Another kind of drug problem

Published 10:13 am Thursday, July 19, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

I read an entry the other day on the blog RealClearPolitics and thought it was so refreshing. It did not have a clear author other than a concerned citizen. It was originally placed in as a newspaper letter to the editor, and I imagined that my 71 column readers (including family) would enjoy it.

This is the sort of newspaper column or letter that would hang on my refrigerator as I grew up. My mom would hang Erma Bombeck, Ann Landers and other touching words of thought along with our family’s pictures, drawings and good grades in school. It sort of was our little trophy case of sorts. Maybe that is why I got into the newspaper business in the first place.

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Here is the blog entry:

“The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ‘Why didn’t we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?’

“I replied, I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.

“I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

“I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flowerbeds and cockleburs out of dad’s fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood, and, if my mother had even known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

“Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack or heroin; and, if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.

“God bless the parents who drugged us.”


Albert Lea Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.