I am certain that my great-grandparents are finding my heart-pounding excitement incredibly amusing. But we in suburbia do not get wild beasts bigger than woodchucks or more troublesome than rabbits. So the sighting of the resident Mama Bear, reported to be parenting two cubs, is a source of glee and concern. Birds call frantic alerts. Parents hustle little kids off swings. Deck-bound neighbors share amazed exclamations and lawn-cutting husbands are alerted to potential company–after a few documentary shots.
I got a Blackberry Bold smart phone. This snazzy handheld device replaced my old Samsung flip-top with its limited functionality–cumbersome SMS messaging, teeney tiny camera and so so call quality.
The message, ma’am. Just the message.
NOW I have a multi-tasking toy! I send messages by SMS text which pulls on the voice plan. I text messages by Blackberry Messenger (BBM) which pulls on the data plan. I check and respond to my emails, and I update my facebook status. Anywhere there is a Verizon-friendly tower I can tether my smart phone to my smart computer and download maps that I can actually read or upload my cemetery Blackberry-captured photos straight to my footnote pages. No more hunting for the nearest WiFi hotspot! I can have internet access anywhere I roam!
And I find myself growing increasingly annoyed by the ring tone, ignoring it, forcing real voices to leave messages to be retrieved later or convert their sounds into megabytes of text for immediate consumption.
I bought a smart phone and it made me dumb.
ABIA MINOR was a resident of Moultrie County, Illinois when he wrote this letter to his father, my great-great-grandfather, JOHN PEARSON MINOR of Greene County, Pennsylvania.
It is an undated description of the winter weather–I have yet 160 rods along my fence that was 30 feet wide and was between four and five feet deep(with snow) but it has settled down to about 3 feet–and reports about his children’s plans. His eldest boy, John, is of age (b. 1839?) and wants to be doing for himself talks of going away this spring.
Abia talks about his farming plans and how he want(s) to put a corn crop for I think we will raise good crops next year and I am trying to make some more fence so I can keep some stock without so mutch (sic) trouble in winter; before discussing arrangements for the mailing of daughter Isabel’s saddle and some much coveted flannel for himself. You said you would send her saddle and some flannel for me a warmth that would be quite a present to me for sutch (sic) flannel is hard to get here and if you send it box them in a light box and send them from any point on the railroad or if any one was comeing out you could put them in a trunk and they can bring them through for nothing. But, he continues, if his father wants to send them by railroad direct them to
Coles County, Illinois
and take a receipt from the station agent for them and send it to me by mail.
Abia then requests his mothers likeness which you can have taken and send it in a letter and Isabel says you have yours taken on horseback I wish you would send me a copy of it it can be taken on paper or leather and sent in a letter.
Abia Minor closes his letter with salutations to his brothers and sisters, a plea for letters from them and a pledge to answer back.
I remain yours Truly Abia Minor