Thursday, September 2, 2010

Holiday Without TV

We spent 5 weeks visiting our new home in Prescott, AZ – without television. That probably makes some of you gasp, and others shrug. What’s the big deal? Good question.

I’m a Baby Boomer, you know. We remember when TV was a sometimes privilege – not a constant in the fabric of our daily lives. In the summer we hardly watched TV at all, as we were anxious to burst past the screen door to play in the yard, the suburban streets, and the neighborhood. By evening, we were so worn out from kickball, roller skating, bike riding, hopscotch, and general childish mayhem, that we ravenously replenished spent calories, bathed and went to bed. Special TV shows, like Disney’s Wide World of Color (which we watched in black & white), were a family event. It was a different time.

The TV is too much of a familiar companion now. When we are home, it’s often tuned into CNBC during the day. Most evenings we watch one or two shows, while dinner is often consumed in front of the TV. So it was with some trepidation that we faced over a month in our new home without the luxury of cable TV.

It turned out to be easier than we thought. We devoured a stack of books, re-reading some classic Travis McGee novels by John MacDonald and others by the recently departed Dick Francis. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo kept Ron glued to the sofa for a few rainy days. We had brought some books with us, but bought more, and also borrowed a few paperbacks from the honor library in the club house at Talking Rock Ranch.

We ate our meals at the dining table, accompanied by music instead of what my father sometimes called the “idiot box”. Our days were filled with organizing, cleaning and enhancing our place, shopping, exploring Prescott, fixing meals, and working out. Golf fully occupied us from 2 to 4 times a week. We went to the pool a few times. I gave myself a manicure and took a jewelry-making class. Some special events enhanced our stay, including the Prescott Farmers Market, the Cowboy Poets Gathering, a trip to the horse races, and a Culinary Class taught by our club’s chef. We dined at least once a week at the club and made new friends, and attended a party at our neighbor’s home. Almost every evening we watched the sunset from our back porch, entertained by the birds, lizards, and cottontail rabbits. We weren’t bored.

We arrived back in Chicago late Tuesday night after a long day of travel via plane, trains, and automobile (literally). We unlocked our dusty, stuffy house and dropped our luggage on the floor, thinking we might wind down for bed by watching a little TV. Guess what? Our cable, phone, and internet were dead! Our favorite shows had not been recorded to the DVR.  It would be morning before I would call Comcast for a repair appointment.

As it turns out, one more quiet evening of reading was the perfect way to end our holiday.

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