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Dear Edna
By Betty Castleberry

June 4

Dear Edna,

How are you? I know I've been promising you I would try to use the new computer the kids got me, but so far, I just haven't had the time. Maybe my next correspondence to you will be by email. I admire you so much, using a computer at your age. After all, you're only a year younger than I am.

Did you hear we have a new pastor? He's a nice young man. He has a lovely wife, and three boys. That littlest boy is awfully cute, but if he were mine, I'd surely teach him some manners in church.

This will be short and sweet, dear. I just wanted you to know I am fine. Hope to hear from you soon.

Love,
Jane

P.S. I did take the computer out of the box. There is a book of instructions that came with it. Evidently, I am supposed to hook up something called a tower before I can use it. I do know what the mouse is, but it's bigger than any real mouse I've ever seen. It's more like a small rat.

* * *

June 12

Dear Edna,

It was so nice to hear from you. I did try to hook up the computer. Larry stayed on the phone with me for more than two hours trying to help. Supposedly, all the wires are color coded, and it's a simple job. The problem is, with my old eyes, I can't tell the difference between pink and peach. I wish he lived in town so he could just come over and do it for me.

I did get the screen set up on the desk, but it stayed blank. It's certainly a funny looking thing, flat as a pancake, and has a row of buttons at the bottom. Actually, it has one less button now, because I flicked one off with my thumbnail, thinking it was a fly speck. You don't think that will make any difference, do you?

Hope your new arthritis medicine is helping you.

Love,
Jane

* * *

June 21

Dear Edna,

Good news! It turns out the new pastor knows a little bit about computers. He was very gracious and came over and set mine up for me. His wife was at a meeting, so he brought the boys along. The oldest one was very polite. He sat in the living room and watched TV, although his dad had asked him to keep an eye on the two younger ones.

I didn't think the middle one was going to be a big problem, but he did shove a chocolate bar in the CD slot. That created quite a mess. This pastor interprets the bible quite literally. He doesn't spare the rod and spoil the child, thank goodness.

After we got the chocolate mess cleaned up, it wasn't long before he had the computer up and running, although he did say I might not be able to use the CD player. It doesn't matter, because I don't have any CD's anyway.

Come to find out, the littlest boy is on his best behavior at church. It could well be that he will have a future playing the keyboard. He certainly beat long and hard enough on my computer keyboard. He isn't quite potty trained yet, either. He sat in my chair at the computer desk, and it took it over an hour to dry, even though I used the blow dryer. I'm not quite sure how the mouse got a smiley face drawn on it, either, but I didn't do it, and I also know the pastor didn't do it.

Anyway, he was nice enough to help me get everything set up, so now all I have to do is read the book that came with it, and start using my new computer.

Love,
Jane

* * *

July 1

Dear Edna,

I got your email. How exciting! I have no idea what you said, though, because I'm still trying to get the hang of the computer. Larry says all you have to do is click and it opens the message, but what do I click?

Let me tell you right now, it really doesn't matter what I want to click, that mouse is all over the screen, and will not do what I want it to. I point it left, and it goes right. I point it up, and it goes down. I am starting to get pretty frustrated. At least if I hold a pen in my hand, I can make it do what I want it to.

Love,
Jane

* * *

July 9

Dear Edna,

After much practice, I can occasionally get the mouse to behave. At least most of the time I can open emails, anyway.

Larry called and said he sent me a link, whatever that is. He told me to click the highlighted blue letters in his email, and it would take me to something called "Fun Pages" on the internet. I am sorry, Edna, and I don't mean to be a prude, but I really find nearly naked, dancing presidents and ex-presidents a bit distasteful. I'm sure I raised Larry better than that.

And Edna, since I am new at this, I didn't realize all computers didn't just automatically come with something called "pop ups." While that young man is certainly nice looking, I know he wouldn't be interested in meeting me, no matter what the ad says. I also don't want to receive a free laptop computer, even if all I have to do is answer a few survey questions. Goodness! The computer I have is challenging enough!

* * *

July 16

Dear Edna,

There is really no point in your sending me any more emails. It seems Larry has sent me something called a "virus." He says it was an accident, and he apologized, and even said he would pay to have the computer fixed. All I know is, ever since he sent this virus, this computer certainly has a mind of its own. I had just laboriously finished typing you an email when the screen went blank. Apparently, the computer had shut itself down and restarted itself, and when it did, my email to you was gone. All I saw was some message about something not shutting down correctly.

Larry says I imagined the next part, but I'm telling you, I know I saw smoke coming from somewhere near the CD slot, and I could have sworn I smelled hot chocolate. In fact, I was so sure, I had a sudden craving for marshmallows.

That's not half of all the strange things this silly computer has done in the last few days, either. Just when I was sure I was getting the hang of using the mouse, the screen would "freeze," as Larry calls it. Not only would the mouse not cooperate, but the whole computer would just sit there, not doing a thing. It reminds me of Gladys at church. She always volunteers for committees, but then she just sits and doesn't do a thing once she is on them. Anyway, my time is more valuable than that. I don't have all day to sit and stare at a frozen computer screen. So, dear Edna, I will continue to correspond with you by old-fashioned letter.

Last Sunday's church bulletin said the church is in need of a new computer. They have set up a fund to buy one. I am going to call the secretary and tell them there really is no need for a fund. I know where they can get an almost brand-new computer for free.

Love,
Jane
Betty Castleberry is a retired RN who lives in Texas with her husband and three parrots. She has a grown daughter and step daughter, and five grandchildren. She has been published online, and loves to write for the Lord. She is still on her journey as a Christian. If you would like to write to Betty, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.