Cold War

I grew up during the Cold War. Some of you might remember the Civil Defense yellow and black signs that identified the location of nuclear fallout shelters.  We had emergency drills much like fire and severe weather drills.  If you think about, it was really a weird time. But it didn’t seem strange to us back then; it was just life in the 60’s.

We had a bomb shelter at our home. It was a deep rectangular hole under the floor in the closet of a bedroom. We crawled down the ladder from time to time, not hiding from an attack of war, but from tornadoes. I grew up in the Texas panhandle, in the heart of tornado alley. We took severe weather seriously.  My favorite part of getting in the shelter was the musty smell of the sand-covered floor, and that you could dig in the sand and find Army men, those little plastic green ones, we had left there during the previous severe weather event.  Neighbors would come over and all the women and kids would hang out in the shelter. The dads were in our front yard checking out the clouds and looking for twisted ones.

When I was in the fourth grade I was walking home from school alone one day. I saw a helicopter hovering over my neighborhood just north of where I was walking. It was dropping something; it was spewing out lots of somethings. I was certain that it was spitting out poison pellets. I was so sure of it I could smell the acrid odor hanging in the air. I started feeling woosy.  I hurried home, hoping I would make it there before succumbing to the chemical warfare taking over the oxygen supply.

I got home and, in a panic, told my mother what I had seen and experienced. She looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to convince her of the danger we were in. She wasn’t buying it. Finally she became impatient with me.  I can’t remember exactly when she called my dad to tell him about it.  After some investigation, he discovered that the helicopter was dropping promotional materials from a local radio station….no, not war propaganda.  It was just some contest where if you found one of the “golden tickets” you could win prizes.

As you can tell, I was a dramatic little kid with a vivid imagination.  I carried those characteristics into adulthood as well.


Like then, sometimes I let my imagination get the best of me.  I worry about things that have no basis in reality, and are very unlikely to happen.  Or even if they might happen, I have no control over them anyway.

Are you a worrier? I encourage you to not let your imagination get control over you.  Don’t spend your time imagining that bad things are happening or might happen.  Sure it’s possible.  But worry never accomplished anything good, and it can keep one from living a full and productive life.  It can be paralyzing.

So, next time you think that the world or your world is in crisis through some imagining and worry that you may be doing, just remember my silly Cold War story.  Concentrate on the positive rather than the negative.   Perhaps what you are really experiencing is an opportunity to win a prize! The prize will be be a happier and healthier ife.  My hope for you is that you will put worry and crazy imagining away, and that you will live positively in the moment.

Any worry stories to share?  I’d like to hear them.  Take care.

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3 thoughts on “Cold War

  1. The cold war created a culture of worry — the Reds could have pressed the button at any time, you know! The conspiracy theorists of the time might have said that it was just the way Big Brother wanted it, as it kept us all in line.

    I’m a worrier. I tend to focus on what might go wrong rather than what is right. I think there’s actually some usefulness in thinking through what might go wrong so that we’re not flattened should it happen. It’s a work in progress for me to then let it go and enjoy the goodness in this present moment.

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  2. I agree, Jim, that planning and thinking through the possibilities is useful. I just don’t want to be a person who dwells on it. I admit I worry more about the world and its future now that I have a four- year- old grand baby. But, still I tend to be a Pollyanna who sees the best in everything! 😉

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