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Dear Edna
by Betty Castleberry
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June 4

Dear Edna,

How are you? I know Iíve been promising you I would try to use the new computer the kids got me, but so far, I just havenít had the time. Maybe my next correspondence to you will be by email. I admire you so much, using a computer at your age. After all, youíre only a year younger than I am.

Did you hear we have a new pastor? Heís a nice young man. He has a lovely wife, and three boys. That littlest boy is awfully cute, but if he were mine, Iíd surely teach him to have some manners in church.

This will be short and sweet, dear. I just wanted you to know I am fine. Hope to hear from you soon.


P.S. I did take the computer out of the box. There is a book of instructions that came with it. Evidently, I am supposed to hook up something called a tower before I can use it. I do know what the mouse is, but itís bigger than any real mouse Iíve ever seen. Itís more like a small rat.

June 12

Dear Edna,

It was so nice to hear from you. I did try to hook up the computer. Larry stayed on the phone with me for more than two hours trying to help. Supposedly, all the wires are color coded, and itís a simple job. The problem is, with my old eyes, I canít tell the difference between pink and peach. I wish he lived in town so he could just come over and do it for me.

I did get the screen set up on the desk, but it stayed blank. Itís certainly a funny looking thing, flat as a pancake, and has a row of buttons at the bottom. Actually, it has one less button now, because I flicked one off with my thumbnail, thinking it was a fly speck. You donít think that will make any difference, do you?

Hope your new arthritis medicine is helping you.


June 21

Dear Edna,

Good news! It turns out the new pastor knows a little bit about computers. He was very gracious and came over and set mine up for me. His wife was at a meeting, so he brought the boys along. The oldest one was very polite. He sat in the living room and watched TV, although his dad had asked him to keep an eye on the two younger ones.

I didnít think the middle one was going to be a big problem, but he did shove a chocolate bar in the CD slot. That created quite a mess. This pastor interprets the bible quite literally. He doesnít believe in sparing the rod and spoiling the child.

After we got the chocolate mess cleaned up, it wasnít long before he had the computer up and running, although he did say I might not be able to use the CD player. It doesnít matter, because I donít have any CDís anyway.

Come to find out, the littlest boy is on his best behavior at church. It could well be that he will have a future playing the keyboard. He certainly beat long and hard enough on my computer keyboard. He isnít quite potty trained yet, either. He sat in my chair at the computer desk, and it took it over an hour to dry, even though I used the blow dryer. Iím not quite sure how the mouse got a smiley face drawn on it, but I didnít do it, and I know the pastor didnít do it, either.

Anyway, he was nice enough to help me get everything set up, so now all I have to do is read the book that came with it, and start using my new computer.


July 1

Dear Edna,

I got your email. How exciting! I have no idea what you said, though, because Iím still trying to get the hang of the mouse. Larry says all you have to do is click and it opens the message, but what do I click?

Let me tell you right now, it really doesnít matter what I want to click, that mouse is all over the screen, and will not do what I want it to. I point it left, and it goes right. I point it up, and it goes down. I am starting to get pretty frustrated. At least if I hold a pen in my hand, I can make it do what I want it to.


July 9

Dear Edna,

After much practice, I can occasionally get the mouse to behave. At least most of the time I can open email messages.

Larry called and said he sent me a link, whatever that is. He told me to click the highlighted blue letters in his email, and it would take me to something called ďFun PagesĒ on the internet. I am sorry, Edna, and I donít mean to be a prude, but I find nearly naked dancing presidents and ex presidents a bit distasteful. Iím sure I raised Larry better than that.

And Edna, since I am new at this, I didnít realize all computers didnít just automatically come with something called ďpop ups.Ē While that young man is certainly nice looking, I know he wouldnít be interested in meeting me, no matter what the ad says. I also donít want to receive a free lap top computer, even if all I have to do is answer a few survey questions. Goodness! The computer I have is challenging enough!

July 16

Dear Edna,

There is really no point in your sending me any more emails. It seems Larry has sent me something called a virus. He says it was an accident, and he apologized, and even said he would pay to have the computer fixed. All I know is, ever since he sent this virus, this computer certainly has a mind of its own. I had just laboriously finished typing you an email when the screen went blank. Apparently, the computer had shut itself off and then restarted itself, and when it did, my email message to you was gone. All I saw was some message about something not shutting down correctly.

Larry says I imagined the next part, but Iím telling you, I know I saw smoke coming from somewhere near the CD slot, and I could have sworn I smelled hot chocolate. In fact, I was so sure, I had a sudden craving for marshmallows.

Thatís not half of all the strange things this silly computer has done in the last few days, either. Just when I was sure I was getting the hang of using the mouse, the screen would ďfreeze,Ē as Larry calls it. Not only would the mouse not cooperate, but the whole computer would just sit there, not doing a thing. It reminds me of Gladys at church. She always volunteers for committees, but then she just sits and doesnít do a thing once she is on them. Anyway, my time is more valuable than that. I donít have all day to sit and stare at a frozen computer screen. So, dear Edna, I will continue to correspond with you by old-fashioned letter.

Last Sundayís church bulletin said the church is in need of a new computer. They have set up a fund to buy one. I am going to call the pastor and tell him there really is no need for a fund. If theyíre willing to have a little bitty virus removed, I know where they can get an almost brand-new computer for free.


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Thomas Kittrell 05 Oct 2006
Thank you for the break from solemnity.


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