A gentle mid-afternoon breeze swirled a steam tendril off the coffee mug Grandpa Bob was holding, mute testimony to its freshness. He never tired of the view from his front porch looking across the valley or the wildlife that shared his small, remote Texas ranch. Visitors were few and far between and that suited him just fine. Today was an exception.
“What’cha got there, Billy?” he asked his teenage grandson. His daughter had dropped Billy off last night and said she would be back in a week to get him. She wanted her son to get to know his grandpa. Billy had just banged out the front door and plopped down in a rocking chair.
“A what top?”
“A laptop computer, Grandpa. I’m checking my email.”
“That thing ain’t gonna work out here, boy. I gotta drive all the way into Huckley’s Corner to make a phone call. We ain’t got any service out here. And that’s just the way I like it.”
“Boring. You need to get modern, Grandpa.”
“Naw, Grandma and I have it just the way we like it. We don’t need no TV, telephones or what-tops. We got a Bible to read and the county library has plenty of books. We are living the good life.”
Billy laughed. “I just told Mama what you said and it made her laugh.”
“I’m connected by satellite, Grandpa. I sent Mama an email and she answered back. See” Billy said, swiveling the laptop’s screen around and pointing.
“Satellite. Well, I’ll be a Christmas turkey. What’s that?”
“LOL – laughs out loud. GTG – got to go. Mama’s using texting language. My cell phone doesn’t work here and she didn’t spell it out in her email. She knows I’ll get it.”
“Got your own language, huh? Sort of like us truckers had.”
“Mama said you were a long-distance truck driver. You saw all the world and people you wanted to see. That’s why you are hid out here, she said.” Billy leaned back in his chair, rocking. “You spoke code?”
“Well, we had CB radios. We stayed in touch with other truckers on the road. “That’s how I met your Grandma.”
“Talking on the radio?”
“No, I saw a car greasy side up and put out a 10-33 for any smokies in the area.”
“Are you saying Grandma turned her car over and you called the highway patrol for help.”
“Yes’sir, she’d skidded on a patch of black ice. Turns out she wasn’t hurt but that purty gal and I hit it right off. Married her just as soon as I could.”
“I guess every generation has its own language. You’d like this laptop, Grandpa. I’ll ask Mama to get you one so we can email. Or maybe a satellite phone so we can text. I’ll teach you the abbreviations and shortcuts.”
“Nope Billy, but thank you all the same. You just come see me holidays and summers. We’ll do our catching up then.”
“But Grandpa, what if you need to email or text for something quick? What are you going to do?”
“Ethel” Grandpa hollered. “Got any apple pie left?”
“Coming right out. Billy, do you want a piece with some ice cream?”
Grandpa laughed. “Bet your text messages don’t work that fast or near that good.”
“You’re right Grandpa. I guess I have the best of both worlds."
“To each his own. In the end, it’s how we live before God that counts. You need to give that some thought, Billy. Tonight we’ll read some real text about communicating without shortcuts -- from the Bible. 10-4 good buddy?”
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TBC – To Be Continued
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