The Great Information Highway echoes with the electronic hum of PCs, DVDs, CDs, DVRs, cell phones and video games to say nothing of cable and satellite television.
As convenient and entertaining as these whiz-bang gadgets might be, however, they also leave in their wake a burning question:
"What happened to the family stuff?"
We baby boomers who grew up in the 50s and 60s were raised in a sort of tribal environment where any social whirl generally included groups of several, and often times, many people.
Card parties, picnics, church bazaars and trips carried out en masse to the homes of friends and relatives for get togethers, barbecues, BYOB bashes or simply a good visit were just of few of the regular items found on everyone's social calendar.
Although these events were all carried out without the benefit of surround sound, they were definitely not silent affairs.
In fact, in my recollection, the overlying sound track to most of them was laughter.
Somewhere back there a ways when I wasn't looking, many of these recreations faded away leaving the world just a tad colder.
Even though all the hi-tech gadgetry might be educational and amusing, it is also just a bit selfish...seldom including more than a couple of people.
I suppose you could write the whole thing off as a generation thing...
As in..."Who wants to play Canasta? It's such a snore! Besides, I've got all these text messages to read!"
Yeah, no matter how you look at it, family fun is becoming passť' and is heading the way of the defunct dinosaur.
With this gloomy prediction in mind, I would also like to point out that family fun is not entirely lost, and for one evening at least, could be found at one of the smallest communities in our county.
On February 5, it was great shades of the good old days as a radical retro breeze blew into southern Cherokee County via Washta in the form of the RV Winter Carnival, an event sponsored by the River Valley Elementary Booster Club.
This school carnival was a real blast from the past as several hundred folks out for a good time crowded into the elementary school gymnasium.
Besides being a social thing, RV's school carnival served as a reward for the elementary school's avid readers.
Those students who had met their January Book-It reading goal all received 45 free tickets that could be used at one of the event's many games.
The games alone, all familiar from days gone by, were well worth the retro ride.
The Bowling Game, the Boat Pool, Cupcake Walk, Football Toss, Dart Throw and Fish Pond were just a few of the opportunities for visitors to test their hand-eye coordination.
A bevy of other activities were also offered at the carnival including tattoos, caricature sketches and helium-filled balloons.
For those who wanted to boast of their scholastic affiliation, the RV Boosters were on hand to offer River Valley tee-shirts adorned with a variety of Wolverine logos.
Dinner was served in the school lunchroom throughout the entire Winter Carnival.
The menu for the evening included hot dogs, conies, chips, taverns and cookies.
In spite of the large number of folks dropping in for the event, things went smoothly as the elementary boosters, RV teachers and staff and other sundry student volunteers manned the carnival's games and other offerings with efficient aplomb.
A door prize consisting of a family pass to the King's Point Water Park in Storm Lake was drawn for at the evening's end.
This watery reward was won by RV kindergarten scholar Katrina Todd.
Three RV tee-shirts were also raffled away. These were captured by Carter Riedeman, Keila Preuss and Marty Bumann.
If there was one thing detrimental to be said about the RV carnival, it would be that the noise level of the affair measured right up there at the top notch of whatever meter they use to measure such things.
In this case, however, it wasn't a bad thing since most of the din was...
You guessed it...
So...it's a tip of the hat and a big thank you to the RV Elementary Booster Club for displaying that family fun nights haven't completely passed into the shadows of obscurity after all.
I'd also like to leave a warning to all the Book-It kids out there...
Don't neglect your reading this next month. The Elementary Boosters have something big looming just over the horizon.