Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Small Town Life

My Town is located in the hills of New Hampshire and it has a population of 750 people, give, or take a few. There are a few you could take and I'd give them to you, but you'd have to pay the $5.00 disposal fee at the dump. In addition to the human population there are 779 dogs that live here. It is evident that the people of My Town love dogs. In fact one residence had 21 Chihuahua's.  

I love all of the dogs in town. They don't want to run for office, start rumors, go to school where the town has to pay tuition or wake me up howling after midnight. I plead ignorant on the cat population; they stay inside a lot, and when outdoors they hide in the ditches, high grass, or snow drifts depending upon the season.

We have more dead residents than living ones, and most of the them reside in the seven cemeteries. Five of them are inactive and there is not much happening in the other two. My Town’s cemeteries are well cared for, since several residents bequeathed money in their wills for the care and upkeep of the cemeteries. One resident left $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars), another resident left $50,000.00 (fifty thousand dollars) several others left smaller sums.
One of the inactive cemeteries is located inside the boundaries of a private hunting club. The cemetery is only open to the town folks one day a year since the rest of the time, there are shotguns going off. I wonder if the departed rest in peace?

This exclusive club has a limited membership and the dues are $10,000.00 a year, in addition to a onetime $100,000.00 membership fee. Members are entitled to hunt elk, wild boar, deer, turkey and other animals that live in the fenced in area. I think they join the club because they aren’t good enough shots for regular hunting. Or maybe this how the rich get the fancy meats to serve at their dinner parties. I am not certain how cost effective it is, since you can buy elk cheaper than what the dues cost.

There are two churches in town, both belong to the same congregation with only one minister. One church is for winter services and the other is used for the summer There are 50 members in the church. The other 700 residents either worship Satan or go to the neighboring town for services. The same generous benefactor that left $1,000,000.00 for the care and upkeep of the cemeteries also left $1,000,000.00 to church. The minister of the church gave the $1,000,000.00 to the mother church. The minister said she didn’t want the congregation to get lazy in their fundraising. I guess owning real estate is enough for them.

As most towns in New Hampshire, we have a Volunteer Fire Department. Although for some reason they say they are a private fire department. I guess that means it's not on the S&P index. Unbelievably the same resident that left $1,000,000.00 for the cemeteries and $1,000,000.00 to the church left the Fire Department $2,000,000.00 (two million dollars). Funny, when the fire department received the bequeathed dollars, they voted the existing fire chief out (he started the volunteer company 30 years ago) and elected a new chief. In addition to the new chief, they elected all new officers. So now the Fire Department has only members from the same family. The fire department also elects the same officers each year. It’s a family tradition I guess.

The fire department decided it was going to build a park in honor of the generous benefactor who donated the $2,000,000.00 to the organization. They brought in bull dozers, and tore up the ground across the street from the fire station, and put up a giant sign “Future Home of Generous Donor’s Name Park”. That was seven years ago. It sits unfinished; they claim they don’t have the money to complete it, and the sign is fading. You would think they could take the sign down, or collect soda cans to recycle and get money for new paint.

My town also has the oldest continuous operating one room brick schoolhouse in the country. It was built in 1780, and students in grades 1-3 get their education here. When the children reach the 4th grade we export them over to the next town. We want our children to get familiar with outsourcing, since My Town doesn't have money for a new school. One problem we don't have is the PC police. The school uses the septic system of the summer church and no one complains about separation of church and state. I suspect that it has to do with money, which My Town is always saying they don't have.

The school is located across the street from the General Store. Inside the store you'll find movies for rent, soft serve ice cream, corn dogs, and T shirts that say "Welcome to Fabulous My Town, whatever happens in My Town, stays in My Town. But nothing ever happens." When I first saw this it drove me nuts. Is it true that nothing ever happens here? Or are they just saying that because what happens here stays here? After pondering this I became paranoid.

Our town hall is located across the street from the store, and on the opposite side of the summer church. This is where residents go to get their car registered, dog licenses and to find out gossip. The town clerk is opened from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., and on Wed and Thurs. evenings from 5-7 p.m. If you buy a car on Friday you are out of luck, and if it's a holiday weekend you are really out of luck.

This is also where the Chief of Police has his desk. He doesn't have an office, just a desk with evidence laying all over the top of it. There is no chain of evidence. I guess you have figured it out by now that the Chief only has a desk, because My Town has no money for an office. It's a good thing that the Chief of Police is our only law enforcement officer, I don't think we could spring for another desk, because there is no money.

I don't know what a second police officer would do, My Town doesn't have a lot of crime. Once there was the 26 year old female teacher who ran off with a student to Mexico. It was on the national news, perhaps you heard about it. However that did not involve our Chief, since the incident occurred in the next town over, and of course Mexico and it was out of his jurisdiction. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Big GOTCHA and 9/11

Funny how things slip out of our mind the further away they get CNN reports that 30% of Americans feel we will have another terrorist attack on our soil. Down for 60% in 2002. It was only 7 years ago that 9/11 happened and at times it seems so distant. Our mind has the capability to ease painful events. In someways it is good, or we would be walking in fear every day of our lives. In other ways it allows us to forget what is important about our life.

Watching the news on 9/11/01 I was in shock as the events unfolded. Although I live in NH, I have family in NJ and Pennsylvania.. I also have a daughter who lives on the West Coast. Who was still sleeping and unaware what was going on, I feared the West Coast would be next. Fortunately it wasn't.

As the day went on, I was in a daze and felt many emotions, fear, sadness, anger, hope for survivors, and a blanket love for my fellow human being. We were all in this together. Much like siblings. The arguments over abortion, taxes, democratic vs. republican all seemed petty.

My husband and I went to see B.B. King and Buddy Guy on 9/11. The concert had already been postponed from the summer. We were surprised that it was still scheduled. It ended up being just the right place to be that evening. The crowd was friendly and we shared our thoughts, feelings, fears with one another, total strangers. Buddy Guy addressed the audience about the day's tragic events and noted that we are all leaving this world someday.

I look back on this as we are in the midst of a political season and all the candidates are looking for the big "GOTCHA." It all seems so foolish...

Do you fear another terrorist attack? If so why? If not, why not?