Vol. IV No. 12 6/15/2023
Editorial Our Job, Our Reward
We were innkeepers to the outlanders since the Revolutionary War. In 240 years, we got good at it. It has been our job and our pleasure to keep our village lovely and welcoming for the tourists and the permanent summer residents.
"Permanent summer residents" is what our second homeowners were called 125 years ago. It has a nice ring — friendlier and more inclusive. They came every year from "apple blossom to apple drop". The village made ready for them — lovely, welcoming, and relatively unchanged. As we protected beauty and low density, we protected property values.
We welcomed them — they appreciated us. It was a congenial and well-understood relationship. The roles were fixed and friendly — fine with everyone. Stockbridge primary residents have the obligation of electing, hiring, appointing, and directing the hands that labored — making ready.
We live in an era when everyone wants to be heard, moreover, take charge. Locals just trying to get on with it are confronted by three people with three different opinions but hardly ever three people with one opinion. Oh well, Stockbridge, tough or easy, it is our obligation. We have always done it and we will continue to do it on behalf of all in the village.
It was a sunlit Berkshire day; it was perfect. The women were gathered outside the post office chatting and smiling. There were two gorgeous dogs for all of us to fuss over. One woman pointed out that we had disagreed on many issues but always remained friends. That is the Stockbridge way: any person is more important than any issue; the relationship is more important than the outcome. Knowing that — that is our reward.
We disagree without discrediting. We remain friends. There aren't that many of us — we need each other. We cut each other's lawn, fix each other's plumbing, and invite everyone to the party. Because we respect the work; we respect the worker. What is the name of our reward? Community.
Never give up the reward of this village — never let it be taken from us. Okay, folks come in and want their way — they influence, shout, name-call, sue, and denigrate those who disagree — that is not the Stockbridge way. Hold out against it. Curb it because that stuff divides and destroys community.
Answer with respect. Say good morning and ask after the family. Pop in and see if your neighbor is okay. Lend a hand if you see the need. Community is our reward — our pearl beyond price — protect it.
Photo: Lionel Delevingne