I wonder how many people in this area of southwest Mississippi visited the Roadside Park that used to be open on Highway 24. When I was a young boy, my mother used to pack a lunch for us and my two brothers that we would eat together at the park about every other Sunday afternoon when we would travel from McComb after church services to go to Gloster. I always looked forward to stopping at the park because it was a nice break for what any child viewed as such a long trip. It was very hard for us boys to sit still that far. There were some large pine trees that shaded concrete picnic tables sparsely speckling the landscape and created such a cool, relaxing place to stop for some family time before finishing our trip.
We traveled to Gloster because my grandfather lived there until passing away in 1997. He usually had some kind of dessert ready for us and we would sit around and visit during the afternoon before heading back later in the day. We spent the afternoons listening to the discussions and stories that were told, walking up and down the sidewalk, and just generally relaxing and visiting for a few hours. If we got adventurous, we would walk further down the street to see what spectacle we might find. It was always quiet and peaceful during our walks and there were never worries about our safety that we knew. During the Christmas season, the Christmas parade featured Santa throwing out loads of candy to all who would line the streets during those late evenings on Christmas Eve. Those were times of my life that I am so glad that I got to have and will always treasure.
In the present day, while many don’t feel the same peace and security that was present then, we certainly don’t have to accept that we can’t have safe streets, intact families, and peaceful homes. It’s up to each individual person and the route chosen to be taken. We should emphasize and promote the traditional family unit not just because God ordained it, but also because cognitive ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behavior are all positively influenced when a healthy marriage, instead of cohabitation, by a man and woman committed to one another for life, exists.
Many times it is thought that if income levels were higher, then there would be better health outcomes and improvement of other desirable outcomes. It’s certainly true that having more money has some benefits, but it doesn’t take the place of loving relationships. I remember the toys that we had and the activities that we did as children as not being expensive at all. We enjoyed our lives growing up without anywhere near the amount of entertainment available to most nowadays. Our happiness wasn’t tied to things, but to the protection and security of knowing we had the love of our parents.
The traditional family should be supported and encouraged at all levels if we want to see this nation become what it can be on many levels; the health of America would tremendously improve and no government program is needed for this to happen. It’s up to each individual to choose which way they want to live their lives, but that doesn’t mean the choices made are the best for that person, or for those with whom they have relationships. Choose for yourself the best way and that is to choose to live in a traditional family that also honors God as the head of it. Bring up your children so that they will have those Roadside Park memories which they will never forget not because of what they ate, but because of with whom they ate it and the committed love of the person who prepared it for them.