Weather, technology, truths and more

Donna Brown

This fall has been very strange. We usually have frosts now, but this year we still had tomato plants obscuring the beautiful red tomatoes. Eleanor Lossaso reported seeing the Monarch on November 3 when she would usually be halfway to Mexico by then. That same day she had an encounter with a black widow spider that had made a home in her greenhouse.

Two weeks ago I saw a lilac bush in Grape Street ablaze with flowers. Last week, I did a double-take when I saw a meadow on Bellevue Street covered in purple crocuses. what is going on? Maybe I should have left my pink flamingos a little longer.

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Election Day was November 8th and for the first time in history we witnessed a lunar eclipse on Election Day. If you get up early, you should be able to observe November’s beaver moon, also called the snow or frost moon, heading toward total eclipse as it sets.

The name beaver moon arose because it was once a time when beavers were hunted to ensure winter fur before the swamps froze over and the beavers disappeared.

If you were a kid in the ’60s, you probably watched My Favorite Martian, aspired to one day own a flying car like the Jetsons, had a toy robot or a ray gun and never missed an episode of Star Trek. If so, check out Cape Canaveral’s next launch, Artemis I, it’s an uncrewed vehicle that will orbit the moon and back. It was scheduled for launch on November 14 and is a test drive of Artemis II planned for 2024. Artemis II was the first spacecraft to travel outside low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972.

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I’m sick of technology even though I’m using a tablet to write this I’m watching quilting tutorials on YouTube I’m constantly checking email sending texts to family members and I pay all my bills online I think our technology is making us less human and intuitively we know it might We are misunderstood. This is why we are constantly adding emojis to make sure our word reader understands our intent.

I long to speak to people in person. I want to read their facial expressions, listen for the inflections in their voices, and watch for signs of body language. Sure we can use Duo and Zoom but it’s different. I worry about young people who do most of their communication on their phones. Do they even understand intonation and know how to read facial expressions? Students wearing masks for two years did not help solve this problem.

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The truth, does anyone want to hear the truth? Obviously, every husband knows not to answer yes when his wife asks, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” However, spouses, lovers, siblings, and friends often demand the truth, but I’ve decided that people only want to hear their truth, not yours.

You sadly offended a very close friend of 50 years ago by telling the truth when asked. She was my best friend in high school. We whispered shared secrets and dreams. I moved away from Hammonton many years ago, and we communicate via email and texts, which have many drawbacks. Words can be misunderstood, intonation and nuance lack, emotions can run high and interpretation can be completely distorted and misunderstood. Again, Duo or Zoom would probably work, but what I’d really like to do is hold my friend’s hand, close his eyes, and have an old-fashioned conversation.

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Remember birthday parties when we were kids? They are usually held on Saturdays from 2 pm to 4 pm in the child’s home. Decorations included streamers and non-helium balloons.

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Kids got their sweet treats from crepe paper cups, Hawaiian Punch, and homemade donuts. We’d wear fluffy dresses or button-up shirts and dress pants, put on paper hats and be on our best behaviour. We were playing pin-tail on the donkey and musical chairs. Inexpensive gifts were purchased at Miller’s Department Store or the Five and Ten, most often paper dolls or cap guns.

Last week at an outdoor children’s birthday party, where there were many games and activities, including a jungle and club house to play in, several children spent an incredible three hours running in circles, screaming, laughing and getting dirty. However, several boys sat silently playing games on their phones. I wanted to show them that life passes them by. Friendships can be made, physical skills honed and an appreciation of nature. I’ve also considered giving some “little old lady advice” to their moms, but they, too, were glued to their phones. So, I happily joined the kids in the forest.

Donna Brown is a former librarian at Hammonton Preparatory School and a columnist for Newspaper. To contact Donna Brown, email [email protected]


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