Your Grandparents’ Shoes

Bill Neinast

Being cooped up in this old folks’ home to shelter in place is tough; it’s really tough. I just got bored with trying to find something of interest on the TV, so I came in here to play with the computer.  It was nice, though, to be able to flick through those TV channels with the controls from my easy chair instead of having to get up and walk across the room to change channels at the set as I would have had to do 50 years ago.

When I got to the computer, I remembered that I had a long list of favorite programs recorded on the TV that I could have enjoyed.  But, what the heck?  That would have meant another trip back to the living room.

Instead of going back to the TV to watch re-runs of shows I had already seen two or three times, I played solitaire on the computer.  After finally beating Old Sol on the ninth game, I switched over to the internet.  There was quite a bit of the usual spam and scams to delete before opening some of the funnies sent by friends.

Then it was time to delete all solicitations for campaign contributions from candidates all over the country.  When that task was completed, it was time to review the news items.

There it was, the same old, same old.  There seems to be a health pandemic and an economic pandemic simultaneously wreaking the country.

The only difference in news from day to day is the numbers of new patients, deaths, and unemployed.

The repetition gets boring in a hurry, so I decided to read a book.  That meant back to the easy chair.  

Before turning to books, though, I decided to visit with an old friend.  So I picked up the phone, punched in a few numbers, and visited my friend Denny Warta up in New Ulm, Minnesota.  

After saying auf wiederhoren to Denny, I turned to my Kindle and typed in “Surprise, Kill, Vanish,” the name of the book with which I wanted to relax. Then I had to decide whether I wanted to read it or have it read to me.

Being on the lazy side today, I decided to have someone read to me, so I elected the audible version.  Then I leaned back and let a very pleasant voice lull me with, “Chapter One.”  That voice then went on to detail our government’s constant interference in the creation and maintenance of governments in other countries.  It makes me wonder about the hysterical farce of the outrage over alleged Russian interference in our election.

When I woke up around the end of chapter 3, I decided it was time for bed.

So it was off to the shower.  There I relaxed for about 15 minutes under a very warm massage from a shower head with a pulsating setting.  Sure was a long way from the Saturday bath in a Number 2 wash tub with the water heated from one pitcher of hot water from the wood burning stove.

This makes one wonder what our ancestors would have done under a similar lock down.  There was no radio, no TV, no running water, and a funny thing like a computer might have been hinted at in science-fiction magazines.  If they wanted a book, they would have to slip into the nearest town and hope to find one to their liking in a book store or the public library.

A more basic problem for them would have been even knowing there was a problem.  How would they have known there was a shelter in place order? How would they know about making and wearing masks and keeping social distance?

So here’s the perspective.

Being cooped up today may be a tiny bit inconvenient, but with all our modern gadgets there is no reason to be bored.

Youngsters may get a bit antsy if they cannot get out and run off some energy, but adults should find more than enough to keep them occupied, entertained, in touch with the rest of the world, and interested within their four walls.

If you start feeling sorry for yourself, just sit back and think how you would have been faring in your grandparents’ shoes.

Is that tough?   enough


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