“Touricide” and a brief message to the transient population

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It has already begun and the long weekend is still days away.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost three years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those not ensconced in the WordPress blogging world, being Freshly Pressed was a nice pat on the back.  We were recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion.  And that it did…..on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you that I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work.  But the myriad of other temporary inhabitants of our little village are a like a box of chocolates and, as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, you never know what you’re gonna get.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by a substantial percentage of these visitors leaves much to be desired.

courtroom

(image credit)

The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled as justifiable.

I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask in return is the same level of civility.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectations.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.

9/11

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There are not many mornings that happened so many years ago that I can remember with such crystal clarity, but September 11, 2001 is certainly one of those days.  If I close my eyes I can see what I was wearing to work that day as I lay on the office floor watching the horrific events of that day unfold.  Even from our homes and offices north of the U.S. border, we all felt stripped of the safety in which we had become so accustomed. The world most definitely changed that day.

Horrors I can only imagine happened to so many people and took so many lives.  In those days and nights that followed, during times of grieving or times of uncertainty, not knowing the fate of so many trapped in a nightmare, there was a sliver of light.  A bright beam of humanity kept glowing light through the darkness of terrorism.  Strangers became saviors, neighbors became friends and the hearts of the world ached for those afflicted with so much pain.  Thousands of hands reached out to help and to salvage some faith in the goodness of people.

Although darkness lurks in the shadows of reality, I like to look for the light.  When tragedy happens, I try to see the goodness in the people who rush to help.  On that fateful day in September 2011, amidst the darkness and chaos, that light never failed to shine.

My prayers go out to all of the families and friends who lost loved ones.  I can only hope you can still see their lights shining.

A city in heightened terror

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The horrific event today in Boston paints my words in a dark color.  The world has turned on its axis again and the ominous cloud that lingered above humanity grows bigger.   What evil force drives people to commit such heinous and unforgivable acts?

I sat on my deck  tonight listening to the sounds of nature.  But those sounds lent no comfort knowing that the sound of terror pierced the ears of so many in a city that should be celebrating – a city that had so much enthusiasm a few hours ago and is now fearfully peeking from behind closed curtains and pacing the hallways of local hospitals.

Innocent children and adults have lost their lives and others who harnessed their athleticism for charities may run no more as they fight for life and limb in hospitals around the city.  Adrenaline was replaced by fear – triumph replaced by tears.

I can only write my words of sorrow and my feelings of disgust for the explosions at the Boston Marathon.  The tragedy has happened but the ripple effect of those explosions will continue as people fear everyone and trust no-one.  My heart  and prayers go out to all of those affected.