Thursday, July 5, 2007

Time Travel

The melody of the dulcimers and banjo called to us and drew us up onto the front porch. We watched the performers for a few minutes...hesitant to join in.

"Does anyone want to give it a try?" A man in early American garb held out one of the dulcimers.

John was the only daring one of the five. He took the instrument and laid it awkwardly across his lap. He fumbled to move his fingers to the correct places on the numbered dulcimer.

"Slide the dulcimer down toward your knees. Hold the pick tightly but run it lightly across the strings."

John rearranged his fingers around the pick and adjusted the instrument. After a few times through the numbered song, he had it...even the rhythm. The man with the banjo taught him to play a D chord. John played the chord. The banjo and a second dulcimer played In the Sweet By and By.

The girls watched for a few more minutes and before we knew it Lauren was dressed in a skirt, a long shirt, and a colonial cap. Stuart moved his colonial girl and his 21st century girls across the porch to watch a basket weaver. Soon, reeds were spread out on the table and the girls were busy weaving small Market baskets.

John continued to strum his chord. The girls wove to the sounds of Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me. The instuments continued to sing but the music faded into the background. Basket weaving is hard work!

Charlie sat on Stuart's lap and took a turn with the dulcimer. John moved to the other end of the porch and sewed a leather pouch.

The roof covered us with shade. Cool air blew through the breezeway and ruffled our hair. We drank in the breeze and the quiet. Our small group talked of world travel, family, and hobbies. An hour later, the girls finished their baskets and John hung the pouch around his neck by its leather strings. We made plans to meet our costumed friends again so the girls can sew handles onto their baskets.

We moved across the lawn and over a bridge into the 21st century. Swings and slides beckoned to the children. Stuart and I kept an eye on them and watched the people. We saw parents talking on their cell phones. A whole row of parents. They did not connect with each other. They smiled and stormed and gestured to invisible beings.

We ran a gauntlet of politicians. When we came out on the other side, the children each had a blue hand with a giant index finger pointing skyward. Number One fans of Brian Mulvaney. Glow sticks twinkled about their ankles and Vote for Lloyd Prescott stickers stuck to their shirts. They fanned themselves with fans that made them Number One fans of Gene Buckle. We looked both patriotic and indecisive.

A radio personality blared from the stage. Many hands flew over many ears to muffle the sound. The children kept time to a folk group's fiddles and violins with their blue fingers. Then the stage changed bands. The music lost it's spell and we wandered to another play area. More kids. More cell phones. We found a quiet spot and watched the fireworks.

The crowds swept us along to our car and then would not let us leave the parking lot. Horns honked. Fingers drummed. A TV screen flashed colors in the car ahead of us.

One day. Two extremes. We've gained the world but have lost each other in the process. I want the quiet and the interaction that we found on the front porch.


Kathy at Sumballo said...

Great insights. The contrast of two life choices.... I enjoy our technology but it must be managed or it'll separate us from relationships. Do we choose between the two or can we skim off the best of each? Thanks for sharing. This is a great launchpad to some interesting processing.

The Small Scribbler said...


You are right. I like my internet connection and my cell phone. I like my air conditioning, my car and electricity. I don't want to go backwards in time but I do want to live well. I want to keep distractions to a minimum.


Refresh My Soul Blog said...

This is so true and I fear the disconnection is only getting worse!
Much love,

Amy said...

I love the picture...but I love those sweet girls EVEN MORE! And boy, does this post ever make me miss ALL of you!!!

Kiss those sweet cheeks for me...


Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

Interesting contrast. I'm with some aspects of technology, but I also miss "front porch days" of just sitting in a glider and chatting. I'm afraid today's children are going to grow up without the first clue of how to relate to anyone.