Life’s Reflections: Taking A Look At Life’s Greatest Inventions

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This columnist has come to the conclusion that the automatic transmission is the greatest invention next to electricity this world has ever seen. (Linda Moody photo)

When you run out of ideas for a weekly column, you improvise. I resemble that remark as I prepare for this week.

I lead a dull life, and I imagine lots of people realize that, but I’ve decided to do what I am going to do.

The first thing that came to mind was to jot down some ideas for some future columns when I ran out of ideas again.

I thought about writing on my pet peeves, but why would people be interested in that?

Then, I could let people know all of the wishes I have and would like to attain sometime in my life; lastly, I thought about naming all of the friends I’ve made over the years, but that could take more time than not, and I’d surely leave someone out because it would be lengthy. Besides, maybe they don’t feel the same way about me as I do them.

Sure, there is always the wheel, and, of course, I am guessing some of us have to put the invention of electricity number one, which it truly is in my mind.

In my interviews with those people celebrating birthdays in their 90s or 100s, I usually ask what they consider to be the greatest inventions. Of course, just to find out more about them.

However, my first choice for a column topic was to discuss what I consider some of the inventions of all time after I had a conversation with my almost everyday passenger (not my son Jamie who never wanted to drive, which I’m okay with).

That passenger and I were discussing our first vehicles, and both featured manual transmissions.

I am truly grateful mainly for the person who invented the automatic transmission, which is right up there with electricity.

I remember being at home one afternoon as a teenager and Mom told me to come along with her. She told me to get behind the steering wheel, and she would show me how to drive. It was the last thing I thought I would be doing that day, but we got it done.

It probably wasn’t that pleasant for her because it involved me switching gears and not understanding why. No matter what, though, we began this venture, and I am sure I wasn’t a good student.

After the trip to wherever we went, we headed back home, where she immediately sat two chairs side by side and began teaching me about gear shifting.

Now, it sort of made sense.

Needless to say, we should have done that before taking off in the first place. But we survived, and I soon afterward earned my driver’s permit.

When it came time to get my own car, I am pretty sure I didn’t want a car with a gear shift when I began driving more often, but I do remember at one point when I did buy one and thought that I could handle it.

But, if I’m not mistaken, I managed to purchase one, and the only thing that bothered me was when I would come to a stop at an intersection with a slope, such as at North Broadway and Water Street, and when I tried to put on the gas to move on, I always felt the car would go backward and crash into the vehicle behind me. It never happened, but it sure felt like it could. It would raise my blood pressure and made me feel insecure. I don’t think I had that vehicle too long.

I am positive I did what they call strip gears at some point, and that was another reason for me to get something I could handle.

Other things that I consider great inventions over the years are, of course, gadgets around the house that make life more tolerable; disposable diapers; lots of technical things, such as computers and all of their offerings these days, not to mention TVs, radios and telephones in this modern day; plus all of the medically-related life-savers.

On the latter, I am just wishing we could find cures for all of the diseases that are affecting great lives around the world.

I am not that technically inclined but do appreciate what I’ve learned about them. I would never have believed I could do it when I started in the journalism business over 50 years ago, but I’m doing it.

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Jamie and I extend our condolences to the families and friends of Jeff Campbell, Doris Gehret Muhlenkamp, Dan E. Sullenbarger, Timothy J. Bowman, John R. Studabaker Jr., Andy Bollheimer and John “J.C.” Cummings.

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Please pray for these people: Kara Didier, Sonny Custer, Pam Norman-Penticuff, Roger McEowen, Kelly Kelch, Michelle Coppess Hiestand, Katie Young, Mike Mayse, Greg Moody, Kelly Jo Eikenberry (kidney transplant) and son Allen (donor), Larry Linder, Steve Waymire, Allison “Ally” Miller, Grace Boyd, Jason Stover Jr., Jeff Brocious, Jamie Knick, Dan Lockhart, Jenny Pitman, Nikole Baldridge, Chester Bryant, Melinda (Batten) Stacy, Michelle Young,  Margaret Hoening, Manual Macias, Kathy McNutt Dapore, Lester Beisner, Delores Beisner, Kermit Foureman, Chuck “C.W.” Cruze, Mark Lovejoy, Connie Buemi Hodson, Michelle Grottle Wright, Judy York, Donald Booker, Dennis Leeper, Connie Stachler, Randy Heck, Ronnie Norton, Marie Schlechty, Jeremy “Jerm” Burke,  Gary Eichler, David Pretzman, Clinton Randall, Ralph Byrd, Doug Winger, Rusty Maloy, Debbie Mayse, Sonja and Dan Coppess, Jeanie Francis, Harvey Hinshaw, Bruce Kaiser, Amanda Mote, Gary Francis, Anthony and Theresa Grillot, Lee Everhart, Paul Gigandet, Doug Whittington, Tracy Pratt, D’Arleen Waymire, Zach Urbancic.
Also, John Rimmer, Joan Keen, Carol Hemmerich, Dave Hinshaw, Larry P. Fitzwater, Jim Thomas, Neal Gray, Michael Mowery, Kenny Edwards, Judie Hathaway,  Ned and Brenda Wallace, Rick Marker, Randy Garrison, Jannie Barrow, Kathy Gragorace, Danny Foster, Becky Everhart, Becky Oliver, Steve Neff, James Enicks,  Cathy Collins Peters, Donna Bixler, Linda Subler, Sally Burnett Ganger, Gloria Hodge, Jeff Baltes,  Cathy Melling, Scott Clark, and all of those who are suffering from other life-altering illnesses.

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Happy birthday:  
Oct. 10 to Dick Brown, Doyel Daniels, David Michael Bowers, Greg Cox, Kelly Koverman, Ashley Strosnider, Eric Brand, Chris Widener, Bob Guthrie and Barbara Swabb.
Oct. 11 to Cheryl Clouse, Kelly Spahr, Carol Ginn, and Vanessa Cruze.
Oct. 12 to  Renee Clymer Fleckenstein, Dick Shumaker, Norman Warner, Jeni Douglass and Lori Hicks Werts.
Oct. 13 to Randy Fosnough, Kim Frech, Cody Burnfield, Rayvin Thompson, and Shane Coby.  
Oct. 14 to Lisa  Doyle, Don Booker, Josh Stachler, Heather Bergman, Rocksand Hollinger, Steve Hall and Todd Schultz.
Oct. 15 to Rodney Hiestand, Stacy Moody, Ryan Moody, June Singer, Ed Erisman, and Jantzen Baker.
Oct. 16 to Albert Gasper, Staranna Mikesell and Mike Nisonger.

Happy anniversary to Andrew and Krista Waymire and Travis and Julie Thwaits, all on Oct. 11, and Ed and Amy Erisman on Oct. 12.

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Think about it: “Talking comes by nature. Silence  comes by wisdom.” — Author Unknown