Doesn't stretch my mind in any way but certainly provides lots of entertainment.
The Letters to the Editor are the most diverting. Typically, Podunk county inhabitants rave, rant and feud amongst themselves regarding county affairs and often state affairs. Occasionally national affairs catch their attention but seldom do the locals peer beyond the US borders. Never in a million years did I expect to see a plea to help the poor cursed people of Australia!
Oh, this slays me! I had no idea that DeLynne, my dear ex-pat friend and lovely co-blogger, lives in fear of her life everyday in an accursed land. Rise up America and deliver Australia from it's 'recent' plague of vicious creatures!! ;D What overwhelming absurdity!
In the Country Star, the feuds might last weeks and can be quite entertaining as well. Some of the brouhahas are as addictive as a reality show. Each week, I can't wait to see what in the world they will say next.
One woman was so riled at her town council that steam practically rose off the page. She layed into them alright but was so incoherent with rage that I never could get the gist of the matter. Since she stated several times that the town council was all 'bound up with cheese', I'm guessing that they had a serious problem indeed.
Some letters are not amusing in any way. Some are disturbing. Shameful and frightening that people still fear books. That level of mentality in this day and age is astounding.
They might as well be living in the dark ages.
Thankfully, those letters are few and far between. Most of the citizens of Podunk county are good hearted sensible people. Still, it was a culture shock to move from my Texas hometown with a population of seventy thousand and a normal newspaper to an Oklahoma county with a total population of less than twelve thousand and a weekly paper that seemed completely foreign.
It took me several years to get the groove of the Country Star. Could not perceive the charm of pie suppers, singings, hunting/fishing trophies, church doings and community news. Who could possibly be interested that Mabel Who-sit visited Thelma What-sit or that Sister Sue Ellen ate beans and cornbread at Brother and Sister George's home? Can you guess what I was thinking?
Never did get the attraction of the news from the various communities. The same folks doing the same thing week after week. I suppose the writers just mention their friends and don't ask for interesting tidbits from the other community members. As the years passed, I did begin to appreciate the Country Star as a lingering remnant of americana. Started to view it in a whole new light...
More Mayberry-esque, albeit with a tad less charm.
If the residents have a particularly meddlesome week ...It reminds me of the Shire but definitely minus the charm.
Have you ever encountered a paper similar to the Country Star? Don't know whether to hope it is unique or not the last of its kind.
Nothing remains the same, however. Guess the third generation of the publishing family was tired of the paper being a laughingstock. They hired a new editor (an outsider) a couple of years ago who immediately raised the bar.
The first thing the editor did was limit the letters to the editor to one per person per week. He also brought in new better writers to cover more actual news of the county rather than just the doings of a few.
Now, our state representatives and senators write informative weekly columns regarding capital business when the legislature is in session. Also, a few regular columnists write memory columns about county events occuring usually between the 1930s and 1950s. These stories may involve recalcitrant mules, bandits, one room schoolhouses, childhood pranks, ghosts, and wisdom gleaned from elders. So not near as many funny feuds in the Country Star but it is becoming a better quality read.
The new editor is not a local and I wondered how long he would last. Especially after a rather scathing editorial regarding the ruckus over the ten commandments on the courthouse lawn.
But please don't pity me my rural locality. I may not have convenient access to concerts, plays, movies, classes, shopping and other amenities of city living but there are perks to living in Podunk county. No neighbors. No traffic. Fresh air. Stars at night. A surprisingly well stocked friendly (no shushing) county library. And of course, the Country Star.