By Jon Swanson
Nancy and I are on a blogger tour in Hampton, Iowa. A bunch of bloggers are in town to learn more about agriculture and the local community. It’s a great idea for the town and for us.
On Friday night, there is a wine and cheese, star-gazing, coffee-drinking, meet and greet. With live music. A bunch of people from the community, a handful of bloggers. It’s a great evening.
And Nancy and I sit in the dark outside the building, listening to the music. Alone. While the people from the community sit or stand in twos and threes, talking, laughing. Shared jokes, delighted greetings. Stories.
At first you might think, isn’t that terrible? I mean, here are these bloggers, these media people. Shouldn’t you want to impress them with how great your town is? But if the thing you want to show is how great your community is as a community, this relaxed conversation is exactly the thing to do. Especially if I’m choosing to sit in the dark, on the edges.
I’m way more likely to celebrate a community if people are comfortable with each other rather than if they make me the center of attention. I’ll come and go. But these friends and neighbor create the web of relationships that keeps the town, keeps this town, going.
Someone did come and talk, by the way. We were made welcome. And in the course of that conversation we discovered that this event came from several community groups combining forces and events. People cooperated. The number of people in town went up.
And I better understood the smiles. They were people getting together, getting along.
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