  Well, that’s not true.  During the Viet Nam War, my generation was taught to avoid them.

“Troublemakers,” we were told.

But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to respect them.  They taught us something.

Something very important.

They taught us to say “NO.”

They stuck up for themselves, and taught us all that you have to speak up, when the government is doing something you disagree with.

I don’t recall that ever happening before the Viet Nam War.  Everyone went along with anything the government did – without question.

That is, until the Hippies showed up.

We all owe them a thumbs up, for giving us a voice.

That is, to those who use their voice.

I admire a good protest.  Sometimes, when seeing people stick up for their rights during Union strikes, it brings tears to my eyes – to see their bravery.

“Power to the People,” I say, under my breath, whenever I pass picket signs.

At least, I think, they believe in something

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