We traveled to Millheim, over the mountain in Penns Valley, yesterday evening for dinner; if you’re ever there we can recommend the Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks. The subject of this post however is not Pennsylvania fine dining, it is the mural painted on the east wall of the cafe. We had been here to dine once before and I remembered the mural for its bright colors. I recalled neither its clever design nor its sentiment. Before entering the restaurant I crossed the street, zoomed my camera all-the-way-out and cursed those who had constructed the buildings on either side for placing them so close together. I could not get as far from the mural as I would have liked. Anyway I took a few photos, crossed back over the street, and then proceeded to dinner. It wasn’t until the drive back home, as Joanna and I talked about the mural, that it struck us that it had been designed as a quilt. It wasn’t until I had inserted an image of the mural into this post that the accompanying sentiment finally made its way into my consciousness. Pride in the past, Love of Place, and Hope for the Future. I had already known two of its three parts. Pride in the Past is invariably presented in just that way. The usual form of Hope for the Future is Faith in the Future. [Aren’t words, and the ways in which we use them, interesting? For those of you who are fans of Lord Peter Wimsey, you may recall a scene from Murder must Advertise in which Lord Peter points out, while working at Pym’s Publicity, the difference (and implication for legal liability) between the phrases ‘made from pears,’ and ‘made with pears.’ The difference being that the former promises perry made mostly, if not entirely, from pears, while the latter promises something more modest in its use of the fruit in question.] I hope the followers of this Pairodox blog will not take offense when I point out that the words Faith in read as a statement of religious faith. It is therefore interesting that the two-thirds-version of the sentiment (first and third phrases) is commonly associated with small town chambers of commerce, historical societies, and churches. I appreciate the change which results in Hope for the future rather than having Faith in it – to me the former suggests more active participation in making the future what it can and will be, while the latter suggests that we sit passively and watch some prescribed plan unfold and reveal itself. Furthermore I enjoy the second, and novel, part of the complete statement because it admits an appreciation for and commitment to what we have … Love of Place. These three phrases express gratitude for the past, appreciation for the present, and hope for what is yet to come. What better views (of past, present, and future) can any community ask for? Well done Millheim, Pennsylvania! [After completing this post I discovered that  local artist Elody Gyekis was the creator and motivating force behind this Valley Roots Community Mural.]

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