Whitesburg KY

Loss of TV signal isn’t such a bad thing in this day and time

Points East

I’m not sure who has or doesn’t have access to cable TV service in our neck of the woods, but I do know, for sure, that Charlie Brown Road is not among the more gifted. We mostly rely on satellite TV except for a few folks who still use antennas to make do with all the TV they want or need.

I, personally, would be among the antenna users if the decision was left entirely up to me, but there are other members of this household who are addicted to programming that isn’t available on the antenna, which means that one of the high-dollar satellite companies is the only other option, not to suggest that cable is any cheaper. Still, I would much rather be paying nothing for all the TV I want or need than shelling out over $100 a month, but as I just said, I am not the only person in the household and certainly not the boss.

It’s just that there are all kinds of things that I could do with 100 extra dollars every month.

I remember all those years growing up on Blair Branch when neither satellite nor cable TV was an option. For that matter, neither was sticking an antenna on top of the house or on a pole in the backyard the way I can do it here on Charlie Brown where I can easily get over two dozen stations for nothing.

On Blair Branch, in the old days, it usually cost far more cash to purchase TV wire, antennas (one for each of the four available networks) and a signal booster than it did to buy the fanciest TV on the market. Even then, buying the TV, the hardware and getting it all set up was the least of our worries. Practically every time we had a heavy wind or snowstorm, someone had to climb half a mile to the top of a very steep mountain and figure out where the TV line had short circuited. If an owl or other night bird decided to light on the wire in the middle of Bonanza, The Virginian, Have Gun Will Travel, Laramie, The Rifleman, Wagon Train or one of our other favorite programs, the show was basically over for that week.

If the problem was weather related, causing the line to stretch so tightly it would twist the two adjacent strands of solid copper wire together and cause a short, whereupon somebody had to hike to the top of the mountain to fix it. Mom demanded that two of us make the trip in case one of us got hurt. To the best of my knowledge, that never happened and, to this day, I have no idea what would happened if one us had broken a leg or fallen off a cliff in the dead of night.

I can recall many times when we would have reception restored by two hours after normal bedtime and it would be off the next night. Needless to say, the path up our TV line was well packed and well worn. If snow was on the ground, or even if it rained, the path would get so slick that it was darn near impassable, but we were a persistent bunch of boys. It’s no wonder that Loretta often accuses me of being too stubborn for my own good. I came by it honestly.

In the meantime, it isn’t unusual for heavy rain, dense clouds or a snow squall to block our satellite signal for several minutes. Sometimes we have a short-lived power outage that may last for a couple of hours. The only times I find that annoying these days are when I’m watching a tightly contested basketball or football game. Even then I almost always have a good book handy and I find myself far better entertained than anything on TV.

If our TV went off and the only way to fix it was to climb over half a mile up a slick mountainside, you may rest assured that it would stay off until somebody else climbed the hill.

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