Dick Hunt's Blog

March 1, 2011

Astonishing Changes

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 9:10 pm

Astonishing Changes
by Dick Hunt, March 1st, 2011
I have just returned from Ruth’s Care Home in a Taxi. I visit with her every afternoon and we walk together around the various corridors for exercise. I get a staff member to phone the taxi, she pushes ten digits and in three minutes the cab is at the door, and drops me (gently) at my door. It is only a short distance, less than half a mile.

When I was growing up, we had to ride a horse five miles to the village to phone anywhere, winter and summer.   Then we worked out a system which enabled us to use the top wire of the barbed wire fences along the way to the Village, but if someone was careless it put the phone out of order.  Eventually we managed to sign a lease with C.N.R. and erect our our own wires on their telegraph poles. That is where I learned to use climbers spurs.  The first day I had just managed to struggle to the top of a pole when  a train came roaring past, I panicked and dropped my tools. I had to wait while my helper spliced two ladders together to get me back to earth.  Next time I chose a very short pole at the top of a hill.

The next step was some years later when the C.N.R abandoned that branch line and removed their poles and the rails.  We then set our own poles and again strung our own lines to the Village. About that time I left the Ranch with my family and we moved to Saskatoon SK where I studied for the Ordained Ministry.  My younger brother Bill and Lee and their family moved to the Ranch.
The next step was a double improvement.  Bill and some neighbors teamed together and they put a underground phone cable  in place which was tamper proof and required little maintenance. The second step was to install Radio telephone at home and in their vehicles to keep in touch all around.

All of which seems very involved compared with the luxuries we enjoy today. Most people seem to have cell phones and keep them to their ears at all hours of the day.
My observations indicate to me that many people are probably talking on their cellphones for longer on any particular day than we ever expended riding five miles to the village and back to make phone calls in the thirties.  Our sense of the value of time has changed markedly.

Our life style in Agriculture required that we used every hour and our energy productively.  The seasons of the years set the agenda for us. The weather, all year round, dictated that  we stayed in tune with necessities laid upon us. Our livestock didn’t know anything about seasons or meeting deadlines or having holidays. We didn’t know anything about getting through our days as easily as possible to collect a pay cheque.  Strangely, with all the myriad labor saving devices now available to us, we seem to be even more stressed in our life styles than when we were young and never overweight or bored.  We were all in the same boat, never looking for work because it was always looking for us. Neighbors were our friends and we stood by each other through the tough times.

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