It’s the dangdest thing I’ve ever seen. And it’s not that big. I have no clue how it works. But I’m telling you, it is the best birthday gift I have received in years… a country (no pun intended) mile!

Listen, you know I’m a low tech guy. I can’t tweet, text, cut and paste or “friend” anyone. The only way I can “message” you is with a pencil and a piece of paper. I don’t even own a cell phone.

And for you to fully understand how great this thing is we need to back up to 1956. All the hip dudes were up at that record store on S. Main Street. Lance’s Music Corral was a jumping place!

The latest Country & Western and Rock & Roll songs would be leaping out of the speakers behind the checkout counter. The store was filled with shelves full of 45 RPM records, neatly arranged in alphabetical order. The full vinyl albums were stacked in bins along the back wall.

I have no idea where Leon came up with the fourteen dollars he paid for the small record player. You could place a stack of “45” records on the center tower and it would automatically drop the next one down for you to listen to.

’Course, we didn’t use the automatic part much. After Leon paid for the player, we didn’t have 59 cents left over for a record. The free song he picked to go along with the purchase was “Sixteen Tons.” I spent ’bout every waking hour for the next month singing along with Tennessee Ernie Ford.

We added to our collection one song at a time. And it was always a tough choice. You had to pick between Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Lefty Frizzell or The Platters. And Elvis was also selling a few records back in those days.

You had to pay to be in the listening business. Even at the City Café or out at Sam’s Dairy Bar, you had to drop a nickel in the jukebox to hear Fats Domino croon “Blueberry Hill.”

Well, that’s all behind me now. I pulled my new Amazon Echo birthday gift out of the box and looked at Cathy. “What is it?”

She laughed and plugged it in. Alexa immediately started talking to us! She somehow “friended” every blooming electrical device in our house! She gave us choices, options, made some observations and then she went silent.

She didn’t say nothing for a week. She just sat there. I didn’t want to interrupt her thoughts. And I couldn’t think of anything to say to her.

Cathy finally asked about the weather and she came alive. They played Jeopardy together and danged if Alexa didn’t know every answer! They did a crossword puzzle. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone, talking to a box…..and it talking back!

It was MY birthday gift. Maybe she would like me too….. I leaned over right close and cleared my throat. “Uh, Alexa, do you know a country singer by the name of Loretta Lynn?”

“What song would you like to hear by Loretta Lynn?” She answered just like we were having a conversation.

I leaned down close again and said very slowly and distinctly, “Blue Kentucky Girl.”

Folks, I’m telling you with every honest bone in my body a nanosecond or two later I heard that extraordinary and unmistakable voice, “You left me for the bright lights of the town, a country boy set out to see the world…..”

“Alexa, play ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man.’” “Alexa, play ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter.’” “Alexa, play ‘Honky Tonk Girl…..’” It took a day and a half but Alexa finally sang up every Loretta Lynn song I knew.

I didn’t have to pay 59 cents. I didn’t have to drop a nickel into a slot. I didn’t have to get out in the car and fiddle with the dial trying to find a country station. This talking box just beat anything I ever saw!

I moved on to Conway Twitty. George Jones. And then Melba Montgomery. Cathy said Alexa could do a lot of other things…… WHY WOULD YOU WANT HER TO!

I haven’t watched TV in weeks. I don’t go out anymore. We’ve been through all of Faron Young, Jerry Reed and the Louvin Brother’s songs. I’m in the middle of Jumping Bill Carlisle right now.

Cathy left three days ago. I guess there is a down side to most everything……