Wednesday, December 19, 2012
It's just that the place they're offering up to the world is so far from the whole picture. And of course it is. I can't really blame them for repeating "idyllic" and "quintessential New England" and "Norman Rockwell" over and over. I can see how frustrated they're getting, trying to explain the intense Connecticut-ness of "Connecticut." At one point CNN's Don Lemon, who'd been getting on my last nerve with his sanctimonious interviewing techniques, seemed on the point of giving up when he finally said, "It's like...one of those little train things!"
"Connecticut" (and a good percentage of Connecticut) really is like one of those little train things. But it's better. Take this church. If the Connecticut of imagination is filled with magnificent white churches on town greens, the Connecticut of reality is filled with gleaming white churches on town greens and with churches like this, the Preston City Bible Church.
It is sweetly, yes, quintessentially New England. But it's also a little imperfect, and a little tilted, placed not on a bucolic green but at an intersection, on a hill. The steeple could perhaps stand to be painted, and the white is not quite as bright as it would be in a painting of a church on a Connecticut postcard.
When it was built in 1812 it was the Baptist Church, and it faced the other way; it was turned towards the road in 1832, the same year the bell tower was added to the top.
You don't find churches like this unless you have some reason to be in an out-of-the-way, off-the-radar town, or you're lost. Hopefully someday all those media people will get to go to out-of-the-way, off-the-radar towns, and get lost. And exchange their "Connecticut" for Connecticut.