Bill KirbyOnline news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Trip without cell phone provides sense of freedom

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I felt unfettered and alive.

-- Joni Mitchell

I was dispatched to the grocery one night this week, assigned to pick up some forgotten items.

Upon arrival, I shoved keys in my pants pocket, and realized I had left my cell phone at home.

Mild panic. Such as when you get some place and realize you don't have your wallet or driver's license. But then I began to feel something else -- a sense of freedom.

At that moment, for the first time in weeks or months, I was nowhere near a phone.

I was disconnected from responsibilities, demands and complaints.

I remembered the old days when you felt this way after leaving the office and driving home. Nobody could get you. It was quiet, at least until you popped in the 8-track tape. If an emergency arose, you would have to face it with your own pluck, guile or American know-how.

If that didn't work, there were always pay phones.

A simpler time. A quieter time.

A freer time, I suppose.

YOUR TRAVELS: The Olig family is keeping my mail box full of postcards. Eric , Leslie , Courtney , Libby and Doris have sent in at least seven reports from their travels, which include the Catskills, the Berkshires, Quincy, Mass., (where Libby turned 8), Boston (Fenway Park), Salem ("Despite the witches, a quaint town.") and even Niagara Falls (No better way to cool off.")

Brenda Jones , Shirley Batiste , Suzanne Fletcher and Brenda Mercer , all say hello from Boston, and also sent me a card showing Fenway Park.

Sylvia Rambo , of Evans, sent a really cool card from Mount Rushmore. It shows the famous presidential heads, but they stick out from the card like a bas relief effect.

Frank and Genie Spears are on a two-week trip out West and saw Devil's Tower.

Bill and Sue Gutmier , of Aiken, spent a cool Father's Day in Washington state.

Melvis and Hartwell Powell and Janice and Mike Bennett are having fun in the "Big Apple."

And Ashley Snyder , daughter of Jim and Kathy Snyder , sends a card from England. She writes: "I am doing an internship in London at the children's charity, Kids' City! ... My parents live in the Augusta area."

ANY APRONS? My old friend Bill Baab says he's been researching a medal. It celebrates the anniversary of Augusta being the first city to fly bales of cotton in an airplane.

"Two planes flew from Augusta to New Bedford, Mass., on June 4, 1923," he wrote. "The cotton was manufactured by two mills there into 7,000 aprons for Shriners who were to hold a convention in Washington, D.C. Just wondered if any Augusta-area Shriners had any of those aprons."

E-mail me, and I'll tell Bill.

TODAY'S JOKE: Here's one shared by Charlie Williams.

Bubba wanted a boat more than anything. His wife kept refusing, but he bought one anyway.

"I'll tell you what," he told her. "In the spirit of compromise, why don't you name the boat?"

Being a good sport, she accepted.

When Bubba went to the dock for the maiden voyage, this is the name he saw painted on the side: "For Sale."

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