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Another Day in the Country

The Charter Club

© Another Day in the Country

I’ve been following the workings of county commission in the paper.

“Thank God for the commissioners” who are brave enough to fight the political battles for the people, by the people, even when the people sometimes need their heads examined as they attempt to reinvent the wheel.

And, while I’m being thankful, “Thank God for the newspapers” that are still in existence to report all kinds of things under the category “news” for us to talk about, ruminate over, and discuss heatedly with our friends. What would we do without newspapers?

Newspapers, by and large, are a consistent form of information that can be cross-checked and verified, as well as a constant source of conversation material. We’ve had some rather intense discussions in my family circle, for instance, over the subject of government grants and whether or not they are administered correctly or are even useful. The economic development group that has re-surfaced and is trying to find something useful to do has also provoked vigorous discussions.

Developing a charter that is simple, focused, and doable is a bigger challenge than anyone would like to admit. Of course, commissioners want anyone and everyone to figure out how to have viable, employed bodies in Marion County.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” is a brilliant mantra, but an abundance of well-paying job opportunities in an impoverished county is fiction and fairytales. We like reading fiction and it’s fun to fantasize but it just isn’t real life.

We are a farming community with a county full of aging farmers and ex-farmers. Farming is what happens naturally on the land, and while this provided sustenance for our ancestors it’s more and more difficult for it to provide a lifestyle as well as a living wage on the amount of land grandpa used to own.

So the farms got bigger and the number of people needed to work them got smaller, so our population got smaller, and our schools got smaller, and the number of services got smaller as well.

There just aren’t that many people in Marion County. We’ve had to clump together, consolidate, create more with less. But, c’mon folks, isn’t that one of our charms, as well as our challenges? We have wide-open spaces. We don’t have traffic jams. We see fewer people. We have to solve our own dilemmas instead of expecting some cookie cutter solution.

So, here we are, crying for economic development like babies wanting a pacifier. Another economic development committee, like all the other economic development committees that have come before it, is not going to solve our problem.

Unless!

Now there’s the big word: Unless, which signifies that whatever follows has to be different than what preceded. Unless we do something different.

This cannot be same old same old. I’ve a hunch that is why commissioners said in essence, “come back with something practical, something simple, something different than charter jargon.” I think it was Einstein who said, “Mental illness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome,” or something close. We’ve got to do something different.

I came to the country because I wanted to live in a little town like Mayberry, RFD, where we knew everyone and we all swapped stories and pieces of pie, mowed our lawns, planted gardens for sharing, and listened to the birds sing.

Did I find it? Temporarily, while my aunts and uncles were still alive; but it faded as folks’ penchant for bickering and backbiting took precedence; but I still keep planting flowers, making pies for sharing and listening to the birds.

“God bless the commissioners!” They don’t know the magic solution to our problems in Marion County, but they keep chipping away at the problem, making some headway, experiencing setbacks; but they keep working at it.

And we have to do our part making ourselves and our neighborhood nice to be around! That’s the least we can do, on another day in the country.

Last modified Oct. 27, 2016

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