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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
Fragments of my Feeble MindPosted Wednesday, April 25, 2012, at 6:13 AM
It was on the first day of the New Year, 2012, and I guess I must have been having an early case of spring fever, because there I was, standing in the middle of one of my flower beds, trying to decide whether I should clean out the mulched leaves or just leave them there to help enrich the soil. With all my weight on my right foot, I turned to step out of the flower bed, and the twist must have broken a bone in my hip. When that foot hit the ground, it would not hold my weight, and I came tumbling to the ground.
My 911 alert served me well, as I was soon loaded in an ambulance and carried off to the hospital in Cape Girardeau, where they used some metal bolts and screws to repair my broken bone. They kept me there for four days and then shipped me to the nursing home in Advance Missouri, where I was greeted by an array of individuals who were well organized in their efforts to make their clients feel safe and comfortable.
Since this institution was providing all of my needs, I had time to reminisce. I let my fickle mind carry me back through the many changes I had witnessed during the 97 years I had been rambling around in this old world of ours.
I heard the first feeble voices of radio and watched as it spread instant communication to all parts of the world and outer space. I witnessed the arrival of the miracle, television, and watched with awe its first pictures, which were just about like looking through a dirty window to the outside, where a group of children were playing in a snowstorm.
I watched the flickering pictures of the silent movies, where captions were flashed on the screen to outline the dialogue of the actors.
For communication beyond shouting distance, we were using the "party line" telephone, where any conversation with a neighbor was just about as confidential as the Indian sending up smoke signals.
With all these changes of the past, my fickle mind began to wonder; just what does the future hold for us?
The land line telephone and dial-up Internet is on the verge of becoming as obsolete as the dinner bell. This year our cars will consume more corn in the form of Ethanol than we will feed to our animals and poultry. The rumor is also going around that we will soon discontinue writing checks, as our banks move into the electronic field of service. This will, of course, shatter my hopes of ever receiving my long awaited check from Publishers Clearing House.
As we push our shopping cart down the aisles of our grocery store and load it from the vast supply of foods, it becomes difficult for us to believe that the world is hungry.
For the past ten years, the developing countries such as Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have been growing rapidly, and as long as their income continues to rise there will be a demand for more and better food. This sounds good for the American farmer, but does he have the capacity to provide food for this large segment of the world?
Note from Madeline: Paul Corbin has developed carpel tunnel syndrome in his left hand. This medical condition will limit his ability to write new columns. However, I will continue to share his already published columns with the public.
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Paul Corbin is a 98-year-old historian, humorist, and amateur archeologist from Advance, Mo. He grew up in the Greenbrier area west of Advance, where he attended Stepp School on the banks of Cato Slough and the Castor River, important waterways throughout his life. In an age when many area residents did not go to high school, the young Corbin made the decision to walk the five miles to Zalma, graduating in 1933. Throughout his life, he was an enterprising businessman, selling Watkins products from house to house throughout a large area - and later opening a variety store in Advance. He and his wife Geneva traveled throughout the United States, even following the route that the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled. His knowledge of Native American culture is extensive, and he has donated a sizeable collection of his artifacts to the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center and the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History in Marble Hill. Throughout the years, he has submitted articles to TBY, the North Stoddard Countian, the Ozark Mountaineer, and several other Missouri publications. He has also written two books - "Reflections in Missouri Mud," and "Fragments of my Feeble Mind." The first one is out of print.