The Mystique Of Living Here

It is not easy to describe the “mystique” of living around here, but you know it when you see it.

I see it often in the morning when I pick up the paper at Hogan’s Hut and listen to the bevy of truck drivers, linemen, and construction hands talking as they purchase their morning coffee and breakfast sandwich. It isn’t deep intellectual conversation, but it is real–about the weather, the morning news, sports or what happened in their families over the week-end.

The talk is non-pretentious and friendly. It reflects the concerns of making a living and raising a family. No one is on a “high horse” trying to sell an opinion. The conversation is about the challenges and reflections of everyday life. It is part of what draws me to go down and buy the paper. How do you describe something like this?

You get glimpses of it at hunting camp. How can you describe sitting around in an old trailer or cabin trading “war stories” and talking about the big buck that you saw which is still out there? You sense it sitting in a sugar shack in the Spring watching sap boil. Sometimes, even when they are having a bad year, you get it in the optimism of Bill’s fans at a tailgate party.

There are times when I have attended an exceptionally good concert at the Civic Center, or seen a student production or sporting event at a local school when the feeling comes. It is often present when you sit down with friends of many years over a glass of wine and reminisce about old times.

It is hard to describe but there is a love for this place and this community which is really difficult to explain in just rational terms.

My brother recently related an experience to me illustrating this. He had gone to a “celebration of life” event for a friend of ours who had been tragically killed in a truck accident. This man had been in the trucking business his whole life and had obviously made a lot of friends. The celebration began at the shop where he had worked from for most of his life, and ended at the volunteer fire department where he had been a long-time member and leader. A dozen or more road tractors (the kind which make-up 18 wheelers) showed up for the parade. Fire trucks joined in. There were also a number of Harley’s ridden by friends. This man had made a positive impact in the lives of many people, and this was their way of saying “thanks.”

How do you explain the power and meaning of something like this unless you live around here? It would be hard to explain to someone living in Manhattan or L.A. But, you know it when you see it. There is a mystique, a mystery, a meaning to all of this. If you live here, you know what I mean.

So, all of this to say that I am not moving anyplace else. How could there be a better place to live? I can’t always explain it, but I know it when I see it.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.