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Lost in Tulgey Wood

"I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge." J.R.R. Tolkein

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Location: Canton, Ohio, United States

The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure --Mikhail Baryshnikov

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Drawing Lines in the Sand

I'm on the brink of moving back to my hometown, Alice; I hope you appreciate how brave and strong I'm being. You see, I'm not a big fan of my hometown. I've spent most of my adult life living elsewhere. Sixteen years after leaving for good, or so I thought, I find myself returning, with mixed feelings. As you may recall, I left town with a bad taste in my mouth.

But a lot of things have changed since I had kids. These days, I find myself wanting to return to the family fold, for many reasons. First and foremost: I want my girls to know my family. I want them to see that they have a reliable group of people that they can depend on and who can, eventually, depend on them. Also, I want to know my family, lean on them, and let them lean on me.

I love my family and I'd want to live closer to them even if they lived in hell. But here's the thing, Alice, They live in Canton and I've got issues with Canton. Don't get me wrong, Canton is not hell...or at least it's not hell most of the time. The residents of Canton have much to take pride in: President McKinley was born there, Football was born there, The Pro Football Hall of Fame is there, Belden Village Mall is there, just to name a few features.

However, my beef with the town is basically with the demographics. You can't swing a dead cat in Canton without hitting a fundamentalist Christian of the worst kind. These are the people who ask perfect strangers, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?" They are in-your-face zealots who are judgemental and self-righteous. And they seem to be multiplying. Large mega-churches complete with rec centers and TV studios are popping up at alarming rates.

Now, Alice, I was raised to mistrust organized religion and I do. I especially mistrust organized religions that are full of aggressive evangelists, as these are. I fear living in Canton again. I'm nervous about re-entering the community. I don't really want my children to have to face the kind of bigotry and intolerance that seems to accompany these people.

Then again...

Perhaps being in the thick of it will help prepare my girls for handling themselves when being pressured in the future. If you can withstand the coersion of a group of aggressive fundamentalists, you could probably hold your own when faced with, say, an aggressive 17 year old boy.

I also seem to prefer to be in the minority, Alice, just like old Twain. I will be in the minority in Canton. But, I will be among friends. My family will be around, Madame E will be there. We'll see a lot of Big E and Joanne too. When Big Orange comes to town, we'll be a stone's throw away. And Espresso Toast won't be too far away.

The cost of living in Canton is much lower than it is where I live now. There are tons of good restaurants. I'll be able to start saving money again. Alice, I have been on the worst downward spiral financilly. I've been losing money like crazy, and I swear, I was ready to throw myself on the altar of Daikokuten and beg for mercy. Fortunately, all the praying (to God, by the way) I did, seems to have paid off. I'm going to get through this, with a few bumps and bruises, but with much still in tact.

So, off we go, back to Little Chicago. Back to Canton. Back to the family. Backwards.


Blogger Big Orange said...

I dunno, though. The place you left almost 2 decades ago may not be the same place it is now. I know MY pokey hometown has grown by leaps and bounds and barely resembles the place I grew up in in my memory. Perhaps Canton has done the same??

I think it may grow on you more than you think. I think you may come to find that you feel more at home AT home once again. The circle will be, for the nonce, unbroken: you will be back to where you started and bringing up a new crop o' babbies. This might be the Big Break you were looking for...

10:39 PM  
Blogger Flannery Alden said...

Thanks for the unexpected words of hope. I'll keep that in mind.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Canton never really changes, but you already know that since you're here alot anyway.

Living here is difficult, there's little freedom to speak your mind. These folks assume that you're less than they are. I take pity on their closed little minds. They live in their religious box and they're terrified of anything beyond it.

11:04 AM  

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