When I moved back to my home state 21 years ago, having spent the preceding two decades in southern New England, the adjustment took months. It wasn’t the Ohio of my childhood by any means, but escaping the insufferable Northeast vibe for the familiar steadiness of the Heartland brought welcome change to my life.
The area where I settled, and especially when Deb and I landed at Second Chance Ranch, was refreshingly simple and real. It struck us like a latter-day Mayberry — not without its problems but still fundamentally good.
That goodness began to fade about ten years ago. Even though the same fine people are still here, the warm village environment has become harsh, less welcoming. A number of friends and neighbors have moved away to find better situations in the countryside and small towns. Soon we’ll be leaving for The Ozarks.
Returning from our journey a few weeks ago only magnified changes we lamented long before we left. The traffic. The attitude. The discourtesy. The impatience. The entitlement — the air of entitlement we see here is unlike anything we’ve encountered, anywhere.
Deb and I had a couple of errands to run this afternoon. Our trip took us north through town, past the long retail strip. As is my custom, I drove slightly faster than the posted speed limit — in the 25mph zone I went 30, then 40 in the 35 and finally 50 in the 45.
At least half that time I had various cars following me so close I couldn’t see their hood in my rearview mirror — not passing, not blowing the horn, just sending the passive-aggressive message that I should be going faster than I was. I didn’t, of course.
After we finished our shopping and loaded the truck I had to negotiate the broad pedestrian crosswalk in front of Walmart. I swear, it was like these people were trying to get hit. Again with the entitlement.
My own attitude totally sucked by the time we got back to the Ranch. I decided to clear my head with a walk down to the mailbox. On the way up to the house I passed a clump of hyacinths — my favorite flower — growing in a grubby little bed by our side door. I leaned down, snipped one, brought it to my nose and took a deep breath.
I sure am gonna miss those hyacinths.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.