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Edward Southerland: The simple life
By Edward Southerland
May 19, 2017
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There is something about the simple life of the past that has always appealed to me, no scurrying around, dashing here and there; no staying up late watching some lame TV show or messing with the computer. Better to sit quietly at home working on a jigsaw puzzle depicting twilight over Skowhegen, Michigan, before toddling off to bed with a copy of The Young Person’s History of the War of Jenkin’s Ear.

Toddling off to bed is an important part of the simple life as you usually get up before dawn to start a fire and haul water from the crick for the morning latte. Bed is also important for filling the otherwise endless space between dusk and dawn when nothing much is going on anyway.

On weekends, as an entertainment bonus, you could wind up the old Victrola and listen to scratchy renditions of Sousa marches while leafing through the family album and viewing pictures of Aunt Minnie’s trip to Perth Amboy, New Jersey for the National Crochet Convention. Staying up late, it might be 8:30 before your head hits the pillow, was acceptable as on the weekend you were allowed to “sleep in,” often not throwing back the covers until 5 a.m.

Of course the simple life could be extended to other aspects of daily existence just as well. Our hearty forefathers and foremothers often had simple repasts of beans and pone for weeks on end, and they did all right. They had better things to do, such as warding off wild beasts and marauders and building forts, to spend time fretting over what to have for supper. In fact, the “if” of supper was more important to them than the “what.” Aim a little high and miss the buffalo, and it is back to the bean pot one more time.

Going places was not a big consumer of simple life thought either. Hitching up ol’ Bessie and heading out across the prairie for the two-day trip to town to pick up the dry cleaning did not enter into the equation of the simple life very often.

On occasions, I have been deprived of my usual means of transportation for a few days, and I have had the pleasure of experiencing a taste of the simple life. If I want to go somewhere I have to walk, so I don’t, go somewhere that is. Of course I don’t have anywhere to go in the first place, but nonetheless, it is very irritating not to be able too, even if you don’t want to, if you get my drift.

This also means I have to go home each night and have supper from what ever is on hand. What ever is on hand would make the aforementioned forefathers and foremothers green with envy as the simple life never contemplated six different kinds of beans in a can or sweet and sour pork TV dinners. Still, not having the option to dash down to the mega burger barn for a quick snack soon creates a feeling of depravation.

Ah, the simple life, no hassle, no rush, no choices. No, things aren't like they used to be, and they never were. That said, I will pass, thank you.