Sunday, August 21, 2005

Midwest Spirit

I've lived in the East for 40 years, but on retirement I will return to the Midwest. I've missed it for a long while. My friends out here, most of them born in the Northeast, don't understand why. I have tried to give them brief explanations, and the first word is space.

New Jersey is the most densely populated state (over 80 persons per square mile) and its idea of an Interstate is 12 lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, speeding well over the 55 mph limit.

With the crowded conditions come bad air and water, high taxes and crime, and few instances of generosity or community. I was reminded of how different life can be by the news of recent tornadoes in Dane County, Wisconsin, near where I plan to live.

The tornadoes destroyed much of several villages, but after the first shock, some 3,500 volunteers drove to that area to sign up with the Red Cross and offer assistance. Over half of the volunteers came from the northern counties of Illinois.

You may read more about the story in The Capital Times of Madison, WI. For the scenes of disaster, click on the Stoughton area tornado slide show. (Photo by Michelle Stocker/The Capital Times)

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