Friday, March 12, 2010

Ride, Dawson, Ride...

I'm not sure when a person is old enough to start learning the harsh realities of life. I took my two year old grandson, Dawson, with me to Richmond the other day to get the building permits for a job we are starting. He handled it pretty well, although like me, I'm not sure he understood why some one should have to ask the government for permission to add a room onto their home.

He does like to ride in Papaw's truck, and I dearly love to take him with me when I can, so I turned off the airbag for the passenger seat, (like the instructions say to do), ran the strap with the hook on it through the headrest and hooked it to the wall behind the seat, fastened the seat belt and shoulder harness around the car seat that is rated for children from 22 to 40 pounds, and strapped Dawson into the contraption.

He's been strapped in everywhere he's gone since the day he was born, so he doesn't seem to mind too much. I guess it's what you get used to. When I was about his age the most coveted place to ride was in the back window of Dad's 1954 Ford. Probably not as safe as the car seat, but a lot more enjoyable ride. And you couldn't really see for sure where you were going, but it was a great view of where you had been.

There's a good chance I'd end up in jail and Dawson would end up with Child Services if we did that today. And I'm sure it's safer to have him strapped in beside me, (as long as his airbag is turned off), but I also think about the changes I've seen over the years, and I wonder about the changes he'll see before he's my age.

When I started in business 36 years ago, I'd heard of building permits and building inspectors, but I'd never really seen one. Not too long after that they said you needed to get a permit once in a while, and every once in a while some county or town inspector would come out and collect $25.00 from us. I'm not sure why.

Things progressed to the point that a few years ago the county inspector put a stop work order on three little boys trying to build this club house down by Centerville:

I used to get pretty upset about the permitting process. Nowadays though, not so much. Maybe because most of the people in the building commissioners office seem friendlier now. Or maybe, like Dawson in his car seat, I've just gotten used to it.

There have been a lot of changes since I was Dawson's age. Some good, some not so good. About all of the changes we've seen in government have resulted in it getting bigger, more expensive and more intrusive. Right now it's difficult to name three things that government doesn't tax or regulate.

I'm afraid by the time Dawson gets to be my age, it will be impossible to name one.

I hope we can get that changed, so Dawson and the rest of our grandchildren don't have to look at the freedoms we enjoyed only out of the rear window.


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