One thing that amazes me is that at least a few people in this godforsaken xenophobic town have started to be a little nicer to me, at least on the surface. I knew it would be hard to settle in somewhere so isolated, but got my eyes opened quick. And there is a strong backlash operation to anything or anyone the least bit 'different', to the point that several complimentary notes I received in the mail, regarding my letters to the editor of the local weekly, were unsigned! And they were compliments! I guess those people feared others might learn they'd been nice to that damnedYankee Democrat invader. (During the Civil War, which has only lessened somewhat on the surface here, they had to close all the churches because of the deadly gunfights that broke out.) And a lot of the men still play soldier in the woods on weekends. Sometimes I feel like I died and woke up in 1960's Selma.
Anyway, the bad junk I hear and see is the last dying scream of dinosaurs, so in a way it should be music to my ears. I can't attend the local Catholic mission because on arrival almost 8 years ago, I blundered by saying something nice about Jesuits, and the guy that was the visiting priest then had, unbeknown to me, been kicked out by that august order for severe, unrepentant alcoholism. But he had lots of friends here who swiftly made themselves my enemies just because I innocently praised the Jesuits. Well, if it hadn't been that, they would've found something else to complain about - which they did until I left the congregation, not the Holy Roman Church itself.
Then I started walking almost next door to a UMC church built in 1904, and although some people there have gotten almost friendly, when I stopped by one evening to listen to the bell choir practice to see if they played well enough to consider joining, the pastor rushed up to me and shaking all over because he KNEW HE WAS SINNING, he told me not to even think about joining that group. Later on one of the bell choir founders did invite me to join, and I thanked her but said I didn't care to fight with another pastor.
That's one entertaining if disapproved habit I have that scares the tar out of some people - I freely share true stories. People shouldn't feel like they can do what they want and get away with it while their victim has to remain silent. Now the pastor's moving but I really don't believe our episode had anything to do with it, since he was just reflecting the general attitude of exclusive superiority.
In an earlier life I'd been elected to local offices, so I know how to treat people well and be gracious and friendly. But this place has been an education in hell. Can't afford to move and I'm already dug in too deep here to be willing to move anyway. So I take extra care of the good relationships I do have, and have learned how to treasure them more than perhaps I would have otherwise. Astonishingly, some people have even become allies of sorts.