When I was a child growing up in Springfield, we children in the neighborhood had a thing we said when one of our friends wanted us to do something we rebelled against. The main words that would end the confrontation were “and you can’t make me.” I don’t know if it was this way with you or our neighborhood was just weird, but it seemed to work for us.

Well, I hate to say it, but I was confronted with a situation the other day in one of my favorite Bolivar shopping spots that coaxed these words out of my mouth after I left the store. I pulled out of the lot and over to another store to see if I would walk out with the same reaction. I didn’t and I was glad for it. 

I was told that some stores were going paperless and I have to use plastic instead. SAY WHAT? Where’s my choice of paper or plastic? Where’s my choice of how I want to pay for things? I am a paper person and insist on writing checks. I want to feel the money pass from my hands when I make a transaction. Call me an old fogey if you want to, but I have my convictions! For the tree hugger, try worshipping the Creator of them instead of the creation of them. God supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory. 

Fear and greed go hand in hand, and I have seen so much evidence of that the past few months like never before. All it takes is one person to come up with a shortage story on something and it goes viral. Then, as expected, the hoarding starts. This is what causes the shortages. Hoarding or the company slowing down production to cause a scare to begin with. Greed and fear, hand in hand, and it is alive and well in the USA today. Sure this is a time of concern for everyone with COVID-19, the fires, the storms and on and on, but concern doesn’t need to spark hoarding and cause mass panic for toilet paper. I can tell you about another shortage and that’s our personal choices.

One by one, others seem to be making our decisions for us, whether it’s where we shop, how we shop, when we shop and even whether we shop. Some of it is needed with COVID rearing its ugly head, but we seem to have lost track of the fact that we were born with a computer in our body. It’s called the brain! Some people should use it more often. It almost seems like a lost art to make our own decisions in a country that used to embrace the freedoms of this land put forth by our forefathers.

I am also a devout music enthusiast, and I can hardly find any CDs to import on my ancient but fantastic computer. Someone made the decision to quit carrying them, and there went my choice of how to buy my music. I doubt very much if I can find anyone my age that has the music I like to crank up. I doubt if many 64-year-olds haveRed Line Chemistry, Wake Owl or Nickelback. There again, heavy metal and punk is my choice, along with a sprinkling of R&B mixed with ’80s hard rock. 

What about my choice in music when I hit the nursing home? You think I could sweet talk them into playing music from my era, like Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd? I think I better make sure I still have an MP3 player to download on when I reach that time of my life. 

Then, there’s my choice of style. Far be it from me to even consider giving up my blue jeans or cutting my hair or letting it go gray. Heaven forbid!

OK, this is just a little spot of realistic humor in the midst of a bad situation, but the fact remains that our choices are being compromised every day. From light bulbs to boxes for our TV now, we were forced to make a change if we wanted them and that is what I am rebelling against! I should have had a choice in what kind of lighting I want in my home. The new bulbs are too harsh and cost too much, in my opinion. It all comes down to choices we should have made for ourselves instead of having it forced on us. 

Yeah, I know! I have been often told that I am too opinionated, but then, that’s my choice. It’s who I am, and I stand by my convictions. I think we should all use the computers God places in us and insist on keeping the freedoms this country was founded on. 

Even if you’re concerned about global warming, read the Bible. It tells you these things will happen but to not be anxious about it for all these things must come to pass. We just need to deal with what God has allowed to happen and make our own choices in how to handle it in our own lives. 

I will always count on God before I listen to man. That’s my choice, and if you want me to compromise my convictions in the God area, forget it. I am a Child of God. God comes first in my life, and I won’t change that in this lifetime … and you can’t make me!

Susan M. Pennell of Brighton contributes poetry regularly to the BH-FP, as well as opinion pieces to newspapers across Missouri. She describes herself as 60-something going on 36 and says many know her as the “Dancing Poet.” 

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(1) comment


Bravo. Well said.

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