LAKE MACBRIDE— A winter byproduct of an active local food life is several dozen jars of soup and soup stock in the pantry and refrigerator. Curried lentil, root vegetable, kale and carrot, leftover chili, and many others. With summer abundance, leafy green vegetables (turnip greens especially) are suited for soup making and several large stock pots get canned as excess vegetables and garden seconds appear in the kitchen. Soup will serve as dinner on many nights during the long end of year holiday season, and through the first spring harvest.
Most nights between Christmas and New Years we watch a movie with our supper. This year I got out bankers boxes of VHS movies we collected, when that was the current technology, and hooked up the player. Last night it was “Sense and Sensibility” directed by Ang Lee. After a number of years, I am beginning to understand that the story is about more than Mrs. Dashwood marrying off her daughters. Others we watched are “It’s a Wonderful Life” directed by Frank Capra, “Christmas in Connecticut” directed by Peter Godfrey, and a version of “The Nutcracker,” with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland, directed by Tony Charmoli. This morning I viewed Edwin S. Porter’s “The Great Train Robbery,” one of the first narrative films, made in 1903. It’s online here and if you haven’t seen the 12-minute film you should.
Once our video-cassette player wears out, I’m not sure what we might do. They continue to be sold and we used to keep an extra one in the house, but no more. When we reach the creek, if ever, we’ll cross that bridge.
There is an open question about a diversity of technology over the long term. Will we be able to open *.jpg and *.bmp files in 20 years? What about Microsoft Outlook files where tens of thousands of emails are stored? Will Amazon.com and their Kindle files persist? There is too much life to be lived to worry about that now. Presumably, we’ll go with the flow, and break out the old technology to access them like we do with the VHS tapes. Like in so many ways, we are in this together as a society, and as is currently said on the Internet, these are first world problems.
It is a simple pleasure to find the boxes of tapes in storage, set up the machine and pick one each night to watch with family. It is part of a workingman’s life, subject to change. Technology and popular culture are the least of our worries as we go on living in the post-Reagan society.