This year for Thanksgiving, the separate groups of my family didn't get together in the traditional sense. We all stayed home in our own houses, and had smaller versions of the actual dinner. But the next afternoon, we all gathered outdoors around my big fire pit to enjoy some properly socially distanced family time.

Over the course of several different conversations, I got talking to my nephew about how some things are just so different when comparing our upbringings. He's pretty much a full-on millennial, and I'm a typical Gen X. So naturally, we talked about how the internet was nothing like we've come to know it today, and eventually TV came up.

One thing I told him about was not only how few channels we had, but, that at night, local TV stations just went off the air. He couldn't believe it. He was flabbergasted that they pretty much just shut the lights off and went home for the day at some point. It took reassurances from my mother and his mother, to get him to fully believe it.

Here's Channel 2's late night sign off from the 90's....

But sure enough, I remember back in the '80s, staying up late to watch Chuck Foster's All Hit Videos, because we didn't have cable, and that pretty much as soon as All Hit Videos was over, that was it for TV in my world. It was time to read a book or go to bed. Those were pretty much the standard choices back then.

And you know, while it was a simpler time, I read a lot more books, and listened to a lot more music than I do now. These days, it's all about Facebook or Instagram, and if you have even 10 seconds of downtime, the phone comes out to bring you into a digital realm where luscious boredom doesn't even exist.

So while I sit here, bathed in convenience, I can't help but wonder if things were better when TV used to go off the air at night. Not because you couldn't access it, but because we knew how to entertain ourselves in more meaningful ways. And these days, finding anything with meaning is worth its weight in gold.

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