Few technological advancements have changed my life, as much as the smart phone. I can still remember my first telephone number from 1965, but I can’t tell you my wife’s number right now, nor my sons’ numbers or anyone else’s for that matter. I simply hit a button or tell my phone to call any number I have saved in its memory.
I used to keep an old, spiral-bound notebook in the glove box of my farm truck that contained all the pertinent information about my cow herd, including breeding records, birth dates, vaccination records, etc. Sometimes that notebook would last four or five years, unless I dropped it in the mud, or manure or, one time, in the pond. Now, every bit of that data is in my phone.
My entire life can be retrieved anywhere, anytime: all of my digital information is stored in my phone, such as passwords for anything that is computerized — medical records, bank records, combinations for locks and safes, pharmacy prescriptions, and almost everything else I used to have to write down is now in a tiny, black rectangle attached to the belt that holds up my pants.
I can use my phone to search the internet for answers to the immense number of things that I don’t know. I can use the GPS component to give me directions to any place on planet earth, and the calculator will allow me to find the cubed root of y to the power of x.
It was the calculator part of my phone that I was using this past Saturday. I had finally found a source of some extra hay, and the man who delivered the first load needed a check to pay for the hay before he brought the second load. My phone multiplied the cost per bale and I proceeded to write the check. The hay guy was in a hurry to get the next load before dark, so I quickly handed him the check and he was off. Instead of driving my tractor back to the house, I thought I’d call my wife to come get me, but when I reached for my phone, I went into traumatic shock, realizing my phone was on the back of the hay hauler’s truck.
By the time I got to the house and used my wife’s phone to call the trucker, he was already back on the interstate. While on the phone with him, he pulled to the shoulder and searched his truck bed before responding, “Sorry, Jerry. The phone is not here.”
The county road is about a quarter-mile from where I wrote the check. Hoping that my phone had slid off before he reached the highway, I walked the driveway, while my wife followed me in the truck, using her phone to call my phone, every few seconds. Nothing. Turning north on the county road, I continued to walk while my wife was now ahead of me, still calling.
By the grace of God, Judy heard my phone ringing after going another quarter-mile on the county road. The cover of the phone wasn’t even scratched.
My entire life had been retrieved from a road ditch.
Jerry Crownover is a farmer and former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University. He is a native of Baxter County, Arkansas, and an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’