Whew! In 39 years of column writing, this column and the one last week came the closest to not being written and appropriately distributed. It was all due to computer problems, and, the sad thing — it wuz all my fault, although inadvertently.
I can best describe my travails as comparable to a neophyte outdoorsman getting lost in a wilderness ‑ going step by step deeper into trouble over a long period of time — thinking all the way that he could find his way out — until, alas, he has to admit to himself that he is hopelessly lost and can only be saved by outsiders.
In my case, the outsiders who saved me were some technical support folks from southern Florida, with whom I spent more than 20 hours on the phone over the course of a week, and to even smarter “computer doctors” that I personally met with at the Apple Computer Store in Leawood, Kan., who restored my computer hard drive, saved my files, and installed a new operating system called Mountain Lion.
I also had to purchase a new external hard drive to backup my files, documents, and applications. As it stands today, I still have some more files to transfer and a new operating system to minimally learn to use. But at least I can now write and send e-mails from my computer.
One funny thing happened during this entire gut-wrenching, patience-trying experiences. All the young, savvy, techie whipper-snappers I worked with kept asking me if I used this or that mobile devices, wanted to use all the new social media available, store data in “The Cloud,” etc. I told all of them: “Look. I’m 70-years-old. I’m not a ‘mobile me,’ I’m a ‘stationary me.’ I only want to keep doing what I’ve been doing — which is writing my columns, using the e-mail system, surfing the internet efficiently, collecting and listening to music, taking and sending personal photos, and saving the important stuff for future reference.”
They all laughed at my “stationary me” description. I think they probably correctly categorized me as a good-natured, but curmudgeonly, old geezer who is barely computer-savvy enuf to run a computer at all.
I attended the funeral of a good friend last week. She wuz a teacher by profession. But, sad as the occasion wuz, it heartened me to see the immense turnout of family, friends and former students who filled an elementary school gymnasium to overflowing to pay tribute to my friend and to the exceeding volume of loving good works and deeds accomplished in her cancer-shortened life.
On my drive home I got a bit philosophical about life and the Hereafter. No doubt in my mind, the full scope and content of the Hereafter is a matter solely residing between a person and his/her Maker. It’s such a personal matter that others have no say or influence in its outcome.
But, I refuse to believe that one’s physical departure from this Earth is the finality of one’s existence here amongst the living. I think life on Earth continues in the good and pleasant memories and stories that exist amidst the folks, the departed left behind. Those memories and stories are a tangible second life that carries on as long as those memories exist and those stories are told.
If such is the case, then I know my departed friend’s life will extend decades, at least, into the future in the memories of her hundreds of family and friends. Hers was a life lovingly well-lived and, truly, will be well-remembered as such.
Now, on to more pleasant topics. I heard about a rural grandmother who was visited my her urban granddaughter. As they sat around the kitchen table one morning, the grandmother asked if she could borrow a newspaper laying on the table near the granddaughter.
“This is the New Millennium,” the granddaughter said a tad too tartly. “We in the new generation don’t waste money or trees on newspapers. Here, use my iPad for what you need to do.”
The grandmother did her deed and retorted to her granddaughter, “Bet that pesky fly never knew what hit him. A little soap will clean the fly guts off your iPad.”
The six hours I spent in the prosperous southern suburbs of Kansas City on my trip to the Apple Computer Store, reinforced my conviction that urban America has, gladly, passed me by. To me, life in the suburbs is way too fast, way too loud, and way too superficial and inconsequential. Everything seems to be about style and appearance. Nothing seems real as compared to rural living. It’s definitely not the life for me. My preference is the peace, quiet, solitude, dirt and grit of rural life.
So, I found a couple of quotes that are along the same lines as my thinking. Former Vice President Dan Quayle said, “It’s rural America. It’s where I came from. We always refer to ourselves as real America. Rural America, real America, real, real America.”
And some guy named Anthony Trollope said, “Suburban misery is as hideous it is pitiable.” Perhaps a little rough, but it sounds good to me.
Have a good ’un. ❖