My oldest son, Mark, included in his pastorial blog this morning an article from another source which questioned the wisdom of today's way of life. The article gave me great pause for thought.
Americans today, as a whole, live such miserable lives. Although their possessions exceed that of any generation of any age, this does not bring satisfaction. To some extent, I am also caught up in the medley. We have so much, even those who consider themselves to be the poorest.
My mother, bless her memory, could easily have fed her family for an entire year with the food that is now within our home. She could, and did at times, cook for her family with next-to-nothing. Yes, it may have been more dumplins and gravy than meat, but none of us went hungry. Healthy? Perhaps not by today's enlightened thinking. Yet, she and my grandparents lived to a ripe old age for which I would gladly be satisfied.
This is also the age of instant information and communication. Nearly every room in our home has a large, colored television. I do enjoy college football--Go Navy and Go Bucks--but that's about it. I watch two news programs on Fox. That's it.
I remember life without television--without radio for that matter--and did not consider myself to have been deprived of anything. (The folks got their first phone while I was in the Navy). I've discussed getting rid of TV entirely with my wife. Oh, no, she reminds me, TV is tied into the computer, fax and phones. With less than the monthly cost of this service my mother fed the entire family.
And then there is the computer. What an addiction! Then the cell phones with twitter, ipods, facebooks, emails, GPS, camera, and heaven help us, texting. I won't even get into the new craze of sexting! Going the way of the dinosaurs are books, magazines and newspapers. How Sad!
I have worn out two copies of Henry David Thoreau's "On Walden's Pond". I am also into my second copy of Harlan Hubbard's book "Shanty Boat, A River Way of Life". On my tack board is a well worn copy of the poem "Shantyboat Man". The simple life which I knew as a child! An impossible fantasy? A false recollection of how things really were? I don't think so.
I have lived for a month at a time in a simple base camp while on canoe expeditions to the far north. Likewise, I have lived for months out of a backpack on cross country treks.
During the summer I still live in a simple lakeside retreat without television. Except for a daily cell phone call to let my wife know I'm alright, I am out of touch with the world. I am convinced I am the better for the isolation.
Does this make me anti social? Not at all. I chat with the fishermen who launch their boats nearby. I feed all who come a calling, which can be many and frequent.
I actually have time to hoe my garden. What a forgotten blessing in this modern world. And, when I am with people, we sit out on the deck, look at the lake and have honest-to-goodness conversations, another forgotten blessing.
Seven weeks from tomorrow, the good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll start on my cross country bike ride, living mostly out of a tent. I'll enjoy the desserts, the rivers and the mountains but what I look forward to most is the one-on-one conversations with all kinds of people. I am not at all anti social.
Last night my son, Mark, and his wife, Mark Kay, came to dinner. It was a grand dinner with all the silver and crystal and Julie's fine cooking. The Shrimp Diavolo was wonderful and the apple pie was tasty.
We had one-on-one conversation for the first time within memory. We have seen each other as ships passing in the night, of course, And, yes, Mark and I relate daily electronically. It's not the same. No hugs electronically. No twinkle of the eyes. No low chuckles. The fellowship is missing. I am convinced that like reading, fellowship is also going the way of the dinosaurs.
Cherish yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live like crazy today!
Childhood was really that wonderful time when all you
had to do to lose weight was to take a bath.