It is 1974 and our community road was just paved. All us kids are running on the new pavement, barefoot. The new pavement feels hot on our bare feet and we know that when we go home with black feet, our moms are gonna kill us (or at least ground us for the weekend). The pavement is a welcome improvement over the old dirt road that we lived with so long, and from the dusty days when the trucks blew by and the wind stirred up dust storms everywhere.
Dad was working as a janitor in one of the old barracks that the United States had just abandoned. There was a ton of work in the town, not always easy work, not always work that paid good money, but a job just the same. In fact, if you wanted a job back then, you found one.
Groceries cost a fortune, but we grew most of our own food anyway,so mom and dad never complained. The air was fresh to drink, water was clear and clean, and any food you did buy was safe to eat. Those were without a doubt the good old days.
Flash forward to 2013. That same pave road has never been repaired and is in a state of disrepair. Governments refuse to spend money on rural areas, so most small communities are in the same state as ours is. Work is like a dirty word, with cuts to government jobs occurring on a daily basis. Nobody’s job is safe. Most of the money is spent on the larger areas where work is also focused, and nobody seems to care for the environment anymore. If you want to work,you are forced to pack up and head for the wealthy provinces where family values are a thing of the past, and crooks and drug dealers flourish.
We now have to deal with the environmental impact of Fracking, Which is a dangerous process of extracting oil from the ground, one that pollutes both the land, the water, and the air, but nobody cares, after all, someone is going to get rich from this. Not the people whose lives will be cut short from side effects and disease, caused by the chemical and toxic waste created from this process, not the poorer people in the province.
Nowadays it is less expensive to buy a two liter bottle of pop than it is to buy a liter of milk for your kids, and some people living on low income are forced to choose between eating healthy or not eating at all. We buy water because we poisoned the fresh stuff that passed through the ground beneath our feet. Most areas cannot boast fresh air, or even a view of the sky, a result of trading poverty for employment and selling our souls to the companies that poison the environment.
Not meaning to sound bleak, truth is stranger than fiction. I wish instead of flashing forward to 2013, I could go back to 1974, when things seemed so much better. Where have we gone in 39 years? Just Saying!!