Message from the Publisher

MY PICTUREIf you’re in your fifties and sixties or beyond, life as we know it from years ago has changed dramatically. New technology introduced can be a life/time changer either in a good or bad way depending on if you’ve embraced the new or fought it. Some changes have been a blessing and others a curse. The internet for example can help in so many ways, but if you are sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, it’s not doing much for your well being either physically or mentally. And social media, well, that’s a whole other article.

Another example is cell phones. I’m sure many of you remember when people would leave their houses to get away from answering their phones which are now called “landlines.” We embraced the idea of getting away from all the chit-chat that we received from friends, neighbors and family calling.

Now, however, most of us wouldn’t think about leaving our home without our cell phones. We are literally lost without it. Our whole lives are in this handheld computer that holds our schedules, contacts, GPS, games, television shows, apps galore – you name it! We observe people everywhere, in stores, cars, restaurants, talking on their phones; many of them rudely ignoring the fact they may be intruding on someone else’s’ “space” so to speak.

And then we have what I call the “dropheads;” Those individuals who walk around with their heads down looking at their phones completely unaware of everything and anyone around them. I believe there is even a medical term for the slumped shoulders it produces. A video that I saw on Facebook was a perfect example of how one could be so totally unaware of their surroundings that it resulted in a woman, walking down a sidewalk, falling into a delivery enclosure that opened up before her. She fell right over the edge into the opening which was probably a good five to ten foot drop. Ouch! I’m not sure what happened to her, but I’m sure it couldn’t have been good.
However, I can relate. My new job that I’ve taken on involves me looking at an app on my cell phone to find bookings for the dog walking service I have embarked on. I literally have to monitor my phone 24/7 and watch and hear for “push notifications” that inform me of new walks available or the familiar “ding” of an incoming text message informing me that a previous client wants a walk ASAP. The business is so competitive that if I don’t respond within seconds, I could lose a potential walk to another walker. I am now taking my cell phone to bed with me and at times get woken up with those familiar sounds. Also, while I’m on walks, there I am being the “drophead” as I look at my phone for new walks and my upcoming schedule. Luckily though, my dogs keep me too busy to have this frequently happen.

What’s my point? There are a lot of things that we take for granted in our lives and the “moment” is one of them. If we are lucky enough to wake up each morning, we shouldn’t be so involved in cell phone use or modern technology that we miss all of the beauty and joy that happens in our lives every day. Yes, our cell phones allow us to take videos or pictures of those moments, but we shouldn’t be so engrossed in accomplishing that that we miss the emotional feeling of that event.

It reminds me of the song written by Paul Simon called “Sounds of Silence,” and the particular verse that says, “People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening.” We are surrounded by voiceless people and those who pretend to hear us but don’t listen. Just talk to someone who is texting – you’ll see what I mean.

Family update – Our family was blessed again with another beautiful grandchild. My oldest daughter Bonnie gave birth to her first child on May 31; Ruby Jean. My daughter held out long enough to attend my son’s wedding on May 28 to the relief of both the bride and groom. By the way, the wedding was absolutely the best and so fun at the Brookfield Zoo!

I had the privilege of attending the birth of my granddaughter. For once, I was on the other side of the womb so to speak. My daughter had no qualms about me watching and allowing me to witness Ruby’s arrival. It was a totally different experience for me and I was so blessed to have witnessed it. A child’s birth cannot be described other than a miracle and a gift from God.

She came out kicking and screaming and perfect in every way. My daughter is adjusting as a new mother and since she is so close to our home now, I’m able to see her more often and give her motherly advice; I’m loving every minute of it.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July. Leave the fireworks to experts and don’t dabble in celebrating with illegal explosives, which they are. As I’ve said before, I’ve seen firsthand what fireworks can do when gone wrong. Even sparklers pose a serious burn threat to children. Don’t let yourself be the next victim. Fly the flag proudly on the 4th and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Barbara J. Piltaver, Publisher
People & Places Newspaper