Many thanks to the folks who donated to “the Driftless Grace fund” (see previous post)!
April 6, 2021
I’m still settling into my new home, but rest assured that inspiration is seeping in from all sides. For now, I thought I’d bring to light this piece that Dad wrote in 1978. It’s every bit as relevant now as it was then — although I do my dishes by hand, thank you very much.
I saw something on State Street the other day that caught my eye. It was a man walking. He wasn’t nervously checking his watch, or running in front of cars. In fact, he didn’t seem to be in a hurry at all. He was just walking. Now, if that doesn’t strike you as a little strange, you are obviously behind the times. Walking, you see, is out of style.
Oh, it used to be socially acceptable. Back in the days when people still baked bread and read books and washed the dishes by hand, it was not uncommon, or so I am told, to walk from one place to another. One might walk, say, down the block or across the street to buy a newspaper or a candy bar. I can vaguely remember, as a child, walking to a friend’s house once. And, on some weekend afternoons, people would even walk just for the sake of walking.
Now, of course, those labored days are far behind us. Thanks to supersonic jets and instamatic cameras, we have learned at last that the purpose of doing anything is to get it over with. F-A-S-T. The purpose of getting up in the morning is that we can slurp down our freeze-dried breakfast in time to beat the morning traffic, so that we can get to work and watch the clock for eight hours, and race home to cook the instant dinners before Prime Time begins. Then, after the evening news, because we’re in a hurry to get to sleep, we have a drink or a pill or a smoke or a toke so that we’re well rested for the next day.
The mere convenience of this life makes one wonder where we would be without modernization. Imagine, for instance, cooking and fussing over a simple chocolate cake: sifting the flour and cracking the eggs, checking the recipe, stirring the batter by hand, poking it with a toothpick to see if it is done — a real mess! Or, how about getting your money from a bank where real people work? The long wait in line, the small talk with the girl behind the counter — unheard of!
Can you imagine a time when people actually did these things? Can you imagine walking?