"And luckily, therefore the good old days return. The traditional art of driving counts again, and it is all about good tactics, skills and reflexes instead of simple power." -- Jacky Ickx

I received a Kindle Fire from my kids for my birthday. As a result, I've become the envy of my senior friends. Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate the gift. The problem is I don't know how to use it.

I tried reading the manual, and after struggling through the first three pages I gave up. To be perfectly frank, I simply don't understand computer language.

And since I'm not inclined to enroll in a computer class, I intend to do the next best thing -- have my grandson teach me. He's been using a computer for more than a year and learned it all on his own. Not bad for someone who just turned 8!

Nowadays it's not unusual to see people walking down the street chattering on cell phones or wrapped up in their iPads and seeming oblivious to where they are or who is around them. And to think that the boombox was a distraction!

I admit I'm old-fashioned. I expect to hear a live voice on the other end of the line when I make a call, instead of a recording asking me myriad questions before I forget why I called in the first place. Being told, "This call may be monitored ..." just adds to my frustration.

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    My wife and I held out applying for credit cards for the longest time. We were content to do all our purchases by cash or check without having to incur any more debts than we'd already accumulated.


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    I don't recall what caused us to switch, but since we've become plastic card users, we carry little money outside of pocket change for such purposes as feeding parking meters.

    I recently heard that some meters now accept credit cards. That should come as no surprise knowing what it costs to park on downtown streets in most major cities. It won't be long before other cities follow suit to beef up their revenues.

    With joint credit cards, I find it more unwieldy to keep an accurate account of our spending. The bank, on the other hand, has no problem, as proved by the statement it mails us at the end of each month. It's a far cry from the rule my wife and I once lived by: No cash -- no purchase.

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    I don't know how many readers are aware that movie houses used to employ attendants to usher patrons to their seats once the show started. Ushers were readily identifiable. They were the ones who walked around carrying flashlights, and some even wore uniforms.

    Isn't it amazing how the cost of admission tickets has skyrocketed over the past 40 years. What's even more incredible is the price theaters now charge for popcorn and drinks! What ever happened to those double features and the blue Shirley Temple glasses the management gave away during intermission ... when popcorn sold at five cents a bag.

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    The post office is expecting to eliminate Saturday mail delivery to cut costs.

    It's hard to believe that mailmen once carried all the mail in leather pouches and walked their routes in keeping with the slogan, "Neither rain nor snow ..."

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    With the availability of 24-hour fast food outlets and a complete assortment of microwaveable meals, family gatherings around the table to enjoy home-cooked meals is fast becoming an extinct practice.

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    Just a few random thoughts of life through the eyes of one senior citizen.

    Doug Larson put it all in perspective when he said: "Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days."

    Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at columns@bayareanewsgroup.com.