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Birds and Feathers

We moved up here to "Podunkville" shortly after our first child was born. We wanted to be in a place where our kids would have a healthy environment to grow and develop.
That was 16 years ago. In retrospect, we made a good choice. A very good one.

This town is boring, at least on the surface. But there are plenty of things to do. Many things that are actually good for kids.
My wife was a little "goodie-two-shoes", and I was a Bad Boy. I can smell trouble. It just smells like pine and salty air here.

Both my kids went to the local Protestant church, and attended Youth Group. They also played band in Middle and High School (She, clarinet; He trumpet). Their friends have always been the "geeky" types. They are all odd kids, but genuinely interesting and kind. I find it refreshing how they can be members of a group, and still be strong individuals.

My son is currently in NJROTC (Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps). You'd probably think most of the cadets are flat-top, knuckle-dragging morons named Biff. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

For Halloween, I helped chaperone an event. The cadet leader (Josh) is a 17 year old that used to be our neighbor. We gave candy out of the back of my old truck. I played some old Merle Haggard, Josh loved that. His dad is out in the Pacific somewhere, testing underwater vehicles. Our families take care of each other.
I talked to a couple of the cadets. The one boy I spoke with was a bit spastic, and had a slight lisp. His eyes glowed with the joy of youth. One of the cadets jumped around in giant T-Rex costume. A girl cadet sat on the tailgate, and immediately grabbed a stuffed cow I had brought. Talking with her, I found out that she has scoliosis. No pity-me in her at all, even after admitting how painful it could be.
Some adults at the event hung around the bed of the truck (which was strewn with straw and stuffed animals). One older lady was drawn-in my Haggard playing. We compared notes on favorite country performers. A well-dressed gent walked-up, and demanded to speak to someone. He wanted to be "sold", in ten seconds, why his kids should join NJROTC. Josh handled it... well.

At Josh's age, I was already slamming six-packs of tall boys as a early evening primer. My son and his friends are handing out candy to five year olds. It's skip generation, I suppose. God help us with the grandkids.

Comments

You can't beat small town living. My kids grew up in similar circumstances and they grew up to be fine people. The values and the level of accountability towards your neighbors and friends represent what true community is. It is never hard to spot the city folks, the simple stuff they don't even get or understand.
 
Winston, sounds like you made the right choice for your children. A simpler lifestyle is better for kids... and of course the adults.
 
I grew up in Detroit. Turned out fine. Look to the parents, not the place.
 
Sas, you say that, but my neighbors and friends looked after my kids when I wasn't there. No deed goes un-noticed in a small town, both good or bad.

The "I'll tell your father," goes a long ways in the eyes of a teenager who is spreading their wings. I agree with you about parents, but the place really does play a part in how you view things when growing up.
 
sas;bt10913 said:
I grew up in Detroit. Turned out fine. Look to the parents, not the place.
I totally get what you're saying, and agree. Hence, the blog title.
We good folks find one another.
There are some neighborhoods in Seattle I would have considered living in. But folks like me are driven away. A sort of cultural dysphoria . That's how we end up were we do.
 
PW, thst must be a good place. Winston, my son was ROTC, too. They were a lot of high achievers in thete and anti-negative stuff, like drugs. It was a mixed atmosphere at the school.

My nephews are a few years oldet than him and grew up in small town Nebraska. I was surprised to hear that there was a lot of really negative crap going on, same as the big city. So, I guess I don't know.

We've always been very involved, whereas my parents were not involved so again, I don't know. I always try to talk common sense and point out patterns.

A for instance was when he was younger we were at the supermarket parking lot on a Sunday and I said "..see that? That's the handoff." It was the custodial handoff that goes on between divorced people every weekend. I didn't know those people but I know of them and that part of our culture.

We talk about things like drug dealing vs other businesses, and well, all sorts of stuff. Anyway, some kids figure it out on their own, and others get guidance and figure it out on their own. I hope for the second one.

sas- I saw the saddest video the other day. This mom, her little son, and the grandmother were at a restaurant and her 4-year-old was cussing throwing gang signs and threatening her when she didn't let him have his way. She was totally embarrassed because strangers there were laughing and she was totally caught up in that sad culture. And then there was the little kid.. I mean, what kind of life is that? I didn't share it. I showed my son and my wife and that's it. To me it's the saddest lesson. That kids going to be dead by twenty.

I guess I may not always know exactly what to do, but at least I know what not to do. I know money helps and more of it helps more- fucking-A - he( my son)just got a notice from blue shield raising his rate 92%. He pays his own way and he's 20, and wtf is that, 92% increase ?! So my wife and he went online to try to find a fix for that bullshit. We may not always know what to do but at at least I can show him the things not to do ( as others play it out) I hope that is enough for him.

Sorry for grandstanding or whatever, Winston but I thought you all might get it.
 
Maybe just old people do this, but since I agree a community has responsibility regarding a child's behavior, I do this when in public around small children. If they are well behaved, I smile, give a little wave. If not, I frown and slightly shake my head. They usually stop. It's subtle, but gives the message that we are all together, watching, and responsible for and to each other.
 
Plasticweld;bt10911 said:
You can't beat small town living. My kids grew up in similar circumstances and they grew up to be fine people. The values and the level of accountability towards your neighbors and friends represent what true community is. It is never hard to spot the city folks, the simple stuff they don't even get or understand.

Sad but true.
 
Retired to a small town, 1000 pop - on the surface, at least it seems a nice place. However, we have seen it's dark side - drugs, promiscuity, broken homes and families. I've been calling this a little redneck Peyton Place. On the other hand, most of the people seem friendly and helpful.
Pretty quiet most of the time.
 
My former husband grew up in an one traffic-light town. Doesn't get much smaller than that. He used to say every vice that was in Detroit could be found in that town, just smaller numbers. Proportions probably the same. It made me laugh. I thought Detroit had the corner on vice.
 
I've heard this before, that it's best to raise children away from the city. Guessin there was some truth in it.
 
kaminoshiyo;bt10940 said:
I've heard this before, that it's best to raise children away from the city. Guessin there was some truth in it.


With respect to sas, and other good individuals raised in the city, I wish it was as simple as picking a tree and making a nest.
A small town is not enough. Vashon Island is 200 yards away from Kitsap County, where I reside. Vashon is a small community, wooded and mostly rural. It is also chock-full of the largest percentage of self-important wankers you'll find. The average "Vashonista" has a higher income and education than folks in my town. They are impatient, rude and condescending. Often to one another, as well.

The "Nature" did not purge their "Nurture". They are Seattle-minded folks living in the country. And they are too arrogant to give up their caste-based mindset.
I commuted to Seattle on a ferry that serviced both Vashon and Kitsap. It was never difficult to tell who was going where.
 
Hey Winston, we have several small towns like that: Brentwwood, Calabasas, and...perhaps notably for the highest percentage of Statusiters, Hidden Hills. Not everyone that lives there, but my god... And even that place has layers.
 

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