Friday, October 06, 2006

Pennsylvanian Values

Last year I had the privilege to visit rural Pennsylvania during my previous job.
I flew to Baltimore from London and then drove to visit the factory of the company I worked for in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Hanover may be an unremarkable small town in the US, but if it is representative of Pennsylvania as a whole I think there is much to be positive about:

1) Feeling of space- countryside all around
2) Despite being quite a small town it had good shops (by English standards at least!)- a "Golden Mile" of stores and diners. Good prices compared to London.
3) Warm friendly people- definitely not used to that in London!
4) Great customer service- people more than happy to help and friendly with it too. Compare that to the grumpy "jobs worth" approach in many an English restaurant or café.
5) Strong emphasis on the family- "Hanoverians" seem to have a lot of kids compared to this side of the pond.
6) Feeling of community- strong local churches and other organisations. Hanover really felt a "Christian town" compared to anywhere in Britain or Europe.
7) Some quaint practises- like an Italian restaurant with no liquor licence!

As a visitor, Hanover felt like a nice town to live in and grow up. There was still a sense of innocence there. Maybe I had rose tinted spectacles on and in reality people get bored and move away.
However at this time when Pennsylvania is in the news for a tragic reason, I just wanted to salute that State for its good things. Small town America is very different from the America we see in the media. In an age when the world seems against America it is well to remember the good things and good people in towns like Hanover and states like Pennsylvania.

No comments: