When we lived on the farm about 70 years ago, there was a big old lock on the front door with an old-fashioned key that nobody could find. The door was never locked.
It was the end of the Depression, and even hobos would occasionally come by the house. They marked it somehow. We could never tell how, but we were told it was marked to show others we would give them something to eat.
They were allowed to sleep in the barn on the hay. Mother would always send them on their way the next morning with hard-boiled eggs in their pocket to eat another meal when they got hungry.
With hobos around and no keys for the front door, I never heard of a break-in or a theft in the community. They were different times. Hardly anyone we knew locked their doors.
Later, I thought it was funny that in the summertime, when doors and windows would be open to let in cool night air, Daddy always hooked the screen doors. It would not have deterred a thief. But he hooked the screen doors anyway, and we never knew why.
Another difference back then was that it was always dark at night. I could see the moon, and I could see the stars around me.
Later, I never liked living in town because I couldn’t see the sky at night. There were lights everywhere — street lights, front door lights. So I moved back to the country more than 50 years ago, to the Pembroke Road house where we live now.
Back in the country, it was dark and we could see the moon and the stars again. Eventually, all that changed too.
Now there are security lights all around.
As far as I can see, there are security lights.
We have two industrial parks, one on either side of us that look like “Star Wars,” but I’m still fortunate that we have woods that wrap around to the south and the back of the house. So I can’t see anything but the woods from the back porch, and that is where we like to sit in the evening.
Occasionally, but not always, we can see a small light and sometimes two lights where CSX has greatly expanded its operations at Casky. And apparently these are men with small lights walking around at night because they are moving around. But they are very small.
If I lean up from my rocking chair and look toward Hopkinsville, I can see one security light. That is why we sit in the living room sometimes. And we too have our lights because it is necessary nowadays for your protection. But I can still see the stars and I can still see the moon when I’m sitting on the back porch at night.
In summertime, when the trees bloom out and the woods get more dense, I can barely see the one security light — and I wonder if I will even be able to see the CSX lights.
I feel sorry for people who cannot see the night sky. But maybe they’ve never lived in the country where the darkness of the night lets the moon shine bright and we can watch it until it is a little fingernail and until it is a full moon.
Mary D. Ferguson is a New Era columnist. New Era Opinion Editor Jennifer P. Brown transcribed this column for her.