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Remember the Sunday evening phone call?

I can recall as a child those Sunday evenings my family spent waiting for the clock to strike 7:00 p.m. in order to make long distance phone calls. These calls, for whatever reason, were less expensive when made at this time. My older sister had moved to Texas when I was about 17, and Sundays were just about the only time we spoke with her over the phone.

In elementary school a friend moved away, and although he wrote with his new phone number, neither one of us were allowed to make the expensive long distance call it would take to talk to each other.

Counter this with my adult kids being able to call any of their friends at any time, regardless of where their friends live, on their cell phones. As long as they have the minutes available, they have no worries.

It's all about technology marching forward.

While I'm not a cutting edge type of guy, keen on having to possess the newest phone or laptop computer, I do a pretty good job at keeping up with my kids and other young people when it comes to using various devices.

Twitter aside, of course.

I use a PC at home, a Mac at work, and usually I'm willing to jump right into any new software I purchase or come across.

But recently, I'm feeling as if I'm living in a Dick Tracy type world, (google it, kids, if you're not familiar with the famous private detective), when it comes to communicating with friends and family.

The reason for my being somewhat out of sorts is due to Skype.

For those of you not familiar with the Internet site, Skype is a downloadable program that allows users to make free video calls over the Internet.

While the flying cars I always heard about as a child have not come to pass, the concept of using an actual 'video phone' is pretty wild for someone my age.

As I have explained to my kids, most families only had one phone when I was growing up, and that phone, which always seemed to be white and had to be 'dialed', was usually attached to a kitchen wall.

So when I downloaded Skype and we made our first video call to my daughter, Rachel, and her family, I wasn't sure what to expect. But we quickly became familiar with the format, and were thrilled to see and talk to our granddaughter, Maddie.

My son, Kevin, also routinely uses Skype to visit with his girlfriend, Sarah, who is teaching in Spain until next spring.

But this got me to thinking.

Maddie, who will grow up visiting with her grandparents via a video connection over a computer, will not blink an eye when she ponders the technology involved. This will be her normal way to interact with others over a long distance. And while my kids recall using such obsolete devices as pagers, they too have adapted to this brave new world.

One has to wonder what strange new device it might be that some day causes Maddie to pause as she contemplates the new technology that makes it possible to visit with her own grandchildren.

Something tells me, though, that she'll still be waiting for that flying car...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.