I once spent time here in the late 60s when I was working out of Atlanta as a college Peace Corps Recruiter. It was a slow week. None of the young people, it seemed, wanted to leave the area. And they certainly didn’t want to traipse off to West Africa where I had served as a Volunteer. We were on the edge of the Old South.
It felt like the edge of nowhere. I hung out at the motel and read Faulkner.
Times change. The historic waterfront on the Ohio River has been filled with murals depicting the town’s colorful history and many of the old buildings have been reclaimed to their former glory. A previous slum in Lower Town has morphed into a thriving arts community. There is an excellent museum on quilting.
As for the isolation, the good folks of Paducah are now only a mouse-click away from anywhere in the world. Cell phones are ubiquitous and young people in town can whip out a text message faster than a male dog can mark his territory.
Peggy was complaining the other day about how technology dominates our lives. I think she meant my need to be on the Internet since I have never heard a squeak from her about our Verizon connection to mom, kids, grandkids and various other family members.
Actually, Peggy is as addicted to the Internet as I am. It’s just that her computer didn’t crash like mine did in Kona, Hawaii three weeks ago. I was not happy. My plan of blogging regularly disappeared like the Gecko climbing up our screen door.
I felt a tang of guilt about the blog but watching sunsets, drinking beer, swimming with sea turtles, avoiding fiery lava, and pursuing ancient Hawaiians took precedence over replacing the computer. As did being lost in dust storms at Burning Man in the remote Nevada desert the following week.
“You need to buy an Apple,” Tom Lovering admonished me at Burning Man. He took me over to Center Camp to demonstrate how wonderful his computer was while scantily clad women strolled by. “You need to buy an Apple,” my son Tony had admonished me weeks earlier in San Diego as the two-year-old Connor pounded on my leg with a truck that sang Old McDonald.
How could I resist?
I made the leap as Peggy and I dashed through Salt Lake City on our way east to celebrate Peggy’s Mom’s 90th birthday. I had been a PC man since I had purchased one 30 years earlier in Anchorage, Alaska.
“You are finally cool,” Tom Emailed me. If only I had known what it takes.
I decided to do a blog from Estes Park, Colorado because, well, a cool person would probably blog from there.
I fired up my shiny new Apple MacBook Pro. And got a zero with a line through it. Apparently I was not meant to be cool. The technician at the Apple Store in Boulder hooked up a diagnostic tool to my computer and then disappeared into his back room. He came out 30 minutes later with a new laptop.
“You’ve broken a record for our store,” he told me. “We have never seen an Apple crash its hard drive in three days.”
Thus you are hearing from the slightly un-cool Curt in Paducah, Kentucky. While I have temporarily left our trip down the Colorado River, I shall return to the subject. There are raft-eating rapids to face, oh my. But next I will blog about looking for dead people.