Computers and digital cameras and ipods --- oh my! Oh my, is right! Oh my, what would we do without them? I was introduced to my own computer fairly late in life by today's standards, however it was the only PC in the very large company I was working for at the time. This was in 1986. My staff of three humans was sacrificed in a cutback but I was given carte blanche in buying a PC to replace their labors. Wow, my very own IBM PC XT with a dual floppy drive, and an Epsom dot matrix printer. The "Model T" of PCs. Without one pixel of experience, and no one else in the company who even knew what the "any" key was, I was on my own to put this $5,000 miracle worker together. What a glorious day when my monitor woke up and displayed the Smart software in color! No more DOS, SAS, or Autotab (ancient computer hieroglyphics). I was so proud of this gargantuan on my desk. Those were the days. Windows was something we hoped to sit next to on a plane.
Twenty years later the most precious cargo in our move was my computer and the most urgent utility to hook up was the internet. We now talk in computer lingo and show pictures of our kids on our cell phones, blackberries, and ipods. My 5-year old laptop merely serves as a storage device for my digital photos until I can get home and store them more securely. It was that dear, old laptop that I'd set on my Aunt L. and Uncle E's dining room table and show them the latest shots. Kinda takes you back to the projector and movie screen, doesn't it? They loved looking at the pictures, but when the show was over I'd snap shut the laptop and off we'd go. These fine folks love pictures, but here I was, giving them a peek but leaving them with nary a 4 x 6 matte finish. Leave it to Kodak and others to provide the perfect gift for such folks -- a picture frame that displays slide shows, videos and changes the oil in your car! In October we presented Aunt L and Uncle E with one of these photo albums in a flash drive, not knowing that it would open up a whole new interest for these 86- and 87-year-old kids. Expecting to find the frame sitting on the coffee table, changing pictures every few seconds, we later found Uncle E pouring over the instructions and trying out all the functions of the box through the credit card-sized remote control. What a picture in itself as he looked at me over the rim of his reading glasses and grinned. Then talk turned to getting a digital camera for Uncle E's December birthday. Great idea! Well, they apparently couldn't wait and a few short days later they are proud owners of a digital camera AND a printer! Aunt L has had a very rough year healthwise and Uncle E has been dedicated to taking good care of her and their house. This discovery of today's technology has rejuvenated them in a way we didn't expect. Still very in tune to what is going on in the world, they just didn't get a computer or go online. What a thrill it is to see their excitement and what an honor it is to learn from them that we are never too old to learn new things and enjoy all the world has to offer.