Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
A train was passing through town, as they do so frequently. But what I saw was a father stopping near the Library with his toddler son to watch it. I've seen many a parent do that: stop on the street for a minute or two to watch something "special" (no matter how mondane) with a young child. It dawned on me in that flash that we live in a community where this is not only commonplace, but welcomed and encouraged. I certainly didn't see much of that in the hustle (and hassle) of California. I proceeded on to the funeral for Bernice Masberg. It was a lovely celebration of a lovely woman, her life and family. I've known Mrs. Masberg (for some reason I can call other of my elders by their first names, but she'll always be "Mrs. Masberg" to me) since the early '70s. She's always struck me as a modern-day June Cleaver - or at least the closest thing to that fictional perfect mother. What I remember about her even more, though, is that she lived her faith - quietly, unobtrusively, but every day. She actually walked the walk that many people only talk about. And she's not the only one. We live in a community where neighbors will shovel part of your sidewalk instead of stopping exactly at some invisible property line. People ask how you are - and actually wait for an answer. You can let workmen into your house, and leave them to do the work - because they're your neighbors and you know them and trust them. And even so-called "enemies" will help each other in a real time of need. This is the best of small-town living. Big-hearted, kind and giving. It's just a darn good place to live. And, I'd have to say, not a bad place to die either (when that time comes). Even funerals here are different, I think. It's less about learning who the deceased person was (we already know, pretty much), and more about celebrating his or her life. It's about being there for the family, and for touching base with mutual friends. Vive la différence!