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Was the experience of “community” in an Ohio town during Ervin’s lifetime fundamentally more compelling and authentic than has been possible after the post-war economic boom? Or should Ervin’s passion for organizing and social service be seen as an attempt to compensate for an actual fragility of communal life?
You just do it, and you do it because you know your place is a wonderful place and you want to keep it the way it is. It’s not because you want so-and-so to be like, “Oh, there’s pastor’s wife picking up Wordi Gras trash.” It becomes second nature after a while. It needs to be, I saw it, so now it’s my job.
This is a description of small-town life and the help you can expect to receive from people not conditioned to give strangers the finger.
The stones strapped to the back of the city dweller, along with the thick tension of the silence of the state, explains why most city conversations fall on the opposite side of friendly.