Cranky Memories

Cranky Memories

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

By Blaney Pridgen

Sometimes the simplest of things can bring a flood of memories.  We took our ten-year-old granddaughter to visit Mount Airy, N.C., the childhood home of Andy Griffith.  Mount Airy is supposed to be the inspiration for Mayberry of the Andy Griffith Show, a popular television series of the black and white, two channel neolithic era.  We made sure she had seen enough episodes in syndication to set the scene for our visit to the tourist attractions.  She loved both regardless of her immersion in post neolithic teenage entertainments.  Her fondest impression was our ride in a late 50’s police cruiser, which could have been used in the series.  She loved setting off the red gumball siren.  She also marveled at no air conditioning and roll-down windows.  If you re old enough to appreciate any of this, you may call them “crank-down” windows with the push out vent for the escapes of horse flies and cigarette smoke.  Her eyes fixed upon the window crank beside her.  So did mine.  She wondered what it was.  Of course, I knew.  Sometimes the simplest of things can bring a flood of memories.

That window crank reminded me of my childhood and numerous car excursions from North Augusta to South Georgia to visit grandparents in Waycross and Valdosta.  My younger sister and I would beg Dad to let out his cigarette smoke as we double-nickeled down the Woodpecker Trail.  It also brought to mind our new mid-size SUV, which has a plethora of electronic services no longer considered to be fancy options.  I remember when only the Cadillacs and Lincolns had air conditioning and electric windows.  The only electric things our spartan Ford had was the starter and AM radio.  Even the windshield was vacuum assist and would stall mid-window when Dad hit the foot feed.  Well, I sort of miss the window crank.  I get a little bit angry when our car doors automatically lock.  If I wanted the doors locked, I’d lock ‘em.  I don’t need my car thinking for me.

At age 74, I am surrounded by computers and robot voices that want to do things for me that I have not asked to be done.  Recently, my old flip phone entered the larger life.  Even it did much more than I needed or wanted.  Now, I must suffer with a Smartphone when dumb phones would do.  Who really wants a camera and an encyclopedia in their telephone and pay a bunch of money for it?  But I digress into curmudgeonville.  Mount Airy, Mayberry, and grandchildren will do that to you.  My granddaughter has her own Smartphone.

We live in a historic house on Buncombe St.  Our landlord grew up here.  His family has lived in this old house since before the Civil War.  The expansive backyard contains five huge pecan trees which were planted when he was born, 

eight years before me.  They shed mid-sized limbs almost every major wind and several great big limbs a year.  Every morning, when I load up my percolator, I look out the kitchen window to see any new branches that might have fallen in the night.  That’s a metaphor for everyone over 70.  So is the percolator, which absolutely no Keurig can match.

Even though we are relative newcomers and probably will be considered such for a long time, I can lovingly reflect that Edgefield and the surrounding towns are like roll down windows for me.  That’s a very good thing for fond memories of perhaps a better time, like the Andy Griffith Show.  I think I’ll watch a couple of those old series, even though I’ve about memorized all of them.  Thank goodness for the internet and streaming or they would be lost in the mist.  Therein lies an irony for those who have ears to hear.  In the meantime, I have to figure out which pocket of my pants can accommodate a Smartphone.