13 October 2023

I want to look at a clock ...

I want to look at a clock, one with hands— on the wall or on a bookshelf — to tell the time.  I don’t want to look at a phone, unless it’s ringing.

I want to fish into my pocket to find a quarter and slot it into a candy machine, where I have to hand crank it to get some M&Ms or a gumball to tumble out.

I want to drive on a gravelly road, on whitewalls on an old truck with a real carburetor, with a rusty-hinged door that creaks open, with me and the wife and kids going to get a Coke.

I’d like to write a letter to the Editor of the Times and have it published and then receive thoughtful comments back from identified readers with an opposite opinion, instead of today’s trolls.

I’d like to go to a physical bookstore, smell the stacks, buy a book, read it and put it on my bookshelf. I’d like to think that there’s a world where that is still possible.

I’d like to know all in my neighborhood and their kids and barking dogs, even their family history. I’d like that rather than having no clue who my neighbors are two doors down.

Would that we could avoid the tyranny of the urgent, pulling us unproductively.

Would that we could avoid the trappings of “success,” tempting us to riches or fame.

Would that you and I could embrace the here and now, not yesterday’s failures or tomorrow's ersatz victories, framing for us a present life worthy of living.


Julia Christie said...

You can come drive our 1979 old yellow carburetored ford down our dusty dead end road anytime JG. At the end of our road you'll run into State park land - I'd be so pleased to put up a lunch for you and your boys, maybe some wax paper wrapped sandwiches on homemade bread and chocolate chip cookies, or a wedge of apple pie, wrapped in a large square of calico tied to a sturdy stick that you'll sling over one shoulder. The rhythm of which, swaying as you walk, will remind you with each step that soon you'll be tired and thirsty and lunch is going to be some reward! You can wander the trails with a mason jar of homemade raspberry lemonade apiece and choose your perfect picnic spot from among thousands.
No clocks. No tv. But such sweet birdsong. Such soft buzzing of bees and trilling of robins.

Anytime JG. Anytime.

(I should mention- the truck runs rich and the carburetor needs adjusting so I drive with the windows rolled down.)

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Going to take you up on that gracious offer Ms. JC! The boys and I are long overdue for a road trip, my friend.

Btdubs, your description of your homestead is absolutely lovely, long drive and all. Blessings, my friend.

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I loved reading this, Jg. I've grown all my greens this summer from seed and love to end the day with a "snip... snip" as tender leaves fall into a bowl. Sandy feet. Best summer wishes in the moment for you! 🌞

Julia Christie said...


Go2Gal said...

...and a porch
...and a hammock
...and _________.

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Barbara (MDEP) ... beautiful. jealousy from the golden state that you have such a "snip snip" garden. tho we know about sandy feet out here (including Ms. Deb Dumbwittelher now that she's in Cali!) You have such style and a way with words. I'm missing my blogger pals big time!

JC -- returning those smiles. your amazing brood are lucky to have such great parents.

Go2Gal / CJ -- exactly. hammocks slung between saplings-soon-to-be-beautiful-shade-trees and a painted porch make the case for sepia nostalgia and a clear, bright future, my friend.

WomanHonorThyself said...

thanks so much for your visit to WHT!! Hope u had a fabulous Fathers DAY!! :-)

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I want to put 50¢ in a soda machine and pull out an ice cold bottle of Dr. Pepper. I want to ride my baby blue used Schwinn to the downtown Snohomish Bakery with my BF. To sit in the window booth enjoying our burgers & keeping watch of our small, but perfect world. To take one last cruise in that 69' GTO, 65' Chevy pickup and a 30's Ford Model T street racer. I miss simple, the sound of my mother's voice & the Drive-In movies.

With all my might I try to live in the present and create that life worth living. I've not had the temptation of success or the trappings of wealth. Perhaps I should be grateful for that. I guess waiving my fishing pole, a bait box of worms by my side, a cooler full of 7 UP & a handful of Fig Newtons in my pocket 'ain't' so bad. Sitting on the banks of Fresno Reservoir outside my birthplace of Havre, MT. My eye on the red bobber floating on the water & a big sun hat on my head.

Is all of this a sign that I'm getting undeniably old? Wishing I could live in the past? Finding the present hard to stomach at times. When people obeyed speed limits, used their blinkers, weren't fearful of the government, and each other. Strange things I think about, & It makes me sad. Perhaps when I'm hopefully much older, this all means I'll be ready to leave this world without regret. Perhaps we all need to take a walk down that dirt road to Julia's wonderful world and be 9 again.

Over joyed to see you post again. I miss your wisdom, insight and reflection. I wish you well today, every day my friend x

WomanHonorThyself said...


Barbara said...

