Reading the story published by Google News this morning caused me to reflect on my own past and how quickly I’ve embraced the technologies that came my way. I wonder if I’ve surrendered more than I’ve gained.
My folks were on the move during my youth, so I mixed with a host of societies, people with different cultures, customs and values. During my eighth grade I attended a one-room school. There were nine us representing the third, forth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. We had a hand-me-down piano that was played by a dairyman’s wife/musician. Adhering to our schedule, she emerged at the appointed hours in work clothing and gum boots which were often showed smears of cow manure. She gave it her all. When God passed out a sense of rhythm she failed to get her share. Bless her golden heart.
Her husband always kept his shirt buttoned tight, neck and sleeves no matter the temperature. Much of his farm work was accomplished the old-fashioned way. One summer he hired me to help with his oats harvest. Anyone of a half-dozen neighbors would have brought their combines. But he was his own man. He bought a new, stationary thrashing machine and then and hired men of my grandfather’s generation, with their teams and wagons, to haul the grain bundles to the machine. It was a glorious week for those old men.
Reflecting, I recall window curtains swaying in the breeze, porch swings, iced tea, and neighbors joining the family on a warm summer evening. Those memories are now replaced by the harsh reality of air conditioning, smoky car windows, mobile sound systems, television, Facebook, WordPress, and a host of other gadget-related endeavors.
Who needs neighbors? Who needs friends?