The thugs meet the geezers


By Jimmy Cochran

Columnist


Just when you start to think that the world is going to hell-in-a-hand-basket, one of the local restaurants around the McDonough Square was the site to show several of us that we still have a toehold on all things good and true.

Several weeks ago, two friends of mine were eating at one of the local eateries on the Square with several members of their family, all senior adults. They had not been together for a long time, so there was much catching up and laughing involved during their luncheon and some younger and tougher looking construction-type workers who were also eating noticed this frivolity.

Now, in many places around the country, this could have easily led to a confrontation between the generations about ‘whose rights are being violated to eat a quiet lunch.’ At some point during the meal, the tough guys commented to the senior adults about the fun they seem to be having and a congenial conversation followed. This in itself was a good thing, but the best was yet to come.

The young tough guys finished their meal, paid their bill, and said good-bye to the older folks and wished them a good day. To the surprise of the senior adult group, the waitress came over and told them that the younger guys had paid their food bill in full and said the guys remarked that when, “they were that age that they hoped to be able to have so much fun.”

Who saw that coming? We see all the growth in Henry County and all the diversity that is bringing to our communities. Unless we can learn to understand and accept these differences in religion, ethnicity, lifestyle, economics, etc, then we will become like so many of our counties to the north. Again, who wants that to happen?

The young tough-looking guys at lunch could have easily been misconstrued as thugs, gang members, or redneck trash. But, they were not. They were nice young men who work hard for a living with families and friends just like you and me. The senior adults in the same restaurant could have been seen as a bunch of loud old geezers who ought to stay at home and not be on the roads. Not so, because they are a group of family who enjoyed getting together and catching up on a sunny day in McDonough. When the groups met, a simple word called respect came into existence.

Aretha (and the Beatles) introduced us to the term several decades ago, but God gave it to us several centuries ago. The basic word here is “RESPECT (aka) LOVE. Love others, treat them as you want to be treated, don’t judge others because you may be judged yourself. These are all words that God gave us by which to live. So, if your neighbors look or live differently than you, respect them and try to find some common ground on which to meet them. Someone has a crying child in a restaurant or store? Don’t give them evil death looks, but put yourself in that parent’s shoes for a second and smile. Let them know you do have some compassion in your heart for their struggle.

Do you promise to try harder this week? Promise? I hope you will because I can promise that you’ll make a world of difference in someone’s life. Just like the group who had their meal paid for few weeks ago; they are still talking about those nice young men and how thankful they were. It made their day.

And for today my friends, this is the gospel according to Jimmy.

Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.