2011-10-27 / Front Page

Yesterday’s Durability Beats Today’s Disposable World

To the Editor:

On Sunday of Fall Folk Festival weekend, I set out for the car show in Needmore. Naturally, the show was on Saturday. So, I now had two choices. The first was to go back to McConnellsburg and see what remained at the fairgrounds. The second was to snoop around to see if I could find something interesting off the beaten path. I opted for the latter.

On the way by the Union Church, I saw that the doors were open! I’d gone by that particular church on a number of occasions and wished I could get a peek inside, someday. I’d also read that the interior had been restored to original. Someday was here.

Wayne MacDonald greeted me at the door and immediately went into a very well-versed overview. Turns out he had a great deal to do with the restoration and that it was quite obviously a labor of love. He and a team of volunteers researched the history, carefully determined what was original and returned it to the condition it was when it was built in 1879.

I suppose the first thing that struck me was the shear simplicity of it all. Then there was the impression that everything was built to withstand the tests of time. The original builders meant for the church to go well beyond their own lives. They built it so that their great grandkids could worship in it and perhaps gain the same inspiration their greatgrandparents did from that tall ceiling and the echoes of the choir.

It occurs that we tend to bury our history in favor of more modern convenience. Folks today are inclined to cover it all up with vinyl siding or, push it over to make room for a pre-manufactured, double-wide something. The mind-set applies to our ways, as well. Not only did I marvel at what those original builders did with what they had, but I also thought about how complicated and hectic and pressurized and disposable we have allowed life to become since then.

I can’t help but believe that we will leave far less behind for future generations to admire. We just don’t see the value in anything beyond what will satisfy us for the moment and at the moment. It’s a shame, really. Even at 60-some, my early years seem to interest curious young-uns. It’s already ancient history from a different world to them, just like our grandparents’ early years were to us.

I left the church and stopped at Gordon’s ice cream and sandwich shop where I had an outstanding pulled-pork sandwich and found another fine example of simplicity and durability. How ‘bout a 1920s vintage, gasoline engine-driven Maytag wringer-washer, butter churn and sausage grinder. And it works! Got the butter to prove it!

Take that, oh thou hapless techno-gadget dependent whose six-month-old smart phone is already obsolete!

Bill Watson


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