“Not now kids, I am watching the Walton’s.”

3 years ago

My son came up to me the other day and informed me his phone no longer worked.

I gave him a look like, “What do you want me to do about it?” (As if I didn’t know the answer to that.)

He gave me a look like, “Grab the keys, mom; we need to go and buy me a new one!” (With no upgrade in site.)

I, knowing the importance of a teenager having a phone, suggested on a compromise for awhile. A phone that merely talks and texts?

God forbid! He’d rather have nothing.

And that’s what he has, moping around the house like he has lost his best friend…

Then there were the Walton’s.

I remember this show when I was a kid. I recently Googled some stats and saw it ran from 1971-1981. When it started, I was 8. My mother really encouraged it. And since there were not 150 other channels to choose from there was not much arguing to be done. She would watch with us and say things like, “We have really lost family values. Look how things were back then.”

Back when I was 8 I was SO thankful I didn’t live in 1942. Oh My Goodness! One bathroom, no television, one phone in the living room and 7 siblings! They gathered around a radio at night for entertainment and they seemed to all get along! I had two brothers I could barely tolerate. Those Walton children did a lot of chores AND went to school, and THEN came home and helped make big, bountiful family dinners, which they ate together every night. And the women wore dresses every day. Shocking!

I see it so differently now. It is on in the afternoons when I get home from work. It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do with 3 kids and their activities, the house, the day job and trying to keep up with social media and my goal of two new twitter followers a day. But I can’t help myself. When I can, I turn it on. And when I really can, I lock myself in the bedroom and indulge in peace. Now I am completely fascinated with this show. I won’t go so far as to say I want to try living with one bathroom again, but we could use some of the simpleness of the past in our lives today. If my mother thought we had lost something back in 1971, then we have really lost it in 2014.

I have always been a big believer in family dinners. These days if we get 3 in a week at my house we are lucky. Sports and other school activities are always scheduled right in the middle of the dinner hour. Back on Walton’s Mountain that would be unheard of. As unheard of as endless sports tournaments that take up entire weekends.  My mother can attest to setting clocks around a show on the radio. She can also attest to Sunday drives and Sunday dinners with extended family and dropping by someone’s house “just because.” Now to plan a dinner party with my friends, we all have to check the calendars on our phones.

Computers, phones, tablets, the internet and cable. What on earth did we do before it all? I am as guilty as the next person. Though on a scale of 1 to 10, if you ranked how much I actually do with my smart phone and computer, I would score a 4. Just ask my kids. I was happy with the talking and then the texting. Now it’s the on line banking, bill pay, Facebook, navigating, QVC, twitter (194 followers and counting...) I have a hard time keeping up. Some days, I don’t want to keep up. I don’t want to see what my friends are up to on line. I want to see them.  Friends never come to the door anymore to announce their arrival. It’s a text and my kids are out the door. When the Walton girl’s had gentlemen callers come to the door, they had to get past the father, grandfather and four brothers. It might have been unrealistic even back then, but I have to think that for the entertainment value alone, they were much more involved in each other’s lives.

Yes, I know that even the Walton’s were not perfect. But I think people genuinely treated each other better back then. They could not retreat behind a phone or a computer screen or television. Or escape to a sporting event, a restaurant or the mall. You would think for all of the options we have today when it comes to clothing, we would all dress better. I drop my kids off to school and half the kids look like they are still in their pajamas. I am writing in my favorite old jeans and slippers. And when I go to the store later, I will still be wearing my favorite old jeans and slippers. They look like they could pass for “ugg” like shoes. But they are slippers. Maybe when I go to my son’s volleyball game tonight, right in the middle of the dinner hour of course, I will change my clothes. Lucky for him the games start after my favorite show. I have tried to encourage my kids to watch The Walton’s with me. I would love them to see a show where children never said “no” to their parents. They of course scoff at my request. They would rather watch the Kardashians. They won’t find much in the way of family values, but those girls also look pretty good every time they leave the house…so maybe some good will come from it.

So for right now I go it alone in my house with my Walton’s. I fear one day I will come home and the show will have been replaced with another. Are there that many women out there like me folding laundry on the bed while watching the Walton women peel potatoes and shuck pees? I hope so, because I have a lot of episodes to catch up on. Oh sure, there is that “On Demand” thing, but then I would have to learn how to do it. I just want to turn on the TV the good old fashioned way and escape back in time for an hour each afternoon.

And don’t get me started on “Little House on the Prairie.”

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