Last week I was met with three challenges: master my new cell phone, figure out how to connect my TV so that I could watch Netflix, to which I had subscribed three months before, and reset the clocks on all my home appliances, thanks to Daylight Saving time. I accomplished two out of three, but not without the help of my neighbor’s 11-year-old grandson.
Technology is lurching forward with “newer and better” everything, but I can’t keep up. If technology is a speeding train, then surely I am the caboose, which leads me to wonder if life wasn’t much better for pioneer women without all these devices to which we devote so much time and money, not to mention our over-programmed lives.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I am reminded of the life of the first colonists and the pioneers of our nation when life was simpler. How long could it take to clean a three-room cabin, that is, if you had three rooms? No multiple bathrooms to scrub; in fact, if you had one at all, it wasn’t even indoors. Spiders might be an issue, but they’re nothing compared to trying to navigate a corporate phone tree with your cable company.
There was none of that standing in the closet, staring at your wardrobe and wondering what to wear. The choice was easy, the yellow flour sack dress or the blue one. Shoes? Who needed more than one pair? And the sturdier, the better.
Fretting over those chipped nails? Not the pioneer woman. There was also no stressing over dark roots and leg hair stubble. How about spending a whole paycheck on laser treatments and the newest skin-firming cream? Not the pioneer woman; her proudest acquisition was a butter churn. And the homemade butter was amazing on biscuits cooked in a wood-burning stove. Take that, you utility companies!
Food was organic and homegrown or shot nearby. Most meals were “game night.” Occasionally squirrel and possum may have been on the menu, but no one said, “Can’t we eat out?” No one worried about cholesterol or high blood pressure or needed gym memberships because life on the farm was a daily workout.
Family time was 24/7. Pioneer parents and children ate together and talked to each other. There was no TV, no phones, no man caves and no time-sucking internet and the lure of everything you didn’t know you wanted.
Everyone traveled by horseback or wagon. Your transportation didn’t produce pollution; it produced fertilizer.
There were no Kardashians or Brangelinas or anorexic models. In fact, in those days, a woman with a little meat on her bones was considered pretty fine and more likely to thrive on the prairie. The word “diet” was not in their vocabulary.
Stress was relegated to really important issues, not how to work in a manicure, pedicure and visit to the dentist this week. No carpools for soccer, ballet, piano and a dozen other activities for the kids. No insurance payment, credit cards or 401Ks. No human resources, annual reviews or lay-offs.
Sure there were Indians, rustlers, home childbirth, and bitter weather, but I am pretty sure no one ever lay awake at night wondering how to get the VCR to stop flashing 12:00.
Frankly, I’m a little envious.