Friday, September 26, 2008


Every small town seems to have one. It is the place where locals gather up early in the day to discuss events both local and national. It isn’t Starbucks with exotic and expensive double mocca latte’s being served. It is local down home atmosphere, smiles and handshakes, accented with percolated coffee. Often times, it isn’t served, in some places locals grab a cup and help themselves, on the way to their favorite seat. Mostly served black, but occasionally with cream and sugar to tame it down a bit. The patrons are not text messaging, networking, briefcase toting, harried executives enroute to a high rise executive business suite. They are instead, ball cap pushed back, sleeves rolled up, stomp yer’ boots off at the door, working people of South Polk County.
Wireless internet for their laptop is not a main component of their morning coffee. They may have broadband internet at home where they gather data and communicate on a regular basis, but this is different.
This morning coffee and information exchange is not all purely social in nature. Business will be injected at random intervals, interspersed with comments about how the crappie are biting down at Gillham lake.
Currently it is Spring and many are torn between fishing, getting the first cutting of hay on the ground and Squirrel season that opens in just a few short days.
These astute observers of all that goes on around them just don’t miss much. For example one local walked into his morning coffee spot to immediately hear. ” Is that a sixty thousand dollar ball cap you are wearing this morning ?” The ball cap was obviously new and it was bright green, with a John Deere logo prominently displayed at the front. The answer was, “Yeh, they delivered it yesterday.” Everyone there knew that the ball cap wearer had been talking about a new tractor because his thirty year old tractor was ready for replacement. The question had been asked by a neighbor that had seen the tractor being delivered the day before.
As questions were asked about how the new tractor performed, interest was high, because others would likely have to make a similar purchase in the future.
Now, computers and internet service are a important part of our everyday life here in South Polk County. But they come up short in the ability to impart intent and emotion. Is that the reason they have those little smiley thingeys for email ?
Every one that listened to the new tractor owner could hear it in his voice. It was the pride of ownership and the satisfaction in performance, that could be heard, as he talked about his new tractor.
The subtle knod of his head, a small hand gesture, the arching of an eyebrow or the smile on his face, all imparted much more to the intent listeners, than a laptop computer could ever convey.
Though brightly colored and usually animated, the screen of a computer is still mostly flat and featureless, imparting little in the way of emotion or compassion.
Hours spent on a tractor during haying season, in the woods squirrel hunting or on the lake fishing, build a desire to communicate with our fellow man. The computer can facilitate communications alright, and it sure is a handy thing, however it just isn’t the same as a morning visit with friends while waiting for the dew to burn off of the hay fields !

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