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Millions of Little Towns

Millions of Little Towns

Hello and good day!

At night, when it is good and dark, you can look up at the hills and see yellow headlights coming around a mountain curve.

The yellow lights float down a long hill, switching back and forth, along the only road that leads into town.

There is another road, on the opposite side of the city, that leads out of town.

It also climbs up over a mountain ridge, but if you go over it, it descends into a valley where there is a wide and uncrossable river. On the other side of the river, the mountains turn barren.

30,000 people live in the little isolated city, surrounded by mountains on all sides.

In the morning, at 6 am, trainees of the police corps take their morning jog.

The officer in charge of the troop rides behind them in a car with a bullhorn on its roof, playing loud traditional local music featuring booming tubas, and through the same horn, the officer barks out orders.

"Run! Run! Run! Faster! Faster! Faster! Lift your knees! Lift your knees!"

A newly married woman, who just turned 60, wakes up to prepare breakfast for her husband. The husband is 70 and was a widower for twenty years before marrying a second time.

He walks into the kitchen to see that his new wife has prepared an abundant spread. Boiled eggs, bread, cheese, tuna salad, purple olives, and oatmeal.

For twenty years the man had eaten alone, surviving on avocados and cheese for breakfast, potatoes and tuna for lunch, and cake with hot chocolate in the evening.

The new couple has been bickering lately, because the man wants to cleave to his old ways. He wants avocados and cheese for breakfast, same as always.

It was easy and fast and light.

But the wife wants to take care of her husband and she wants to serve him breakfast, her way. When the wife isn't looking, the husband sneaks an avocado from the avocado basket on the counter. He cuts it open quickly with a serrated bread knife from the table.

He sprinkles a dash of salt on the avocado and begins to scoop out the creamy insides with a spoon. He eats fast, hoping to make as much progress as possible before his wife turns from the stove, where she is making tea, to join him at the table.

Halfway through the first avocado half, the wife turns and catches her new husband in a clear act of disobedience.

"You're eating avocados? You can't eat avocados with cheese. It is bad for your stomach," says the wife.

"I ate avocados with cheese for twenty years and I am the healthiest man in town for my age!"

"Yes, but you slept alone all those years. You don't know what it is like to sleep in bed at night with a man who eats avocados and cheese for breakfast. The gas is unbearable. Please my love, give me the avocado. We'll eat it tomorrow."

The husband dejectedly hands over the avocado and eats an overly heavy breakfast, according to his wife's desires.

His wife eats with him, very pleased with how the morning is coming along.

In front of their little house, on the other side of their quiet street, there is an elementary school.

At 7 am, students arrive in their school uniforms: black slacks and orange sweaters with white collared shirts underneath. They walk in through big blue metal double doors onto a grass field near the school's entrance.

The parents who had walked their kids to school wave goodbye and the children line up on the grass to wait for their teachers.

Homeless dogs bark in the streets, outside of the tall tan brick wall that encloses the campus.

The children breathe in cool dewy mountain air and look out at rugged grass and pine covered mountain hills all around.

Soon, teachers appear to blow whistles and yell.

"Class one! Class one! Come with me please!"

"Class two! Class two! Follow this way!"

The children dutifully follow, and school gets underway.

All over town, city workers, mostly women, with pointed sticks and garbage bags, wearing neon yellow vests and floppy hats to protect them from the sun, make their rounds picking up trash from the street.

Trucks carrying building supplies drive through every part of the little town, honking at pedestrians, warning them not to cross the street.

A man from the countryside, an eighty-year-old farmer, walks into town from his farm. He is wearing a cowboy hat and leather sandals. He is wrinkled and tanned dark brown from his face down to his feet.

He has a pocket full of lollipops.

In town, he limps down every block, with a fistful of lollipops, trying to sell them for ten cents each.

Back at the school, a sixth-grade boy scales the tall tan brick wall and comes climbing down the other side onto the sidewalk.

He stands there waiting until a girl climbs down to meet him.

The newlywed 60-year-old wife is in front of her house sweeping the street. She has her husband painting one of the window frames on the front of the house.

She sees the kids ditching school and yells out to them.

"Hey you kids! Go back in there!"

The boy and the girl hold hands, stick out their tongues, and take off running.

"Aren't you going to do anything about that?" says the wife to her new husband.

He is holding a paint brush and a can of paint.

His hands and shoes are speckled with paint, and he looks at his wife incredulously.

"What could I have done?" he asks.

"You could have done something," she says.

"Ah, let them go. They're just kids having fun."

The wife shakes her head.

"I don't like it. We have to tell the school."

"Ah let it go," says the man.

In the afternoon, students get out of school and flood the streets and shops buying candy and ice cream, still wearing their uniforms.

The trash pickers clock out and walk home, still in their neon yellow vests.

The old cowboy buys oil and soap with the money he made selling lollipops and walks back out into the mountains, to his farm.

Construction workers park their trucks in garages back at company headquarters.

The newlyweds walk together through a park at dusk holding hands and then eat cake for dinner in their favorite dessert restaurant.

The sun goes down on the town and the clear night shows infinite clusters of shining white stars in the black sky.

Yellow headlights float in from the mountains and down the hill.

People are the same everywhere.

There are millions of little towns all over the world that are perfectly lovely and comfortable.

As long as there is enough to eat and peace prevails, any one of them would do just fine.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day.


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