Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Momma Gets Email

There are certain events that teach patience in one’s life:
1. Waiting at the top of the stairs Christmas morning
2. Running twenty minutes late and waiting in the check-in line behind a family of five with three children under the age of eight, all of whom checked a bag, two of which have the flu
3. Teaching a fifty-something homemaker how to use the internet
Last night I spent three hours of my life convincing Mom that setting up an email account does not mean she has to sell all of her postage stamps at the "Antiques/Collectables" booth during the next community garage sale. 
Mom’s resistance to internet was expected. For two straight Christmases, we made her a certificate for a cell phone at the local wireless store. Each year, she refused to go have anything activated. We knew Mom enjoyed her simple country life on the farm. She hadn't let today's world of constant communication take over, and she was quite content with that. She always said enjoyed being able to sit outside and watch for heat and have no one try to disturb her “peaceful moments”; we were always convinced she liked to be able to go to Elder-Beerman and have no one know where she was.
I sat down with Mom last night and reminded her that we had wireless internet installed as her Christmas gift over four months ago. With out her logging on, it’s useless. 
Lesson Learned: There is no better way to kick Momma into gear than to tell her that her stubborn ways are wasting money. 
Having gone to school during the 90’s, I took for granted how little Mom knew about the internet, and computers for that matter. We went over the basics of starting and restarting the computer. And restarting again because she had forgot that she had already started. 
Acclimating herself to the computer was a big deal for Mom. And don’t get me started on her loud reaction when I told her to, “Now, Mom, just put your hand on the mouse....” 
Perhaps the biggest trial for Momma was double clicking. It was either a single click or a triple click. Never a double click. In her words, “Jean, I don’t do double click!” Oh my. 
Finally it was time for Mom to log-in; I’d love to share her email address here, but I think at this point, she would have a nervous break down if she found more that 10 emails in her inbox in a week. And her password, well it is one for the ages. I’ll give Mom credit. When we told her to come up with something that she would think of every time she logged on, I never thought she’d be so creative...or honest:
Momma was shocked to see so many emails already in her inbox, from family and friends. “Who ARE these people and how do they know how to find me?!” she cried out. I think she felt a wee bit violated that 16 people already knew her email address before she did. read the emails. She was thrilled that so many folks took the time to sit down and write to her.
“Aren’t you going to respond?” I asked, as she deleted one from a dear friend. 
“Respond?? Is this a pen-pal deal where I have to write back every time or I never find the love of my life and I lose all my friends? If so, count me out. I already married your father and the friends thing is what Christmas cards are for.” Oh my. 
So, if you sent Momma an inaugural email, please don’t be offended if you didn’t get a response. Now, if you don’t get a Christmas card from her, I’d raise an eyebrow. 
Mom sent a few responses that included classic one-liners such as, “How did you find me?” and “Did you lose the weight?” and “The rain is making me crazy, so I got email.”
At the end of the evening I asked Momma what she thought the best part of email was. The ease of it? The quick communication? The way you could send an email to anyone, for free, no matter where they lived?
Momma thought for a while.
“Mostly,” she said, “I’m just glad I don’t have to hunt down the last place your father left the letter opener. Oh! And I don’t have to lick the envelop.” Oh my.
Mom’s first night of email was both monumental and encouraging; she texted me very early this morning asking if it was necessary to check email once a week or once a day. Perhaps most exciting is Mom has much to learn about the possibilities of the world wide web, and she is eager to do so. 

I told her about, the American Shorthorn Association online registration opportunities and Facebook. Of course, she informed me she already has well over 100 never-been-tried family recipes from previous generations and she didn't need to collect anymore. And she said if she registered the cattle online she worried about how she would keep in touch with her favorite ASA friends in Omaha. 

And Facebook. Well, she calls it Spacebook and she thinks it's an online dating service and is very confused as to why her happily-married sister has an account.

Don't look for a friend request from Momma anytime soon. 


  1. Oh, I LOVE it. I can see Ms. Linda now and it just brings a smile to my face. WONDERFUL way to start the day out today. Thanks for sharing Lindsay Jean!

  2. Wonderful! I could actually hear Linda in my head. I am still giggling!

  3. Thanks for the chuckle.