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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Growing Old Amid High Technology

Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

I know I've written about this same subject before, but I'm so affected, I reckon I'll be writing about it again and again.

I'm just so overwhelmed by the rapid advances in high technology and unexpected opportunities within my (as of now) sixty-two years of mortality.

I can't stop remarking on this, over and over.

At this moment, I'm sitting in my room here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home, watching spacemen floating in Outer Space, as they assemble a giant robot on the Space Station.

Can you believe this is even happening?

When I was a kid, it was all science fiction, stuff you read about in comic books.

The very idea - - - spacemen, wearing spacesuits, floating around in Space!

Ah, how well I remember watching WALT DISNEY PRESENTS on our black and white television on Sunday afternoons in the living room of our home in Spring Lake, North Carolina.

The TOMORROW LAND episodes dealt with the possibilities of spacemen, wearing spacesuits, floating around in Space.

Now, here I am, watching this on my home computer, which is connected to my wide screen high definition television.

Do you realize how far we've come, and how fast?

Just think about it.

We have cellular telephones, personal computers, the Internet, high definition television, notebook computers, digital cameras, movies on DVD, music on CD, and GPS to guide our vehicles.

Here in my air conditioned room, I have a small refrigerator to keep my drinks cold, and a microwave oven to instantly cook my favorite goodies.

When I was a boy, air conditioning was an almost unheard of luxury, and it was only for the relatively wealthy.

This past Christmas, my sister gave me an electronic massager for my feet.

I've got a portable backyard telescope that's guided by a computer.

I seldom go to a store, or a bank, or write a check.

I don't need to, because my income is directly deposited into my account, and bills are paid automatically, or I use my credit card to purchase items I order on the Internet.

In the rare instances where cash might be required, I get it from the ATM, which operates at all hours, so I almost never go to a bank.

If I need gasoline for my pickup truck, I can pay for it at the pump, using my credit card, even if the station is closed.

Here in my room at the Soldiers' Home, I use a portable hand held two way amateur radio to listen to the emergency responses from our Security force.

In case I have a heart attack or a stroke, there's wireless emergency call buttons mounted on the wall, plus one on a string to wear around my neck.

Much of this technology has been developed in just the past few years.

Because of unspeakable things that happened when I was a youth, I really thought my life was at an end before I ever reached maturity.

But, miraculously, I got a second chance at life, with opportunities I never imagined.

Surely, there is a God, and He does guide our lives.

I never thought I'd have the honor and privilege of serving in the United States Army, or go to war, or travel to distant foreign lands, or be in history books.

It's hard to believe I survived that war, or that they gave me medals.

I couldn't imagine ever being ordained to the Holy Priesthood.

Can you believe I actually went to Israel, the ancient land of the Hebrews, the Holy Bible, and Jesus Christ?

I never dreamed I'd complete high school and go to college.

I never thought any female would ever love me enough to consent to marry me ( - - - and I never thought we'd be childless, or get divorced).

I never thought I'd fly in a jet airliner, and completely circle the globe.

I never imagined learning to play guitar, composing original songs, making a record, being in a Hollywood movie, and performing on stage.

Having been adopted when still a baby, I had no idea I had Scottish ancestry, and that I would become the bard of an ancient renowned Highland clan, complete with wearing a kilt and a sword.

I never thought I'd one day become a police officer, or a firefighter, or a medic, or ride a horse while searching for cattle rustlers on a real Western ranch.

I never thought I'd ever own a full sized four wheel drive pickup truck.

Yet, all of these things have occurred, and much more.

So, yes, I'm overwhelmed and totally amazed by the awesome realization of it all.

God, the Eternal Father, has truly blessed me, far beyond my comprehension, as I'm painfully aware of my own failures and unworthiness.

Are you watching this?

Spacemen, wearing spacesuits, floating in Space!

Yes, I am fascinated and flabbergasted.

What surprises do the next few years have in store for us?

This is just so nifty!

Thank you.

John Robert "SAIGON" Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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