It was a beautiful October day, this first Saturday in October. Our cousin, Hilda Vann, was to have celebrated her 96th birthday at her daughter's home in Newton. Georgia and Benjamin had spent the night with us and were to accompany us to this gathering of "old folks". With a smattering of young and middle aged folks mixed in. Promises of good food and a chance to run around on a south Georgia peanut farm enticed them to come along. They are 8 and 9.
I decided that I would take a back road up to the main drag into Newton. We would see some swamp land and forest along the way and perhaps see a little wild life. I told them about the time I had taken John Darwala, a company colleague from Philadelphia up to Cairo via that route. He had asked me in his best Indian accent if I had ever seen an alligator whilst riding along that little two lane stretch of road. I advised him that I had not. It was a mile down the road that a big gator, about an 8 footer, dragged himself from one side of the road to the other right in front of us. John was ecstatic and would refer to this experience all along the course of my 30 year career with DuPont.
I told them of another time that Benjamin's Mom and I had taken this road on a fallish Sunday morning and had seen two of the most beautiful wild turkeys we had ever seen. I then regaled them with a tale of one of the biggest rattle snakes that I had ever seen coiled up on the shoulder of this little back woods road. It was about at this point in the trip that I noticed that I was getting little, if any, affirmation of what I was speaking of. I looked in the rear view and saw the ear buds of their individual devices just entertaining them as best could be. Benjamin was gaming on his Kindle and Georgia was listening to her music on her I-Pod.
I am pretty used to being ignored. I am 70 and have been invisible to humanity for a good 20 years. Please see my BLOG entitled The Invisible Man. So I dispatched with the fascinating tales of my journeys down this road less traveled and began to agree with my wife that we had wasted a good 30 minutes on this back woods road.
My mind traveled back to when I was around 9 and my brother was 6. We had grabbed a good hand hold in the bed of Dad's old pick up truck and enjoyed scooting down the old country road on our way to a church picnic. Our entertainment was spitting into the wind to the other's detriment. Our entertainment at the picnic was catching tadpoles in the pond near the site.
I further mused as to what it must have been like to have been 10 years old back in Hilda's day. That would have been around 1930. People could talk for days about the airplane that they had seen fly over their farm or the fact that the preacher had a new car and maybe they could get a ride in it one day. No television, maybe a radio. Certainly nothing like a lap top computer, I Phone, Kindle, X-Box.
My 7 grandchildren have incredible technology at their finger tips. They bore easily. They must constantly be entertained by what's on cable TV or what game they can conjure up on their devices. As I drive by the nearby elementary school I am taken by the fact that the kids walking home from school are not running and playing tag or tossing a ball. They are walking along staring into their palms and tapping on that device held there. They truly do look like a Zombie nation.
I suppose each generation must have similar observations about the kids in their worlds. I still revel in the road less traveled and the mysteries and surprises that lie along the way. " Oh I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. How two roads diverged in the woods and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."