2015-04-08 / Editorial

HOW MANY?

Don Lively

“You've got mail!”

That's what I hear every time I log onto my email account which tells you how antiquated I am as far as cyber stuff.

Still in the dark ages.

Still using AOL.

So whenever I need to check my vitally important mail I hear a voice of somebody totally unknown to me telling me “You've got mail.”

Almost every time I hear his cheery voice, it's definitely a he, I ask the same two questions.

The first question is one I've been asking since the first day I took the plunge and set up my very first email account.

“Why in the name of all that's sacred and holy didn't AOL use proper English and make it “You have mail?”

That violation of the language has caused folks like me who are OCD when it comes to grammar many hours of anguish and consternation. Technically, it's okay, but to me and many of my associates the slogan grates like a rusty hinge. But, alas, it's way too late to change the phraseology.

Which brings me to my second question.

How many times over the years since earthlings threw down their pens and pads and took to keyboards for communication has that same faceless, nameless, unaccented voice told us, “You've got mail?”

Millions?

Billions?

No telling.

It got me to thinking about other “how manys” (Yes, purists, I know manys isn't a real word.) occur every day without me or anybody else giving them a second thought.

I was driving by our old home place, the hundred some odd acreage where my siblings and I were raised. Most of it has been farm fields for as long as I've been alive. I wonder how many harrow discs have broken the ground for the first time after several months of the land laying fallow. How many miles have tractors and combines driven up and down the rows. How many tons of fertilizer and land plaster have been applied.

How many?

The road in front of the old home place, once dirt but long agopaved,hasavintersection. How many times have I driven through that intersection barely glancing up because ninety-nine percent of the time no other cars were coming. Not anymore. With increased traffic from the influx of power plant workers, all welcome by the way, it's not unusual now to have to wait for several cars to pass before you pull out. I wonder how many times I've passed through there over the years.

How many?

How many times have I entered the doors of the little country church where Mama first took me when I was a few weeks old. For the first twenty or so years of my life there were actually two doors, one on the right and one on the left. Which door you entered had nothing to do with political affiliation. It just made getting in easier and getting out faster. There's only one door now and lately the large crowds cause happy logjams at the back. How many sermons have been preached under those rafters. How many souls have been saved between those walls. How many folks have been baptized under the waters in the years since we installed a baptismal pool and stopped using the creek.

How many?

Sometimes when I stand on the banks of the fishing hole at The Pond I wonder how many bullets and how much shell shot has been fired into and over the waters. Folks have been shooting at snakes and frogs and cans and stumps for many decades. I suspect the lead that's settled deep into the murky bottom would fill a silo if it could all be gathered from all the gunshots.

How many?

If we knew the answer to some of those “how many” questions it would probably boggle the mind.

How many pine cones have fallen on land owned by our relatives over the centuries since we made our way to the Blessed South?

How many fish caught out of the Savannah have ended up as the main course at how many dinners and how many suppers and how many fish fries?

How many prayers were offered up for rain in the droughts of Summer and how many equally sincere pleas to Him for a few dry days the following Spring so the farmers could get in the fields to plow?

Those are just a few that pop into my head on occasion.

I'm sure you have your own.

How many?

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of the new book, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Livelycolo@aol.com and visit www.DonLively.com.

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