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Welcome to the 21st Century!Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 10:51 AM
This satellite system stands in stark contrast to its surroundings in the DeJournett Wilderness. In the foreground, the remains of several oak limbs await my son's chain saw. Madeline will have some good firewood for next year!
Yesterday I accepted the inevitable and gave in to Progress. I have mixed emotions about it, but I made the commitment, for better or worse.
Yes, those of you who've been popping in on my blog from time to time are aware that this rural Southeast Missouri reporter - this sometimes reluctant member of the fourth estate - this old-fashioned, history-loving, age-challenged retired educator has been living in the past ever since our Congress had the callous short-sightedness to legislate us out of our free public television.
When our local television stations made the BIG SWITCH, they switched me right out of this century and back into the 20th Century where I no doubt belong. Though I begrudgingly bought a worthless device called a "digital converter box," I remained disconnected from the rest of the world, sitting out here on my remote, wooded Tillman hill, mostly NOT watching two pathetic channels, both Fox.
Instead of local news in the morning, I had various children's programs of a most unnerving silliness. Instead of the local five o'clock news and weather, I had Judge Judy and other similar programs, designed to make me wonder where they dredged up such incredibly stupid people.
Don't get me wrong - I, in fact, LOVE Judge Judy! She is a strong, witty lady after my own heart. The word "ascerbic" comes to mind when describing her wit, which cuts like a big glass of acid! I'm sure there are those who will tell you that she runs her courtroom much like I ran my own classroom. (for better or worse) Nevertheless, one can watch only so much of this testiment to legislative idiocy without losing one's mind.
Yesterday, I opened my door to a nice young man from Scott City, who installed a satellite system out here in the boonies. I was reassured by his name - Matt - as that's my own son's name, and I admit that I have never known a bad person named "Matthew." He stood on my front porch, looked around, and said, "Boy, I'm surprised that my GPS could find this place! You're really OUT THERE, aren't you?"
Oh, yeah, that is an understatement if ever there was one.
So last night I watched my favorite program - "Lost" - on my own television. Gone are the trips to my sister-in-law's house in Cape to get my "Lost" fix. Last night I watched the local news and weather, and this morning, the local station is once more on my TV set -- muted, as usual, until I see something I like. My old remote, which was so precious to me, can be tossed in the trash. (No...not yet...let's put it in a drawer, just to be on the safe side...)
Did I say that I have misgivings about this big change in my life? Well, I do. I'm pessimistic enough to worry about any contact with high tech companies who employ foreign accents to explain the features of my contract. As I explain to them, "Could you please slow down and repeat that more clearly? I'm from the South, and we don't listen fast." However, my son has the same system and can help me adjust to this strange new world of menus and multiple channels. Later, I can purchase a larger television, so I can actually SEE the menu. Until then, I'll memorize them -- Channel 12 CBS, Channel 6 ABC, Channel 3 "Lost," Channel 200 CNN, Channel 120 History, Channel 122 Sci Fi.
As for the sizeable expense of having those tree limbs cut from over my house, my sister-in-law reminds me that the next bad ice storm could have brought them down right through my roof -- and the expense would have been significantly more.
All in all, I'm cautiously optimistic about the future. Now if our politicians can just get a handle on this economy, I guess I may survive to see another 15 or so birthdays out here on my ever-less-remote Tillman hillside.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.