The people we know

Written by karen on March 11th, 2018

I just got off the phone with our 83-year-old neighbor, who has been for some time back home in Wisconsin. We talk on the phone regularly, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from him. He is one of the sharpest, most thoughtful people I know, and I am lucky to count him as a good friend.

Back when we first came here, if you’d had told me that I’d be such good friends with this person, I wouldn’t have believed it.┬áBut that’s been one of the surprises of living in a small rural community.

While there are things about living here that drive me crazy (it’s almost impossible to have privacy…I’ve heard stories about myself repeated back through the grapevine until they are nearly unrecognizable, and as one distant friend said recently “our public lives intersect with our social and economic ones in ways that in cities you can have different spheres. There are not many ‘anonymous days’ in rural communities.”), there are other things that are delightful.

One of them is the riches I have found in unexpected people like our neighbor. It makes me think that I might make more of an effort to connect with diverse* people if I ever lived in a city again.


* While I often lament the lack of “diversity” here, I am coming to understand that diversity can mean different things. While we sadly lack racial or ethnic diversity, we do have a collection of folks that span a crazy spectrum of political ideologies, backgrounds, and ages.


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