Once upon the time, there was the village green.
Today, there are events like the Jay County Chamber of Commerce Expo.
The parallels were obvious on Saturday.
More than 1,000 folks attended the event at the Jay County Community Center.
And when they did, they interacted, face-to-face the way their forefathers did on the village green 200 years ago.
They joked, they got reacquainted, they shared old stories, they talked politics.
But most of all, they just talked.
Much of what has become endangered in America today is exactly what occurred this weekend: People coming together in a common place and finding common ground.
It sounds simple, but it’s not.
When folks are trapped in their individual silos of work or special interest or whatever, they often don’t get to know their neighbors as well as they should have. Events like the Expo, Jay County Fair and the host of local festivals change that equation. They create a platform for interaction. They make it possible to begin to find consensus on tough issues.
One out of town visitor this weekend was blown away by the event.
In her county, she said, nothing like this would have been possible.
The degree of cooperation, the openness of communication, the camaraderie, the positive vision, the simple ease of getting together as if we were all on an 18th century American village green, none of that would have happened in her community.
And she was envious.
This, she told us, is something special. You don’t find it everywhere, and it’s important to hang onto.
We couldn’t have said it better. — J.R.