Real Mystery
Off The Wall, Nov 05, 2010

Last month, a friend sent me a video of a new ad that he said was very powerful, and suggested I view it. It was titled, “Mourning in America.” It told of the country’s degradation due to the policies and politics of the Obama administration.

The advertisement brought to people’s attention the high unemployment rate, showing people standing in line at the employment office, home foreclosure, and the overall country’s deterioration. I have to say, it left me with an impression that can’t be forgotten, and I’m sure other viewers will also be impressed.

Recently, a good friend of mine, Mark, had a week off for vacation, so he gave me a call to inquire if I could get out a bit and join him on the golf course of nothing more than to see the beautiful scenery atop a hill in Ligonier Township. I informed him that it had been a long time since I played the sport. “Just come with me,” he said.“I’m inviting you to ride along and just enjoy the view, trees and relax.” Now how can anyone turn down an invitation like that? Here I am a retired man, and yet, I am given the opportunity to relax? Actually, I think he is aware that I needed to get out of the house, for I was spending too much time there writing stories on my computer.

So, he picked me up, and we headed for the hills. I have to admit, trees were almost at the prime stage along Route 30 on our excursion. It was great to spend a little time with an old friend, who by the way, just moved back to his home stomping ground, Latrobe.

When there is lots to discuss, time passes very quickly. With that said, we had reached our destination in no time – Ridgeview Golf Course. Mark scurried to the office to inquire about a cart. In no time flat, one was delivered to his car. We hopped aboard, me plopping my posterior on the right side, and my chauffeur, on the left.

As we journeyed from hole to hole, I was impressed with his techniques. When he told me he was going to have to hit a ball over some trees and have the it land a ways on the other side somewhere, I said in my mind – no way. I was wrong. He did it and masterfully well, I may add.

Heading up one hill, I could sense bewilderment from his facial expressions and tone of voice. Over on the right edge of the course were homes recently built – not small ranch style ones or homes that may be owned by the middle class of USA towns, but huge, well designed monstrosities, one beside another.

Rolling up the hill, he directed my attention to a hillside where once there were tall weeds, he told me. “Look, Pee Vee, all the grass is gone, and is cut and in its place, a lawn. On top of the hill was a beautiful ranch, a type house structure that was indeed rare. Behind these homes, in the distance, I could see for sale signs where, probably, more big homes will go up, each one given that touch of originality.

As we neared the green, he asked a common question that so many others have asked me. “How can people afford these big homes if we are living in a time of a bad economy?”

All one has to do is look off the major highways, and land is being cleared for developments all containing from large to super-large housing.

I’m beginning to ask myself, is the media in our country portraying only one side of the seesaw of economy, that being poverty, as was portrayed in “Mourning in America,” or is this area the only place in the USA where there is more affluence than most other states?

You need not go far to find these homes that sell over $600,000 a piece within our town, outside of it and one town over. And on top of that, they are all inhabited, not vacant.

As I see it, we can’t be hurting, economically speaking, if one whole section just outside of Latrobe has these huge residences, as does Ligonier, Greensburg, and Irwin. Surely, if CEOs can have these large houses built, then they can afford to employ residents of our community. If this can be done, then I believe, at least in our community, the economical woes can be lifted and people can once again provide family support. If not, then citizens must support the food banks so at least families can have food to sustain them. That only makes sense to me, and I’m sure each reader as well. Yet, I hear about children only getting one meal a day in our schools. Something isn’t right, and I sure don’t have the answer. But I do know, we have to balance the seesaw, and it has to begin, maybe with you, the reader. Hurting people and big homes don’t go hand in hand.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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