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story.lead_photo.caption Mistletoe Merryman, second from left, played by Amanda Autry, and Holly Daze, right, played by Irene Taylor, portray elfin hosts for the talent show in North Pole’s Got Talent. They work with Coal, played by Johnny Bertram, who is the keeper of the “naughty and nice” list for Santa and stage manager of the talent show in the upcoming production at the Rialto Community Arts Center.

When I was in a business last week, I commented that it was raining, and that led to a discussion on how things don’t last anymore.

The woman working there said she didn’t have her umbrella with her. I told her I had a new umbrella that was broken, but the little one I brought in my purse was one I’d had for years.

I made the common old-person comment: “They just don’t make things like they used to.”

We were off to the races after that. Nothing bonds middle-age people like lamenting the good old days when things were made to last.

She agreed wholeheartedly and said she just bought a washing machine, but her old one had lasted forever. And, she didn’t want “all that stuff” that comes on new ones. She just wanted a machine that would clean her clothes.

I could relate, because I bought a new washing machine a few months ago. We looked at reviews and reports and had to decide whether we wanted an agitator, low-water level, front-loader (no), or top-loader, and the bells and whistles were endless. It even plays a little tune when the cycle is finished.

We got a good one, I think, but it does recommend that you “dry it out” inside after each wash. Um, no.

When we were dating, my husband, David, had neither a washer nor a dryer. The guy in the apartment across the hall from David was moving and offered my husband his washer and dryer for $75. I encouraged him to buy them. He lived upstairs and had been schlepping his clothes to a laundromat.

This was about 35 years ago, and that used washing machine lasted through several years of marriage, and the dryer worked for 10 years or so. He definitely got his $75 worth out of them.

The employee I was talking to said that when she was buying her washing machine, she looked at refrigerators, just for fun. There was one with a television in the door. “I don’t need a TV on my refrigerator,” she said.

This particular model of refrigerator could also display family photos on the TV screen. Then what would I do with my 400 magnets? And nothing can replace watching my 2-year-old granddaughter hang her drawings on the refrigerator.

I told the woman that my brother would probably love a television in the refrigerator; he’d watch sports on it while he was getting out his snacks and drinks. Then he could look at the game on his phone as he walked back to the big TV.

It’s crazy how refrigerators have evolved. I remember not too many years ago when I thought people were rich if they had an ice-and-water dispenser in the door.

This woman did like one feature of the high-tech refrigerator, though. She said it would send your grocery list to your phone. I read about a refrigerator with a touchscreen where family members can send and get messages from their smartphones. Others have a camera that takes photos of the inside of the fridge, so if you’re at the store and can’t remember if you need eggs, the refrigerator will send a picture to your phone.

That would be handy. I have more than once texted a photo of the grocery list hanging on our refrigerator to my husband, the shopper and cook.

Our younger son, Scott, is living in Spain for a year while he teaches English. His apartment has a small washing machine, but his dryer is a clothesline stretched outside his fourth-floor window. Drying your drawers outside in December? No, thanks.

I’m thankful for modern technology, no matter how long it lasts.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-5671 or


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