There’s a lot to a range

This piece was written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘range’.

Home, home on the range (if you can call a block in a rural village a ‘range’), where the rabbits try to play merry hell with my attempts to grow vegetables (for us) and my wife’s planting of trees and shrubs for the birds to sit in and for us to look at, we sit on our roofed deck (yeah, I know, men and their decks), and solve most of the world’s problems (you’re welcome).

Most of our discussions begin with an aorta; not the one in your heart but the short form of ‘they ought to’ (where ‘they’ is some vague entity that has the power to change troublesome things), as in ‘Aorta do something about stupid drivers, the internet, the health system, petty politics and the burgeoning industry of creating new things to be offended about, (insert your own range of pet peeves here).’

During these discussions we reminisce about the magical times when a range was a slow combustion device that you cooked on, after having fed it with wood that you’d chopped yourself, and which also provided your sole source of heating and hot water for the bath that the whole family shared on Saturday night, whether you needed one or not.

Moving right along, we venture onto the infinite range of character-building activities which, were they still in place today, would ensure no juvenile delinquency, murders, lewd dancing or television, and these include having to bury the contents of the can that sat under the seat in your outdoor toilet, re-using the paper bag that carried your school lunch in for at least a week, tolerating without complaint having your face cleaned with a handkerchief that your mother had just spat on, and having you mouth washed out with soap for swearing.

Unlike the famous Monty Python ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ sketch we, of course, do not exaggerate about the halcyon days of our youth when we walked ten miles through the snow to school and were thrashed within an inch of our lives by teachers wielding a range of corporal punishment techniques, including the cat o’ nine tails or a mace on a chain if our handwriting was not immaculate copperplate and between the lines.

And no, unlike some grandparents we could name (and they know who they are), we do not chastise our grandchildren about their screen fixation, addiction to junk food and appalling tastes in music, preferring instead to lock them in our walk-in freezer for a while and invite them to make friends with the range of rabbits and annoying neighbours hanging in there.

19 thoughts on “There’s a lot to a range

  1. The times they are a changing. My grandkids when younger didn’t even know the meaning of coal. My niece when she visited my mother in Ireland wanted to know where the ensuite was. She couldn’t believe a toilet was not attached to the bedroom. When we were there 60 years earlier we had a pot under the bed at night and used the donkeys shed if we wanted to do our business during the day. We could tell a thousand stories and wouldn’t be believed by our grandkids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Keith. My wife has asked me to clarify that we do not have a walk-in freezer; we have to fold up the humans to fit them in the chest freezer. And that no real grandchildren were harmed in the production of this fantasy. As for the neighbours … 😉


  2. And (we) wonder why they, the irredeemably-young, refuse to believe that we once were as young as they…

    the gulf between the not-old and past-young is technology… every generation’s needs are met by technology, the trouble is, while the needs are the same, the tech rarely is… want to communicate with a friend? my grandparents would have reached for pen and paper an envelope and a stamp… we would’ve dialed the single-location telephone and the youngest would have texted without looking at the device
    same needs, wildly different media

    thought-provoking Six

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, clark. My grandparents were bamboozled by electricity and telephones and television and were largely dismissive of them, although they were very enthusiastic about cars and refrigerators. Twas ever thus between the generations, I suspect. 😉


  3. Very well written, Doug.
    No need to repeat the thoughts on the previous comments, with which I agree.
    Echoing the last comment discussion with clark, I guess one additional contemporary problem with technology is that we have, more or less, became tools of the things that supposed to be our tools.

    Liked by 1 person

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