23 April 2020

Just Visiting

I've talked before about how I used to go out to our smallest districts. Most of these places didn't have much in way of services. We often stayed in motels that were 30 miles away...and that was the closest option. In these little towns, there was always a bar and a post office (and occasionally more). One of our favourite activities was to go to the bar for a little while. It gave us something to do, was often the only option for meals (such as they were), and it was helpful to get a sense of the local population. While we were not ever greeted with a standard line of "You're not from around here, are you?" There were always discreet inquiries that we politely answered. Sometimes, a conversation would start up after they learned we worked in education. Here is a sample of one of those from seven years ago:

Via list from this day

I clearly remember this guy and his backstory. The backstories were always important, because people chose to live in these very rural areas for a reason. Some were afraid of the government. Some had a past they were hoping to run away from. Some had been there for generations. But it was always good to hear what they shared. In these little places, the community is a much bigger part of school life than in larger areas. Part of this is simply because the school is the largest employer and has the most resources. But beyond that, the community never sees test scores (n size is too small) or other comparison measures. It wants what it wants and that always comes first. Some of the people we ran across in the bar had some...intriguing...opinions (see above), but mostly they taught us about the values and history of the place. I hope they are all weathering well in this current situation. Maybe our paths will cross again. I'd like to hear a few more stories.

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