Generation Gap

They're climbin' in your Facebook, they're snatchin' your data up
This Christmas I hosted the family at Goat Creek—the first time in years that I didn’t load the dogs up in the RV for a trip. My thirteen-year-old grandson, Nicholas, taught me about Facebook. He says it’s a neat way to meet girls. A glimpse at his Facebook page confirms that.

When I asked him a question, Nick looked at me like, “You don’t know that?” He did a great job of teaching me, much better than some of the online courses that I have taken on this new phenomenon known as social networking.

Cousin Les Bowles told a story about our Grandfather John Bowles that relates to my indoctrination to the PC and the many applications for its use. Granddad was born in 1874; he purchased a horseless carriage at about the same age that I was introduced to computers.

Around 1929, my Uncles Lester and Elmer took my grandparents to Austin, Texas to pick up the new conveyance. The salesmen put Granddad in the driver’s seat, without the engine running, in order to explain the gears, clutch, brake, spark, and gas levers of the Model T Ford. The salesman gave the Tin Lizzy a crank. It started; Granddad let out the clutch and drove off toward the Bowles Ranch on the Pedernales River. The boys caught up before they reached Williamson Creek at Oakhill. Everything went well down the bumpy gravel road, with dust billowing up and Grandma hanging on to the bonnet she always wore to protect her fair Scots-Irish complexion.

Granddad turned quickly down Cox Crossing Road, the only crossing on the Pedernales at the time. Fortunately the ranch gate was open, and he whizzed right in. Grandma looked like she was about to jump out of the open touring car. As they neared the rock house, he circled a stand of large native oak trees. Thinking their father was showing off his new vehicle for them, my father and Uncle Leroy came out to watch.

Granddad headed straight towards a thicket of brush, pulling back on the steering wheel and hollering, “Whoa, damnit! Whoa, damnit!”

He stopped in the middle of the thicket. Grandma jumped over the door on one side as Granddad did on the other. He headed to the house with her in close pursuit, swatting at him with her bonnet and giving him a good tongue lashing all the way.

Seems he didn’t remember the instructions on how to stop this new-fangled contraption. Granddad never drove the Model T again. He depended on his sons to drive him everywhere he went until his death in 1952 at the age of 79.

Having traveled at least once by horse or buggy to Indian Territory and back to Texas, Granddad understood the concept of making a horse or a team of horses stop. This new horseless carriage was as strange to him as the PC was to my generation when the Internet opened up 17 years ago.

I hope that my grandchildren and all young people will understand why some of the ever-changing computer applications are a challenge for the previous generations to grasp. In time, you will be tested on some futuristic technology as every generation before us has been.

photo credit: joe.ross

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