When we de­cide what is pri­vate and pub­lic

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - BY NOL PUT­NAM The writer lives in Huntly

Itake is­sue with two items in last week’s Rap­pa­han­nock News (Nov. 15, 2018). The first is Ben Jones’ let­ter, which only seems to fur­ther in­flame the di­vide in the county be­tween old and new, that he rightly de­cries.

The se­cond is BOA Su­per­vi­sors Ron Fra­zier and Chris­tine Smith’s rather ca­sual un­der­stand­ing of FOIA re­quire­ments, where you may talk on the same is­sue but per­son­ally de­cide one con­ver­sa­tion is open to the pub­lic and the other closed and pri­vate. I did not re­al­ize the in­tent of the laws on FOIA gave way to such in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion, how­ever laud­able the in­tent.

As to Ben’s let­ter, isn’t it time to get over the dis­tinc­tion of who came from where and when?

We are here be­cause we love the land. This is what set­tled the county in years past; it is what brings peo­ple to the county now.

I do not be­lieve the love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion is dif­fer­ent on ei­ther side. What is dif­fer­ent are the sen­si­bil­i­ties we bring or have within us.

Is there a lit­mus test? Is hav­ing roots in the Park more im­por­tant than farm­ing the val­leys? Is run­ning a farm more im­por­tant than us­ing in­ter­net (where avail­able) for work? I think not.

I moved to the county in 1982. I came from the Berk­shires in Western Mas­sachusetts. It seems I can­not live far from old, gnarly hills. But through my Mother’s fam­ily, my great­great un­cle camped not far from my cur­rent home in Huntly, march­ing to­ward the Bat­tle of Get­tys­burg for Vir­ginia, and thank God, safely home to his farm in Northum­ber­land County. On my Dad’s side, my great-great un­cle had twelve horses shot out from un­der him while com­mand­ing the Union forces in the Cavalry Bat­tle of Cedar Creek. It was the last that killed him.

Chief Joseph once said that you do not know nor be­long un­til the bones of your grand­fa­ther’s grand­fa­ther have lain in the hills. Not many can claim that honor … but we will all have a chance at fur­ther­ing that legacy.

For the record, I did not think the Bike Trail was a good idea. It smacked too much of ‘sides.’ The pros did not do due dili­gence on what the cons wanted or thought. The cons re­verted to mis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­tor­tion. All that was achieved was bit­ter­ness, anger, re­sent­ment, which of course begets more. We, all of us, are bet­ter than that!

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