Thursday, June 03, 2010

Transcendental Lawnmoweratation

That's my grandmother, Jessie (Brown) Miller, at left in the top photo, with her friend Cora Bingaman. Jessie (right) is posing in the lower photo for Uncle Al Love with her sister-in-law, Anna (Stone) Brown, and Anna's sister, Della.

I’ve got an acquaintance who does Transcendental Meditation. Honest. Does she levitate? I’m too shy to ask. Another guy I know engages in yoga --- daily in a peaceful room set aside for meditation; a few days a week with a small group.

Me? I’m still mowing lawn and eating ice cream. Seems to work about as well.

Got bucked off in the Internet security corral this afternoon so I limped into the living room after supper feeling like I’d been rode hard and put away wet.

Went out and mowed a patch of lawn, then down to HyVee for two cartons (two for six bucks this week; great deal) of my favorite ice cream --- Blue Bunny Toasted Almond Fudge. Came home, had a big dish and now I’m just as mellow as all gitout.


Internet security first. I’ve been having trouble lately with something or another that is redirecting Google (and other engine) searches to places I don’t want to go --- nothing nasty, mind you, just a bunch of advertising sites. Really ticks me off.

All of my security, anti-spyware and anti-malware programs kept insisting nothing was wrong.

Then I began having problems with my security provider. Darned thing wouldn’t update, and goodness knows we all need the latest virus definitions these days. So I fired the sucker.

Then I took a deep breath and called Iowa Telecom --- now Windstream. Jeez. What the heck is Windstream? A communications company that needs Gas-X? Any relation to Airstream? Bet they paid somebody big bucks to come up with that flatulent moniker. Bunch of furriners from down south somewhere I think. Another Iowa firm sold off --- at least you could understand what “Iowa Telecom” was all about.

Anyhow, if I’d held my breath while wading through the Iowa Telecom/Windstream voice mail system on the way to "customer service," I’d have turned blue and passed out.

Finally got there after listening to three complete performances of the same elevator music interspersed with handy hints about what I could do to stop bothering customer service because it was busy.

Signed up for top of the line --- Internet security with technical support, online backup and spam filtering. We’ll see.

So the tech guy, who isn’t Iowa Telecom/Windstream at all but part of a subcontracting operation, installed the system and checked my old laptop out. Told me he’d fixed it. Nice guy, but he hadn’t. Yet. We’ll talk again tomorrow.

Couldn’t download the online backup software because the program wouldn’t let me. I’ll listen to some more elevator music tomorrow and see what that program's tech support (a different operation) has to say about it. At least I’ve got spam control. But then I already had that.

But like I say, after that lawn mowing and ice cream I’m as mellow as can be --- despite the fact I’ll never get back the four hours or so I spent today babysitting the computer while the tech guy played with its innards by remote control and otherwise fiddling with the darned thing.


Which brings me to the photos at the top of this post. The first one is of my grandmother, Jessie (Brown) Miller, left, and her friend, Cora Bingaman, in front of the Brown family home in Columbia, just across the Lucas County line in Marion County northeast of here. The second, taken at another time, is of Jessie (right), her sister-in-law Anna (Stone) Brown, and Anna’s sister, Della. I can’t tell Anna from Della without looking for other pictures and am not in the mood for that right now.

The photographer was my great-uncle, Al Love (see an earlier post entitled “A Tombstone for Nathan Love” for more about the Loves), and the dates --- sometime in the 1890s. If anyone out there is familiar with Columbia, the Brown home was located on a huge lot in the southeast corner of what now is the Columbia crossroads. Part of the lot was sold off for a store, right at the intersection; now gone, and after my grandmother sold the property, her old home was moved elsewhere and the far grander Caruthers house, which still stands, was built a little east of where it stood.

Now just look at that shaggy lawn. Obviously my grandmother did not mellow out by cutting the grass --- very often at least. What did she do? Iron? Can you imagine taking care of those white dresses both she and Cora are wearing in the first photograph? Maybe they just ate ice cream.

I speculate sometimes about whether or not her life and those of her contemporaries were simpler than ours, if there really were fewer complications. She had no fewer sorrows that we do these days I know --- I’ve written about some of those here over the years. And less technology did not necessarily mean more serenity.

But surely we complicate our lives more unnecessarily these days, bring it on ourselves. Consider computers, the Internet and Internet security. There’s gotta be a better way.


jmk said...

Love that second photo in particular. The pose struck with the fan. The distant, poised gaze. The sleeves adding a dimension of seeming ethereal movement.

Frank D. Myers said...

These really are two of my favorite photos of my grandmother, who I never knew because she died before I was born. Fortunately, she was among the most photographed people in southern Iowa at and before the turn of the 20th century because her brother-in-law, A.E. Love, was working as a photographer at the time.