Television: Do we really need it?


Let me preface this column by saying I most definitely could happily live far away from the world without a television. It is incomprehensible to me that some people have a television in every room of their home and go a little crazy if they can’t connect to one during a power outage.

With that said, it’s no surprise that the one bill I most resent paying is for TV service. Just like many of you, I grew up with three television channels which came to us magically through the air, free-of-charge. Other than power outages, the only interruption came if the wind blew too hard, at which time the grainy picture became even worse than it normally was.

Finding a signal

During such times, the adult in charge would summon a network of kids to call out “that’s getting better!” or “WAY worse!” to the parent on the roof turning the antennae for the best signal reception, the words being passed on like an echo.

Today, we woke up to no Internet service, which is covered by a whole different type of network than the stairway-hollering crew we once knew. This network is known as our service provider, meaning one separate monthly bill for those of us living in the country, not connected to our TV service.

With a whole lot of head-scratching and several helpful long-distance tips from our technical adviser (the one we raised and let get away), we were back in touch with the World Wide Web. Something in our wireless router had reset itself while we were sleeping, and it had to be re-established.

Why? No real answer to that one, so we will blame it on night-time gremlins scrambling about in our air space.

No service

Later in the day, Doug was grading a small section of our lawn and bumped the dish that controls the almighty TV, and suddenly that service was a goner, too.

“Searching for signal” flashed annoyingly from the television screen as he called for service advice and waited endlessly for an English-speaking technician to come to his rescue.

It’s going to be a few days until someone arrives here to re-configure the settings of the lawn ornament known as a dish. Until then, we have no television service. That’s progress.

I couldn’t help but think how many of our grandparents would shudder at this state of affairs if they were to suddenly return to us today. Most of them would die a second death, of embarrassment, if they were even subjected to two minutes of TV commercials on the airways these days.

“Let it fade off in to the sunset,” is the suggestion I strongly believe my grandmother would give if she were in my home with me today.


Instead of listening to the blustery blurbs invading our tranquil home that we actually pay good money to endure, we would sit on the back porch and peel peaches and sip sweet tea, perhaps a baseball game tuned in on the radio, and I would ask to hear some of my favorite stories.

Next week, I will share my very favorite one with you. I won’t scramble any of your airways, and I won’t clutter up your lawn with any unsightly hardware to bring this story to you. There will be no service charge and not a single shocking commercial message. If you want to sit on the roof where the antennae used to be just for old times sake while you read it, that’s fine by me.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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