Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Refreshingly imperfect

We had a wonderful trip to Eric's hometown this past weekend. It was so relaxing and gave me time to think and breathe.

Saturday morning was the annual Dove Festival and we of course attended the parade. The kids came home with an insane amount of candy and I came home with some things to ponder on.

Eric's little hometown is so different than the suburbs that I have unconsciously become used to over the past seven years. We live in a fairly middle class neighborhood in an area that ranges from middle class to upper middle class to affluent. Our local parish is massive and has a similar demographic. We are involved in several different organizations at church where we have met most of our friends who are all Catholic families with young children.

But, as I sat on the town square waiting for the parade to begin I was able to observe a very different community. I watched people greet each other as they walked along, not able to go ten steps without seeing someone they new. I can go to the grocery store for months and never run into another person with whom I am acquainted. I saw people from every economic class and age range and they were all interacting with each other. There were people with crooked teeth, discolored teeth, or no teeth at all. It was much more interesting than the uniformly straight and brilliantly white smiles that we encounter at home. Many of the people there would be considered poor, but they were good people, hard workers and seemed happy with their lives. Around here, the word "poor" is so often considered synonymous with "drugs", "violence", "crime", and "filth".

I saw the local man who always wears overalls no matter where he goes, whether it's working his farm, going to church, or to a wedding. I heard names like Pearl, Aline, Mavelda, V.B., T.P., Lou, and La Verne. The local weekly paper featured a farmer whose apple trees produced specimens that were a whopping 13.3 ounces. There is also a local elderly man who can routinely be seen driving down the street on his riding lawn mower. His driver's license was revoked years ago due to failing eyesight so he putters around town on his lawn mower, which is still legal for him to do.

The local Catholic church has about 50 parishioners and are awaiting a missionary priest that is coming to serve them. The deacon presided over a communion service on Sunday and they continuously thanked God that they would soon have a priest and would be able to celebrate mass.

I feel so grateful that my children get to experience this quaint little community. I feel like their horizons are broadened most, not by living near a big city, but by visiting a small, old fashioned town with all it's quirks and characters. It's so refreshingly imperfect.

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