A shout-out to Richmond Hill is in order.
We hear and read so many things about how communities around the country are collapsing and coming under all kinds of duress. 2020 has been a year for the ages. We’re only a little more than six months into this calendar year and it seems like a decade has passed since last Christmas. Does anyone out there remember last Christmas? Neither do I.
The Coronavirus, the mandated mitigation, homeschooling, social distancing, face masks, violent riots, peaceful protests, identity politics, the toppling of historic monuments, and the unending buzzing in our heads from Twitter accounts to dubious network news. All numbing to say the least. I want to “reboot” 2020 - as far down the road as I can boot it.
About a week ago, I decided to hide my iPhone, ignore Twitter altogether, and turn down the volume on my Facebook account. I just needed a “time-out,” take a deep breath and to look around. Do you know what I found when I peeked out my door? A great little place to live - Richmond Hill.
When I actually ventured out of my self-imposed isolation, I saw the same familiar faces still chirping away and friendly-like. Of course, I only saw a half of their faces, from their eyes up, but that wasn’t the point.
My Richmond Hill community was carrying on stoically. They were still loading grocery bags, still sitting at safe distances from each other, and still waving as they left church. “Everyone wore a “we got this” expression coming from their eyes. What they said was usually muffled, but I got the point. The message was still clear.
I didn’t feel so bad. I was in Richmond Hill and I was glad that it remembered me.
I came to realize that I was living in a wonderful town, in a wonderful region, and in a wonderful country.
I came to this “town,” (I know it’s called a city), 22 years ago. It was much different then.
Quiet, slow-paced with a more “rural” flavor. Yes, the people were as welcoming then as they are now. That part hasn’t changed very much. Some new faces, perhaps, but each of those new faces seem to have bought into the Richmond Hill mantra - “We got this.”
In looking back over the years that I have been a Columnist at Large for this paper, I have covered many subjects - some local in flavor, some nationally skewed. Looking back, in each of those articles, I am glad to say that I was mostly spot on with my assessment of the subject - rarely did I miss. If I did, I chalked it up to brief lapses of humility. On this op-ed, however, I am not wrong. I did not miss. Richmond Hill is what America should end up looking like after all the dust settles. And, if the rest of America is lucky - it will be.
Throughout the entire pandemic, our thoroughfares and streets have been humming with road crews and new construction, uninterrupted. New home starts too are popping up everywhere. That is not a sign of a failed community. It’s just another sign of, “We got this.”
So, the next time you get all worked up about what’s going on in the news, instead of throwing that foam rubber brick at your TV set, I suggest you just take a stroll out into your “town” - Richmond Hill. Folks are eager to say, “Hey! Good to see ya!”
And the next thing they’ll say with their eyes, just above their face mask is: “We got this.”
Pisano is a member of Ford Plantation.