Black Rubber Hose

303885_1968466819972_1185591526_n

Every year when we roll the clocks back an hour I always have two thoughts. One is by rolling the clock back one hour does that mean for 60 minutes I will experience Deja vu? And the other is how can we roll back the clock years, instead of minutes. I know what you’re thinking; why would you want to roll back time in such a large amount? For me it’s all about a simpler time of life. You know, where you cooked stuff on the stove, hung clothes out on the line and where your windows were open and the screen door had the “hook” you put through the “eye” to lock it. Remember when cars were less technical and you actually had to put out an effort to roll the window down? And shopping carts would be the one receiving damage if they rolled into your fender in the parking lot. Wait, that didn’t happen because someone from the store would carry your groceries out to your car for you, and shopping carts didn’t have to be corralled. Good times.

Back in those days you had one radio station and it was AM, while at night you could pick up stations from all over the place. It took a long time for someone to come up with the idea to play records in your car – and when they did they called them compact discs. The only vinyl you had in the car was your seats. Picture a hot day, windows rolled up, and your car in the grocery store’s parking lot –  you come out with the store manager carrying your groceries while you unlock one door at a time with the “other” key (not the ignition key) and then you unlock the trunk. The heat would roll out of the car while he loaded the groceries in the back, and then you slide in…literally. The sweat between you and the seat acted like a lubricant to help you in and out. Turn on the air conditioning? If you had it. Even if you had it, we were so unfamiliar with it, you might even leave it off because you believed it used to much gas, or something crazy like that. You knew when someone just got out of their car in the summertime by the sweat-soaked shirt in the shape of the car seat on their back. So sweat we did.

How about someone coming out and pumping your gas and checking your oil while you waited? Sitting in the car as a kid and watching the service station attendant washing your windshield was cool but I was more concerned how driving over a black rubber hose could possibly ring a bell inside the gas station. Oh, technology in those days…

But I don’t have a problem with that at all. We rode our bicycles, got a suntan and waved when someone drove by. As the dust billowed up behind their car and followed them into town, we breathed it in all the while that dirt stuck to us in places even we didn’t know dust could go. We wiped our forehead on our shirtsleeve when it needed it, and we didn’t care what was left behind – and neither did anyone else – because their sleeve looked the same. When did we become so self-conscious? Maybe air conditioning is to blame.

We have so many more things to worry about than we did back then. We do more now in the same amount of daylight as we had back then, so how do we get it all done? We ask ourselves “where does the time go?” when in reality we are just too busy to see time flying by. Yes, I’m sure there are things from the “good old days” that we don’t miss at all, but I challenge you to name a few. Well, vinyl seats might be one.

Big News in a Small Town

thCAN796UO

It doesn’t take much to be considered big news in Small Town America. A house being built, new bleachers at the football field or a sidewalk that has been replaced with fresh concrete can top the list, and often do. Growing up in White City puts you on the side of being pro-active because for many years, if you didn’t have what you needed from the grocery store before 6pm, you just did without. If your car needed gas, you had to get it before the gas station closed, or wait until the morning when it opened. No, we didn’t roll the streets up at dark, unless it was dark at 6 o’clock.

But times do change and before you know it, the modern world creeps into these small, sleepy towns. I can remember the excitement when the Central National Bank expanded to include a drive-up window. I know, the hustle and bustle of the downtown area of White City can be daunting, but the convenience of the drive -up was welcomed. A few years later, the bank added an ATM machine in the lobby to make convenience more convenient but you had to get out of your car to use it. I don’t think the community could have handled the excitement of the drive-up ATM.

Our newspaper, The Prairie Post  (of The White City Register), used to print the actual paper the old-fashioned way. Big machines with lots of moving parts and loud noises with presses that weren’t good for anything but printing the good and bad news of the week,  and they worked hard to put out the Thursday paper. Real ink and no spell-check made for a wonderful paper that when you read it on Thursday, most of the news had already circulated around town. But it is great to read the paper and see your name in it on occasion. With computers finally making it into what is now the Prairie Post, the paper became a more streamlined operation. Still once a week, but now it’s only the quiet sound the keyboard makes as the news is entered in. And the phone ringing of course as news is breaking.

When the gas station updated their pumps to take your credit card day or night, I went up the very first day (after 6pm) just to try it out. Now that’s pretty convenient. But I think most of the locals still like to go in during business hours to hear the latest news and have a cup of coffee. After all, the paper won’t be out for a few more days. Most of the White City community works out-of-town and as you would expect, we have seen the ATM and pay-at-the-pump before, but when it changes the landscape of White City, it’s like we’re seeing it for the first time.

Change is good and there isn’t anything wrong with a little convenience. But I still find myself in a small state of panic as my internal clock strikes 5:45 pm. Milk, bread, gas and cash? Check.