The Farr Side: The more things change, the more they stay the same

David T. Farr

Over the weekend, I attended a graduation open house for my nephew Candin and his friend Josh. I’m happy and proud for them. Their friendship through school helped them each to become the fine young men they’ve become.

My mom always says, “Strong back, weak mind — weak back, strong mind.” That sort of sums up the friendship they share. What one was lacking, the other possessed.

Upon seeing the balloons in their school colors, the photo albums, hearing the numerous stories and meeting the friends, family members and those who came to wish them well, it made me reminisce about when I graduated.

So much has changed since then, but then again, some of what was cool and hip in my day is still cool and hip today — it’s just 17 years later.

When I graduated from high school, New Kids On The Block were the rage and Madonna was queen of the pop charts. Paula Abdul was an American idol and Indiana Jones and Batman were tops in the theaters.

Bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Van Halen were top concert draws, too.

Desert Storm was on our minds and we were nearing the end of the first George Bush’s presidency.

Flash forward to today. New Kids are back, Madonna is still on top, and Paula Abdul has a role in naming the next “American Idol.” Harrison Ford was back on the big screen as Indiana Jones, looking as if he did many moons ago. And don’t forget, Batman is back, too.

Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Van Halen are still pulling in major concert audiences, and Bon Jovi is a No. 1-selling country act as well.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are heavily on our hearts and minds, and George W. Bush is almost done bankrupting the country with his final year in office, too.

Leave it to me to link the times with current events. It’s just a part of who I am, I guess.

One thing that I remembered dearly after graduation was being told repeatedly, “Don’t change” or “Stay the way you are.”

Those are statements I used to think were cool. Part of what’s changed since I graduated is me. Some changes are for the better, while others took some time for me to accept. What’s important here is that sometimes you don’t have a choice. Change can happen, and you must be brave enough and strong enough to deal with it.

Back then, I used to walk with two legs, now I use four — meaning I need crutches. If I hadn’t been able to “change,” I might not have been strong enough to cope with what life threw my way.

As for Candin and Josh, they both received lots of cards and gifts, but perhaps the best gift of all was not something given to either one of them. Instead, I believe it’s something they’ve given to us — what it means to have a true, unconditional friendship.

The world will be a better place as long as we have young people like Candin and Josh coming up through the ranks. It will be interesting to see what they notice the same or different as the years change for them.

I don’t know if the New Kids will last for a third time around, but I’m certain Madonna will still be plugging along. I’m just hoping there’s not another Bush waiting in the wings somewhere.

David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at