Our diocese has very few cities, and none of them are large. We are small towns and boroughs, suburbia, and rural America. And in addition to great people, we have some charming and vibrant towns. I happen to live near one, the Borough of Irwin in Westmoreland County. This little town is always hosting something, going out of its way to make the town come alive.
This evening was one of those times. For the third time this summer (in June, July and August) the town of Irwin hosted an Art and Jazz night. Artists and musicians from the entire area perform at a number of venues in town - in restaurants, in the bank parking lot, on street corners and sidewalks from 5:00 to about 9:00 pm. People walk the streets, shop, dine, brings chairs and listen to some great music. It is wonderful. I went to one of my favorite little places in town - Romano's - for dinner. Sharon and Carl are the owners and chefs, and I frequent the place often. I feel very much at home ... actually I feel like Norm on the old Cheers TV series. When they see me pull up to park, they announce my arrival (everybody knows your name). Romano's was featuring a guitarist/vocalist by the name of James Hovan from the Churchill section of Pittsburgh. Good food, camaraderie, great jazz music, beautiful weather - what more could you ask for. Driving down main street on the way home, I thought of how cool this was. It was a "small town blessing.
On another note:
Brian Williams had a piece on NBC news that caught my attention. In fact, it voiced something that has been bothering me greatly of late. It seems that the Presidential race to date - both candidates - have spent a record $512 million on TV and Radio ads. And we still have a long way to go until election day. I'm not sure if that includes the primaries (if not, then things are even worse). Granted, we have to know our candidates, but the level of negativity is so rampant in those ads that I'm not sure we are really learning anything helpful.
NBC gave some examples of what 512 million dollars could do for others, like feed 9.2 million starving children for 50 days, etc. I've asked myself the same question ... could this money be better spent? The moral side of me asks that question. And I find myself less and less comfortable with these huge expenditures of money, wherever they come from.