May 19, 2009
Have you ever seen a pulp mill? I have. That is the thriving factory in my little town. You know you are almost there because your nasal passages tell you so. Powerful smell. Down here that is "The Job" to get. If you drive past it at night, it looks like a city unto itself. Brilliant lights glow, the hum of machinery, and again, that smell. This factory seems to be thriving. We take numerous carry-out orders for the employees. Yes, cuts loom and jobs are on the line. The plague of economic crisis hanging like a thunder cloud ready to dump. I wait on these men and women. Some of these men have worked there for 30 years. The labor is etched on their face. The pride in being able to take their family out for a nice steak dinner on Friday nights visible. The sad part is that factory is the only real source of decent employment in the area. You either work there or at the local hospital or waitress. If not you collect unemployment and food stamps. I came here from a city that was full of urban poverty. Now I see rural poverty. Poor is poor. The only difference that I can discern is that because so many people here are related and the community is so close knit, there isn't such a feeling of aloneness. I see more hope and families helping families. The big cities like Baltimore, Detroit, New York, Philly etc..you are on your own. That self preservation instinct is starting to trickle down here. You won't see people panhandling here. It isn't proper and people frown on begging. I just hope that the pulp mill keeps billowing and belching out paychecks.