Life is good somewhere

A good friend gives us her old newspapers from a small town in Maine. They are entertainment—a sedentary version of date night.

Because we cannot agree on who gets to read the Cops and Courts section first, we take turns reading it aloud.

In the most recent issue, the lead story was from a Saturday ago when local police received a report of a “large snake” inside a residence. The police chief and the EMS director responded. With the mere insertion of a comma, the report noted that the EMS director is also a certified exotic animal and reptile handler, as though this is nothing out of the ordinary. After searching the home thoroughly for a 2-foot black snake, the reptile could not be found.

The report further explained that Maine is home to nine different species of snakes, none of them venomous, and the state’s endangered northern black racer can grow up to six feet. It’s all the news you can use and then some.

Next was a story about a dog spotted along a rural road without food or water. An officer responded and determined the dog to be in “good condition and spirits.”

This is your dream town, right? They assess dogs for good health as well as good spirits.

How does that work? Wag your tail if you’re happy, bark twice if you’re despondent.

Meanwhile, in another nearby town, officials used a $2,700 grant to buy “guardian angel lights” for all their public safety employees. The angel light is clipped to a collar or vest of law enforcement, first responders and construction site workers to improve visibility while on the job.

Where we live, construction workers often jump on top of the orange barrels to avoid being hit and I’ve not heard of plans to buy them, or law enforcement, guardian angel lights.

This is not to say that small towns are without drama. A near heart-stopping item reported that someone phoned in an open door at a residence. The responding officer found signs that someone appeared to have been in the building.

I’m reading, biting my nails and screaming, “Behind the door! Look behind the door!”

The story continued saying that the officer “found items lying on the floor.” At least he didn’t find bodies on the floor!

The officer was able to contact the residence’s “key holder” who said he had been working in the house and may not have secured the door. “The residence was later secured.”

Raise your hand if you are 100% certain you could leave home with the lights on, the doors wide open, and all your belongings would still be belonging. We’d like to hope so, but we’re not about to run a test case.

Of course, I can’t say where this place is because everyone would want to move there, gobble up property, tear down all the trees, throw up subdivisions, open franchise fast food joints and a Dollar
Tree, and it wouldn’t be the same.

But know this much—life is good. In a small town. Somewhere. At least for a week.

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Would your dad make a good President?

We don’t often talk politics in front of the grands because it’s just all too terribly depressing. For us. We’re not that concerned about them. They’re young and may live long enough to see the nation rally.

But somehow, in a FaceTime call with our son, five grands crowding around the phone’s camera and his wife in the background fixing dinner in the kitchen, the conversation turned to Presidents.

One of the kids said their dad should be President.

This was stunning as our son’s driving ambition is to get through the week, make it to the weekend, spend time with his family, then start the cycle again Monday morning.

We asked why their dad should be President and someone fired back, “Because he’s never been a politician, so he’s not crooked!”

We may not talk politics with them, but clearly someone does.

We asked if their dad had any other qualifications.

“He builds stuff!”

This was followed by murmuring and a consensus that a good leader should know how to frame a house, lay tile, build tables, install drywall and fix a leak in the roof.

Another voice shouted, “He’d make a good President because he’s very strictish and scary sometimes!”

Strictish and scary—definitely global-leader qualities.

“He works a lot!” another yelled.

Heads nodded and clearly they all agreed that he works a lot.

“He works OVER hours!” a 6-year-old exclaimed.

“Maybe if he was President, he might work less!” someone else yelled.

Sure, there’s always a chance, but that one is doubtful as evidenced by our daughter-in-law in the background shaking her head “no.”

The husband then asked the group how their dad was with finances.

Nobody answered.

Then another yelled, “He should be President because he’s a percussionist!” which in essence was a non-answer answering the question about finances.

The 11-year-old, who had been outside, appeared and we asked if he would vote for his dad for President. He was quiet, perhaps he was stunned by the question. After 20 seconds elapsed with no answer, we said we’d put him down as “undecided.”

Then came another pitch for the presidency: “Dad would make people work hard and do their share.” This came from the 13-year-old who helps run the house and thinks her younger siblings could all do more.

“He’d be tough on crime!” someone shouted. “Like litter!”

They’d come to the end of their endorsements and I said, “What about your mom becoming President?”

Well, hooping, hollering and great excitement filled the room, and not just from our son but from the kids as well.

“What would your mom do for the country?” I asked.

“She’d give everyone a goat and a bunch of seeds to plant!”

Fabulous! A 21st Century take on “a chicken in every pot.” A goat on every lot!

“Did you know goats mow your grass?” someone asked. Well, if that wouldn’t cinch the nomination, what would? Food security and lawn care all in one.

There is a far greater chance of winning a billion-dollar lottery ticket than either of these two running, but it was an interesting discussion. Try it in your family. We might just reframe some of the things that matter most.

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