Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Man From Jonesville

Now, there was among my Neighbors a man whose name was Smith, and he was from Jonesville. And he told me often of Jonesville, what a Lovely Place it was, and how every one who lived there was Happy and Virtuous, and how sorry he was that he ever had left there, and how he wanted to go back to Jonesville. And when the men in the city where I lived failed to clean the Snow off their Sidewalks, or the City Council indulged in Graft, or the children were Rude, or there was an Early Frost, he told me that Such Things did not happen in Jonesville. And this continued for nigh unto Twenty Years; and the older he grew the more he talked about Jonesville. And I told him I hoped that when he died he would go to Jonesville.

Now it came to pass that he prospered, so that he retired from Business. And he sold his House and Lot in the City wherein I dwell, and went back to Jonesville that he might Spend his Last Years in Peace, and Die in Jonesville. And we all Bade him Farewell, with something of sorrow, and something of Relief.

And it came to pass that at the end of Six Months, he and his wife moved back again, and bought back their Old House for a Thousand Dollars more that they sold it for. And they were Tenfold more Happy to get back than they had been to go away.

And it came to pass on an Evening that Keturah and I called on them. I said, Old Fellow, tell me on the Level, what was the matter with Jonesville?

And he said to me, Speak not to me of Jonesville, lest I do thee Harm. It is the toughest Joint this side of State Prison. The dear people we knew have all died or moved away, and they who are in their places are Unneighborly and Snobbish. And they Tango and do other Outrageous Stunts, and their Kids are the Limit. We have come back to Dwell in the place where we have spend Twenty Happy Years, and we have but one favor to ask of our old Neighbors, and that is, that they never speak to us of Jonesville.

And as Keturah and I walked home, I spake to her, and said, Keturah.

And Keturah answered, I know what thou art about to say; and I suspected all the time that it would be just so.

And I said, There are many men and women who sigh for some Jonesville or other, who might be Decently Happy where they are if they would make it their business.

And Keturah said, Our Jonesville is right here.

And I said, Amen.


At May 20, 2008 at 2:09:00 PM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

(That was one of the "Parables of Safed the Sage", by William Eleazar Burton. It was regularly used as a Sunday homily at Camp Sangamon, where I spent may happy boyhood summers. Thanks to Jed Byrom, great-nephew of the former director, for the attribution after lo these many years.)


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