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Rediscoveries after the fall

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You are, of course, eager to read about the great fall on the ice I took some weeks ago, landing on my derriere (that's my butt) feeling the sudden searing pain in my wrist, lying on the icy road looking up at the blue sky, terrified I'd broken a hip - the worst nightmare. I rolled over, hauled myself to my feet and back up the driveway hill. My hips were OK. My wrist was not. There was the trip to the ER, and the subsequent surgery for pins to hold my wrist together. Oh, you don't really want to read about all that?

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Well, then, let us speak of lessons learned, including the rediscovery of two forms of communication I'd almost abandoned: the telephone and the hand-written letter.

First, a word about the computer. Being a Thoroughly Modern Woman, I have of course, become devoted to my computer. Up until The Fall, e-mail had become the communication of choice. I chatted daily with my sister, and even with our daughters, two out-of-town and one right here. Messages about community activities, plans for lunch dates and meetings bounced through cyber-space.

This column, and other writings were all done in quick two-handed keyboarding. It was a way of life that has been put on hold for now. I can right-handedly hunt and peck, and, of course, open, print, send and reply with a quick mouse click. But good old e-mail chatter was out of the question.

A few days after The Fall, I got an e-mail from a friend and started to peck away at my story. But wait. Here, right on the wall by the computer is this wonderful invention: the telephone. I'll just call my pal. And I did, and we shared news and ideas much more abundantly than we would have on e-mail. My other rediscovery, the hand-written correspondence, started with a few thank-you notes to folks who had done kindnesses in our hour of need. A piece of spiral-bound notebook paper pulled out of the notebook so the page was raggedy down the left side got spruced up with dragonfly stamps. It is not elegant writing paper, but the notebook doesn't slip away and, again, people who might have gotten an e-mail update get handwritten note.

I have, however, been advised by daughters who know my sloppy handwriting to write with care, and with all this time on my hands (I don't drive yet either) I can be slow and deliberate. And legible.

Now, I will, in a few weeks, be back at my computer, and I surely do not distain its wonders. Our oldest daughter spent a week in Amsterdam recently and her daily e-mails, complete with pictures were a joy. They were a far cry from the Old Days when a letter from Europe took days, maybe weeks, to get here on that thin blue paper.

Well, now it seems that despite my best intentions, this column did turn out to be All About Me.

But here's what I really want you to take away from reading here. If you are as computer addicted as I am, don't wait for a broken wrist to jar your habits. Pick up the phone. Pick up your pen. Someone's day is waiting to be brightened by you - the old-fashioned way.

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