by Pettus Read
It was a beautiful Tennessee early spring afternoon when I pulled in the long gravel driveway of Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie's farm. The hills behind their house this time of year are starting to show signs that full-blown spring is on its way. Maples are turning maroon in color with red buds on their limbs getting ready to bloom and other trees are starting to show signs of pastel greens, as they too are ready to come back to life once again. I love this time of the year when new life is arriving after a cold winter and this year was one that winter just didn't want to give up.
Just like spring's newness, Uncle Sid's house was also sporting something new on the white frame home's roof. Located just at the roof's edge, and on the overhang, was a brand new satellite dish that sort of looked out of place due to the yesteryear look of the rest of the house. I knew they had been using an antenna ever since television arrived back in the 50s and they were still using the first color TV that had ever been seen in these parts the last time I made a visit. Evidently, something had changed and Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie were now experiencing digital HD television watching.
Aunt Sadie met me at the front door wiping her hands on her apron as usual and led me to the back portion of their house where the old couple spends most of their time. There, sitting in the family room in his cane back rocker was Uncle Sid watching The Price Is Right on a huge flat screen TV. The thing was so large I felt like I had "come on down" and was one of the contestants in the studio. What can I say? It was a nice one and Uncle Sid was totally engrossed.
After exchanging pleasantries, Uncle Sid once again directed his attention to the program and I took my seat on the sofa located beside him. I knew this was one of his and Aunt Sadie's favorite programs and waited for a commercial to find out what was going on. As soon as the show went from spinning wheels and screaming prices to a commode cleaning commercial, I had to ask, "When did you get the new TV?"
Now looking my way, Uncle Sid said, "The old Sylvania finally bit the dust the other night and I went in the next day to Fred's Furniture and talked to your cousin Pierce about a new set. He sold me this high debt TV, which most folks call HD. He suggested I should also get satellite channels since my antenna is a thing of the past, so I signed up for that and now get over 150 channels. And you know, ain't none of them worth watching."
In less than a week Uncle Sid had found out what most of us already know, that finding a good TV program is a tough chore. "What do you watch?" I asked.
"The same things we always did," the old man said. "We started going through the channels once this thing got all set up and I've never seen anything like it. People just don't have any scruples anymore!"
"Like what?" I just had to ask.
He rolled his eyes and said, "They've got this show where folks come on there to lose weight and I agree they had eaten too many hot water hoecakes at some time. But, to come on television and take your shirt off before the world is a little too much for this old man. Then you got these folks who have been lost for years and everybody votes to see who gets kicked off an island I wouldn't have been on in the first place. Just don't make sense if you ask me. Plus, all these shows where folks think they can sing and they couldn't carry a tune in a milk bucket is not my idea of entertainment. Why don't they just put the good ones on to begin with and let those others go back home to a day job."
I could see cousin Pierce had sold Uncle Sid more than what he really needed or understood, but it was good to hear common sense for a change. Uncle Sid had always called things the way he saw them and his review of TV shows was pretty much on my way of thinking.
"This high debt TV really makes ball games enjoyable and Andy and Barney seemed like they are right here in the room with you," Uncle Sid went on to say. "But that other stuff just gives me an opportunity to read the paper and this week's Sunday school lesson, which is good enough for me. Won't be long any way before it's time to be in the garden."
Get'n in the garden does sound good, and when that happens, high debt TV will go a begging until fall around these parts. But, The Price Is Right will still have two folks making their plans to take a break and watching a little HD TV.