Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

By the Mines of Moriah

We spent the day in Moriah, New York, nestled among the Adirondacks, east of the High Peaks region and near the southwestern shores of Lake Champlain.  The people there were extraordinarily friendly, and mostly seemed supportive of our candidate.  It is amazingly rural - a half hour from the nearest large road.  The people are proud of their cultural heritage here, and proud of America.  They feel that things aren't going so well, but do not believe that America is "broken."  They'd mostly like our leaders to leave things alone.

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The community was founded upon mining, but I do not know what they do now.  A lot of the people are from here, but like my own neck of the woods, the area has experienced some growth through the gradually immigration of folks from other parts of the country.

We ate a hearty Election Night Harvest Dinner in a Baptist church hall, at the invitation of the mayor and at the expense of a local well-wisher who calls himself Brett the Mountain Man.  It was a really nice evening and a nice way to finish a day of meeting local townsfolk and even more people come in from the countryside to vote in this local population center of four or five thousand people.  The mayor, who was probably five or ten years younger than my dad, and vigorous, sat next to a widower who was much older but only a bit quieter.  The widower told us how a ninety-four year old neighbor of his had had both of his legs amputated after a quadruple bypass surgery had wrecked his circulation.  "Shame and a waste," said the mayor.  "When my heart gets like that, I'd rather just say a quick rosary and then go to meet my Maker."  Why make such a big deal of trying to save an old man from living his last days?  Doctors may sometimes be more afraid of death than their patients.

We sat next to one woman who has lived her entire eighty four years here, and more than sixty of them with her husband, who died only last December 18.  I will try to remember this kind woman and her husband in my prayers that day this year.  She was visibly choked up a bit when we discussed him briefly, but she mostly expressed gratitude to God for His kindness in giving her "such a loving man for so many years."  The mayor and her elderly neighbor, the widower, listened sympathetically as she told us just a bit about him: "He never said an unkind word about anyone, never so long as I knew him, which was all my life."  She told us about a young priest that used to visit their family when she was caring for their child and babysitting her nieces and nephews.  Though her family is Methodist, she said that the priest was always very warm with them and told them he felt very welcome in their home.  "Well, he was," she said, "He was most welcome.  What a fine young man he was."  The widow, the widower, and the mayor were excited to see young people (us) caring so much about politics and about the state of the union that we would drive all the way up from Maryland.  We were encouraged by their hospitality and functioning, albeit small, community.

There weren't many young people here, in this place without few jobs, and none for folks with degrees - except for perhaps the mayor and a nurse or teacher.  Some young men drove by in pickups and waved, giving us thumbs up.  The ones who drove by in inexpensive sports cars were less visibly supportive.  I wonder if there is a correlation.  Young women mostly drove by packed in small American or Japanese imports like Kias and Hyondais.  They mostly waved or didn't seem to notice us.  The shopkeepers were immensely friendly in Moriah, where we got early morning coffee, and in Port Henry, where we got our brunch and late lunch.  Like the waiters and shopkeepers I encountered in Germany, they did not overdo it, nor did they seem interested only in making a sale.  They lacked either the sicky-sweet attentiveness or the condescending, distracted rudeness that alternatively characterize the staff at accommodations in the DC area.  Like the staff in mountainous Bavaria, these mountain folk were genuinely friendly and interested in their customers, but no more so than they would be with a stranger or loose acquaintance on the street.  The ones we met on the street though, were eager to exchange phone numbers or email addresses.  That made me think faintly of Mexico on my earlier visits, when the internet was still new there.  Brett the Mountain Man joked about his internet connection being delivered by pack mule.

I'll miss it. But maybe I'll return. I've no doubt I'd be made to feel welcome.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ryan! thanks for your volunteer political work. It can be tough work and it can be rewarding, too. I know it must not feel very rewarding right now, but your cooperation with the call to go shows your faith and commitment.

Bless you for your good work and the seeds you no doubt planted and which will come to fruition without you ever knowing, even among the mountains of New York.

Thy Handmaid's son said...

Actually, our number one goal was to derail the Republican candidate in a sort of voter revolt against party bosses naming candidates that nobody on the ground wants, and then demanding party loyalty.

Simply by edging Scozzafava out of the election, we won!


(Thanks, though!)