February 22, 2022

Best “Thangs” in Life

Charles D. Williams, MD, FACR

As time goes by, my memories are shaped more and more by my heart, and I carry them with me in the life that remains.

During my life, I’ve witnessed many changes. As a kid we were poor, but the government at that time didn’t tell us we were poor. Instead, I was part of what we now call “progress.” I remember at age seven a refrigerator replaced our icebox, and at age 11, indoor plumbing replaced our outhouse. I remember receiving a party-line telephone at age 14 and a black and white TV (with snow) as a late teenager (but the TV back then didn’t get a chance to mold my brain and control my life!). I remember picking cotton from daylight to dark for three dollars a day until I was replaced by a cotton-picking machine.

With each generation, we see more advancement and gadgetry. We now have CDs, DVDs, computers, beepers, faxes, websites, internet, cell phones, artificial intelligence, and the list goes on. We have answering machines to screen calls and call waiting to avoid missing a call from somebody we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

It seems that everyone’s life is getting more complicated. The other day I received a fax from the Florida Radiological Society, an email from the American College of Radiology and a call on my home phone from the hospital when my beeper went off at the same time. I got in my truck and my cell phone rang.

Sometimes I think I work for a computer. I can no longer read a scan if the computer is down. I can’t perform an exam unless it is on the computer. I can’t dictate a report unless I have a form from the computer.

Thangs keep advancing and thangs keep changing and progress continues to be made. Forty years ago, audiocassettes were on the cutting edge and now they are outdated. In another decade, all the thangs that complicate my life now will be outdated.

In spite of all of this, I am grateful that not all thangs have changed. Still … nothing beats the smell of a log burning in the fireplace, the taste of homemade ice cream on the Fourth of July, the changing of leaves in the fall, roasting marshmallows and wieners on an open fire, walking barefooted down a dirt road, chasing fireflies at night with yore grandchildren, walking down the beach and holding hands with yore wife, and cane pole fishing with yore dad at the creek.

But even if we continue to make progress and all my gadgetry breaks down, I can still say goodnight prayers with my grandson and watch him throw a baseball.

As much as I can tell and as much as thangs have changed, so much has stayed the same — the best thangs in life are still the best thangs in life.