Thursday, November 16, 2006

Country Mouse


I live on the coast of Maine, on five acres of a quiet, rural peninsula with a year-round population of about a thousand. To me, a traffic jam is three cars passing when I want to leave my driveway. So a weekend in The Big City (Boston) is an adventure.
The dh and I just spent the weekend there, actually in a condo in Cambridge belonging to friends. We had a view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline. And parking, which is a biggie in that crowded city. The only drawbacks to staying in the condo were the city lights and constant noise when we country folk tried to sleep. I'm happy to report that not once did we get lost either in traffic or on the subway, called the "T." Tickets to ride the T are now called "Charlie Tickets," after the song by my old faves, the Kingston Trio.
Our main event was going to the theater. Saturday night we saw the classic courtroom drama, Twelve Angry Men, at the Colonial Theater. The cast was basically an ensemble, but did have a couple of well-known names headlining. Richard Thomas, John-Boy, played the dissenting juror. He's now fifty-five. Can you believe it's been that long since The Waltons? And George Wendt, Norm from Cheers, was the jury foreman. Everyone in the ensemble was great. And although I'd seen the movie with Henry Fonda and knew the outcome of the play, the story and the acting were riveting and emotional.
Returning home prompted me to think about Thanksgiving. No, that's not an off-the-wall segue. The trip made me realize more than the usual things I'm thankful for. I'm thankful I live where I do, so at night it's peaceful and dark. But I'm also thankful I can visit a city and enjoy the culture it has to offer. Seeing the play reminded me of one of our most precious freedoms, the right to trial by a jury of our peers, a right that could be in jeopardy, given some recent changes in laws. Without getting into politics, I'm also grateful that we are a nation ruled by laws, with checks and balances, so rights can be protected even when threatened.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Susan Vaughan


JoAnn Ross said...

Oh, that sounds like such a lovely time!!! LOL about your noise, while country folk are trying to sleep. Years ago, I was blocked while writing and my husband had the idea that perhaps it would help if I just got away from the house, him, our son, the dogs, phones, etc. So, we found this cabin up in Arizona's gorgeous red rock country. I did get a lot written (168 pages, which I ended up throwing away, but that's another story), but I could NOT sleep. When I got home, I was telling him about this bird who kept making noise all night. Every night!!

"What kind of bird stays awake all night?" I ranted. He, despite being the naturalist outdoorsman that he is, said he didn't know. Then asked me what kind of sound it had made.

I told him sort of a hoo-hoo sound. Over and over again.

He cracked up. "That was an owl!" said he.

Oh. Well, it was still a lot more bothersome than the fire engine around the corner from our house in Phoenix. Later, when we had our own weekend cabin up in the AZ mts, there was open range on our property every three years. (It rotated to hopefully help save the land.) Every time our rotation came up, I'd be kept awake by mooing cows who'd actually rub against the side of our cabin. Which would, of course, drive our dog nuts.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well! (I'm especially thankful for all the friends I've made from PASIC!) I'm going to be going to New York on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and although I wasn't looking that forward to the trip this time of year, while looking for hotels today, I just realized that the Christmas decorations should be up. I've never been to NYC at Christmas, so, along with having to do the dog and pony show with publishers (which my new fabulous agent assures me is going to be FUN!), I'm now looking forward to my little personal piece of Miracle on 34th Street. :)

Sharon Schulze said...

Susan, I know what you mean about city noises! I grew up in rural NH, where we lived on a dirt road and couldn't see or hear the neighbors. When I went away to college--in the heart of Worcester, MA--it took me the better part of a week to get used to hearing sirens & traffic at all hours of the night. Every time there was a noise, I popped up in bed, totally confused (even moreso than usual, lol). My roommates thought it was hysterical.

Glad you had a good visit to the city! JoAnn, hope you enjoy your NYC trip, as well.

Happy Thanksgiving--


Terry Z McDermid said...

I'm both a city girl and a country girl, having lived in different locations growing up. Not sure which I like most but I do sleep better with a tiny bit of noise. And preferably not animal ones.

The play, Twelve Angry Men, was what really fired my writing brain. I read it in high school, wrote my own version, and showed it to a magazine publisher friend of my parents'. He was reluctant to read at first (now understand how many times he was probably approached) but agreed to look at it. Gave me a lot of praise and told me to consider a writing career. So, when I'm pulling my hair out with characters that won't behave or words that won't dance across the page. . . I think of him!!

No, I'll put him on my thankful list. What would I be like if I didn't write?

Nancy Morse said...

I thought I was the only person who remembered poor old Charlie on the MTA, the man who never returned. Through the open window they hand Charlie a sandwich as the train comes rumblin' through. (It's a good thing you all can't hear me singing). JoAnn, I'm a city girl, born & raised in NY, the city of my heart. NYC at Christmas time is a wonderland. Don't miss Rockefeller Center at night, and if the weather's okay, stroll down Fifth Ave. to see how the dept. stores dress their windows, and wind up at Macy's. As for those city noises, when I moved to FL, it took me forever to get used to the silence. Now I love it, but I also yearn for the sound of trucks & motorcycles rumbling down the street where I used to live, or the roar of 747's overhead from LaGuardia. I spend several months each year in NY, getting my dose of pollution, noise, congestion, wall-to-wall humanity, people cursing in every conceivable language, high prices, litter and dog poop. And all I can say is, ahhhh, it feels good to be home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all you country and city folk.