Old Settlers

I have been asked to return to read at the annual Old Settlers Picnic that is held nowadays at the Cushing Activity Center in Cushing, Wisconsin. This time they’ve asked me to read one of my stories, which, given the commemorative aspect of the area’s history and of people long gone, to me calls for some lightening up. That means a “mangled” fairy tale.

I spoke at this event several years ago. Describing myself as “a recovering city slicker”, I told the group that when I left southern California fifty years ago the municipalities were buying up vacant lots in the San Fernando Valley to create parks. They would be small parks but at least they could be green. Development had pushed so quickly–a phenomenon of greed and money–that parks has been passed over. They were an afterthought. I said that we had the comparative luxury of planning how we wanted our area to grow and develop as the Twin Cities pushed eastward. We needed to think about the legacy we wanted to leave and to plan for it. Since then, of course, we’ve had the proposed hog factory fight that still has to be resolved. At any rate, as I teeter on the edge of my third retirement, it’s nice to be asked. When I asked which story the group wanted me to read, the response was: “You pick; they’re all good!” Well now, how nice and flattering! I’d like every reader to feel the same way.