Another Day in the Country

Being sociable in any medium

© Another Day in the Country

I’ve never been a particular fan of blogging. First of all, I don’t spend all that much time on a computer. Second, I’ve never been at loose ends enough to go hunting for a blogger friend. After all, I have a sister.

She talks to me at the supper table about the activities of her day — which are much more exciting than mine usually, because she works out of town.

While I’ve mostly ignored the blog phenomenon, imagine my surprise when I discovered that blogging is basically what I do every week in this column.

According to Wikipedia, a blog is a series of discrete, often informal text entries — usually the work of a single individual, covering a single topic. Translate “discrete” into meaning “being careful what you say” and change text into “type,” and we’ve got ourselves a blog.

Blogs evidently immerged in the 1990s when technology advanced and publishing tools became available to just about anyone with a computer and access to the web. Blogging can be seen as a type of social networking with interaction between blogger and reader sometimes. That being said, and even though it’s been around a while, it’s still a new word in my vocabulary.

When newspapers reigned as kings of the information dispensing world, people wrote columns that appeared weekly — often in the Sunday edition.

Once you get acquainted with a columnist with whom you resonate, you look forward to the next week’s column.

After a while you get to know the particular flavor of a column, because in opinion pieces, as columns most often are, the writer shares his or her view of the world. And little by little you get to know this person — what their concerns are, what they notice, care for, and even fear.

It’s all revealed in the lines that appear before your eyes and sometimes in between the lines.

There are so many channels of communication these days, but being a woman of a certain age, I shy away from most of it. I still prefer my communication to come in full sentences, even though I’m known for overusing smiley faces in my letters.

I want to read an extravagance of words strung together in sentences that dance across the page. I want to read pages that sing. I am not content with three capital letters to decipher, like OMG, nor do I really understand the plethora of funny faces and cute little cartoons.

“What is that?” I wonder as I squint my eyes through bifocals. “Is that a hand? A thumb?”

It’s a blur.

Texting is something I’ve gotten used to and actually enjoy. My texts have a tendency to turn into blogs, according to my daughter.

Sometimes she’ll just pick up the phone and call me saying, “It takes too long to explain; I’ll just talk to you.”

Then I feel a little guilty for taking her away from her work. That’s the reason I text in the first place: because I think she can read it any old time and not be interrupted.

When she answers one of my texts, it’s often with just “K.” At first I was mystified. “What is this? Does it mean OK? I mean, how hard is it to put an O in front of the K?”

Most of electronic communication leaves me bewildered. I try to keep with the times, but technology moves so quickly that I’m perpetually behind.

I tell myself that a text or a blog are like notes in cards, while columns are like letters. Do you remember those pieces of paper, sometimes two or three pages long, written by hand, delivered most often in an envelope?

Of all the friends to whom I’ve written letters through the years, I have only one who still writes letters in longhand.

They are a delight to read — funny, thoughtful, witty, news of his family and what they are doing. I smile every time I see his handwriting on the envelope, and I savor those letters.

Who does this anymore?

Even I don’t write letters by hand very often — me who loves receiving these handwritten missives and goes on and on about how precious communicating in writing is.

I don’t hand-write letters. I compose them on a computer and print them out.

Sometimes I draw pictures in my letters. Of course, I sign my name and use an actual pen to address the envelope; but it takes too long to write a full letter.

I write to my grandson regularly and I try really hard to make letters interesting to him. I include silly things in the envelope — sometimes it’s a stick of gum; sometimes it’s money.

I’ll always remember my Grandpa Schubert, who would include little goodies for me in his letters to my mother.

“I’m including a lettuce leaf for Patty,” he’d write.

A lettuce leaf was a dollar bill according to him, and this was back when a dollar could buy something really special.

I write to my grandson because I don’t want to be forgotten way out here in Kansas and because I want him to experience getting letters in the mail.

Whatever form our communication takes, I’m convinced we’re needing to do more of it this year. We need to talk, text, call, write, send emails, chat and Snapchat. Make that a resolution on another day in the country.

Last modified Jan. 4, 2017

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