The differences within 100 years

The other day I realized I am now living 100 years beyond my grandparents’ key time in their lives.

In 1920, my grandparents Bill and Kitty Bruce had been married for four years.

My grandfather had spent his youth in the west, returned to Tennessee and found himself a bride half his age, bought land with the money he earned out west and started farming raising corn, tomatoes, running cattle and hogs.

They watched Bill brothers Tom and James, cousins and friends go off to WWI among the 130,915 men and women from Tennessee who did. Tom died, while James returned a shell of his former self and died within a couple of years.

They survived the Spanish flu epidemic that killed other family and friends as it savaged community after community infecting 500 million in 1918 around the world.

In this year my grandmother would become pregnant beckoning my first aunt Minnie Lee, named for her aunt, who would pass as a toddler in 1923.

My grandmother for the first time in her life was allowed to walk in a polling place and cast a ballot as women gained the vote. Grandpa would vote for Democrat James Cox while my grandmother always proudly said she voting just the opposite just to cancel out Grandpa’s vote meaning she voted for Republican Warren G. Harding. Not sure if she ever told grandpa though, she told me long after he was gone.

They rode horses, buckboards, buggies or walked where they went. There were no automobiles. They chopped down trees to build what they needed and cut wood to cook on and to heat from the cold. Harvest time meant canning vegetables to eat throughout the year. Meat was smoked in the smoke house, salted and cured to sustain meats to eat when hunting was slim.

As I look around at what I experience each day. I make much of my living in mediums that were not even existent – radio and television. Buying musical recordings was still in its infancy in those days with 78s and Victrolas being the source. Not one of those were within miles of them and it would be many years before a battery-operated radio would make its way to the valley.

If I get hungry, I go out, get in my SUV, drive to a restaurant, or to the store and buy something a farmer somewhere put into the food supply chain to fill the need. If I cook it at home, much of the time I pop it into a microwave oven and in a few minutes, I am seated in front of my favorite TV show eating away. That experience would have taken my grandmother hours in addition to the months it took my father to cultivate and/or hours to hunt or raise, slaughter and preserve.

I look up in the sky and I see jet planes, they looked up and saw only the birds for a few more years. Thanks to the advantage of science, and communication, we can anticipate the weather while they reacted daily to what occurred.

I communicate on a phone I carry in my pocket, they had to holler up the holler or send someone walkin’ to spread any news for quite a few more years to come. I can look at a computer and catch up on the news, they had to wait for a newspaper to come through the area at the general store.

It is amazing what 100 years has brought us. Is it better? It is more convenient. I do not know if it’s more healthy for us. It is definitely different and I imagine if my 1920s grandparents were dropped into what I see daily, I imagine they would feel we have a strange and foreign life.

Both lived to see the transition to automobiles, the advent of television and grandmother lived well beyond man reaching the moon and folks thinking of flying as a real form of transportation.

Such amazing things they saw… I don’t know if what we have in store ahead of us will compare but I certainly hope it will be and I realize how amazing it really is!

Is 2020 the year I dreamed upon?

OK its 2020, that is suppose to be significant in our lives right.

Well, we are here, breathing and have every opportunity that life within the United State of America affords.

There are so many significant dates that have passed in my life. Let’s see, when I was in school, we read a book called 1984… I don’t recall that year being anything like what was described by George Orwell in his classic, but he did write it 70 years ago. Perhaps he should have named it 2024, as with the advent of the internet, it seems more of what was described by Orwell is at hand today.

When Stanley Kubrick created the 2001 Space Odyssey in 1968, the country was in a race to the moon, so the setting for a battle between man and machine in space was a plausible notion, but we didn’t get there by 2001, and it looks like it may be another 50 or 100 years before we come close.

One of my favorite childhood cartoons was “The Jetsons,” where there was a robotic maid, all types of amazing gadgets, and the family flew around in what looked like a flying car with a bubble on top. According to the promotional material the cartoon showed our future in 2062, and here we are in 2020.

Will we make it? We certainly have more interesting and amazing gadgets. We have vacuum cleaners and mowers which will map our space and perform the task on their own something I would have loved as a kid. I pushed endlessly with a push mower and vacuum.

Are we as ordinary human beings, and young enough, going to experience great leaps in the coming 50 years that will reflect the imagination of the past creators of books, movies and television shows? I don’t know, but it certainly is amazing to think about. Many of us, now have our lies and pastimes rotate around items that did not even exist to consumers in the year 2,000. So, I guess conceivably, some of us will see some amazing steps in front of us.

I often wonder though is our race toward greater technological advancement will simply move us farther away from one another. As I look around at restaurants and see people staring at social media, or texts on their phone while their loved ones at the table do similarly. What happens as we perfect our abilities to communicate with other through something in our hand but can’t look them in the eye and do the same.

Is 2020 going to be what I hoped and dreamed of as a child or younger adult, probably not. But then again, no one put me in charge of what our lives should be. All each of us can do, each day the Lord allows us to awaken, place our feet on the floor, and walk in a forward motion, is do the very best with each step we take, each decision we make, each word we share, and each act we play out.

Use 2020 to reach for the stars in your life while helping others do the same. Who knows maybe we are living the dream that no one in history could even imagine.