Herald Journal Columns
July 31, 2006, Herald Journal

When no news is good news


No one was murdered in Lester Prairie this week.

The bank wasn’t robbed, and there were no protesters outside city hall.

I stopped by to visit Mayor Eric Angvall at the hardware store this morning.

Usually, we talk about what is going on in town, and what events are coming up.

Today, we talked about what is not going on.

“It is like the title of that old movie, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’,” he commented.

In the void between graduation and summer festivals, and the start of fall sports and a new school year, things are kind of quiet.

No terrorist cells were uncovered in the city this week, and no parents were accused of killing their children.

There were no political scandals, and no one was convicted of embezzlement.

Not a single bombing rocked the town this week, and none of the members of the police department had to be placed on paid administrative leave.

No pandemics swept down Juniper Street, and no earthquake, flood, tornado, or hurricane threatened the city.

As I made my rounds, I saw people going about their routine business.

I watched people stopping at the post office to pick up mail or ship a package.

One customer came into the hardware store to pick up a replacement screw for a doorknob, and a pull-chain for a lamp.

The grocery store was busy with goods being delivered, and customers doing their shopping.

People went in and out of the bank and other local businesses, and if they chanced to meet a friend or neighbor along the way, they talked about what they did over the weekend, or about their kids, or about more hot weather in the forecast.

But, no one was talking about violent crimes, scandals, or impending disasters.

In many ways, Lester Prairie is like a lot of other small towns.

Not only do people acknowledge that there is nothing going on in town, sometimes they brag about it.

It is true that big cities have some things that small towns don’t have. It is also true that people in the small towns don’t want some of these things.

Whether they grew up in town, or moved from somewhere else, many of the people who live in small towns prefer the pace of life that they find there.

If they need something that is only available in a larger city, they can drive to the city and get it.

Apart than that, they don’t miss the traffic, crime, and crowds of the larger cities.

One gets the feeling that when small town residents hear the news from large cities, they don’t mind missing out on some of the action.

There really are times when no news is good news.