When Steve and I were riding around yesterday, we came across the road that I drove frequently in the early years of our marriage when we were living in Philadelphia and it was closer for me to go through the country to Sweetwater to shop than it was to Loudon. I have lots of memories of our time living there and those roads. I taught myself to drive straight shift on those curvy, narrow country roads. Our best friends lived just out the road from us. We were constantly at each other's house cooking out, hanging out, having fun just being in each other's company. My friend Ruth Ann passed away in her mid-twenties and I still miss her so much. So, I do remember a lot about both places we lived in the neighborhood and the people but what struck me was how different the roads looked to me yesterday. Maybe different isn't the right word because there was not a landmark that looked familiar to me. Sure it's been at least 28-29 years since we lived there but I drove those roads so often. Another thing I remember is how enjoyable just going to the grocery store was then. There was a bookstore in Sweetwater that I'd also usually check out and a variety store and a couple of clothing stores but little else. We usually went to Knoxville to do any major shopping in those days and that was infrequently. And the stores and restaurants in Knoxville were few as well. We could probably name all of them, that's how few there were. The newly revitalized downtown which is now thriving was dying in those days as everything moved West. We had a new mall which was built when I was in high school and we went to it like it was an amusement park, just for the sheer enjoyment of walking around, socializing and window shopping. The strip up Kingston Pike was mainly fast food chain restaurants until you hit the UT strip. I think we had two theaters downtown and two in the West end along with a place that served food and would show small independent films. My long winded point though is how just going shopping, out to eat even if it was a fast food burger, or going to a movie was a big deal then and far more enjoyable. Now shopping is a chore and I hate fighting the traffic to go anywhere. I've become such a hermit because I don't want to put in the effort or put up with the hassle. Our lives have become so much more convenient. I don't have to leave the house or even change out of my pjs and comb my hair to shop online or have a book delivered immediately to my Kindle or a movie to our TV. The world is at our fingertips but where is the enjoyment? Not saying that I don't appreciate modern convenience and I do enjoy the entertainment choices and immediate gratification but as B.B. would say, the thrill is gone.