Now that we are over the shock of Marco not having won that silly travel industry/newspaper contest, we are consoling each other and may take advantage of Keith Dameron’s nice offer.
Keith says he would make the lobby of IberiaBank available to grief counselors who might offer us ways to ease our angst.
If you missed it, Marco had been nominated along with five other small towns as America’s friendliest. They sent a nice young couple from North Carolina to visit us and the other places and pick a winner. To our knowledge, their qualification for the job was pretty much being a nice young couple from North Carolina.
Other than their partly rainy weekend here, they also visited Sandpoint, Idaho; Baker City, Oregon; Coral Gables, Fla.; Franklin, Tenn.; and Pacifica, Calif. — all nice places. But how can a visitor seriously compare such different places at different times?
Which is more beautiful, a single raindrop on an orchid or a snowflake on your kitten’s nose? There’s a reason why some people have homes in the mountains and at the beach. Skiing or scuba? Hard to choose and silly to compare. It’s apples and oranges, or in the case of Marco and Sandpoint — papayas and potatoes.
In some ways this frivolous contest is like those dopey best-looking dog contests. Most people will chose their own pets because, as in many walks of life, beauty among dog and cat lovers is in the eye of the owners. So it is with places we have chosen to live.
The “best” cities farce was evident in some of the other categories — friendliest, most patriotic, best for food and most fun.
Most fun? Glenwood Springs, Colo., won. Says who? I know a few tots who’d have picked another entrant in a jolly old heartbeat: Santa Claus, Ind.
Friendliest? Walla Walla, Wash., won. That should have won most fun, just because it has a vewy vewy funny name. What makes Walla Walla so fwendwee is not known, but its name is hiwarious.
Deep thoughts about “patriots” and bland food
Best for Food? The winner was Lafayette, La. Now this contest is the silliest of them all. Lafayette won apparently because they do Cajun cuisine there, delicious of course. But the judges said their big surprise was that Cajun food should not be overly spicy. Oh. Maybe Lafayette should have won best not overly spiced food in America.
Our favorite judges’ critique came from the geniuses who chose the “most patriotic” city. The choice was harmless — Rapid City, S.D. No knock on that town at all. But the judges said this about what made Rapid City stand out: “Rapid City “was the first town we visited that would talk about the mistakes America has made as a nation and focused on how we have grown from them.” Seriously?
With nominee choices that included Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., and Williamsburg, Va., they chose a place because they talk about the mistakes America has made?
No, that trophy probably would go to Madison, Wisc., or San Francisco. Most super-lib elites? Naw, Cambridge, Mass., or Burlington, Vt., could get the nod.
Most patriotic? Most negative maybe. Or most blame America first perhaps.
That award probably reflects the shallowness of the judges, not the consensus of Rapid City’s citizens.
Marco Island may not be the friendliest or the best for food or the most patriotic or the most fun or the most beautiful little city in America.
But Marco would rank darn high on any thoughtful list of such attributes, not to mention it’s among the safest towns with some of the cleanest air.
Oh, did we mention that recent report that the place in America where women have the longest life spans is Collier County?
We should thank the judges in that contest. Now we know where we should go if and when we need some not overly spiced food or a support group to treat guilt-ridden patriots.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: email@example.com.