In my past, they were all over town. They hung in the entryway of the bank, next to the exit at the restaurant, above my grandmother’s corded telephone. They were stained with highlighter, pocked with tack marks, and laden with handwritten notes, business cards, auction notices, and handbills for chicken dinners and lost dogs. Cork bulletin boards were the single most important medium of mass communication for small communities in the time before Facebook. Even the newspaper wasn’t as widely read. If you wanted people to know something was going on, you pinned it to the bulletin board. Then you waited for word of mouth to work its magic. You were rarely disappointed.
The era of the crumbling old community cork board has mostly passed (though there’s still one in my favorite gas station!) So every Friday, I will pin the news items I feel are most important to the heart and soul of Catholic rural life.
- “A Common Soil Pesticide Cut Wild Bee Reproduction by 89 Percent,” Phillip Donkersly, Modern Farmer. Shared on Twitter via author and ruralist Grace Olmstead, @gracyolmstead
The effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on wild bees are devastating. A friend of mine lost her colony to a neighbor’s irresponsible spraying a few years ago. I’ve seen firsthand the damage they can do.
- “The Antics of the Turnips,” St. Rafael Arnaiz, Commonweal. Translated and shared by author/translator Catherine Addington, @caddington11
This is a beautiful reflection on menial labor. “When work ended, I placed myself in prayer at the foot of Jesus, dead on the cross…. There, at his heels, I left a basket of clean, peeled turnips.”
- “There’s a Better Way to Parent: Less Yelling, Less Praise,” Joe Pinsker interviews journalist Michaeleen Doucleff, The Atlantic. Shared via Hannah Gokie, @hgokie
An NPR journalist travels abroad and discovers child-rearing concepts that many “old-school” rural parents never lost. Praise and attention can be too much of a good thing. Not all family activities should cater to the kids. And extended families networks are good for both parents and children.