5:40 P.M. First Saturday in December. Driving through town, stopped for light at Main and Jeff, "Busy Corner." Town in near-darkness, Christmas decorations, such as they are, providing little light. In four blocks through town center, exactly two cars parked.
The flashback: In my mind's eye, I saw this same corner, first Saturday in December forty years ago. It was a hoppin' place. Christmas lights forming an archway crossing the street the entire four blocks I had just driven through! Santa's house ablaze with lighted toys and candy canes on the courthouse lawn. Business establishments, for they did exist, open and doing business with the hundreds of folks downtown, probably ten percent of the town's population of five thousand.
2011. Drab, dull, lifeless, all five thousand inhabitants either home or in some other town?
Progress? Are things better now than they were forty years ago? I think not. And I do not believe that that is nostalgia talking.