In This Day And Age

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7 June 2017 4:13pm

We are so blessed to be living in this day and age. My desktop wallpaper today is of a green field caught in a morning mist. And I can almost feel myself there with the barbed wire and wood fencing dividing the acreage up. The wall of trees stands at the edge of the mist, barely visible. This scene brings me back to Germany as a kid. The many summers I spent there were spent outdoors, playing in the fields oblivious to the cares of the world. Had I been born in the 1300s I would not have the luxury of this photo to transport me to paradise. Instead I would have to conjure up my own memories, however faint, and I am certain that I would not engage in this practice very often, so I would lose those memories. And what of the other luxuries we take for granted? Phones, Television, Microwaves?

Have you ever stopped to consider what it must have been like before technology put us here? Phones have changed since they were first invented back in the 1800s. I wonder if Alex could see the future for his device? Could he see us carrying them in our pockets and purses everywhere we go? Could he see us watching moving pictures on them? And what of those “moving pictures”? What started out as a clunky, heavy box with only black and white pictures has become high definition viewing on big screens as well as tiny screens. My wife regularly watches tv shows on her iPod and I watch shows on my laptop. We’ve become accustomed to the technology and look with anticipation to the next invention. And then there are microwaves. Back in the 1300s dinner took up a woman’s entire day. Killing, skinning and portioning the meat. Picking, Gathering, and chopping the vegetables And then spending the time to cook the food. And there wasn’t a huge variety of foods to eat. Before the 1300s the benefits of trade went to the elite (as usual) and the commoners had to make due with what they could grow or kill. They didn’t have refrigerators or freezers to store the food. The vegetables could be stored for a few days, at the most, but the meat had to be cured with salt and they didn’t last very long either. Today we have pop-tarts and frozen burritos, we have a plethora of drinks and juices and ales. We have organic foods, but wait, there was no such thing as “organic” in the 1300s because it was ALL ORGANIC – it was all natural. Pesticides didn’t come into play until the 1900s with the industrial revolution. Now we have “perfect” foods. Whereas the fruits and vegetables from back in the day were imperfect and ugly they were still used because nothing was thrown away. It was too valuable. You simply made do. Today we are so spoiled that disfigured fruits and veggies get tossed in the trash because the farmers can’t sell them to the corporations because the corporations can’t sell them to the public. We are too damned picky! Too stuck up!

But let me get back to the memories of Germany…

When I was a boy, I would visit my grandmother in a little town in Bavaria. There were less than 5,000 people living there, but there was a big agricultural plant nearby and many of the locals worked there. Then, in the seventies the town became a health resort paradise and that changed things – but just a little. The town never lost it’s small-town charm. Anyway, my oma used to make her noodle soup and I would watch. If I would have been alert I would have learned how to do it. She made homemade noodles and hung them over the chair-back to dry. She got some ring bologna from the butcher and cut it up and put it in the soup with the veggies and the noodles and it was like heaven. And I never saw her measure anything. It was just slap-it-together and enjoy. I always gained a few pounds by the time I made it back to the States.

My days outdoors were spent with rubber boots on because the ground was almost always wet with dew and puddles. And my friends and I would make friends with the cows and the dogs and the horses. It was the natural thing to do. This picture has blessed me with so many smiles and so many memories. And that is thanks to technology. So though we are spoiled and are stuck up, we are forever blessed. The next time you catch your self taking something for granted, think about what it must have been like in the 1300s or even in the days of Plato and Socrates.