Hardman: This Evolution Thing is Troubling

Columnist wrestles with generational changes his family is going through.


They say worrying causes gray hair, but since I got gray hair, I worry a lot more about things I never paid much attention to.

Like this evolution thing.

Just the other morning, my TV went blank all of a sudden. I was in total panic mode and ready to throw on my jacket and hit Best Buy.

Then I got to thinking, "What would my dad have done?" Of course, he would have gotten out the manual, pulled out a screwdriver and figured out how to repair it.

Fortunately, I had just removed the power cord from the wall.

Still, as I went back to my granola, I got to thinking about how times have changed for men in my family.

While I was deep in thought, the light bulb above the kitchen table went out. Now, this usually involves a call to my outstanding maintenance guys, and they handle it for me.

When I was a little kid, though, at a similar kitchen table, my dad took a pencil from behind his ear, grabbed a piece of paper and drew plans for a new deck that he built.

That was nothing. Before I was born, he built his own house.
I get the shakes just thinking about that and wouldn't even attempt to hit the first nail into a piece of board.

Saturdays, when I was a little kid, meant car repair time. If the oil needed changing, out came the canvas and the tools to get the job done.

Me, I drive to one of those "change while you wait" places, read a magazine and drink a cup of coffee. It is better that way, since I have no idea what they are even doing.

With my family history being rooted in rural America, I come from a long line of people who hunted for their food with actual guns. I can't even hit a deer in a video game. My biggest obstacle to feeding myself is making sure things don't come out of the microwave cold.

Just the other day, I was struggling with my wife's iced tea recipe. Basically, you put eight tea bags in cold water for eight hours in the refrigerator. Mine, though, tasted like flavored water. My dad could take corn or peaches or apples, put them into a thing with coils and a bucket of boiling water and make liquor. Oh no, wait, that's bootlegging. We're not supposed to talk about that.

With the gray on my roof, at this point, I'm a lost cause.
Frankly, I'm now worried about my kids, my grandchildren, my great -grandchildren, my great-nieces and -nephews.
As I'm proof of, this evolution thing is a reason to really worry and get gray hair over.

Lorna Ulmer February 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM
In my grandmothers day she canned vegetables, made had homemade icecream with the milk from their cows, and Grandpa chopped the head off the poor turkey they ate. In my mothers day she scorned the new Swanson Dinners and insisted on making dinners with food from the milk man and the butcher by scratch. I go to the Walmart Superstore and just microwave absolutely everything I eat.
Colleen M. Sullivan February 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
The good news is that those types of inherited skills that your Dad had usually skip a generation, so your kids should be just fine!
Michael Hardman February 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Colleen: Thank you for the good news. I'm hoping one of them will be able to build an in-law apartment on to their house for my wife and I. Thank you for reading the column. I appreciate it.
Michael Hardman February 13, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Lorna: My sister can do the canning thing. With all the boiling water and cleaning things, the microwave is more my speed. Now, if you can only come up with something that is a little faster. Thank you for reading the column.


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