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In 1948 we finally got electricity on Big Owl Road, and it was quite an occasion. They brought in big trucks and said they were going to dynamite to put the poles in. Well, the only dynamite explosions we'd seen were in the newsreels, and they were always pretty terrific, so it was a disappointment when a harmless little puff came up and we stood around and allowed as how we had more fun when we put hammerheads under tin cans on the 4th of July. Now that, my friends, was a show!
And over the years, you'll have to admit, electricity has been a blessing. Now we're all running around looking for those old kerosene lamps we threw out or electrified (I saw a little hand one at the Stanley antique show--$45.00!) and buying kerosene at $2.00 a gallon, if you can believe that, just for a little touch of nostalgia in the evening.
But I'm not too sure about the telephone. It seems to me that when we got ours in the late 50s people quit walking over to the cabin to say hello. It was easier just to pick up the phone. The other day my phone went out for the third time in two days and I had to go over to Jack Zumwinkel's instead of just calling him. So we had a nice sit-down, and I found out what Phyllis was up to, and had a look around the place, and those are all things you just can't do when you make a quick phone call.
My mother's cabin is about a hundred yards away, and she's on my party line, but I haven't made much of an effort to find out what the code is because I like to walk over there and see how she's doing, as opposed to just hearing about it.
I know I'm not going to get anywhere being a reactionary who wants to get rid of phones, although getting rid of some of the bureaucrats at Mountain Bell who can't seem to fix phones might not be a bad idea. But the fact is that I can't think of many times when I couldn't have done all right without it. Seems to me I use the darned thing most to tell when the thunderstorms are getting bad--whenever there's a close lightning strike it rings my telephone bell.
After that, of course, the phone doesn't work.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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