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By The Staff

As editor of the Glades County Democrat in the late 1980s, I convinced then-publisher Richard Hitt to buy a modem so that I could transmit stories from Moore Haven to Clewiston.

My friend Jeff Roslow was the editor of the Clewiston News and we served readers in Glades and Hendry counties. Internet service did not exist then in Moore Haven or Clewiston.

I transmitted stories via modem from my IBM home computer in Moore Haven to the Macintosh computer at the Clewiston office.

Before I could send a story, the computers had to "shake hands." While Roslow was in Clewiston and I was in Moore Haven, we were able to type messages to each other after the computer "handshake" and before the transmission of story text.

I thought it was very spiffy to write messages "live" and send them through the telephone lines. Today, this is known as "online chatting."

The computer "handshake" made me smile. The thought of machines greeting each other in a civilized manner made me happy.

A generation later, some people refuse to shake hands because they hold a grudge or are angry.

Individuals who decline chances to shake hands because of anger or hatred also reject opportunities to speak with those whose opinions differ from theirs.

Some other people refuse handshakes because they fear the spread of germs. Once folks overcome their germ phobias, however, they must be willing to shake hands with anyone.

Jesus said to love everyone - even our enemies. Forgive those who have trespassed against us. Some people carry grudges to their graves. Anger and hatred consume their souls.

I prefer living in a world where people put down their weapons so they can shake hands with each other.

If we don't speak with each other, then it is just as "the Captain" of Road Prison 26 (played by Strother Martin) said in the movie Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Luke (played by Paul Newman) suffered at the hands of intolerant, mean-spirited men who felt compelled to kill anything they could not control.

When someone snubs my handshake, I say, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

I say, "Put away your rage. Get over it. Be civilized. Shake hands."

In case someone is thinking of not only rejecting my handshake but of causing me grief, I add the phrase from Gainesville, "Don't taze me bro"!?

Jeff M. Hardison is a reporter with the Chiefland Citizen. His may be reached at news@chieflandcitizen.com or (352) 493-4796.