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'F' as in Frank

The little Nokia that could

Joni and I bought our first cell phone more than five years ago while we were still in Cle Elum.

It was our only cell phone until a few days ago. That's right, five years later we were still using the same cell phone.

Despite being dropped - including a couple of especially hard knocks on concrete - and taking two trips through the washing machine, that cell phone was more stubborn than a Timex. It took a licking (several in fact) and kept on ticking.

Oh, sure, the number nine on the keypad had become temperamental and the screen graphics had become scratchy to the point you couldn't distinguish an 8 from a 0, but it still kept a charge and made/received phone calls.

The funeral dirge for our cell survivor started a few days ago, though. It began when I turned off our wireless friend when Joni and I went to see The Nutcracker at the Capitol Theatre on Dec. 12.

We thoroughly enjoyed the show and live orchestra accompaniment. As we left the theater I turned on the cell phone as I had hundreds of times before.

Only this time there was no screen, nothing. Couldn't see what number I was dialing, couldn't read my contacts. A total blank.

I tested it and found I could still make and receive calls; I just had to dial the number carefully.

After a few days of staring at a blank screen it was driving us crazy and we felt it was finally time to look for cell number two.

It took us a long time to decide on a cell phone. The options available for free cell phones with our plan were amazing and we ended up finding something with video and camera capabilities.

It even has some kind of music player, but I haven't figured that out yet.

It's like Christmas came a few days early, we're now shooting video and taking pictures at home, fidgeting with the new gadget.

We're still old fashioned, though, we're not doing a texting or internet plan, we're sticking to talking and using whatever the phone offers for free - and there's quite a bit.

The Nutcracker may have indirectly led to cracking our tough-as-nails first phone, but we actually still have it.

We can't call on it, but the screen now flashes on every once in awhile and it has a few games built in as well as a handy alarm clock.

As Neil Young once opined about Rock and Roll, the little Nokia that could is gone, but not forgotten.

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