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Bluegrass Symphony

Wayne Gray

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I miss many things about Kentucky.  And though it took a while, I finally realized what it is that I truly long to experience again.

 

Let's start with what I don't miss - the people.  Those are the most mixed bag when it comes to my thoughts of my home state.  I've met some of the most honest, hard-working, and caring people there.  Yet, I've also run into some awful apples.  They were judgmental, hardened by poverty and suffering from a lack of opportunity - all of which conspired to make some men and women folks you'd never want to know.  I know this sounds awful, but I can take or leave most of those living there.  That's not where the magic is for me.

 

What I miss the most is the place itself.  Stepping out onto the porch in the late afternoon of July, you're hit by the humidity, temperatures in the upper eighties, and my memory of those experiences takes me right back there.

 

But, mostly ... it's the sound.  There's nothing like that sound.  Summer in my homeland is green, vibrant, and thrumming with the constant reminder of life.  The forests of northern California, where I live now are solemn, silent cathedrals.  But Kentucky gently roars with a symphony of birds, cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets.

 

That's what I really miss.  I miss the symphony.

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I've lived in San Francisco for 14 years now, surrounded by cars, buses, trains, and 888,000 people crammed into five square miles. There is traffic sounds all day long, rarely is there not traffic going in and out of the city. The noise is deafening. Add to those 888,000 residents, you probably have another 10,000 homeless people in and around the city. Its a stinky town, filled with feces, urine and dirty needles lining the streets. Some from dogs and some from the homeless people. Its rather common to be driving down a street and see a homeless person squatting in the street defecating. 

 

Its a far cry from the rolling hills of Pennsylvania where I'm from. Not only do you have the four seasons, but the air is so pure and clean. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss my home. I miss the beautiful spring days where everything smells of flowers and freshly mowed grass. The crisp fall mornings with just a hint of wispy breath before the sun warms the almost frozen grass. Then you have the winter days, watching it snow from the inside of a hot tub on the back deck. The summers are hot, humid, and just perfect for outside picnic and back porch drinking.

 

San Francisco has amazing food, great bars, a thriving gay scene that I don't think can be matched by many. But the noise, the smells, the dirtiness that the people step over on a daily basis makes me feel trapped in some alternate universe of a ultra liberal failed experiment. 

 

I so agree with your sentiment. Except, if it weren't for my fiance, i would be long gone from this cesspool.

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@Jason Rimbaud Yeah, I couldn't do SF.  A week is probably about all I'd ever want to handle at a time of that city.  Hell, of just about any of them.

 

You've made me miss Pennsylvania too, and I'm not even from there!  I can feel it in your words.  You know exactly what I mean because you're living it.

 

I had to actively give up being a part of the larger gay community when I chose to live rurally.  But, honestly, it's not a big trade for me.  I have lived my time in that world, and I am finished with it.

 

I have these dreams of returning to Kentucky, or, at least Appalachia - somewhere up or down the range of those gently rolling mountains.  Though, with the social backwardness of my home, I have to simply mourn that dream as just that.

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On 3/19/2019 at 1:25 PM, Jason Rimbaud said:

It's a stinky town, filled with feces, urine and dirty needles lining the streets.

Even if all the homeless people in San Francisco magically were housed, San Francisco would still stink in the middle of summer. It has an ancient (for California) sewer system and you can smell the stench wafting up from the storm drains. Many of the sewers are lined with bricks and they’re so old that the bricks are starting to collapse in places.

I love being close enough to The City to commute in everyday for the ten days of Frameline film festival every year. The Castro is just a BART and Muni Metro ride away. I just wish it didn’t take me 90–120 minutes each way. But the film festival is worth it to me. (I get a Castro Pass and camp out all day in the theater.)
;–)
 

If cities and towns outside California took care of their needy, they wouldn’t be migrating here. A whole lot more funding needs to be allocated to drug and alcohol rehab. There aren’t enough spaces for those who want to quit their habits. Many states aren’t providing sufficient social services for their poor and people are forced to move elsewhere.

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15 hours ago, droughtquake said:

If cities and towns outside California took care of their needy, they wouldn’t be migrating here. A whole lot more funding needs to be allocated to drug and alcohol rehab. There aren’t enough spaces for those who want to quit their habits. Many states aren’t providing sufficient social services for their poor and people are forced to move elsewhere.

I’ve seen the results of what funding the drug addicts mean for San Francisco. There are safe zones for junkies to shoot heroin, and needle exchanges. Crime in San Francisco is on the rise and the word is spreading.  Tourism is down, major conventions that were held annually are being cancelled due to the small army of homeless that dwell downtown. Not only are the residents of San Francisco paying for these safe zones, we are losing money because people aren’t coming here for vacation like they once did.  Almost every restaurant is down 15 to 20 percent from 2017. It’s a good pipe dream thinking if we only had programs for rehab then we can correct this problem. They don’t want help, a good portion of them have mental problems thanks to Nevada shipping off hundreds of their mental patients with a one way ticket here back 2013. As a resident for the last fifteen years or so, I’ve seen the problem grow past the usual homeless problem. What we have here are mental patients roaming the streets and the police are powerless to do anything to stop the chaos that lives in and around mission street. Homeless people we can help, but turning s blind eye to mental patients screaming and attacking tourists does nothing but cost us more money in taxes and losing money because no one wants to vacation here. I don’t have the answer but neither does the mayor and the city government.  All they care about is salesforce and the money they receive from them. There comes a time when all the good wishes in the world won’t fix the problem. Hard decisions need to be made and the liberal ideas don’t have the answer. San Francisco has almost made me switch parties. And governor newsom will only do to the whole state of California what he did to San Francisco. I do take some comfort that I don’t think he could ever become president at least. I’d almost rather trump as president than newsom, Gavin is actually smart enough to really mess up the country. 

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But Kentucky gently roars with a symphony of birds, cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets.

My parents used to watch Japanese historical dramas. They always had very loud cicadas as part of the background noise. I would much rather have silence than the incessant sound of insects like cicadas!

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13 minutes ago, droughtquake said:

My parents used to watch Japanese historical dramas. They always had very loud cicadas as part of the background noise. I would much rather have silence than the incessant sound of insects like cicadas!

I am willing to accept that I find value in things you do not.  🙂

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Sorry Wayne. I wasn’t thinking it in political terms when I wrote it. But it sure reads that way. My bad!

I’m with you. I find I enjoy silence more and more the older I get 

J

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