Against the Grain, the library journal, does profiles of people in the industry with a standard Q&A. One of the questions is, What is your philosophy of life? I am neither religious nor particularly philosophical, so I said the first thing that came to mind, â€œWalk the talk.â€ A shortened form, Iâ€™ve just read, of the idea that if you talk the talk you should walk the walk.
There talking about community, and thereâ€™s doing the things that make it real. This comes to mind today because I came home to find this note on the blackboard in the kitchen: â€œI turned left front burner on the stove off for you – Kimball Oil.” They’d come to fill the oil tank and check the furnace, and also took care of a little domestic neglect. This is one of the best things about living in Great Barrington, and so much what the people who’ve lived here all their lives are like.
â€œIs that the nicest thing anyone around hereâ€™s ever done for you?â€ my son Tom asked. I told him about the time after we moved in when the first milk delivery came (we used, only a few years ago, to get local milk in glass bottles). The neighbor across the street, a local man whom I hadnâ€™t then met, saw the milk , knew heâ€™d seen me leave for work, and came over with a cooler and ice to bed the milk bottles down for the day!
Then there was the time that a guy who does lots of environment-focused writing and building community – who’s moved here from the city – came by with his child to drop off a book. They walked past the newspaper lying on the walk, and simply left the book by the door. A local person would have brought the newspaper, too, and would have rung the bell and handed both to me and chatted for a minute.