Papermill Road

You know the kind of gently curving shady boulevard—houses so big they look like hotels or palaces, each one more ostentatious then the next. Some mimic French villas; others have a more English Tudor façade. Lions and griffins stand regally atop stone pillars guarding the long driveways, lush landscaping and manicured lawns with enough attached garages to house a fleet of cars.

Contrast that scene with Gambling Ave. Trees, yes; it’s Georgia after all. But that is where the similarities end. Houses are narrow boxes that look more like trailers than houses. Lawns are mostly weeds littered with flotsam and old cars.

These streets, only minutes apart by car, are oceans apart in terms of lifestyle, income, and health. These streets are a metaphor for America’s caste system. The people living on Gambling Ave. are the working poor. They aren’t looking for a handout, just a fair wage and an affordable education. In a country with this much obvious wealth, why are we still, in the words of the late Barbara Ehrenreich, “Nickel and Diming” Americans into permanent poverty?

We will not realize the American Dream until we rise together. We will not save the planet until we work together. Mansions won’t withstand the ravages of climate change; yachts won’t sail you to safety if nuclear fallout results from the Russian-Ukrainian war; COVID vaccinations won’t protect you from this pandemic or the next until all adhere to safe practices designed to stop the spread.

Together we can.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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