There are precious few ways to pass the time in Norton, Kansas when harvest or planting or working cattle are not eminent. I chose to read or assault the farm cats and dogs with a pawn shop guitar and amp. Gossip is mostly the sport of choice, a drug with addictive properties that rival any amphetamine. Scandalous affairs are public knowledge, impending sale of farmland is always a hot topic – deep pockets can often be unaware of the deal until a coffee conversation points them in the direction of their next write-off. Dreams seem not to be at any forefront. Rarely, if ever, have I witnessed a sage old man, staring wistfully into the middle distance and wont to expel his youthful conquests with a twinkle in his eye. Just as seldom are those moments of self-realization where Farmer Old Tyme suddenly comes to grip with his rapidly approaching day of judgement and makes the wrongs right, brings the hurt and happiness to the surface to mourn or celebrate.
No, mostly people stay the same as they were…they just eat less doing it, as the small town becomes an island of their claim, and they go about knowing everything they can about that island. These are the spies of their tiny domain, who do their best to recollect every fact. And either they do it with amazing accuracy, or else their audience is so afraid to challenge for fear of being challenged themselves, that seldom is any thought a wrong one. The conversation just rolls on. I guess this is what the world was like before texting.