Politics at the Diner

Several things have been going on at the diner lately. Last Friday, I went because I hadn’t been there in a while. Judy and I have gotten into the habit of having a conversation booth-to-booth and occasionally sit together for a bit. I was determined to find a Costco nearby so asked for directions to Route 15 which is just over the Delaware in New Jersey. By the time we finished discussing best ways to get to Costco, Judy and her 81-year-old mother, Sylvia, decided to come along. I was very happy for the company and for the navigator!! It turns out that it couldn’t be easier. Instead of making a right turn to the emergency vet in Newton, keep going straight until Costco magically appears some 45 minutes later. We went through a lovely little town with lots of antique shops and then past a beautiful lake and state park so I learned a lot about the area and where I might take visitors. Obviously I need to get out more.

Sylvia is amazing and doesn’t look or act a bit like 81 years old. If I knew her better I’d ask her secret and maybe at some other point I will. She and Judy are very close so it’s lovely to hear about their working together in Judy’s shop and their plans for projects. Yesterday I went to the diner again, determined to get out of the house. The usual group of counter men were there. One new to me started talking about Apple Valley which, according to my son, has the worst food in the universe. He complained bitterly about his steak, uncooked vegetables, and lack of potatoes. The story went on and on and I wondered why, if it was so awful, did it merit all this talk. I really thought the conversation this morning would be about same-sex marriage or gun control. As I finished my breakfast, Kenny came in and sat with Judy and I got up and stood by the little booth for a while. Kenny said that he thought I’d like to get into some of the political conversations but was reluctant to. “Sure,” I said, “but my views are significantly different from some of the people who come in here!” Kenny indicated that he and I shared some more liberal views and it looks like we can agree to disagree — perfect.

We had an interesting chat about gun control and how people up here feel about the government. I expressed my astonishment that people really thought the government was going to raid their homes or attack Americans. There’s a difference, we agreed, between big government and a tyrannical government that resulted in the second amendment to the Constitution. Guns are a big part of the culture in the Poconos. Hunting is an economic factor in many counties, but there are a lot of people here that firmly and fervently believe that they must protect themselves and their families from a government run amok. Kenny provided me with some insight into the way people think up here, lowered his voice when talking about some things, and I may be less hesitant to join the conversation after this. After months of complaining that there is no one here with whom I can have a meaningful political conversation (unless I Skype with friends from Tallahassee), I am encouraged that there may be like-minded people here after all.