7: Merlot (We’ve been here before, and it’s the same) paired with Gouda
8: Malbec (Argentina, notes of plum and licorice), paired with the blasted red Leicester again)
My small town is Appalachian, Rust-Belty. All the terrible things that have happened to small towns have happened here. The booming industry of the 40s-60s have long since vanished, and unemployment, generational welfare, and opioids have taken their place. In fact, there has been a lot written (mostly negative) about this town in the last 15 years. From The Washington Post to The Guardian, and just about everywhere in between. We were even the subject of an Intervention special episode, where I, very pregnant and very sober, was filmed on a street and along with my best friend, implicated in prostitution (Hi, Mary!). Yes, it was bizarre. No, I am not a prostitute, nor have I ever been. We were just women standing on the street after a production of the Vagina Monologues. I was sitting at home, breastfeeding, when my phone started doing the DING DING DING, all with messages resembling this: OMG ARE YOU WATCHING? YOU AND MARY WERE JUST ON INTERVENTION! Yes, I was watching, along with my parents, who were in town to visit the newborn. Try to explain that to your parents sometime.
All that being said, there has been a pretty wonderful transformation in our small town within the last couple of years. People have started to take an interest in our present and future, while paying tribute to the past. Old buildings have taken on new lives. Young people are challenging the status quo, the “good ol’ boy” mentality that has ruled here for decades. “The way we’ve always done it” is being questioned, and it’s wonderful to witness. This town successfully supported its first Pride event, is organizing a Women’s March in tandem with the national march next year. These are no small feats.
I will admit that I have not been as involved as I should be, and that is a New Years’ resolution that I am making early. Get more involved, be the change and all the buzzy phrases. There are always opportunities to make things better, and I want to be part of that. It’s hard raising kids in these weird times. I know it’s always been hard (and probably every parent has said this before), but these times feel different. We’re living in a world where division and anger and intolerance and violence are rampant, even lauded. I want no part of that, and I want my boys to see that their parents are helpers. That we stretch a hand out to those that need assistance.
It may be that I have dipped into the second glass of wine (liking this Malbec more than the merlot, and to be perfectly honest, the Leicester isn’t the absolute worst), but I am feeling especially hopeful today. For all you locals who haven’t, check out Winterfest, organized by The Friends of Portsmouth. You won’t regret it. Seeing Second and Market decked out for the holidays is worth it. Go “glice” skating. Spend your dollars here. That’s an easy way to make a difference.