State of the Hogs: No TV

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I moved this past weekend. It's called down sizing. Our daughters have been out of the home for the better part of two years.

For good or for bad, they aren't coming back. We sold the big place and got a small one, the goal being to someday have another small one on the river below Bull Shoals Dam.

So far the only member of the family not happy is Charlie Brown, our chocolate lab. There are no trees in the backyard. His meditation pool is gone. He's whimpered a lot the last two days.

Since this is new construction, it's going to take time for trees to mature. We'll have to build some cover for Charlie Brown, but he'll be fine. I've promised him more trips to a nearby lake. He loves to swim and I'll make sure he gets plenty of chances to paddle around.

That's the only bad news, except that there are no phones or TVs in the new place just yet. It takes time to schedule those changes these days. I've got another week of that. Don't feel sorry for me. I love it.

I'm reading and getting my fly tying table in order. There's work to do in the newly sodded yard, too. I don't need TV right now. I don't think I watched that much TV anyway. I relearned that reading a good book is better than most TV.

Most TV is crap these days, anyway. There are few great writers in that medium anymore. Instead, they are doing "reality" shows and trying to match a Navy doctor with his bride.

All of that made me think about that poll of Arkansas football fans that claims most get almost all of their news from TV. I guess I'm still in the minority. Most of my news still comes from the newspaper.

I probably don't count, though. Most of my Razorback news comes first hand. I don't miss any games. Rarely do I miss a football practice. I'm the one writing those Internet reports, not reading them.

That doesn't mean I'm against TV reports. I do watch plenty of games, although most of them don't involve Arkansas teams.

Just to make sure I'm up with the times, I bought our first high definition flat screen this week, although it resides on the mantle with no connection just yet. Perhaps that awesome picture will lure me to the TV a little more in the coming months.

But for now, I'm watching zero TV. I've now gone four days without a second in front of the tube. The only thing electronic plugged in at our new house right now are a pair of alarm clock radios. I did stop unpacking last night to set the time on both.

I'll have a chance to watch some TV on Friday night when I spend a night in Little Rock. I'm going to hang out with my brothers at the Orville Henry Memorial Webhogs Golf Tournament. We are scheduled to play golf Saturday morning at War Memorial Park. There will be a dinner Friday night at the Lettermen's Club at the football stadium when Frank Broyles in one of his final Razorback Club meetings wants to honor my late father.

That promises to be a special evening for our family. You won't find it on nightly sports telecasts since those type events don't fit in the two-minute sports shows they do these days. I know what is going to happen. Coach Broyles will remind us of a simpler time, when he and my father used to travel the state speaking to these kinds of events. He's going to talk about the way the news media once covered the Hogs. Basically, it was just my father.

He's going to tell us about the volumes of material that my father produced on the Hogs. You might have to turn the page a couple of times just to finish the game story each Sunday morning. And, then there were those legendary Monday morning stories, and the snippets in OH's Notepad through the week. You didn't need talk radio, the Internet or the evening sports to find out about the Hogs. You'd already read about it before you left the house.

These days, game reports are tiny. Graphics dominate. Keep it short and simple is the rule.

Someone asked me this week about growing up around my father, what it was like to have Razorback talk dominate your home. It wasn't like you'd think. My father didn't talk about the Hogs. He talked about his four sons, asking them the questions about their lives that you'd expect him to be asking Frank Broyles, Bill Montgomery or Lance Alworth.

He interviewed us at breakfast and dinner. We talked more about Latin, history, English, our golf grip and Pony League baseball than we did the Hogs.

There was a big console TV in our home as early as I can remember, but that's not where we got our news in those days, either. We didn't spend our time inside unless it was too cold to play outside, and that was rare. We were outside from daylight until the neighbors complained about the light behind the garage that illuminated the basketball court where all sorts of games could be played.

That's the way it ought to be these days, too. There should be no big-screen TVs, only home libraries with worn out books. We had lots of books in our home, all of them read by plenty of members of the house. The one with the most tattered pages was the dictionary. I wish I had a nickel for every time I asked my father to help me with a spelling as I proofed a report only to have him hand me the dictionary.

Now we use a spell checker and don't remember the proper spelling. We don't need to learn it. We can use the spell checker again the next time we sit down to write something important.

For the next few days, I know I'm going to read a little more and wonder aloud how we got along without a TV set. I shouldn't wonder. The truth is, we got along just fine.

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