Life’s a bowl of cherries
At the risk of stealing Jeff Foxworthy’s shtick, you know you’re in Marion County when everyone in a restaurant crowded with Sunday diners suddenly stands, meanders toward the kitchen, and breaks into a chorus of “Happy Birthday” — not for some patron but for one of the restaurant owners.
You know you’re in Marion County when you practically cause a traffic jam by pausing on a street corner to stare at a gorgeous stone building. Everyone approaching stops and waits for you to cross even though you‘re just standing there.
You know you’re in Marion County when you complain about kids tossing a couple of empty cans over your fence and learn that not one but two different neighbors saw it happen and, in fact, saw two additional cans you hadn’t yet discovered.
You know you’re in Marion County when it takes almost as many police officers to deal with rubberneckers tagging along behind fire trucks at a minor kitchen fire as it does firefighters to actually fight the fire.
You know you’re in Marion County when another rubbernecker, following a heavily laden fire tanker as it slowly lumbers down a highway to a rural fire, pulls out to block a speeding cross-country driver from passing the truck, the flashing red light on which the driver obviously hadn’t seen.
You know you’re in Marion County when the same restaurant owner who was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” insists your meal should be free because of a minor mistake in taking a previous order, all despite the fact that a week earlier she had sent to your home, for free, what she termed leftovers but what actually was a full meal.
You know you’re in Marion County when a mayor publicly admits bribing a police chief to research an important public topic by baking him a cake.
You know you’re in Marion County when a householder’s lament over the disappearance of a longtime friend — a three-footed squirrel — is replaced by concern for the well-being of a newfound friend — a one-eyed baby turtledove.
Perhaps it’s that way in every small community, but Marion is a pearl of great price — a cherry to be plucked from a grocery bag and marveled at, much as a visiting cat does when its owner tries to enjoy a healthy snack.
People here are something special. Public facilities here — from civic center to hospital, aquatics center to arts center, library to jail — are first rate. A burgeoning arts and crafts colony holds great promise for the future, and a civic improvement group is poised to release an exciting new vision for downtown improvements to go along with needed new facilities for the town’s centerpiece, Central Park.
That’s why it’s so hard even for a visitor to have to write such things as the other editorial on this page. Then again, if it weren’t for all the things in this editorial and more, no one would bother thinking about the things in the other.
Even a visiting cat knows that when enjoying cherries you occasionally find pits.
— ERIC MEYER