Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Turkey, Stuffing, and Cell Phones


     Thanksgiving is a great time of the year for spending time with family and friends.  I’ve never understood why turkey is only eaten on holidays, but I guess it’s just tradition.  For example, every Thanksgiving the President pardons a turkey as a gesture of goodwill or something.  In Obama’s case his pardon was a gesture of professional courtesy.

            Gayle and I just returned from staying with my daughter Shannon in the house she and husband Steve just bought with an extra bedroom for us. Being centrally located, we were able to spend a lot of time with our family, the importance of which can’t be overstated.  Many of our trips to civilization are too quick and frantic, trying to see our expanding family and many friends, but this trip was an exception.

            There’s always cultural shock when entering the Bay Area and dealing with the persistent symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder upon returning home.  But what struck me this time was the fact that everyone, especially the younger generation, is on a cell phone.  I mean everyone. Even my own flesh and blood. 

            Our grandkids have thumbs that move faster than a. nervous chipmunk.  Teenagers are known to text each other while sitting across the table from each other.  Face to face communication has been replaced by isolated electronic communication. So far I haven’t seen two kids using their laptops with cameras to see each other on the screen while sitting across from each other, but it will happen.

            I would like to outlaw all cell phones.  We can’t get reception where we live, so that may color my reaction to hyperkinetic thumbs.  It’s a leap from smoke signals in Plumas County to the magic hand-held devices used by yuppies and even baby yuppies. My 2 year old granddaughter joined everyone in the room staring at one of those things while I stared at a football game on TV.  I may become a missionary to spread the word that there is a big world outside of a demonic cell phone, iPad, smart phone, or whatever they are.

            My buddy John Chaffin and I took my grandson, Gabriel, 13, to his first football game where San Jose State, my alma mater, upset Fresno in a big game at Spartan Stadium.  I made a rule that Gabe could not use his cell phone during the game, which must have been like going through detox, but he’s a great kid and was soon yelling with the rest of the crowd. That’s when I decided to go to the mission field and drive out the demons in those hand-held devices.

            Fisher-Price has a new product called the Apptivity Seat, a child's seat for newborns on up to toddlers with an iPad mount.  New research has found that more than half of gadget owners worldwide admit to suffering anxiety when they can’t use their smart phones and being without them was as stressful as a trip to the dentist or even their wedding day.  They call it “technology addiction.” There is treatment now for this addiction with a significant number of people hooked.  My solution is to take the addicts to a football game.

            We’ve now returned to the land of smoke signals and Gayle is whistling along with Christmas music while changing the decorations from fall to Christmas.  She loves that stuff.

            Since Gayle was born on Christmas day it took the first year of our marriage to convince her that all the pretty lights and celebrations weren’t for her birthday. I told her that there were no mangers in Michigan when she was born, camels are in the zoo, and if there were three wise guys hanging around with packages they were most likely Mafioso. She still runs outside Christmas Eve looking for the star.  Now there’s a real challenge for me.



  1. It sounds like your family is like the rest of ours. Into modern technology. At least, they are using their writing skills, not the punctuation and spelling we are used too, but they are still writers.

    Sounds like you had a Fantastic Thanksgiving with Family and Friends. Enjoyed your pictures. And it was great to see John with you also. Hi John!

    1. We did have a great time. Family is important. And even if the grandkids are baby yuppies you've gotta love the little suckers, SmartPhones and all.

  2. Good one Ralph. I read something awhile back that hits the nail on the head. "Putting your cell phone away & paying attention to those talking to you? There's an App for that, its called RESPECT"
    Jim Loar

  3. Ah Ralph we dinosaurs have it tough. However today with 2-3 inches of ice on the ground I like that I can text all my children and see they are well. I know, I know I could pick up the phone and call them but most don't answer a live person right away they will answer a text as soon as they can tho.

    1. You're right. They will answer a text, evidently. My problem is that we can't make contact from the ranch. Do you recall if you could transmit when you were here? Some people seem to be able to make contact, but I've never had any luck. If I could, I think I would fight the learning curve and give it a try, but those letters are small and my thumb is fat. In regard to the weather, it was 7 degrees here last night and the coming ice age may do away with this dinosaur before I learn to text. Where is global warming when we need it?

    2. Yes I could get out but it was intermittent. But remember they are always adding more towers because it means more revenue from folks who get more minutes of use. Also I use a stylus (conductive tip) you can buy on Amazon which solves my big finger tips. It was about 20 degrees here believe it or not, colder than Anchorage was last night (25 degrees).

    3. I guess I'll have to wait for a tower. Have a great Christmas, Malcolm.