Harvey Kinney was brother-in-law to my Grandfather Gilchrest, who died years before I was born. Because Harvey outlived my grandfather by 35 years, he could tell me interesting things about the family that otherwise I would not have known. As I recall, Harvey told me that when the New Town Road was built in 1851, my house was hauled across the lot from the old road to its present location. They used oxen to move it into a more fashionable neighborhood.

I asked him who told him about it. He snapped, “Nobody told me. I always knew it.”

In the 60-odd years since then, whenever I have asked my brother who told him this or that, he has replied, “No one told me. I always knew it.”

Always having known something is a universal concept, and if you give it any thought you will agree that this is so. Most of us hatched out like “Venus on the Half-Shell,” already knowing everything we needed to know to survive in our age.

There is no other way to explain how the grandchildren are able to activate their Alexis toy in five minutes. And why Marsha had to take ours back to the store after days of messing with it. The tech geek there told Marsha that she needed an Android for Alexis to work.

Yes, we read that online and we studied for hours, but we still aren’t sure what an Android is. Isn’t my XP computer an android in the dictionary sense of the word? You can see that if you aren’t born already knowing what an Android is, the concept is rather difficult to assimilate later in life. You might compare it with learning to speak Greek or Finnish at the age of 80.

We all seem to be programmed for the age into which we are born. Someone recently wrote on my Facebook page, “Google Home works better for everything other than music, but its interface with Pandora and other music apps is clunky.” Twenty years ago, no one would have been able to write that sentence. I have no idea what it means today.

In the 1940s, when the road was filled with snow, the milkman arrived on a low-slung farm sled pulled by his horse. Several of my neighbors still mowed and brought in hay and hauled clams with horse and wagon. The old folks knew the name for each piece of the harness. I never learned those names, but without even knowing how it happened, I was automatically familiar with all the parts of an automobile engine.

At the tender age of 15, I knew that when the fuel pump wouldn’t work on my ’32 Ford, I could fix it with a little round disk I’d cut out of my leather belt. When I had to, I knew I could tie a 2-gallon gas can to the window and bypass the fuel pump completely.

Back then, we were adept at fixing our own cars. We didn’t get answers by looking online. Any adjustment that would enable us to limp along for four or five more miles was something that came naturally.

I knew that if the road was solid ice, I could cut the steering wheel over hard and yank on the emergency brake. The car made glorious circles as it continued down the road. It would straighten out whenever I wanted it to. Please remember that 65 years ago, there usually wasn’t anyone coming the other way.

In 1951, icy roads were a fact of life and we knew how to make the most of them. My father never taught me how to make doughnuts on the ice, and I doubt if any other father taught his youngster, either. It was nothing we had to learn. It was something we always knew.

I once saw an email that said, “She tore her ACL this summer. Later, in France, she managed to break her wrist.” A recently torn anterior cruciate ligament is a normal part of over-the-morning-coffee conversation with any parent whose children are involved in sports. The price of glory on the playing field is limping through life with a damaged ACL. Mention this to a child and you’ll be told, “I know it. I don’t care.”

There is a price to be paid for grandchildren with the computer skills of a Ukrainian hacker. No one raises an eyebrow when told that children no longer spend as much time outside as prison inmates. If prisoners were allowed only as much time outdoors as children are, there would be riots and prison investigations. As a result, children have weaker arm and leg muscles than we had from climbing trees 70 years ago, although their fingers are stronger from manipulating small digital devices.

Forgive me for pointing that out. You already knew it.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

www.thehumblefarmer.com/ MainePrivateRadio.html