Going without a television set has been a novel experience out in the country.
To be sure, we have always preferred to read over watching inane shows on the idiot box.
Other than some of our favorites, of course, including the original “Law and Order” crime drama and the hilarious “Corner Gas” situation comedy.
But until our TV went out, we had channeled an evening routine of eating supper and then watching one show or the other until settling into bed with our books.
A month without a TV changed all that and, in my way of thinking, much for the better.
Because it has been so hot and dry, we used the evening hours to do outside chores when it is at least a few degrees cooler.
We feed the livestock, water the garden, collect shovels of material for the compost pile, and watch the dogs try to play in a pool.
We had gotten the kiddie-sized pool for our granddog, who is spending some time with us, because he suffers from the Hill Country heat.
The guest dog is too big for the pool, however, and can only manage to put either his front paws or back paws in the water – never all four legs at the same time.
Our puppy is small and young enough to have no inhibitions, jumping into the middle of the pool and trying to bite the waves he churns up with his paws.
That along with talking to the chickens in our own cluck-cluck language, brushing the horses, and taking the dogs and barn cats on long walks has admirably filled our prime time schedule.
It has been especially ideal for me because I am anything but a morning person.
My wife can get up before the sun rises, drink a cup of coffee and read the newspaper, do outside chores and fix breakfast long before I can manage to even open my eyes and roll out of bed.
But in the evening I am much more energetic and can get all manners of chores completed to my wife’s long-suffering satisfaction.
About the only time we regretted the television’s absence was when we took turns being sick for several days.
We would rotate between the bed and couch, feeling too listless to talk or even read.
A mindless television show would have come in handy on those days when our brains were about as functional as network TV shows.
All good things must come to an end, however, as we inherited a large-screened TV from our son just in time for the latest onslaught of grandchildren.
The kids will chase each other or do chores for only so long before getting tired, cranky and ready to settle in for a long and quiet evening.
We were just as ready for a long and quiet night of sleep, so parking the yawning kids in front of a family-themed movie was a treat for the entire household.
Sounds like a storybook ending to me.