Peggy and I had a wonderful little mini-vacay earlier this week, running up to Lancaster, PA - Amish Country. As soon as you approach the towns we visit - Strasburg, Ronks, Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse - you see things that you don't see in the Baltimore area. Laundry hangs out to dry on the line there, and here, there are community associations that forbid the horrible sight of dad's t-shirts and Junior's jeans flapping in the breeze.
Up there, Amish people move from place to place on horse-drawn buggies, leaving horse waste in their slow-moving wake. Many homeowners dart out to the road with a bucket and shovel, harvesting free fertilizer.
Down here, the clerk of the circuit court for the city of Baltimore writes a letter to the newspaper saying that he is sorry that his office has to have trials for kids in the city whose only crime is zipping through traffic at 87 mph on dirt bikes, terrifying motorists and pedestrians alike.
Down here, the city jail is under the control of the inmates, specifically one inmate who has managed to impregnate four of the female guards who are supposed to be holding him prisoner for an attempted murder conviction. Two of the guards have his name tattooed on their bodies. Meanwhile, the inmate is taking in as much as $16,000 per month on his jailhouse enterprises, selling dope, cell phones and alcohol to his fellow prisoners.
Up there, the people - men, women and children - are working their fields and farms from the rooster's first cry to beyond sundown, so there is not enough time to commit crimes to go to jail in the first place.
Down here, the comptroller of the State of Maryland puts out an annual listing of unclaimed property. His office does this every year, but this year, his ego apparently unchecked, the comptroller put his face on the cover of the publication, describing himself as the most interesting man in the state.
In Los Angeles, actor Will Smith said in the paper that he and his wife, Baltimore's own Jada Pinkett Smith, have a non-punishment style of raising their children. They believe that their kids are responsible for their own lives, which is true, but without the accountability of some punishment, how many children will choose the right path?
Up in Amish Country, the children are shown the right path and are advised of the consequences of deviating therefrom.
Or course, they also get to live their lives without ever watching a "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" rerun, so look how lucky they are.