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5:58 p.m. - 2010-09-16
Living in Paradise

Truly I have the best of both worlds. I've spoken often enough of our proximity to the Big Apple and our ridiculously convenient commute there. But I don't think I've spoken often or enthusiastically enough about the VERY small town living the location of the Hobbit House affords us.

I live in a wonderful little town.

If the conglomeration of a scant few (three) businesses, a couple of municipal and federal offices and one firehouse can be called a town. Which it is, if one is to follow both the strict definition and the spirit of what makes a town, then Mini-Dunk qualifies…admirably.

Turning left from the corner of my street there are railroad tracks that bisect the main artery to Rivertown. A spur line of the very same tracks which take me to Secaucus thus into Penn Station and into the heart of midtown Manhattan. A trek of barely over an hour and one of terrific scenery, at least for the first 40 minutes or so. After that the grim industrial wastelands of the Meadowlands takes over. (What? Did you think 'The Meadowlands' was just the name of a football venue? Nuh-uh. That swampy polluted place owns the north-easternmost corner of New Jersey before it gives way to the mighty Hudson River and the island that is its reason for being and destination of a million million dreams.

But before one boards a train to the place of dreams there are corn fields. And honest wetlands where ducks and herons and turtles and snakes and all manner of fish live. Wetlands that abut the meadow behind the property I pay taxes on. A place where trees have grown old and wise in this place where they were mere saplings when George Washington trod here and where the starveling army of a Revolution took a break before marching back south and wintering over in the hell on Earth that was Valley Forge.

My house has only been here for 100 years, but this very acreage was the site of a campgrounds and a foodstuffs scavenging place for an army bent to be rid of despotism and debt to a crown no longer bowed to or bound to.

And in 200+ years this place hasn't changed much. The gas station and the auto repair shop across the intersection are kinda new, but the general store has been here for a couple centuries, as has the Methodist Church. The only game in town if you're a religious type.

Today I had business at the post office. A squat stucco building with 3 windows and 10 parking spaces. A place where the Postmistress left off heaving pallets of sorted mail to sell me a stamp. And did it with a smile and a "Thank you".

Across the street from the post office and behind the firehouse on the town's single ball field (a rusty backstop with rutted baselines made by running feet not by regulations) a tent was going up, the harbinger of this weekend's 'Autumn Festival'. A tiny craft show cum garage sale and a couple of food booths. There will be activities for the kids- a bean bag toss, a coloring contest, and a hayride. Mostly though the festival is an excuse for the residents of Mini-dunk to get together and chat. We do this three times a year- the Autumn Festival, the Halloween costume parade and town party, and in the spring for the annual Easter egg hunt. Otherwise we count on the town grapevine and the occasional 'Lost Pet' or 'Yard Sale' notice printed up on someone's computer and posted on the general store's front window to keep us up to date on what's doing with the 200 souls who call Mini-dunk home.

I love this town. Hardly more than a crossroads to the busy folk who slam through bent on getting from Podunkville to Rivertown or from Podunkville (the county seat, ya know) and the Interstate, but it's the whole world, or at least a significant slice of it, to those of us who call it 'home'.

Just a small town girl, ~LA

5 Wanna talk about it!

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