November 12, 2009 § 2 Comments
It has recently come to my attention that our lovely New England farming community is far too charming and bucolic for its own darn good. How, I wonder, is a citizen supposed to get on with the important and difficult business of growing crops, milking, slate quarrying and sugaring, when he or she is constantly being bombarded by requests from Vermont Life photographers to “move a little to the left” and “look a little more rugged and haggard in the next one- but in a good way.”
You know the problems as well as I do. Every autumn our town is overrun with the dreaded Leaf Peepers, peeping at our leaves most indecently. Then the antique hunters arrive, breaking into our storage barns in hopes of finding a charming little shop selling glass milk bottles in which they might arrange flowers for their Soho loft powder rooms, or perhaps a family heirloom rocking chair they might yank from my beneath my dying grandmother’s arthritic fanny.
Every winter, the skiers descend like locusts, wearing parkas made of yak fur and demanding lactose-free ice cream at the diner, asking where the nearest Starbucks/sushi bar/Apple store is and lamenting the failure of civilization to bring sufficient cell phone service to our area as if it ranked slightly above sewage treatment and clean running water. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 7, 2009 § Leave a comment
I don’t know if this is a true story, or the stuff of urban legend, but my good friend in Dayton, Ohio tells me this: on election day her mother-in-law was volunteering for the Obama campaign making calls to make sure people remembered to vote. The woman next to her called a couple who seemed on the elderly side and perhaps slightly hard of hearing.
Yes, the elderly woman said, they were going to vote, leaving in just a few minutes in fact. Who, if they didn’t mind the volunteer asking, were they planning to vote for? “Harold, (or, insert your favorite anecdotal name here)” the woman called to her husband, “Who’re we votin’ for again?”
“Votin’ for the knee-gar.” came the called out reply.
This is one of those unique stories that induces the strange feeling of wanting to laugh and put your head in your hands at the same time.
It also points out the nature of progress: never as straightforward as we might think. Rather, it is a circuitous process, cyclical, incremental- always two steps forward, one step back. Not only can you have the same country jubilantly elect the first African-American president and still harbor a tremendous well of racial prejudice… you even find those two powerfully conflicting ideas represented within a single citizen. « Read the rest of this entry »