Signs of the Times

Published 2:56 pm Thursday, August 19, 2021

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There is no doubt that the nation is changing and those changes can be seen locally. Here are a few things that I have encountered around the town that illustrate that, like the Bob Dylan song of old, The Times, They are a-Changing.

On Sunday, I got home after visiting with a family that had lost a loved one. It was in the late afternoon and I decided that I would just go by one of our fast food outlets and get something to take home and eat. I could have fixed something at home, but was too lazy.

This particular place allowed for going inside so I went in to order a simple #1 combination, a hamburger, fries, and beverage. I went to the counter and looked up at the highlighted menu and saw that the very simple meal that I wanted would cost over $9.00 with tax. Nine dollars for a hamburger, fries and coke?

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I don’t believe I have ever done this, but, on the spot, decided that I was not going to pay that much for the simple combo! I would go across the street because I had a coupon for a sandwich that would be less than $5.00.

I drove up and parked, walked up to the door only to see a sign on the door. “Due to the labor shortage, we are closed. Sorry for your inconvenience.” Labor shortage? It hit me. People are receiving benefits from the government that enable them to stay home and not work.

My next course of action was to try one more fast food outlet, but when I got there the drive-thru line was long, so I decided to go inside and order at the counter. I tried the door, but it was locked and the sign read “Drive Thru Only.” Three strikes and I was out, so I thought that I had wasted enough time. I could have gone home and eaten three times and saved a lot of gas.

But I needed a loaf of bread so I went to the grocery store for bread and a package of bacon to add to the lettuce and tomato I had at home. I would make a BLT.

Thankfully, the grocery store was open and I got what I needed for the sandwich at home. The cost for a loaf of bread and bacon? Over ten dollars! I remember my parents fussing over the cost of groceries when ten dollars would buy three sacks full.

It’s the store I usually shop and had been looking for another item for a week or two. It was out of stock so I thought that enough time had passed and I would get that, too. Guess what? It’s still out of stock! It’s a common item that, in all the years I had been shopping there, it had always been in stock.

I know I’ve gone around my elbow to get to my nose but it’s evident that we are undergoing some profound changes these days. There is the question, “When are things going to get back to normal?” I’m not sure that normal is going to make a comeback.

That gasoline tank that last year was filled with a twenty dollar bill now takes an extra ten. Whereas we once took for granted that we could walk right in and take a seat at our favorite restaurant; that might be a thing of the past. In fact, eating out on a regular basis may become so expensive that the home kitchen might become a little more familiar. That might be good thing if you know how to cook!