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Narrow perspectives and low expectations, Part 3

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By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

I recall a story from the 1972 presidential election – which Richard Nixon won by a landslide with 520 electoral votes. Upon hearing this, reportedly a matron of the anointed class in New York said, “I don’t understand it, I don’t know anyone who voted for Nixon.”

This person obviously had a very narrow perspective of the world, at least on this subject.

Ironically, in my travels over the years, I would say the narrowest perspectives have been in the major metropolitan areas. Residents of such places seem to think they are “hip” and on top of things.

I have a bit of news for them – I know a road or two in Highland County where such people would be fish out of water. Yet, the calendars on the walls of the houses there all say “2021” on them, and you can be assured I have personally checked them out.

So, our challenge for this week is to get you out of your comfortable pond and into foreign waters. This may mean you tuning into another television news station than you normally watch. It may mean going to the library and randomly selecting some books to read you would not normally choose.

See and live the world as others see and live it. That is what I have always enjoyed about travel and moving, although I will admit I now have not moved for 25 years. Laura and I did not intend to stay here this long, it has just worked out this way. Yet, while we have lived here, we have traveled the world, collectively missing only Africa, Antarctica and Australia, so I don’t think our view is particularly narrow.

Maybe your comfort zone is more local. Perhaps you need to go to the next city for a dinner out. Ever eaten dinner in Maysville? Might be a nice surprise.

When I was in high school, a classmate’s grandfather regularly took a taxi from Hillsboro to Washington Court House for pie at a certain restaurant. Obviously, he had the money for that, but he also was not afraid to do it.

Speaking of taxis, what has been your longest taxi ride? I once took one from Greensboro, N.C. to Akron, Ohio. A few years later, I took one from Nashville, Tenn. to Paducah, Ky. (I had missed flights and needed to get somewhere in a hurry, and I was not afraid to look for unusual alternatives.)

My suggestions thus far obviously require some money. But you can have low-cost barriers close to home that are inexpensive. Think about the things you never think about doing. It will take some digging to find them, but they are there.

Maybe it is a nighttime walk in the woods. Or a food you have not eaten since childhood (beets and liver, anyone?). Or striking up a conversation with a neighbor down the road. Perhaps going to a commissioners’ meeting or a city council meeting, just because, not about an issue.

I am straight and narrow on my walk with Christ. I can inform you that straying there is never good, and I have the stories to tell which I won’t tell about that world. Explore with a moral compass that is alive and well.

Open your eyes and your thinking. There are some pleasant adventures out there for you, and you will be richer for having experienced them.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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