Not long afterwards we moved to Carteret County, the home of North Carolina's Crystal Coast.
Eastern North Carolina is now our permanent home. I am pleased to report we have found a wonderful community of friendly people living here in another area of great scenic beauty.
With some great neighbors and friends and a wonderful church home, I am still pleased that the notion of interdependence continues to define my life. A lot of other things have changed in our lives but weaving our lives into the fabric of others is not one of them
Below is the July 4, 2006 Post "Freedom To Be Interdependent"
I long ago gave up thinking that I had the answers to everything. Yet I sometimes believe that I have a few pieces to the puzzle that might help others find their way in our increasingly competitive and complex society, but that is about it.
There were lots of reasons I moved to Canada after graduating from college. Getting away from the draft wasn't one of them. I was glad to have a medical deferment which meant that I didn't have to wrestle with that demon.
Maybe the chance to own a house, barn, and 140 acres with shore frontage for $7,000 was just too much to resist given that the location was one of the most beautiful areas of the world.
But I think I really went to Canada in the seventies because at least the Maritime part of it was a lot like the United States in the fifties. It was rural, people didn't lock their doors, and there weren't any super highways. I ended up living in Canada nearly sixteen years. There was a sense of community, people's lives seemed interdependent.
What I missed the most were American holidays especially Thanksgiving and the 4th of July. There's something special about being American aside from the fact that you still can't escape the IRS even while living in Canada that makes it hard to not be home on those holidays.
A couple of times we drove over to Maine on the fourth, but it just wasn't the same. We're weren't from Maine and didn't have real ties to the community. No long ago I ran across a photo of myself and two boys I grew up with in Lewisville, NC. We were decorating a fishing boat which was going to be a float in the local fourth of July parade. It advertised my mother's beauty shop. We could have never had the float without help from our neighbors.
Yet sometimes I think we get too caught up in independence. "Freedom from control or influence of another or others" doesn't mean that we shouldn't take seriously our responsibility to others. In fact the only way we can remain independent is through the help of others.
What has made this country strong is that fabric of friendship, mutual respect, and cooperation between neighbors. It was easier to find and nurture in rural societies, but I know from living in small towns like Mount Airy, NC that a city street doesn't preclude having great neighbors and shared interests and values. Here in suburbs of the south in 2006, you still find that great feeling of being able to count on your neighbors as friends. As I read the stories bemoaning the loss of friends in modern society, I feel really sad for people who have no one to confide in but a radio talk show host. I'm glad that I'm not in their shoes.
We may not have any family here in Roanoke, but we have lots of friends. Our family isn't so far away that we can't get in a car and go for a visit. While some are complaining about electronic communications destroying friendships, I would argue otherwise. I talk to friends by email or instant messaging every day. I would likely never find the time to send them a written letter. Are we closer because of it? I would answer yes. Then there is the self selecting group of friends that I have found on the Internet. We share some common values, and actually some budding friendships.
Yet I do think we have become a society where many are absorbed by their own self importance. I see it in little things which individually mean almost nothing, but when taken together show that we need to refocus on the people around us and not just what is good for us individually.
I see people cruising in the left lane of the highway completely oblivious to the line of traffic building up behind them or those who run a red light because their time is more important than the lives of others. Then there are people who can only see how something will impact them. They refuse to see another point of view, the big picture, or how the other guy will be hurt. That's not the way our country was built, but it is a reality we have to deal with today.
A few years ago, a friend died. I didn't have the opportunity to say good bye to that friend. It caused me to recommit to finding some people who had been important in my life. I have made a few trips to Ronceverte, WV because that is the only way to visit with my high school Latin teacher who has yet to go beyond the telephone in the world of electronics. We continue to make trips to Mount Airy, NC and Yadkin County, NC just to visit friends and family. We cannot spend lots of time with them, but we do keep that web of friendship and family alive. Sharing our lives with others has given us strength to do things we never would have done by ourselves.
It's the same way with our country. We gain strength from each other, especially when we help each other. When someone tries to tear down another person because they don't agree with them, they don't just hurt one person, they weaken that web of interdependence which independence has given us the freedom to create.
I'm glad we have the independence to be interdependent.
Without it, the Boy Scout from Lewisville, NC would have never made it through military school much less Harvard and farming fourteen of sixteen years in the wilderness of Canada. The journey also included nearly twenty years at Apple Computer and some recent new adventures. Without the help of others my independence wouldn't have gotten me very far.