Dad would have found idea of bottled water hard to swallow
As a member of the generation who grew up during the Depression and served in World War II, Dad was not hard to please. His attitude toward leftovers is a case in point.
Dad could never bear the thought of good food going to waste. This also included bad food. Since Mother was such a good cook, the long-term leftovers were almost always something like pimiento loaf or liver pudding.
When Mother was about to throw the lunch meat out or give it to me for use in Miss Frumpwaggle's third-grade science fair, Dad would eat it. This required a combination of strength of character and - more importantly - strength of stomach.
This waste-not-want-not attitude had to be the result of Dad's early years. The only warm room in their house was the kitchen. Water in the basin on his bedroom night stand froze on winter nights.
The call of nature in the middle of the night was truly a call to nature, since the outhouse at the end of their yard was their only option.
This could explain why Dad never complained about sharing our home's tiny bathroom with his wife and four children. This does explain why Dad would get up at 5 a.m. to assure himself free access to the bathroom.
Dad has been gone more years than I would think are possible, but I often find myself wondering what he would have to say about tremendous changes made in technology and other areas of our lives.
The concept of paying for bottled water would have puzzled Dad. His idea of bottled water would be to fill an empty orange juice glass container with water and take it with him to his attic desk to drink while he graded papers of his high school physics students.
Shelling out a buck or two or three for little more than a pint of water would have struck him as ridiculous, since he could just go to the kitchen sink and get all the water he wanted.
Speaking of "homemade" water, Dad could have used all his advanced math skills and still never figured out why sewage bills now make it more expensive to get rid of used water than it cost to buy the fresh water in the first place.
Speaking of beverages, Dad would probably consider himself a pioneer in the area of Yuengling beer. He was years ahead of beer drinkers from around the country who came to regard it as a premium brew.
Actually, Dad drank Yuengling beer because it was cheap. He would have had to switch to something more economical due to the popularity of the Pottsville brew.
Whether he was drinking water from a recycled container or beer from a soon-to-be-recycled container, Dad would have had a blast with computers.
His favorite part of his den was his short-wave radio set. You needed the fingertip touch of a professional safe cracker and the patience of a kindergarten teacher to adjust the tuning knobs on the radio to actually get static-filled music or talk.
But that old radio was Dad's window to the rest of the world. It was not unusual to climb the attic steps to find him listening to a radio broadcast of Nepalese dance music.
Now, he could be anywhere in the world via a computer with just a click of the mouse. He could even listen to Nepalese dance music without the static.
I don't think modern television viewing would get Dad to change his opinion of a TV set as "the idiot box." The TV screens today are often as big as the drive-in movie screens in Dad's day and there are hundreds of channels and networks from which to choose.
However, it wouldn't take Dad more than one run-through with the remote to find out that nothing is on TV around the clock.
(Incidentally, I am in favor of the remote. When we were kids and Dad sat down to watch TV once or twice a month, my brothers, sister and I were the remote. Dad would tell us what channel to turn the knob to.)
Dad would not be impressed with modern communications either. Dad didn't use the phone any more or any longer than absolutely necessary. Whenever one of us kids would call him long-distance, he would be off in less than a minute, explaining, "I don't want to run up your bill."
Blogs, e-mail and tweeting on Twitter would have held little interest for Dad, who was a prolific letter writer. When I was in college, Dad would send lengthy letters wrapped around the monetary assistance I had requested.
After I got done spending that monetary assistance, I would read the letters. They were funny, well-written reflections on what was going on at home.
Dad would never be so self-centered that he would think people other than his immediate family would be interested in reading about his daily life on Twitter or a blog.
All in all, I think Dad would have embraced most of the new technology and progress.
But I think if Dad went to the movies or an amusement park it would be strictly BYOW - Bring Your Own Water.
(Walt Kozlowski, a freelance writer from Mount Carmel, composes "Walt's Way" for each Sunday edition.)