Mark Ballard

What would Granny and Granddaddy say?

A young Mark Ballard is pictured with his grandparents in this family photo.
A young Mark Ballard is pictured with his grandparents in this family photo. Special to The Telegraph

Lately, I’ve had my grandparents on my mind quite a bit. With the turbulent election campaign and constantly changing times, I often look back to their values for wisdom and comfort. Their world was a very different one, with life going at a much slower pace. It’s hard to even imagine them in today’s world.

Many times during the presidential campaign, I paused and wondered what Granny and Granddaddy would say about the hatred and discourse the candidates spewed — as well as the bickering between friends and family members. I’m very sure they would have been shocked with the way it was handled.

In fact, if I close my eyes, I can clearly see a disapproving grimace on Granny’s face. A former teacher, she was a very strict and by-the-book kind of woman.

Although I enjoy all the benefits of our current, fast-paced world, sometimes I yearn to be back in the day when life was simple and hugs lasted a little longer. A time where chairs at dining room tables were filled and front porch swings were the place to go after supper as night fell.

Since they died, more things than I can begin to write about have changed. However, sometimes I do find it interesting to set up make-believe scenarios in my mind where they, as they used to be, are dropped into today’s world. It would be a shocking premise indeed and have all the makings of a fantastic reality show.

Speaking of television, that’s a good place to start this process of comparison. Granny and Granddaddy were born in a world absent of television. They witnessed history being made when a television set appeared complete with rabbit ears and a grainy, black and white picture. It opened a small window to a big world.

Granny watched her “stories,” or soap operas, and Granddaddy watched sports and the local news. There were no talk shows, 24-hour news channels or anything offered in living color, let alone a show in high definition. They were more than satisfied with the new invention because it was certainly better than the radio.

As time marched on, the window to the world became wide open. Now, we can watch anything we wish and see it in real time as it happens. If we should be busy when our favorite show is on, we can easily record it to watch at a later time. We have the ability to pause shows, speed through commercials and even enjoy shows on our computers, tablets and phones.

The World Wide Web has opened not only windows but also doors. Anything written on paper is quickly becoming obsolete. We can instantly email and private message people on social media with the touch of a button. We are able to visit with friends and family in ways that my grandparents couldn’t even imagine.

Cash money, as Granny used to call it, is still an acceptable way of payment in today’s world, but paper checks written by hand to pay bills are becoming a thing of the past. Granny would really be amazed at that! She always hand-delivered her payments, made by checks, by driving around from one business to another in downtown Macon.

Her reasoning was two-fold. First and foremost, she didn’t have to waste an envelope or purchase a stamp to mail the check. Second, handing it to someone in person assured Granny that it had been received and credited.

Granny literally thought that her money was in her neighborhood bank branch. If we were across town and I offered to stop by a different branch location, Granny wouldn’t hear of it. “My money is not there,” she would say as I drove her to her branch.

I’m pretty sure my grandparents could have learned to use a computer, but I am also certain they wouldn’t have embraced the information age. They were satisfied to rely on “in-person” visits and phone calls using the telephone that always proudly sat in a special nook in a centralized hallway.

Although I enjoy all the benefits of our current, fast-paced world, sometimes I yearn to be back in the day when life was simple and hugs lasted a little longer. A time where chairs at dining room tables were filled and front porch swings were the place to go after supper as night fell.

There’s no doubt that if Granny and Granddaddy appeared in today’s world, it would be like being on Mars to them. I guess that’s why I reflect on their lives so often. I feel like I can’t let go of their hands for fear I will lose touch with the world in which I grew up. That’s the reason I write about my past so much; it helps me stay grounded!

MORE WITH MARK

Join Mark from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Nine Hundred Ten on Carroll Street in Perry for the annual downtown Holiday Open House. Holiday merchandise, books and cards will be available for purchase. Call 478-224-0559 for details.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call 478-757-6877; email markballard@cox.net; follow him at instagram.com/markcreates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.

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