When I was in my 40s, I received Marine recruiting letters in the mail and thought that was funny. When I was in my 50s, I got AARP membership invitations and thought that was funny. Now I’m in my 60s. I got a letter from The Scooter Store, and that’s not quite so funny.
As Scott County was trying to shake winter’s icy grip a few weeks ago, the sign at the Walcott Family Pet Clinic said, “Think spring. Think harder.” More recently it said, “See, it worked.”
My bride and I visited our friends, Dan and Jini, the last week of March at their home in suburban Salt Lake City. It was warm and sunny the Sunday we arrived. The following Wednesday and into Thursday it snowed 6 inches in town and 15 or more inches in the nearby mountains.
What sort of commitment does it take to be a volunteer firefighter? A message from Buffalo Fire Chief Terry Adams in a recent issue of the Buffalo Shores Gazette, a community newsletter, gives an indication.
He reports the department responded to a record 323 calls in 2009. Add to that the time firefighters spent at meetings, in training and doing maintenance of equipment, and you have an idea what the job involves.
Thank God for those making that commitment throughout Scott County.
Government surveyors came to Ole’s Iowa farm in the fall and asked if they could do some surveying. Ole agreed, and his wife Lena even served them a nice meal at noon.
The next spring, the two surveyors stopped by and told Ole, “Because you were so kind to us, we wanted to give you this bad news in person instead of by letter.”
Ole replied, “What’s the bad news?”
The surveyors said, “Well, after our work, we discovered that your farm is not in Iowa but is actually in South Dakota!”
Ole looked at Lena and said, “That’s the best news I have heard in a long time. Why I just told Lena this morning, ‘I don’t think I can take another winter in Iowa.’”
I don’t have a problem with companies with which my wife and I do business reminding us that we can get their monthly statements online as opposed to in the mail.
But one place, where we have some money invested recently said it’ll charge us a fee each quarter if we insist on receiving paper statements.
Apparently they can’t afford paper, an envelope and a stamp to tell us how our investments are doing.
Did you ever stop to think about what’s missing these days from the area, thanks to advances in technology or changes in culture or consumer preferences?
I came up with these, and I’m sure you can add to the list:
* Most drive-in restaurants and their car hops. Remember the old-fashioned places like A&W, Riefe’s Drive-In and Heeters Chuckwagon?
* Spudnuts, those delicious potato flour doughnuts.
* 9-volt transistor radios.
* Movie and slide projectors in classrooms. Remember the science movies hosted by Dr. Frank Baxter and the “You Are There” reenactments of historical events hosted by Walter Cronkite?
* Educational network TV shows for kids, like “Meet Mr. Wizard” with Don Herbert.
* Drive-in movie theaters that supplied the audio with speakers that hung on your window glass and were attached to posts between the parking places.
* Stores that are closed on Sundays. Some still are, but most aren’t.
* Tollbooths on the Centennial Bridge and the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge (now called the I-74 Bridge.)
* Elevator operators.
* Walking right to the gate at the Quad-City International Airport to say good-bye to departing family members or hello to incoming passengers that you know. There was no need for security screenings.
* NFL games without numerous delays as officials revue plays on videotape to confirm or revise rulings on the field.
* Fire alarm boxes on street corners.
* Water fountains in public places.
* Police officers who wear uniform hats instead of baseball caps.
* Pay phones.
* Cases of pop in glass bottles.
* Infants standing up between their parents on the front seats of moving cars.
* Telephone party lines.
* Roller skates you clamped to your shoes with a key.
* People walking around who aren’t carrying a bottle of water, listening to an iPod or talking on a cell phone.
* Black and white TV sets.
* Network TV shows that don’t have a “for mature audiences” warning at the beginning.
Copyright 2010 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece was submitted as a column to The North Scott Press.