You read here and here the story from my country dwelling friend who woke up to find his town inundated with coronavirus refugees from New York City. They clogged the post office, stripped the local grocery store, and are causing big problems for the locals. Here’s a followup explaining that the current standoff is the continuation of a long, uneasy, relationship between city-dwellers and those who inhabit the surrounding countryside. He wrote:
This current situation has accentuated an old underlying problem.
I must give a brief history to explain that.
When I grew up here, we were a tight-knit farm community as were most of the small towns in the upper Hudson Valley. That began to change when milk production rose and the price of milk fell. The government did a farm buy out. They bought the herds and equipment as I recall and the land was left for the farmers to sell. At the same time, IBM grew in our area. So people who would have been driving a tractor or a milk truck etc. were now learning computer assembly or sweeping floors. It was a very competitive atmosphere there. People stepping on each other’s toes to climb the IBM ladder. And IBM encouraged their employees to be active in the community, politics, churches, etc. An entirely different and not a pleasant time.
But being an easy drive from NYC, the farmers’ old land became valuable and most sold to city folks who wanted a small horse farm and a “starter castle” on a hill. So our area became divided in both a social and financial way. Kinda like royalty and serfs. It was difficult because there was, and is, a distaste for both of each other and yet both need each other to exist. My saying for this is “We used to milk cows now we milk Mercedes Benzes.”
Another way that I can describe the change is that when I was young we could ride a snowmobile, dirt bike or horse anywhere we wanted to go. Town to town to town as long as you closed the gates behind you. Now you would be arrested for opening the gates. And it is very hard to get permission to hunt so a lot of trespassing and poaching goes on like in the stories of the Robinhood days of England. That is a hard pill for many to swallow. To compound that, there have been many times that the City folk, (“Citiots” as they are called by many, among other names) have said things in the stores like, “Why are all of these locals in here on the weekend? They have all week to shop, why are they in our way?” while in their riding clothes and fancy cars.
And they push through and are very rude. I actually had one impatient guy bump me with his cart to “hurry me up” because I was exchanging pleasantries with the woman at the cash register that I have known since childhood. We were laughing about the fact that I tried to kiss her in Jr. Grange and she turned me down. Well now, keep in mind that I am 6′ 220 lbs. and this city guy was about 5’8”s and maybe 160 lbs. I could see the look in the cashier’s eyes. I pushed him and his cart back into one of the aisles and told him to stay there until I was gone, which he did. It was all very comical with his eyes big as saucers and apologizing rapidly. But unfortunately, these things happen a lot, so you can imagine when a whole new flock of them renting Air BnBs filled the area lately we have to start training all over. The animosity is running deep.
Then put the pressure of the 6′ rule and the odds that these people are no doubt bringing the virus into our area and it’s a time bomb of emotions. They have been told to quarantine but the first stop they make of course is the market.
They are also using a lot of resources, making it harder for the locals to find what they need. The Facebook posts from my old friends are very telling. They have had it with these people.
We always stock ahead but my son called this early and advised me to get ahead of it. So we did extra and early.
As I said, I had my mail sent to the mountain, and I really won’t need to go to a store for months if I don’t want to, but others aren’t in such a good place. I hope things don’t boil over. Everyone here is armed, and the city folk don’t understand the situation outside of their own needs.