John Andrist: Small Towns Are Still The Best Towns


I’ve never sampled drugs, didn’t like booze, and shook all my lust for gambling in my youth.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own addictions. One of them is football. It’s the best possible TV sport.

Pittsburgh has never been one of my favorite teams, and Terry Bradshaw, good as he was, is only one notch above Tom Brady on my least admired list.

But he rang my bell when he said on Sunday’s pre-game show, “Anybody, in my opinion, that lays a hand on a woman — I don’t care who you are my friend — you never come back in this league.”

It’s okay with me if you expand that list to “any league” or “any time” or “any place”. And while you are at it you could include anybody who intentionally harms a child in any way.

I can love you and care about you and forgive you, but I can’t alter the fact that you are a scum bag if you strike a woman or child.

Women and children have always been my favorite kind of people, and I believe the primary reason anyone breaks Bradshaw’s rule (or mine) is because they can.

I can remember once when I lost control and shouted in anger at my beloved wife. I didn’t touch her, thank goodness, but my memory tells me I saw fear on her face.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]There are many things that are nice about bigger cities. But after spending almost a year here in Fargo, a splendid city, I’m more convinced than ever that the best of life is in small towns.[/mks_pullquote]

The deep sense of shame for that incident has never left me.

Truth be told, there is nothing civilized about striking anyone other than in self-defense or as a military or police action.

Something good about “oldies”

I miss the music from my youth. So I tried something new today. I found it on the internet. Call it older than golden oldies.

I listened all morning. It was mostly a ballad love fest, romantic tunes. Some gave encouragement and a voice for more kindness.

You know, songs like “As long as he needs me” from the Broadway production of “Oliver”.

Not one song all day expressed resentment or anger or violence. Honest! It really improved my mood.

It made we wonder if part of our problem with violence in our world today is fanned by the violence expressed in our music and the blood letting that passes for entertainment on our movie and TV screens.

If it is true we reap what we sow, doesn’t that extend to our entertainment?

Small towns still the best towns

There are many things that are nice about bigger cities. But after spending almost a year here in Fargo, a splendid city, I’m more convinced than ever that the best of life is in small towns.

In fact I still look for small, even in Fargo. I try avoid Sanford, a humongous medical center. I still get my medications from my home town pharmacist. I like being served by people I know and care about, and who know me.

My cable and internet service has been okay, but I would trade it in a minute for service from NCC.

The biggest complaint from those who have had problems is that they can’t talk to anyone.

Can you imagine a company with the market area the size of Fargo, and there is no office down the road that you can talk to on the telephone?

When you have a problem you call some 800 number and go through all those recordings. You know, press 1 if your internet doesn’t work, press 2 blah, blah.

Take time to appreciate a great home town company like NCC. You call and they answer. You tell them what you need. They connect you to a live helper, who hangs with you through resolution.

You wish they would add a certain channel and they listen, and explain why if they can’t.

In short, you are important to them. When your customer base is small a customer is important. In a small town everybody is important.

When you call somebody on the phone and you get a real live person, it’s a wonderful feeling.

It reminds me of my home town.