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After all, grandpa and grandma survived without it.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

November 12, 2012

3 Min Read

My cell phone should be attached to my hip. If they could do that, I would probably have the surgery. I feel lost without it, but I'm bad about remembering where it is.

One morning recently I had a 400 mile trip with two stops for interviews, actually taking me into Ohio briefly and back into Indiana.

I got ready the night before by using Mapquest – can't live without it, right?

I put in the first place I was going, then got directions from the first place to the second place. I was all set.

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Monday morning didn't start off so good. Twenty minutes into the trip I realized I had left my cell phone still on the charger at home. If I kept going, I should arrive right on time. If I turned around to get it, I would be 40 minutes late. As much as I felt nervous without it, I went on. This would not be a good day for the car to break down.

Before I arrived at the first location, I realized I had promised I would call a couple people from the road. After all, I have plenty of driving time. Maybe it's not the smartest thing to do, but it's expedient. What would I do now? There aren't even pay phones at gas stations in most places anymore. And I no longer have a calling card. Probably anyone 14 or younger wouldn't know what a calling card is.

Fortunately, one of the people I interviewed at the first stop was gracious enough to let me use his cell phone to make the calls. It was a bit awkward, but I was desperate. With the calls made, I headed out following Mapquest directions to the second stop, near Monroeville.

I don't have GPS – someone stole it a while back out of my car. It's probably time to remedy that situation, though I wonder about technology that, out of nowhere, tells you to turn right when all that is to the right is a field or a lake.

I was sailing in ahead of schedule. I followed the directions to the tee and wound up on Webster Street in Monroeville. The only problem was it was all houses. I was looking for a business. That's when it dawned on me that there must be a Webster Street and a Webster Road. I typed in road the night before, or at least I thought I did. At any rate, I was passing a house on Webster Street.

A kind old lady at the local gas station with an old-fashioned dial telephone and a phone book saved the day. I called the business, found out how to get there, some five miles away, and finished the trip.

I even made it home without the cell phone, although it was the first thing I went for when I got home.

Technology, though I can't live without it, sometimes is hard to live with. Anymore when I ask for directions, people just give me their address. Give me directions. I'm just leery enough to think that map quest or GPS might not work. I want to know how to get there the old-fashioned way.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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