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25.5 C
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Saturday, July 2, 2022
Ross’s Ramblings: Change comes even to NOTL, usually for the better
Newspaper boxes, like
this one by Timmies, aren’t
getting much love these
days.
Newspaper boxes, like this one by Timmies, aren’t getting much love these days. Ross Robinson

“One of the things that never changes is that things always change.”

This high level and tricky aphorism offered by Michael Clarke in the Veterans Memorial Park tennis pavilion earlier this week caused me to think about the rapidity, frequency and certainty of change.

My partner and I had been spanked by Michael and his partner in our Big Hitters doubles match, so I was in the mood to listen and reflect.

Michael always has a clever way with words and the perfect spring weather on the eve of the summer solstice had encouraged us to linger and enjoy a few cups of tea.

Not that long ago, pay telephones were ubiquitous and most of us inserted quarters into them on a regular basis. Now, good luck finding a pay phone, even on Queen Street.

Last Saturday afternoon, the town was hopping with visitors and local folk, but only one person used the Bell pay phone during the hour I observed.

I attempt to be accurate when quoting statistics, but in this case let’s just agree that most Canadians between the ages of 16 and 66 carry a mobile device of some kind in their pocket or purse.

Back about 30 years ago, airlines were spending piles of money to install telephones in each row of seats. Touch tone, not rotary dial, of course. Remember rotary dial phones and their long, coiled cords? Dialing 411 for directory assistance? Not so long ago. Now, most sharpies Google it.

And how about newspaper boxes? There were several different papers for sale in brightly coloured boxes in high-traffic locations. Where did they go? Apparently they snuck off into the night during the past few years. Without fanfare, not even missed by people like me who used to deposit coins to allow me to buy a paper almost every day.

Now, the sharpies consume their news online. And even the Saturday Toronto Star is a shadow of its former self. Not that long ago, we advertised stuff in the classified ads. Now, Kijiji.

The derelict blue Toronto Star box in front of Tim Hortons near the red light hasn’t been used for years. No one seems to notice or care.

Remember the angst when Bell Canada informed us that it was going to be necessary to dial 10 numbers instead of seven to make a local telephone call? Again, not that long ago. We had to add an area code to the telephone number. Change is never easy, but this was asking too much. Ah, how we adapt to new realities.

The periodic bell tinkling to announce the local knife sharpener and maybe the tinkerer? And on hot summer days, the Good Humour man on a bicycle. Now, is there even a Good Humour person?

Just askin’.

From local shops to department stores and then to Walmart and now Costco. At the risk of being repetitive, not that long ago. How about online shopping and how about all the package delivery trucks we see every day on our streets? Tell me please, how can you buy a pair of shoes online, without trying them on, walking around a bit and looking in the angled mirrors?

Buy a book online yes, but boxer shorts or a dapper button-down shirt? I am really behind the times with this whole online shopping revolution.

Let me ramble now to amalgamation. Into one Niagara? Horrors. Think back, though, and not too long ago, in 1970, the villages of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Queenston, St. Davids, Virgil, Glendale, McNab and Homer joined together in spite of much pushback? Sheesh, eh?

Confederation in 1867 was an amalgamation, to theoretically benefit people living in several different geographic locations. Canada, what a concept!

Our Fathers of Confederation were true visionaries and couldn’t wait for a majority of their fellows to agree. I think it was British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said, approximately, “Consensus is often an absence of leadership.”

OK, I have gone on about change. Let me confide that one of the fun things about Rambling each week is the regular use of my two Thesauriii and my old dictionary.

Take a moment now and look up the noun “trumpery.” Frightening …

Change is sure to happen, most times for the best.