I got Ronald back today for our Biggest Loser group. This makes me smile. :) He's just so cute!
I can't believe I'm going to share all of this, but I know there are probably a few of you who think I'm an idiot at times. I'm not going to defend whether or not you are correct at times. Overall, I'd like to think of myself as fairly intellgent. Anywho... at dinner Tuesday night before Bible study, we were told about a gentleman who came as a guest speaker to Dalton State. This man, James Kunstler, then proceeded to write an article about Dalton (incognito) referring to it as "Peachville". He ate at a local restaurant here, and from the tone of his article, had a horrible experience. The entire article was very disparanging, and frankly, just mean. He made a lot of statements of which he had little fact. So... today, the facilitator for the bible study I'm in forwarded his article, and I was just very taken aback. He was just mean. And I don't normally do this,... but I just felt compelled to write him. So, I did. I don't know how else to attach the article and the three emails that have followed, but I will share them as best I know how. I am not going to attach his article... it's too long, but Here's my email, his response, and my final response. Thoughts are appreciated. :)
Dear Mr. Kunstler,
I recently read an article excerpt from October 30, 2006, where you reference a visit to Georgia, specifically "Peachville". Having not originated from Peachville, but being presently employed in Peachville, I found your writing particularly stimulating. Peachville, as I'm sure you assimilated, is not particularly known for its Southern Junoesque. It has grown into a hodge-podge town over the course of the thirty-five years or so.
For reference that I'm sure you will find boring, I am originally from a tiny town in Alabama, grew up in Georgia, moved to Tennessee to attend college (not far from Peachville), graduated, and have now worked here for a few years. I also have a brother, who graduated with his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama, and relocated to Manhattan to live life in both the city and the North; he was fulfilling his dreams. I tell you this only to enlighten you to the fact that I have visited outside of my illustrious surroundings to experience life in other parts of the United States.
Before I wrote you, I wanted to make a concerted effort to find out who you are. With that said, I did take some time to research you, your website, your writings, some of your many travels, etc. I found the picture of your girl Sally belly dancing quite humorous. I too am enrolled in a Belly dancing class here in good 'ole Peachville. I think her inclusion definitely showed a softer side of you.
But alas, my reason for writing. Sir, I easily conclude that you had a very dissatisfying visit to our little town, respectively to our entire state. I also see that you are WELL disenfranchised at the advent of technology and its rapid excess in depletion of natural resources and brain cells in the entire nation. If I had the chance, I would invite you again to this town, to this state, to show you more. I am confident that another visit would expeditiously produce articles to again berate and belittle the people of this entire community.
Dalton has truly become an interesting town, to say the least. Having spent the majority of my 27 years in another similar, small, textile town, Dalton is truly familiar. It's apparent in only a half mile drive of any part of town, the broad pendulum swing that has occurred economically and socially in this community. However, coming to town with a Northern chip on your shoulder only made you look like a ranting lunatic over a bad experience in a tiny restaurant. For the record, Sir, Dalton is a beautiful city, trying to rebound from economic decisions made in Washington to relocate jobs overseas which directly affect the heart of the community. It doesn't happen overnight. And, in regards to your visit to Vermont, and it's quaintly carved restaurant features, need I remind you of the history of the state of Georgia? Do we need a recap of social, economic, political, and cultural changes? Presumably not, because I assess that you are an intelligent man who does his homework.
Having visited New York on several occasions, I personally find your writings to be hypocritical in that you, Sir, have obviously missed the boat. There are thousands of cities in the United States that mirror both your complete disgust of Peachville and your grand disillusion of Bristol, Vermont. But that fact that you take such sadistic pleasure in writing about this one little town and your dimly lit food, I find you to be very sad.
I am not going to waste time in attempting to discredit you, because frankly, I don't have the credentials or the time. The next time you bathe, and try off with a towel, or wipe your dirty shoes on a rug, you remember the illustriously disenfranchised city of Peachville, and how those foolish people, without sidewalks or sense to get out of the rain, worked to produce those goods which you covet so.
I will share with you one final thought – you are now in my prayers. My finite mind may not fully understand why, but I can assure you that Jesus Christ died to save you, and now, having read your work, I feel compelled to pray for your soul. May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams. With that I am, Sincerely Yours,
Jennifer L. Calhoun
Sir, I easily conclude that you had a very dissatisfying visit to our little town
Well, you concluded wrongly.
In fact, I met a lot of nice people on the Dalton faculty. My observations on the physical character of the town and the quality of the restaurants were offered in a journalistic spirit.
I have gotten a lot of angry mail from Daltonites the past three weeks, and some themes are consistent -- for example, an aggressive kind of ignorance, which can also be described as a total lack of curiosity as to why a casual observer might say something about the place you live. I'd expect that some of you would be curious rather than indignantly defensive.
You're right, there are ten thousand towns in the US that have more-or-less committed suicide in the same way Dalton has -- by allowing the complete supremacy of the automobile, and dishonoring all your public space -- so you are not that special after all.
If you really believe in God's grace, you'd let a little of it show in your town -- but apparently you think a lot of free parking is just as good.
My final response:
Dear Mr. Kunstler,
Thank you for your surprisingly prompt response to my email. I mistakenly assumed that you were too busy to respond.
I am pleased to hear that you met nice people on the Dalton faculty. I know very little about the college, except that it is in town, and they offer extension programs from other universities. Even in the midst of this town, albeit simple at times, people are more offended at your observation and the audacity in which you presented your arguments than the validity behind them. Ironic I know, but factual, and that is a southern trait at best. Daltonians, as they are referred too, are very well aware of all the depravities of their town -- Trust me. Just be thankful that you can rest peacefully in your home far from here, as the area is still highly saturated with "principle fighters" who might take their frustrations out with a gun and a pick-up truck.
And just so you know, I spent most of my formidable years in West Point, Georgia, (my mother still lives there) which is also the new site the first American KIA manufacturing plant, so I do understand how the automobile has taken over. I understand what a Korean manufacturer can do to my small town, and in the bigger scheme, to the entire state. A chaotic state of frenzy has ensued, and it's going to get much worse.
I'm not going to give you my dissertation on God's grace and mass transit in the South. Frankly, I don't think we will ever have the same level as say, New York. But that's okay. We've got sweet tea, and there isn't much else that can trump that. Thank you again for your response.
Sincerely yours, Jennifer
I feel confident that some of you don't care. And in a way that surprises even me, ... I'm not really that crazy about Dalton. :) I'm very much a principle fighter, I just don't have a gun. And New York, is just fabulous. It offers things that will take a long time before the South ever acquiesces to that point. But don't trash us when you don't know all the fact... you know?
Other than that... work is good.
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16: 18