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Cousin Rufus Ponders Progress

Dear Cousin Cletus,

Here ‘tis, fall already in the Ozarks. Me and Ol’ Bozo, mah hound, spent this week sittin’ by the fire, thinkin’ bout how life has changed since you and me wuz little shavers, growin’ up on Granddaddy’s knee. Life shore was diff’rent back then.

Then ah thought, Mebbe ah should try to think about some good things. So, here’s what ah thought of.

· Folks don’t have to take baths in tin washtubs no more. Modern technology brought us runnin’ water. That’s progress.

· Even though ah don’t like technology or have much of it, mah grandson, Harley communicates with people all over the country with whut he calls “social media.” He says that’s progress.

· Folks can get checked by a doctor without showin’ up in person. Harley said they got on the computer and the doc tole ‘em how to get little Leroy’s fever down. He was purty happy they didn’t have to take Leroy out in the cold when he was sick.

Ah guess all them things could be called progress. But then ah thought of ways mebbe progress took us backward.

Mah great grandkids don’t know how to read a reg’lar clock face. Ever’thing is what they call digital. So, when they get somethin’ from the store that needs assembled, an’ it sez, “Turn the screw clockwise,” they’s stumped.

When they learn how to drive and the teacher sez, “Hold the wheel at the three o’clock and nine o’clock position,” what will they do when they been brought up on digital clocks?

Harley says they quit teachin’ his kids cursive writin, in the name of progress.

Ol’ Gus Grizzle, here in the holler, wrote a check for a chainsaw part, for $30. But the bank took out $36 instead. So ol’ Gus goes down to the bank to talk to the lady behind the desk.

“Ma’am,” he sez, “Look here. I forgot to close up mah zero on the number thirty, so it looks like a six. Ah kin understand thet. But ain’t y’all supposed to read the word ‘thirty’ on the line below?”

“That probably was cashed by one of our younger tellers,” the lady tole him. “They don’t know how to read cursive.”

I hope somebody can tell me how that’s progress, Cletus, cause ah can’t see it yet.

That’s mah thoughts this fall day. Y’all come see me sometime here in the holler. We’ll go down to Lem’s Gen’ral Store and git us a orange sodee pop, just like Granddaddy taught us.

Yore cuz,


Your turn. What are your thoughts about progress? Tell us about it below.


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