Have you noticed the lack of color lately?

No, I don't mean you need your eyes checked. I'm talking about the color of people's hair.

According to the 2000 census (not the most recent) the age make-up of county residents was evenly divided for ages 18-44 and ages 45-64. The most recent information from realtor.com is the median age is 39.

That was Jack Benny's age and if you don't get the joke, you are probably near that median age or younger.

I suspect realtor.com includes Wabash College students and, maybe, other college kids who are at home, visiting their parents, during the summer.

Some of us have been concerned for some years about the lack of young people in our fair community.

Two incidents, mostly unrelated, brought this subject to mind this past week.

The incoming commander of American Legion Post 72, Veronica Spencer, has set a goal of recruiting more young people, especially women, to join the Legion.

At Monday's Memorial Day Service at Oak Hill Cemetery North, I couldn't help but notice the number of gray-haired people in the honor guard and who were watching in the audience.

Many observers brought children with them, presumably their grandchildren.

So, what will Montgomery County look like in 10 years? Who will be our leaders?

I dare say it will be easier to find a parking space downtown.

About 20 years ago, one of our school corporations hired a study to determine if the high school building should be expanded.

The person who presented the findings said, "Your school population is probably going to decline over the coming years."

Guess what? It has.

What can we do to turn the situation around?

Well, science tells us how babies are conceived and born into this world. The situation is much more complicated, however.

Years ago, I sat in a Sunday School class with a woman who -- well, I disagreed with her most of the time. When she opened her mouth, I almost knew before she spoke some outrageous, ill-thought comment was going to come forth.

One day, though, I believe she got it right.

"The problem with birth control is that the people who practice it are responsible and would make good parents," she said. "The people who don't practice birth control are not always the best parents."

Notice, she didn't say parents with many children are bad parents. She just said responsible people are responsible in the number of children they bring into the world as they are responsible in other aspects of their lives.

That is not an answer, just an observation.

I do know this: Fewer children is too simple an answer. Unless we want to see our population grow grayer and less robust, we must find ways of getting young families to move here. Or, have more children ourselves and frankly speaking, I'm not up to having more kids.





Frank Phillips began writing professionally in 1972. He still walks without a cane and manages to feed himself, most days.