When John-Boy’s calming narration closed each episode of “The Waltons,” just before all of the children said goodnight, he explained in a few sentences what we had witnessed in the past hour.
It took a while for all those kids, John, Olivia, Grandma and Grandpa to wish everyone well before they turned in for the night. It was probably a ploy by Elizabeth or Jim-Bob to stay up longer. Whatever the motivation, the ritual signified all was right on Walton’s Mountain.
Oftentimes, as their lives played out in a Depression-ravaged America, certain members of the family dreamed about or dabbled in trying to get away from home and get to where life would surely be more exciting. What really happened, and what John-Boy would explain so well, was the best of all possible worlds was right there in front of them.
I believe that’s true about the state of Oklahoma. If we can push back the forest to see the trees, I think we might find we live in a place where we have the best of all possible worlds.
There is a term I have paid a lot of attention to lately: emotional reciprocity. It’s two words that essentially explain that when we are nice to someone, they will find it easier to respond in like manner.
My theory is that our great state still has a low enough population to perpetuate a positive emotional reciprocity. Larger states may offer more, but not all of it is good. More people. More traffic. More smog. More crime. More parking problems. Just ... more. Of everything.
I believe all of the “more” issues bring stress and frustration. And emotional reciprocity says, “If you are cranky to me, it’s easier for me to be cranky back.”
We live in a state whose young history reflects proud country people with hard-working backgrounds. In places, people still raise a hand off the steering wheel to simply signify neighborliness. I’ve been in some places where you may get a hand gesture as cars pass, but it’s not the same one.
Life is a little slower here, and that’s OK. The problems coming down the highway seem so much faster and more advanced in other places.
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