Laura Ingalls Wilder, excerpted from Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings
edited by Stephen W. Hines. Published by C. K. Hall and Company.
A few days ago, with several others, I attended the meeting of a woman’s club in a neighboring town. We went in a motor car, taking less than an hour for the trip on which we used to spend three hours before the days of motor cars; but we did not arrive at the time appointed nor were we the latest comers by any means. Nearly everyone was I late, and all seemed in a hurry. We hurried through the proceedings; we hurried in our friendly exchanges of conversation; we hurried away; and we hurried all the way home where we arrived late as usual.
What became of the time the motor car saved us? Why was everyone late and in a hurry? I used to drive leisurely over to this town with a team, spend a pleasant afternoon, and reach home not much later than I did this time, and all with a sense of there being time enough, instead of a feeling of rush and hurry. We have so many machines and so many helps, in one way and another, to save time; and yet I wonder what we do with the time we save. Nobody seems to have any!
Neighbors and friends go less often to spend the day. Instead, they say, “We have been planning for so long to come and see you, but we haven’t had time,” and the answer will be: “Everyone makes the same complaint. People don’t go visiting like they used to. There seems to be no time for anything.” I have heard this conversation, with only slight variations, so many times that I should feel perfectly safe to wager that I should hear it anytime the subject might be started. We must have all the time there is, the same as always. We should have more, considering the timesaving, modern conveniences. That becomes of the time we save?