April 1, 1990 |
Where exactly is Ramona? The pamphlet from the Chamber of Commerce puts it this way: "Below the snow line, above the smog line, in the Valley of the Sun." To get to it, take California 67 North, away from the clutter and traffic jams of city life and into a community of feed stores and specialty shops for guns, knives and belt buckles. Ramona is a small town that is starting to become a big one.
July 16, 1989 |
Folks who can cluck like a chicken, America wants you. Men with spindly legs, you're in demand too. Ditto people with crayfish that can scoot like Secretariat. No, such talents don't mean a future of Broadway lights, but small-town America has learned how to make fun from the oddest festivals. And there's always time for a contest or exhibit at these Woodstocks of weirdness. Consider the Chicken Show this summer at Wayne, Neb.
September 29, 1994 |
When you get to the fork in the road, take it. --Yogi Berra * In the back-road towns that are now my home and in the little cafes where I linger too long over coffee and idle conversation, I have become an oddity, like some dispossessed traveler from another age. People gather around my bicycle, as they must have around the first Model T Fords that came to town 70 years ago, and want to know what peril I have encountered on the road and where I'm coming from and what's in my saddlebags.
November 1, 1986 |
Mike Richardson, starting a new life at the age of 52, was ebullient. Goodby, San Francisco; hello, Condon. It's the good life from here on out. No more traffic, no more crime, no more crazy real estate prices. Rural America had won another convert.
June 28, 1988 |
It sounds like the grand prize in a supermarket sweepstakes: free cash, land and a year of golf and swimming. What's more, ladies and gentlemen, everybody can be a winner. A too-good-to-be-true offer? No. A gimmick? Yes. The promotion is brought to you by the friendly folks of Rolfe, Iowa, who hope their slick campaign will entice people to move to a tiny town itching to get bigger.
September 4, 1989 |
In a placid field off Highway 77 stand six giant slabs of granite, at once mysterious and imposing, marked by engraved messages. Erected in 1980 with stone from a local quarry and paid for by a stranger known only by the pseudonym Robert C. Christian, the structure draws visitors from around the world who gaze and read aloud from the inscriptions written in eight languages, dealing with improvement of the human condition.
August 15, 1997 |
How ironic that the action in "Embraceable You," at the Tamarind, revolves around the participants in an improvisational theater class. At times, Joshua Rebell's drama about the lovelorn inhabitants of a small Vermont college town seems so randomly assembled that it could have been exactly transcribed from such a class. The play does effectively capture the malaise of a small town in a bitterly cold climate, where lack of sunlight and opportunity are equally dispiriting.
July 20, 1999 |
Hollywood has always looked at small-town America through rose-colored glasses. From Carvel (Andy Hardy's hometown) to Mayberry (Andy Griffith's domain), the heartland has been extolled as an ideal, the repository of virtue, and a sharp contrast to the gritty, sin-soaked and cynical big city. But not anymore. Lately, apple-pie America has been taking it on the chin--or, in the new hit comedy "American Pie," on another part of the anatomy.
September 6, 2001 |
There's a small town in the dreams of anyone who has spent his life amid the clamor of a big city, and I'm always looking for mine. It's in a place beyond crime and traffic, where windows are left open at night and no one is blowing 9-millimeter holes in little children to prove their manhood. I don't know how long I've been searching for a town like that or even if one actually exists within reach.
March 19, 1989 |
Every few months the parcel truck would tool down the dusty road, carrying packages to the same house near the farm hamlet of Shellsburg, Iowa. Nothing seemed suspicious until authorities were tipped off about the contents. It was cocaine, an informant said. After nearly two years of watching and waiting, two men were nabbed. The occupant of the house pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. A neighbor is expected to face trial this spring.