Fiddles, radio broadcasts, signing-off and I-pads

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve got to get it off my chest. I miss the good old days.

Were people really kinder when times were slower, or is my aging memory fading the harsh colors of reality into softer, gentler images?

Here’s my point, which I think may be undeniable; people had more time for and with each other before the barrage of 24-hour newscasts, sportscasts, movie channels and reality television. People had more silence and fewer disruptions before the cell phones became the most necessary item to carry with you at all times with their jingling or sometimes jarring tunes announcing an undoubtedly urgent call, or a beep or buzz announcing a new text message of vital importance.

My grandmother’s family and a few friends seeking diversions, used to gather around the piano in the parlor. Grandma played the ivory keys while her father and brother coaxed lively tunes from their fiddles. They weren’t professional musicians, just farmers. Camaraderie, laugher, and shared endeavor could all be regularly found in that small parlor of an evening.

My parents used to gather with their respective families around the family radio for the broadcast of Only the Shadow Knows, or another favorite radio show. Intent listening, respectful silence and vivid imagination were all required in that living room of an afternoon.

We always had a television as far as I can remember. It was a big bulky thing that made an awful buzzing noise when my parents turned it on. The screen lit up with random horizontal lines struggling to form themselves into a coherent image.  It turned off in the same fashion—static noise and lines ending with a final pop. We received three major networks all of which signed off sometime in the evening. When something monumental was happening in the world, you waited until the evening newscast with Walter Cronkite to hear about it.

There was no popping in a DVD of Jungle Book to entertain a sick and sleepless child in the wee hours of the morning. What did our grandmothers do with their sick children in the middle of the night? Did you ever wonder about that?

Human interaction, I suppose.

I do believe people were different when things were different. But not always and only for the best. I don’t have to attempt to list for you all the things that are better now because of modern technology.

I just think we make a mistake if we assume that nothing was lost.

Even so, I for one am not now, and likely never will be, willing to part with my laptop and I-pad.

We march on.


Circa 1917—Katherine Roecker Adams holding my grandmother Anna behind Raymond, Harold, and Florence beside Harrison Myron Adams and two horses.


Copyright © 2011 by Christine M. Grote

Missed opportunities— or the red fox eludes digital capture

Mark was diligently chopping celery for our crock pot stew and I was loafing around the kitchen, looking out the window, when I saw a beautiful red animal running though the monochromatic snow-covered woods at the foot of the hill behind our house.

“That’s a red fox,” I said.

Not that I was an expert on such matters. In fact I’d never seen a red fox before in my 53 years. But you would have said the same. If you see a red fox, you know it.

Mark joined me at the window and as I was unwilling to turn my back on the bushy-tailed, pointy-nosed, red-furred or haired (not an expert, remember?) animal leisurely jogging through the woods, over the creek and across our back yard, and was equally unable to convince Mark to do the same, and as my camera was not close at hand, the event went unrecorded. Sadly.

When I recounted the incident to my sister Carol, she said, “Why don’t you look up the significance of a red fox sighting online? Try a native american site.”

I googled it. Here’s a brief run-down.

Foxes are symbolic of camouflage and shape shifting, cunning, wildness and diplomacy.

A fox sighting is a warning to keep one’s counsel. a guide into the Faerie Realm, a signal from the spirits of the deceased, a good luck omen.

A sighting of multiple foxes is bad luck.

The meaning of the sighting depends upon what is going on in your life and in your head at the moment the fox was sighted.

As my mind was fairly well blank to the best of my recollection, I’m really not sure what it meant, except that it was a beautiful moment and in the future I will keep my camera on a kitchen shelf within easy reach.

Snowy woods sans red fox

The above information regarding fox sightings came from the following websites which offer further clarification on the matter and make for interesting reading.

A new start with clean house

I’m not entirely certain I can bear up to the pressure of a first post. What to say? How much?

Here’s something important: I promise to keep my posts short. Those of you who know me well will realize how short-lived this promise will be.

Otherwise, I suppose the sky’s the limit. Random thoughts. See above.

I’m going to just pretend I have readers. Mom are you out there?

That’s pretty short.

Oh. And here’s Arthur. The wild white dog eating snow.