I just reread Richard Russo’s Mohawk. Russo is one of my favorite writers, and his usual small-town subject matter fits where I am right now, this blue-collar town, struggling to redefine itself after the collapse of most of the local industry. I’ve never lived here, this place where my parents were born and where they moved back to, though I’ve visited at intervals for my whole life. I grew up in college towns and have chosen to settle in Portland, which from here seems like a big city, even though it isn’t.
But it’s good for me to be here, not just because I’m seeing my parents, but because it gets me out of my bubble. And I can, for instance, serve hummus to relatives who’ve never had it, and wonder if it’s a vegetable. (They liked it.)