Life is better than ever if work is not your forte

Courtesy photo

I recently overheard two women talking. One said she wished she could go back to the “old” days and the other gal agreed, saying, “Life had to have been simpler then.”

Lest you misunderstand, I’m not a spy, at least not like 007 wiretap stuff. If I’m merely in the vicinity when sound waves tickle my ears, could I really be accused of eavesdropping? It’s not like I live a parallel life as a snoop, though I will admit I hide behind the doorjamb when the neighbors are having a spirited conversation. I’ve never said I was a good person and in fact, on numerous occasions have thoroughly covered this ground confirming otherwise. Moving along…

I have personally considered I was born in the wrong century. I like to think I’d have thrived in the wild, wild west. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d have had what it took to be a schoolmarm; kindness, patience, obedience and mercy escape me. Give me Annie Oakley, the gal who boldly stated, “I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.”

As I cleaned house, I thought of those two women chatting about better times and I contemplated. My grandparents were married in 1928, and without gas or electricity, they packed in wood for cooking and heating. They not only didn’t have running water, they had to haul water 3 miles in milk cans, with a team and wagon for four years until they moved and put in a handpump. This meant lugging water for all their personal use: cooking, cleaning and bathing, and for all their stock: horses, cows and chickens, and for the flower garden. Who plants flowers knowing you have to fetch water to them? Nobody living today. Side note: Gramps and gram didn’t get indoor plumbing until 1950.

As I went about my day, I wondered if I’d really want to go back in time. I had corned beef in the crock pot, both the washer and the dryer were running, I’d started the dishwasher, put the stove on self-clean and scrubbed the floor with hot water that, A. I didn’t have to pack, and, B. I didn’t have to heat. Alexa was playing music that I’d made happen with a voice directive, and my laptop was sleeping, waiting for a command from my fingers.

With my phone, which has more computing power than the Apollo 11 had when it went to the moon and back, I’d texted my kids, reaching them in less than a second. Their response was slightly slower as they decided if they really wanted to ruin their day by getting into a lengthy communication with the woman they’ve never forgiven for making them, when ill with strep throat, get shots instead of pills. It was a mere sampling of their childhood … hell on earth. 

A Roomba would have vacuumed the house while I slept, and I didn’t have to carry ice to the shed and cover it with sawdust to keep the milk cold. The milk that we’d simply purchased, forgoing any cow, breeding, housing, feeding and milking scenario.

Gram had an eighth-grade education and gramps, a sixth, yet through the sweat of their brows they purchased not only the homestead, but also a ranch, without monetary help from anyone. For their wedding gift, gramp’s family presented them a milk cow and gram’s parents gave them chickens. They worked hard using their skills to make money whenever an opportunity presented itself. Gram cooked on a tiny wood stove with an oven the size of a shoebox, for 22 men building a dam. Gramps hauled supplies from a hundred miles away, digging snow, sometimes by hand, to get through drifts. Gram once told me, “Things were simpler, but there never was the ‘good ole days.’” I believed her. Life has always been hard, especially for my offspring. They’ll tell you, life with you-know-who at the helm, was such an adversity.

In thinking about it, I wouldn’t want those early struggles. Annie Oakley didn’t know how great life could be by simply turning a tap for a bubble bath. Maybe she wasn’t into fun, fragrant girlie things, so she didn’t bathe. I wouldn’t have either if I’d had to schlep water to a stove, then ferry it to the tub. Also, I like heating my lunch in the microwave. What gram wouldn’t have given for one of those contraptions? She’d have sat an African violet on it … that she had to pack water to.

Trena Eiden [email protected]