Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

This small world

I've been working up north, conducting surveys about eating out, and it's been a long week. Someone asked what I look forward to when I get home, and it's eating simple food I make myself, in my own kitchen. That and walking the dog on the County Grounds.

Best of all is preparing food from the Saturday farmer's market and sharing it with friends. The dog is immune to the pleasures of fresh vegetables.

Sometimes, people on the road are neighborly. One woman stopped to chat and asked if I was from Waupaca.

"No, Wauwatosa," I said.

She called her husband over. "She's from Wauwatosa!" she exlaimed, and he walked faster.

"Where in Wauwatosa?"

I tell them the name of the street I live on and they both beam.  "What block?"

It seems they lived a stone's throw from my house, on the same street; they sent their kids to Underwood School and West as I did; and they ate chicken with other Republicans down the street (I did not, but I know the neighbor in question). We bask for a moment in our connection.

The next couple is more wary. "We don't want the government telling us what to eat!" they say. I explain the study is strictly voluntary, that the restaurants want to do it, and that it's just good business to know what your customers want and don't want.

"Which McLaughlins are you from?" the woman asks. I tell her my former inlaws have no kin up there that I know, and I tell them my maiden name, which is an odd one. They smile and agree to the survey.

It seems Wild Rose is full of people with that name, and we bask a moment in that connection, too, tenuous as it is.

Because really, we are all neighbors, if only for the moments we meet each other in likely or unlikely places.

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