I read EW every week. Not that I like to. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. The shortening of reader's attention spans. The emphasis on box office and gossip over content. The dripping attitude. But I'm in the film world so I read it. This week, (Sept 1), it contained a highly unusual article, "Welcome to Utopia" by Karen Valby. It was a thoughtful journalistic piece on a sleepy town 80 miles outside of San Antonio. (Amazing how once you move to Texas you realize how often Texas looms large in our media. As a self centered NYer I never noticed. Now I do.) This passage reminded me so much of Fiji:
From the article:
"I didn't have a big dream to go off," she said. "Now when kids get to high school, all they want to do is get the hell out of here...Things were different when I was younger. When we were little - this was in the 60's- well, at night you ate supper and then we got into the old pickup and we drove over to Aunt Erma's house or Aunt Annie's and you went and visited for an hour and then you went home and went to bed. We didn't watch TV, because you couldn't hardly get it. Now you can get any channel you want, and it's changed that type of gathering for the worse. Fellowship is probably the main thing a small community has over a big city."
Fellowship is the word my friends used in Fiji. They didn't have pick up trucks. Aunt Erma's shack would be feet away from Aunt Aunnie's but the sensibility is the same. Fellowship was...is the bedrock of that island community. Endless coming together defined by rituals both formal and less so. And with it rampant gossip, competition, sexual affairs, and what we now in the U.S. call, blended families. (There, just everyone is a 'sister cousin'.) I enjoyed fellowship in our old Hudson Vally community as well. Food appeared on doorsteps in time of sickness and stress, babysitting and rides easily offered. There is a particular kind of fellowship in a small town, but you can find it in a city too. Because in a city you have your community of circumstance and of choice.