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Seasons prove change is good

The leaf slowly spiraled down with the grace of a dancer landing safely onto the pavement in front of me. I had watched with great interest as it made its descent. Gone was the fresh green color of summer. Replacing it were bright reds blurring first into orange and ending with yellow. As I looked around at all of the shedding trees silhouetted against a crystal clear blue sky, I couldn’t help but think about change.

Seasons come and go just like leaves do. It’s nature’s way of allowing our Earth to take a little rest before beginning anew in the spring. I often have wondered what it would be like if things never changed. What if we were to have springtime for 365 days? Or, let’s say summer, for an entire year? Sometimes I think it would be nice and then I say to myself, “We need change!”

As I walk and ride my bike throughout the streets of Macon, I get to experience all the shifts of the seasons. You know it is fall when frontyards invite scarecrows, pumpkins, hay bales and cornstalks for a visit. Colorful leaves and ribbons find their ways onto front door wreaths and garlands and there is a little bit of a nip in the morning air. “Change is good!” I say to myself as I smile and keep pedaling.

Continuing to exercise and praying for the endorphins to ignite, my mind wandered, thinking about all the changes I had experienced in just my lifetime. Believe it or not, the first thing that popped into my mind was a typewriter. This may have been spurred on by my recent visit to the PeachMac Computer store at The Shoppes at Rivr Crossing. Just seeing all those computers made me realize how things had radically changed since I first learned to type in high school.

“F F F space semi, semi semi space!” my typing teacher, Mrs. Lighty, used to firmly say as she made her way around the classroom. There we all sat in front of bulky and oversized manual typewriters forcing the large keys to go deep into the machine with each push. A mechanical squeak followed by a resounding thud occurred with the pressing of each key. Multiply that by 20 students and you have some noise. Our fingers were worn out before the class was even over.

Then, right before our very eyes, change started to occur a few years later. Electric typewriters made the scene, bringing with them a sleeker machine, easier typing and a whole lot less noise. You still had to insert each sheet of paper into the machine by hand and, if you should make a mistake, there were only limited ways to correct it.

White-out and a tiny brush to cover typing blemishes became my new best friend. In fact, I think that is where I first learned how to use a little brush in a small space — a trait that certainly came in handy for details in my artwork.

If you didn’t want to paint out your mistakes, you could use corrective tape. It required placement at the exact spot of the mistake, then typing in the wrong letter in order to remove it and finally, backspacing and typing in the new one.

This process was a lengthy one but did have a much neater look than did the glob of dried white-out appearing to have a letter engraved in it.

If your teacher really liked you, she would allow you to use erasable bond typing paper that, in turn, allowed you to physically erase away your imperfections.

Making my share of mistakes, I hated the above-mentioned remedies. It was time for a change! Some electric typewriter models offered an ink cartridge and a “fix-it” cartridge. We thought we had died and gone straight into heaven. Then entered the “cursive ball” that made your manuscript appear to be written in cursive. WOW! The times they were a-changing!

My thoughts of typewriters and how they have changed over the years were put on hold as another group of colorful leaves fell softly in front of me. One even grazed the side of my face. I thought to myself, “Change is not only good, it’s great!” Look at all the ways our lives have improved with the change from “back in the day” typewriters morphing into “present day” computers. It is truly amazing! Otherwise, we would still be pecking on our manual typewriters without the luxury of spell check and delete buttons.

One final note on change I also have observed while exercising. For those of you who still have your Cherry Blossom Wreaths on your front doors (you know who you are), it is really past the time for you to make a change! Remember to keep up with change by decorating for the appropriate season.

More with Mark

- Mistletoe Market in Perry. Georgia National Fairgrounds. Join Mark and more than 125 other artists and craftspeople in the McGill MarketPlace Building, Friday through Sunday. Mark will have all his holiday merchandise along with cookbooks and more! He will be conducting live demonstrations at 1:00 p.m. Friday, 11:30 Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information call (478) 952-1610.

- Mark Returns to Soperton, Dicey Kate Gillis Auditorium, 7 p.m., Dec. 3. Join Mark as he presents a holiday program. For ticket information, call (912) 529-6193.

- Check out Mark’s Web site. Visit the recently updated www.markballard.com for current projects and recipes.

- Mark is on www.macon.com 24 hours a day. Videos, columns and articles are featured.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208 or fax them to (478) 474-4930 or call (478) 757-6877.

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