I was sitting in a restaurant on a Friday
afternoon enjoying a leisurely repast with some
friends. Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, my
cell phone went off. Without even thinking about it, I
reached into my shirt
pocket, pulled it out and answered it.
It was then I was struck with an awful thought. I am now a
child of this contemporary technological world. I never
thought I would succumb to this sort of thing. But here I
am; I'm not the man I used to be, and I'm not even sure I'm
the man I want to be.
On my way home, I thought about how far I have come in this
modern world. Then, for some reason I thought of my old
grandfather. He died in 1974 and every once in a while I
think about him. This was one of those times.
What came to my mind this particular time was when my
grandmother got a new contraption for their home.
Grandfather was not enthused about some of these modern
My grandfather allowed grandmother to get electricity in the
house, but when it came to indoor plumbing he was dead set
against it. He had used the old outhouse in the back as far
as he could remember. His father had used it before him. As
far as grandfather was concerned, he was going to use that
outhouse until he died. He did not need any of this
newfangled indoor plumbing. And that was that.
My grandmother said to him at the time, "Pap, is that
your last word on the subject?"
"It sure is," my grandfather responded.
Grandmother looked at him and said, "Great, the plumber
is coming tomorrow and I won't have to put up with any more
of your guff."
The next morning, right on grandmother's schedule, the
plumber came and fitted the house with indoor plumbing. Just
to be spiteful, my grandfather never used the indoor
plumbing. He showed grandmother that he was boss in some
certain regard, and used the outhouse for the rest of his
Then the time came when the telephone line went down the
valley where grandmother and grandfather lived. Knowing the
hard time grandfather gave her with the indoor plumbing, she
decided not to tell him about the
installation of the telephone. She knew he would disapprove,
so why ask.
Grandfather came home that night, as usual, and sat down to
a very nice supper. So far, he had not noticed the addition
in the living room. Grandmother, the diplomat that she was,
did not bother to point it out to him.
Grandfather, as was his custom, settled down to read the
evening newspaper in the living room completely unaware of
the change that had come to this sanctuary of his.
Grandmother was in the kitchen busy cleaning off the table,
washing the dishes and getting her kitchen back into shape
before retiring to the living room for an evening of
Suddenly, a ringing noise exploded in the living room.
Grandfather, not knowing what had happened, jumped out of
his chair and exited the living room faster than he had ever
done so before.
In the kitchen, grandmother had been so busy with her work
she forgot about this new contraption. She too was scared.
The ringing continued without stopping. Grandfather was
beside himself and considered getting his shotgun not
knowing who or what had invaded his living room.
Then it dawned on grandmother. "Oh," she said with
a sigh of relief. "That's the telephone ringing."
"Who's Phone, and what the world do you want to tell
"No," grandmother said and ran into the living
room to answer the phone. "It's the telephone
By this time, she had got to the telephone and had answered
My grandfather stared at her as she talked into the
"Woman," he said with a great deal of alarm,
"what in the world is wrong with you?"
Grandmother ignored him and continued talking on the
Now grandfather was worried. Watching his wife talk to
someone who was not there and even at times laughing when
there wasn't anything funny, caused him alarm.
Finally, out of sheer desperation, he went over, took the
contraption out of her hand and taking her by the arm and,
"Now, dear. There's nothing to worry about. Just come
over and sit down here in your chair and everything will be
"But I'm talking to."
"I know, I know. But you see, dear, there's nobody
there. You're just having one of your spells."
Grandfather never came to terms with grandmother's
newfangled contraption. To my knowledge, he never used it,
never spoke to anybody on it, never listened to anybody
talking to him on it. As far as he was concerned, it was one
of grandmother's hallucinations.
It has been a long time since I thought about grandmother's
telephone. On my way home from my luncheon meeting I thought
about all the inventions that have come into our world. I
thought of what the Bible said, "Lo, this only have I
found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought
out many inventions" (Ecclesiastes 7:29
We seem to be quick on our inventions, but rather slow on
connecting with God. With all our inventions, are we any
better off? Instead of seeking inventions, we would be
better served in seeking God.
* * * * * *
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God
Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala,
FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver
Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240
or e-mail [email protected].
The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.