by Pettus Read
The world of communications is changing daily and I often feel as if I am being left behind. I have just returned from a conference which included information dealing with new ideas for communicating in the very near future. Much of the meeting dealt with the Internet and just how exciting things can be by just clicking on a picture on our computers. We now have the ability to communicate with people we do not even know in other towns, states, and nations by simply using our home computers.
You can buy merchandise, learn a language, check the weather, get a college degree, make travel plans, complete homework, do your banking, and hundreds of other things without even leaving the comforts of your home. And the scary part is just ten years ago this was totally impossible in the majority of homes and businesses across this country.
There is new technology that will use a small satellite dish, the size of a silver dollar, to receive radio and other signals, so individuals can keep up-to-date as they work in their fields on their tractors and combines. The dish is multi-directional, so signal is not lost as the vehicles move about the field.
New methods of communication are exciting and are rapidly making our lives change. We have gone from the crank telephone and a party-line with the neighbors listening in, to the Internet and the population of the entire world eavesdropping. But, I guess that's progress.
Sometimes all of this electronic communicating makes my head hurt. I have a cell phone and still don't know how to retrieve my voice mail. It gets to the point where I want to return back to simpler times, when you had to look a person in the eye to transact business, a time when life's expectations were determined by simple experiences and sounds.
Back in 1997, Mitch Sisco from Goodlettsville sent me a list of memories from his days as a farm boy. I ran across that list recently and it still brings back a lot of memories. In a note on the list, he said he adds to the list regularly and after reading his list again, I found out that many of his memories were much like mine. Here is a combination of Mitch's memories and mine.
Do you remember the smell of a corncrib, smoke from a cookstove, smell of a smokehouse, freshness of a summer rain on a dusty dirt road, or the feel of a newly plowed field on bare feet?
Do you remember catching June bugs in the summer, tying a string around their leg, and letting them fly attached to the string? In fact, where were the June bugs this year?
Do you remember the first time you saw the ocean, heard the sound of a Whippoorwill, a fox barking, or the smell of a polecat on a cold fall night? Remember when you didn't have air conditioning. Can you remember when store clerks waited on you, a service station gave service, or waiting all week for a visit from the peddler?
Do you remember tent meetings, brush arbors, and the hand-fans on the back of the pew in front of you in church in the summertime. Remember the sounds of frogs outside on a summer night and candle-flies circling the lights during revival time.
Do you know what a single, double or triple tree is? Have you ever tried to find a hen's nest or attempted to break a hen from setting?
Did you ever put cotton in the hole in the screen door to keep out the flies, or sleep at the foot of the bed?
Do you remember the taste of real snow cream, the first cobbler from blackberries you picked, fresh tenderloin from a hog-killing, the first taste of a ripe tomato in the summer or honey from your own hives?
Remember riding a stick horse, playing in the hay loft, or the first time you had a pet dog to die?
If you remembered most of these things then you were born before computers and cell phones. In fact, you even came before television which makes you somewhat of an old person according to our current generation. But, that's alright. They just need to remember we can survive without today's fancy gadgets. But, can they?
May we never become so high-tech that we forget the simple things of life.