a model for our future together?
It’s possible to experience small town living even if you live in Chicago. I’m talking about our 60-cottage resort across the pond in Michigan. Folks commute most weekends from May to November to enjoy the beach and pool and the friendships built up over the years. We’ve watched each other’s children grow and return ‘to the Lake’ with their own children. Without especially trying to, we’ve come to know and care about each other…even in the off-season.
If one of us showed up with a big box holding a shed that ‘required some assembly’ all the guys would suddenly appear with tool belts at the ready. If a skate boarding child zoomed by the SLOW CHILDREN sign next to the road circling the compound any of us would feel free to remind them to watch for the slow adults shambling along. And once, when a neighbor had a cardiac problem in the middle of a community supper, a nurse among us swung into action, while our off-duty police officer arranged transport to the nearest hospital. We care about each other. Not gooey. Just familiar and friendly and caring. We don’t talk politics or religion outside of like-minded cliques.
But one day, one couple showed up with a political bumper sticker on their truck. Poor show. Not done. Like putting political yard signs in front of each home. Not done. Not here in this sanctuary where it is more important to get along and maintain good will than to thrash and shout like news show pundits. If we tried real hard, we could pick up coded words, clues to each other’s political views. But there seems to be a general consensus to limit that kind of information. We want to know only so much and no more in our retreat from city living and electoral discord—a get-away from too much information. We try to be friendly but not nosey. Is our microcosm on the lakeshore a paradigm for our country? We don’t need to live in each other’s skin. Just need to be civil and caring enough to walk side by side and get along as a nation. Is this too simplistic an ideal?