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Bucket of respect runs low these days
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There used to be an unwritten rule in the South: No self-respecting woman or man would be caught wearing white prior to Easter and after Labor Day. I have heard folks from the North suggest that the beginning date was Memorial Day.

I think we of the South got it right.

But that whole argument is a moot point now. Folks wear whatever they want to whenever they want to.

I remember my first pair of white shoes (besides those infant and toddler high-tops). They had a buckle on the side and I thought they were quite the thing.

I also remember in 1976, I purchased a pair of red, white and blue wingtip shoes. I really don’t think there was a season for patriotic shoes and I don’t know where they ended up. I looked like a cross between a politician and a circus clown.

I guess it was my attempt at a fashion statement. Unfortunately, the statement was as out of place as a leisure suit.

We have adopted a casual attitude toward everything, so it seems. The attitude transcends fashion. It has permeated every facet of society.

We are casual toward one another. Little children don’t call adults "mister" or "miss." They just spout out a first name like it was another kid.

Folks used to dress up for church, especially on Easter. I’m happy that folks will darken the door of a church, but it seems like on the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, you should wear the best you have.

There once was a time when retailers did a brisk business on the days leading up to Easter as folks bought a new outfit to debut on that Sunday morning. I guess I’m showing what a dinosaur I am.

I think you should look nice to honor the dead. I’ve never been to a funeral without a coat and tie. Forget that — during the last funeral I attended, a guy’s cellphone rang and he took the call and he didn’t whisper. By the way, he wasn’t wearing a tie.

It’s not a matter of fashion; it’s a matter of respect.

If respect could be measured, it would be kept in 5 gallon buckets when I was a kid. You honored your elders, you were kind to the infirm and you were polite to all. If you measure it today, respect could be contained in a baby food jar with the top off and the contents spilling out.

I generally put a link to my columns on my Facebook page and often get an affirming message from some of my friends. This one will be no exception.

Someone will tell me about his or her childhood and how loving parents poured that 5-gallon bucket of respect into them.

As long as there are a few drops left in today’s baby food jar of respect, I’m going keep writing about it. I hope there is a mama or daddy out there who finds a little dab and feeds it to the newest generation.

I’ll dust off my good suit and tie and wear them to church next Sunday. It’s a matter of respect ... for the one whose resurrection we honor.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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