On the other hand, a friend used to maintain that he was glad for cities and the people who lived in them. There are things he likes that can only be produced in cities, and he was glad he could go fetch those things and return home.
Back in the day, a few of us met each morning for coffee and conversation at My Wife’s Place – in our best emulation of the state legislature. Kind of like my current home; only the name of the coffee place has changed. My Wife’s Place actually was HIS wife’s place, but even she rarely was there. The coffee gave us opportunity to ensure the plumbing functioned as designed, and to discuss in detail the effect on the stores clerks in the event the minimum wage was increased.
Hint: The only clerk in the store was the owner, who also was the shelf stocker, floor sweeper, and trash hauler-outer.
Occasionally, someone new in town would stop at the store to complain about everyone knowing his business. Even though residents were scattered and mostly seemed to keep to themselves, they knew a lot about their fellow townspeople.
In a country town, most people know most other people, or at least know of the other people. Most everyone knows when their neighbor’s kid enlists in the military, for instance, or when another neighbor enters the hospital with a heart attack. Better yet, whose kids were home on leave, or doing well in cardiac rehab.
The store burned to the ground one night. The following week, a large group of workers showed up and built a new store.
In contrast, I arrived at a new job near the southern end of San Francisco Bay in the early 1970s to have a colleague complain he had lived three years in an apartment complex and never met his neighbor.
Cities generally seem to rely on a different kind of neighborliness.
The effect often carries over to the nightly news, when the city-bound anchors too often wonder why a vote turned out as it did, or what happened to the pilot of a single-engine aircraft who had landed the plane in a shallow pond. It’s sometimes almost funny how news people from the big city often miss what is most important to the country folks they occasionally drop in to cover.
Which brings me to an Editorial I read last week in the Lincoln County (Maine) News. In it, the newspaper’s staff took to task the writers of a story listing the best pie in each state and Washington, District of Columbia. In reporting their evaluation, the writers declared the best pie in the State of Maine to be the four-berry pie offered by Moody’s Diner, in Waldoboro, Maine.
“Now, we do not object to the selection of Moody’s Diner, and in fact, find Moody’s four-berry pie delicious, but the best pie in Maine it is not.
“All reasonable people will agree that Moody’s peanut butter cream pie is far superior.”
The newspaper questioned the motives of the reporters, suggesting the out-of-town judges may have been more interested in promoting maximum fruit consumption than objectively evaluating the quality of the baked dessert.
But that is the best pie in Maine, and this is Adams County, where pie season is in full swing. The email box is hereby open to accept nominations from the floor.
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