Slow, peaceful life in the Seven Hills of Rome - 10/6/2009
By voting against letting the Interstate Highway come near Rome, it has managed to stay a small, mainly crime-free town where I never even bother locking my door. We have a baseball stadium for our minor league team and many of the restaurant chains found elsewhere, although some well-known ones are missing. Berry College has the largest campus in the world, and is certainly one of the most beautiful. The deer casually wander around right in front of the students without paying them much mind. I'm always surprised at how many famous writers show up during the annual Writers' Conference, and the recent race attracted over 1500 runners. The two hospitals are very well regarded, and many of the doctors are well-known outside of Rome.
When I attended Berry as a freshman in '65, many mornings I would wake up to the over powering smell of the paper mill outside of town. That smell is gone now, so some modern conservation laws must have finally been implemented. The city library is beautiful and has plenty of computers for public use. I do miss the university-sized range of books, but that has improved in the almost three years since I've been living here.
I have always been an overt civil rights activist, so I was very happily surprised to find NO racial tension in Rome. Everyone seems to get along just fine. I keep thinking that there's got to be some level that I'm not aware of since I'm older and cripple now, but I still live an integrated life, and have yet to run into any. Speaking of being cripple, I needed a small ramp to get my electric triwheel scooter out the door to ride around the 1 1/4 mile path around the small lake I live on. A group of men from one of the churches came and built it for free as part of their Christian service to the community. Two sister who had recently lost their aunt gave me her wheel chair so my aide could take me to the mall and other places where I would have to walk farther than I am able to. There are a lot of nice people here.
What do I miss living in Rome? The Farmer's Market, the museums, the concerts, the theater, a progressive political community, the ocean and the drive-on beach at Ormond Beach, FL--but you can't have everything, can you? What would I miss if I left? The wonderful spring 20 minutes away where I get my water, NO rush-hour traffic, the beautiful hills that inspired Rome, Italy to send us, their sister city, a replica of Romulus and Remus being nursed by the wolf, and the friendly, caring people who haven't lost touch with what's important.