Country Life

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know about the song ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’, also known as the Black National Anthem. Now I do. 

Sitting on the front porch reading every afternoon is one of the current simple pleasures in my grasp.

Settling in to the quiet life of a small farming community in Midwest USA.  The past 6 weeks have been a true whirlwind–from wrapping up the big deployment at Brookfield to packing and moving to getting semi-settled at Terri’s to pushing hard to get shit done at Black Dog Ridge to starting a new job, quitting and then starting another new job.

Oh, and a few days in two different hospitals. Unplanned of course. Another GI issue. This one a rare case of ileitis—caused, apparently, by a reaction to one of the blood pressure meds I’ve been taking for years. 

Brit and I were in Pittsburgh when the attack hit. We were visiting her aunt and uncle and it became clear I had to get to the hospital. The pain ramped up quickly. At Allegheny hospital, they had no examining rooms or inpatient rooms available so my treatment was taken in the hallway. The hospital is full of COVID patients. I was discharged late in the evening but checked back in to Lancaster hospital the next day as the situation was getting worse. Two days later I was discharged again and am now recovering. Still sore but getting better every day. A humbling experience, as it always is when our fragility is brought to the surface.

But a little space now. Breathing room.

Some observations about small town life. First, as expected, some very nice people. Everyone knows my family which means that they also then sort of know who I am. So we chat and they ask questions and new friends are made. Or at least acquaintances.

But growing up around this farm town, we were told time and again that people with values lived in these types of small communities and big cities are where the problems were. And, that people were simply nicer in small towns. I guess we believed it until we got out and explored on our own and discovered our own truth. 

What they didn’t tell us, was how many people who live in small communities are willfully ignorant and mean-spirited. And in the age of pandemics, just how far they will go to put others at risk due to their stubborn regressive belief system. So here in Trump country, of course vaccinations lag significantly. As far as I know, none of my nieces or nephews or their families are vaccinated. But they continue to move about in society–maskless and confident in their right to ignore sound medical advice.  And to spend time around my parents. Who are vaccinated, but because they are 84, their vax’s are now many months old and perhaps losing their efficacy.

So there’s that. Along with all the other mean-spirited policies that emanate from Trump and GOP. But there’s a bit more. I walk early mornings. Three times now I have walked past others out and about before sunrise. I have said hello and these three individuals ignored me completely. Not a word. What the hell is that all about? 

There was a big drug bust here last week. A dealer was living in a trailer out on the edge of town and state cops brought him down. So we now know from the past 10 years or so that drugs are often manufactured and consumed in these small little rural communities at a pace similar to the big cities.

It seems possible that we were being misled all those years about the difference in values between rural and urban. Seems people are sorta similar regardless of where they live. Some pretty nice and some a little rude and ignorant. Around 45% or so ignorant enough to support Donald Trump and GOP policies.

Work at Black Dog Ridge has slowed a bit. I need to get back and get re-started, but it will be another week for so. And then I will also be at the mercy of my builder. But we will meet next weekend and try to get a start date and preliminary scheduled agreed. I am hopeful of having a fully functioning and beautiful space ready to be enjoyed by next March or April. 

As we come out of the pandemic, slowly, haltingly, and now with a re-surge, international travel remains difficult. Not impossible. I am still tentatively planning/hoping to be in Amsterdam for the week after Christmas. But we shall see. Namibia still seems a long way off. They do not yet have access to vaccinations. 

Life feels a little in slow motion at the moment. But it’s fine. Simple pleasures and joy in the small things. Besides, I need to work to  build some capital back up after going on a real-estate buying spree this year. 

But we manage some nice times each week. And that is the stuff of life. Good meals. Drinks. Coffees in the early morning sun. Watching the sunrise over the hardwoods. Happy hour with Larry and Terri at the restaurant. I see mom and dad almost every day—for decades I saw them only once or twice a year.

Brittany and I get out for good meals. Sono, Ocean Club, EpicEric, Fado. We borrowed the noble Pharrell the other day and shepherded him around Easton with us for shopping and coffee. I’ll be happy to get moved and get my own kitchen set up again. 

We had a nice time in Pittsburgh—hanging with Brit’s sister and brother-in-law and visiting her aunt and uncle. Lovely folks and we had some good long walks around the city. 

I’m taking a break from politics. The ridiculousness is such that it seems juvenile to even weigh-in on the silliness that is modern day America. So I abstain. 

Content for this blog is a little thin at the moment. But circumstances have my priorities in other places for now. But our times will come.

Humbly submitted.

No other news of note. 

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