Better Place

By Trudy Wischemann

“He’s in a better place now,” my sweetiepot said automatically when I told him I’m missing our cat, Bubba. “No he’s not,” I said just as automatically, since I buried him in the cold ground after having him put down. I understand the hopefulness of the idea, but I think more often that “better place” people imagine is actually the back of their minds where they don’t have to think about the loss they’ve suffered. And of course, I was talking about my pain, not Bubba’s. He’s not there to greet me when I come home now. I miss Bubba.

But this weekend I got to experience the fact that, at least for me, Lindsay is a better place now. A public safety officer stopped to tell me about an arrest he’d made Saturday, and of the revolver he found in the tall grass next to my concrete block wall after the suspect threw it out his driver’s side window. I was in Hanford at the time it happened, so I missed all the excitement, but I was glad to hear his story and felt protected by it. He seemed glad to have me to tell the story to. It was all good.

And because there have been years when I did not feel protected, but threatened by the whole Lindsay Department of Public Safety, our conversation made me reflect upon all the good changes we’ve experienced despite the struggles, perhaps even because of them. Yes, we still have a city manager who embellishes the truth, sometimes past recognition, but he’s not the same one who was also the police chief and who embellished his own importance past decency. Yes, we’re getting another unnecessary roundabout que es muy poquito, but when it’s finally completed and we get to evaluate its performance in that place, it may just prove to be the cat’s meow. 

It may also prove that the 815 people who signed the petition against that “solution” were absolutely right. And that could encourage those people to stake their names again, and help build a citizens’ coalition that will help prevent similar outcomes in the future. It’s all good – or will be when it gets finished. Thursday night coming into town I was stuck 10 minutes in traffic that piled up behind a semi-truck with a long trailer that could not make it through the especially constricted north loop. We blocked traffic trying to get in and out of the Save-Mart plaza, and even southbound traffic on Hwy. 65 trying to turn left onto Hermosa. It was like my second-worst nightmare confirmed regarding that roundabout. My worst, of course, is that some pedestrian between the ages of 5 and 10 (or over 60) is going to get killed.

I hope we can say that the end of an era has arrived: the end of “urban renewal”-type projects plastered over small farm towns that are withering for lack of their small farms, not for lack of concretization. How many times have we redecorated our downtowns only to find them looking like dead Christmas trees in June that somebody forgot to take down in January? 

Community revitalization is like planting a garden. You start with good seed planted in prepared ground, keep it watered, pull out the weeds, tend its needs as they appear. That’s when a garden will bear fruit. So will our communities.

Trudy Wischemann is a rural researcher who writes. You can send her your community betterment stories and ideas c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit and leave a comment there.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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