I know, I know. Me too. Unfortunately, those days are over, but we can reminisce. I've always said....my kids are the last generation who lived that life. Got on their bikes in the summer and I didn't see them until dinner. They'd see the milkman, stop him and get Popsicles or whatever, and he knew whose kids they were. The back door was unlocked. No alarms. No cell phones. Was there ever better music than the 70's?
And MY generation...drug store counter sodas.....no TV....DA haircuts on the guys......Pom Pom dresses.....crinolines......I even remember wrapping bandages for the Red Cross during WW 2. And we wore gloves, even hats! God, I am old.

Great to hear from you, my friend! What a month this has been....on many fronts, good and bad.

I am well, aside from needing more knee surgery, but so many of my friends are not doing as well. It's hell to be pushing 80....
My daughters NYC gallery is closing, so sad for her, the art world has changed so much. She's keeping her business open, though, hoping to advise, have pop up shows, sell on the secondary market. She'll be here for August. I must be prepared to do some major mental boosting, she's a darling, smart girl and will figure it all out. My boys are doing well. Not boys, men! Do you believe my kids are 55, 56 and 57???
Hope all is well with you, JG!
Keep in touch!

Shelley said...

Gosh, Jg what a beautiful post. I actually have tears running down my face. It started with the sound of tires on gravel and then the phrase 'going for a coke' tipped me over. I had no idea my past was such a glorious place. Sounds like yours was too. And though I enjoy a lot of stuff online, this reminds me that the quality of my life would improve with less screen time. Bless you for sharing such wonderful memories.

Sandy K. said...

Have you been reading my mind? I have spent a very introspective summer, working on a book project that has taken forever as I wish to begin that next project which so urgently calls at me from the keyboard. Time spent wandering bookstores as I ignore the kindle my husband gave me a few years ago in the hopes I would not spend my money on more books to fill the shelves and collect dust on my end tables. Poor, long-suffering husband. Standing under the stars with the puppy - waiting for her to do her business as I want more time to study the heavens and dream of simpler times. Thank you for visiting my neglected blog and encourage me to keep at it. :) And MANY thanks for this thoughtful blog - and this post in particular. A lovely resting spot.

christian soldier said...

glad you stopped by my site :-) let me know when you add a post here-

Jg. for FatScribe said...

CS -- Always enjoy dropping by your site; you always are uploading new content, so I feel incredibly guilty/jealous!

Sandy K -- Just adore you and your projects and postings and how inspiring you are. Please keep posting those recaps on your vacations and trips around the state and elsewhere. I live vicariously, my friend.

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Barbara -- Amazing as always. And, no, certainly cannot believe you have children in their 50s. What I love about Moveable Feasts is that every time I visit, it's a gastronomic love fest (feast)! My kids have been fed your amazing desserts (how to tell your little kids spelling difference between "desert and dessert" is that you want more of dessert so you have an extra heaping of S's!)

My best to your darling knee. Hope she recovers soon! My absolute best to your friends. We have family and friends dropping like flies around these parts (it seems), so I know of which you speak, my friend. My AMAZING aunt is now 88, and she is as spry as when she was a young coquette in Long Island. Age is merely a mental construct. YOU have never seemed to act your age. I loved those pics from you and your daughter's travels to those exotic locales -- not a game for faint of heart regardless of age.

I trust that your daughter's transition to consulting and pop-up life is a blessed, rich and fulfilling one for her. Real estate can be such a pain in the arse, and it takes so much off the top each month, unless you can barter an arrangement of some sort. Anyhoo, my best to ALL of your brood and their endeavors, Barbara. MUCH love. -Jg.

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Shelley -- Wow. Thank you for being moved by that pithy little post, but it was, as you and I both felt, a nostalgic pang from years and memories and sadness of a life once known in another place/time. Your site has given me such cure for my all things UK cravings over these past years. I appreciate your visits as ever!

Ms. Deb (Dumbwit) -- One of these days I'm just going to cut-n-paste your comment and make it one of my latest posts! Can't compete, my friend. I was so moved by what you shared. Just the best. Can't believe we're both in Cali ... we have to grab coffee!!!! Much love, pal o' mine! - Jg.

Welch Design Studio said...

I wanted to comment on one of your old posts...the way you commented on mine.

This post makes me nostalgic...melancholy...and still hopeful that maybe one day this generation will look back to 'now' and feel exactly the same way we feel when we look back to 'then.'
I hope you are well.
Loved hearing from you on my old old blog site designilicious!

Caleb Garcia said...

A powerful pieces of nostalgic writing. A tribute to a bygone era. One that good folks can preserve so it's not gone forever. Whenever I'm in new cities I try to stop in used book stores and look for gems. Keep that magic alive Johnny G.