September 7, 2007
I just read a news story from the New York Times webpage: 11 Arrested in New Jersey Corruption Inquiry. Blogger Craig from the Hoboken page of nj.com writes, "How many of them are from Hoboken?" and claims to have breathed a sigh of relief (perhaps tinged with surprise) that the answer was, "None."
The news story, however, is quite an eye-opener for someone accustomed to the good-old-boy Southern brand of political one-hand-washes-the-other, bumblingness of the local city council. This is big time, movie level stuff. In Fairhope, the meetings behind closed doors are more likely to be about plans to finagle land away from the city to build a new library or extend a bike trail. We get excited about it on both sides -- and amazingly I was decided opposed to both those projects -- but nobody gets whacked and the big bucks do not disappear.
Fairhope is committed to adorableness. That seems to be what is drawing the new people in and keeping them. They don't care about history; they care about ambiance, which can mean anything from theme restaurants to retaining the dilapidated old school building that faces the new kiddie park. Mothers marched for this a year ago, with banners reading "Save the K-1 Center," and when they learned it would not be demolished (or were told so) but remain a school, they were placated and pronounced themselves victorious. That would be easier than to accept that the deal was done years before their march when the area was negotiated by the University of South Alabama to be a part of its Fairhope branch. These are the same people who marched to protect Fairhope from wicked WalMart -- another failed project because it was too little, and way too late. The efforts to "Keep Fairhope Fairhope" always win, because it's one thing that cannot be refuted. Whatever Fairhope becomes, it will still be Fairhope. Even I can't argue about that.
I'm going to move to a grittier town, no doubt about that. While Fairhope celebrates its pelicans tonight, Hoboken's Italian Festival is in full swing. This means Italian food, bands, jubilation and a lot of noise, scraps and scrapes and general disorder all over the streets. If you live anywhere near the action, it may be difficult to sleep. But you are living near the action, and that's the price you pay. I wish I were there already.
An open house for realtors will be held here on Tuesday. It's fall, sort of (temps in the high 80's, at least 10 degrees lower in Hoboke), and the real estate market is supposed to pick up any time.
Sooner or later, one way or the other, I shall make the move. It becomes increasingly more difficult to focus on what I love about Fairhope, when my heart has been stolen by a feisty little Yankee town, ten minutes from Manhattan.