“Are you going to the (Georgia Mountain) Fair this year?” I asked a woman at a local restaurant. She shook her head and said, “No. I haven’t been in four or five years. It’s too hot; I don’t like the traffic, and I don’t need another gourd with a flag painted on it.”
“Did you enjoy the Fair this year?” I asked a couple from out of town. “Oh, the kids had a wonderful time! They loved the rides, the “Old Ways” display and the Pioneer Village. My wife enjoyed the photography exhibit, and we got to see Ricky Skaggs. We ended up going back again the next day, and we’re planning to come back next year. You’ve got a really nice little town here. We wish we lived in the mountains!”
“The mountains have been really green this year,” I said to a neighbor. “And miserable,” he replied. “Rains all the time, or just enough to make it steamy when the sun comes out. Can’t go from the house to the car without breaking into a sweat, and the grass grows faster than I can mow it.”
“You’ve got a short memory,” said another neighbor. “Don’t you remember this time of year about three years ago when the ground was so dry it was cracking open? And a few months later we were between those two big fires and the air was full of smoke? Remember the ashes falling out of the sky and getting all over everything? I had a friend who had to leave his house when they evacuated the neighborhood when the fire got too close. You should be thankful for the rain.”
“I really hate the traffic this time of year,” said a local resident in the grocery checkout line. “It takes ten minutes just to get from one side of town to the other, and the restaurant was so busy we had to wait twenty minutes to get our food.”
“Come on down to Atlanta if you think that’s bad,” said a visitor to town.” “It can take ten minutes just to go a block and a half, and every day the Interstate is just like a parking lot. I live only ten miles from work, but I’m in my car an hour each way and sometimes a lot more. And twenty minutes to get served is fast food! Try waiting an hour just to get a table!”
An old man sat outside a country store and gazed at the mountains across the valley. A young visitor pulled up and got out of his car. “What a miserable hot day this is! ” He said to the old man.
“Not too bad in the shade,” the old gentleman replied. “Where you from, young man?”
“From the city,” the young man replied. “We’re planning on leaving soon, though, and finding a small town somewhere to settle in. This seems like a nice little town. What kind of people live around here?”
“What kind of people live where you come from?” Asked the old man.
“Not very nice. In fact, not nice at all. They’re arrogant, judgmental and downright mean. That’s the main reason we’re leaving.”
“That’s a shame,” said the old man, “but you’ll find that folks are just the same around here. I guess you’ll have to keep looking. Good luck to you, young man.”
Later on another visitor pulled up next to the store. A young man got out of the car and said, “Good afternoon sir. Nice sunny day today, isn’t it!”
“I was just thinking the same thing myself,” said the old man. “Where you from, young fellow?”
“We live in the city, but we’re thinking about moving here. What kind of people live around here, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“What kind of people live where you come from?”
“Oh, people are very nice for the most part. They’re friendly and very supportive of each other. We’re really going to miss our neighbors.”
“Well that’s exactly the kind of people you’ll find around here,” said the old man. Welcome to the community, young fellow. We’ll be proud to have you as a neighbor!