Every Day: An Adventure In Time And Space!

Jun 21, 2022 | 2 comments

Nyel and Sydney, 2018

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since Nyel and I had our last conversation — at least our last communication that was two-sided.  As we all have known from our cradle days, one-sided conversations (which, I guess, are not  technically “conversations”) are not all that uncommon.  In fact, in recent years “self-talk” has become a recognized teaching technique for use with young children. So, I make no apologies  for my occasional comments and questions that go unanswered… at least not out loud.

Charlie in Dickensenian Mode

On the other hand, I find it very hard to deal with modern technology when it comes to communication in the here and now.  Last night, for instance, I had an important — maybe even urgent — message for my son Charlie who lives 1,000+ miles away.  But when I called him, the call went straight to voicemail and I was told I could not leave a message — his mailbox was full.

So, I emailed him to call me.  And some time later, emailed him again saying I was going to bed but to call anytime.  I slept soundly until about 4:30 a.m. — no interruptions by phone.  Checked my emails and found three urgent ones from Charlie.  His phone was not working — it said.  Contact him by a zoom link he had sent.  And, finally, that he’d hold the zoom link open for another fifteen minutes… But that had been hours ago.  So… I emailed a response.  Said I’d check in every 1/2 hour or so now that I’m up.  And decided that whatever I wanted to talk to him about probably was no longer urgent.

It all put me in mind of the days of my childhood when we had a crank phone in the kitchen and all long distance calls went through the switchboard operator  in Ilwaco.  I don’t know what time the “exchange” closed down for the night — maybe 11 p.m. — but I’d be willing to bet that if there was an emergency, there was a way to get through — even if it was a midnight drive in the Model A to roust J.A. Howerton, owner of the Ilwaco Telephone & Telegraph Company.

Maybe we’re regressing.  Maybe I shouldn’t give up my landline after all…


  1. Jenny Valencourt

    I am one of the fan/friends that check your blog website and also FB, Sydney.
    TBH, it’s true that we must think about things that are our “old reliables”. Our intuition when we hear the voice of loved ones and exchanged words isn’t the last time the words are heard. And I ask you, no hurry, which of the things listed on on your beloved Nyel’s obituary would be his tip top pick to honor properly? Sent with xoxo

    • sydney

      Oh, Jenny! How kind of you to ask! I think his first choice would be The Honorary Oysterville Militia because its formation was his own conception and he hoped that it would go on “in perpetuity” — or at least for a generation of two. Tucker Wachsmuth has asked to be the local guardian of the cannon now, even though he is only a “lieutenant” in the militia — which makes sense to me because he has been involved for many years in keeping the cannon in good condition and in firing it on those special occasions like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. The money in their current fund has come solely from selling “commissions” but we have had enough over the years to replace the carriage wheels when our weather did them in and to buy black powder when needed. (Nyel always referred to the little account as “the black powder fund.”)
      Hope you are doing well!


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