This song is a gem and quintessentially Newman-esque. It's actually a tongue-in-cheek, nod-and-wink reflection on how things would change radically at that point in time.
The Wright brothers lived in Dayton, Ohio in 1903 and made their first powered flight on December 17 of that year.
Things would never move quite so slowly ever again.
The album's curio. In the midst of weighty disquisitions on history, religion, politics, stardom, sex, etc., it's a charming, sentimental song about just passing some time in Dayton, Ohio in 1903 ("Would you like to come over for tea / with the missus and me?"). It's a a celebration of quieter, simpler, friendlier times. Sure, there's a touch of self-consciousness ("Let's sing a song of long ago...") and social criticism (through the comparison with the contemporary world) here, but these don't seem to be Randy's primary interests. He's painting a picture of a time and a place, a time and place "when things were green and movin' slow." And the music suggests the feel of such things: it's beautiful and relaxed. Randy's singing even seems less nervous--his voice is quiet and gentle, genially inviting us to share in his sentimental conception of the past and its simpler pleasures.