Yesterday I went out riding with Pops and Little Sister. We rode up to the fields to put some cows back in their place. It was a gloomy day, but sort of perfect for riding, just a little bit chilly, a little bit breezy, exactly what to expect for autumn in North Dakota.
I loved the view of the Blue Buttes and the two black cows and their calves along the road and two of my favorite people on my favorite horses in front of me. I wanted to tell you all about it. Show you the view from up here.
So I took a photo on the phone I had zipped up in my pocket, pressed a little icon, hit share, and, snap, just like that, it was out there for everyone to see.
I didn’t even have to stop my horse.
I was grew up out here when bag cell phones were the smartest communication technology we could own. The idea of taking a photo on a cell phone that fit in my pocket while chasing cows in the middle of a field was unfathomable.
I mean, we didn’t even start getting cell service out here in these hills until last year!
So it’s a weird juxtaposition, this technology in the wild places. I mean, think of how many walks home from the broken down tractor or feed pickup my dad could have saved if he could just call home to mom for a ride?
We wouldn’t have to re-live that time when mom drove right past him coming in out of the trees after his three mile walk from the west pasture at every Thanksgiving dinner.
The woman is a focused driver.
He could have just called.
Anyway, I guess I’m young enough to keep up and take advantage of this ever-changing phenomenon, but old enough to remember playing Oregon Trail on the computer at school on the first Macintosh computer ever invented.
In fact, I have this memory I rehash every time I call up Pandora on my smart phone or try to settle an argument about that one actor who plays that one guy in that one movie while Husband and I are on a road trip: The time he told me, on one of our long drives back to the ranch from college across the state, “Jessie, one day we’ll be able to drive down this highway and surf the internet.”
To which I replied: “Never! I can’t even imagine!”
It turns out he was right.
And it turns out you can do it on horseback too.
“Is that poison ivy?” You might wonder while you’re fixing fence…and the answers will be right there in the pocket of your snap shirt.
Wanna scare the shit out of your mouse-a-phobic aunt? You can instantly torture her with what you found in the tack room with one click of a button…
“Are these boots as adorable as I think they are?” You might ask yourself while shopping 100 miles away from your fashion forward mother…and so you’ll just take a photo and send it along to her for an instant “Yes! Buy HAVE to buy them!”
So this is what I’ve been thinking about lately and what this week’s column is about…about how I’m thankful for technology, how it connects me to you, how it helps us tell our stories, how it helps me pay the bills…literally, and figuratively…
But what I’m not sure I expressed accurately in the 700 words I’m allowed is this:
I was born before anyone had a home computer.
We didn’t get internet in our house until I was well into Junior High.
I did research with Encycopedias.
And then, when we got the internet, with a modem.
When I was growing up we had maybe 20 channels. I’m not even sure. Maybe 10. I didn’t pay that much attention.
I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was 18 years old and headed to college. And it was for making calls home.
I remember what it was like to be disconnected, except I didn’t know that I was ever disconnected.
And I’m thankful for that too.
Thankful that I am old enough to know that we survived without it, so that, when I drop my phone in the toilet at a gas station, I don’t lose my mind or my life.
I just lose my phone.
And it’s sort of nice.
Now, if they could just invent bur repellent my life would be complete…
Coming Home: Alone, yet always in contact
by Jessie Veeder
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