Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Watch The Time There, Bubba!

Just the other day I was out and about and came across a rather interesting juxtaposition of old south and new. I had gone down to the corner hardware store and was looking at a few flanges. (Yeah, Flanges....things every home should not be without nor every homeowner.)

While I was there, this old guy came in who looked like he had stepped out of a film. He was about 180 years old (give or take) a big bushy beard and stood no more than about 5 and a half foot tall. Gnarled old hands, lines in his face deep enough to lose a good sized John Deer tractor. More to the point, he was wearing an old straw farmer's hat and a pair of bib style overalls he probably got when he turned 15. He had on what I think were boots, but I was unable to see past the years of caked on mud and vegetable matter which can only be attributed to a farmer's field.

This is not the unusual thing.

While I stood there, ostensibly reading the label on a can of wasp spray (I hate them buggers and the quicker they die the better!) the Ol' Suthun Gennelman talked with the hardware-philes behind the counter and they hurried off to get him his (insert name of unusual farm implement here and no, it wasn't a mattock, I know what they are.)

While the clerk was gone, the old man looked around on the walls until he found a brightly lit plastic clock. Advertising some wondrous plant food it was almost too bright to see the spindly hands pointing out the time. (Analog, not digital.) He studied it a moment and sort of shook his head. He then dug one hand down into the front pocket of those overalls and rooted around for something in particular. Finally he found what it was and pulled his gnarled hand out. He turned the hand over and studied what he had brought out.

When I looked closer I expected to see an old pocket watch handed down from generation to generation, revered and cherished. Or maybe I'd see the watch part of a wrist watch which he carried around like a pocket watch, he being one of those thrifty souls who can't seem to throw anything away. What I saw surprised me.

A cell phone. He had pulled the cell phone out of his pocket to check the digital time against the analog plastic clock on the wall. He didn't trust the old plastic advertising clock and had to check something he trusted more...his cell. Satisfied, he snapped the phone shut, carefully slid it back into the pocket from which he had extracted it and went back to waiting.

Me, I giggled a bit, but not so as anyone would hear. The combination of this old geezer (Yeah, I can say geezer, I'm almost one myself) and the pocket 'Cell-Watch' was almost more than I could take. I love the fact that new technology is catching up to old Suthun institutions (and guys like this are an institution in themselves) and yet at the same time, it just tickled me.

Old meets in the Good Ol' New South.

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